thank you

My 500th Blog Post

Almost seven years ago, on a random Sunday night, I posted a rambling blog post, which to this day has only been viewed eight times. I didn’t tell anyone I posted it, and I didn’t know what to expect from it. I wrote it because I could—because I couldn’t seem not to—and because I wanted to know what it felt like to click publish. More than anything, that post was a dare to myself, fueled by late night confidence, to give blogging a shot. And even though I didn’t post another blog until almost seven months later, this dare hung in the air, it crawled into my thoughts and it wiggled out the tips of my fingers. Write, it said. Until eventually, I did.

Thinking back to the beginning, I won’t deny that I was dreaming big. Fresh off a semester abroad, during which I wrote weekly posts (on a different website) to update those back home, I had a pocketful of compliments from friends and family that gave me a big head and an expectation to turn my talents into a career—fast. You can hear it in my early blog posts. The I am so funny tone. I am so casually hilarious and knowledgeable and relatable. Feel free to make me famous.

Reading through some of my old posts, I cringe at the way I wrote, the way I rambled, the way I *clearly* didn’t proofread as well as I should have. I didn’t have a schedule, didn’t have a direction or a defined voice. I was very much just posting to gain a following, to get attention, to get numbers, and to move forward into what was sure to be a lucrative career. I spoke as a knower, as someone who was here to teach you something or to make you laugh or to change your life because of things I could tell you.

But then, little by little, I started to shake off that identity—as it didn’t fit very well—and started to write from the much more honest perspective of a learner. As someone who doesn’t know it all. As someone who is just trying her best and learning what she can along the way. And in finding that authentic voice, I found a much more comfortable, fun, and co-beneficial blogging process and experience, and grew a very genuine and caring audience that allows me to write without a defined theme—something every blogging advice columns suggests you find (#rulebreaker)—and who learns and grows right alongside me.

So as I write this post, my 500th post if you can believe it, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far and who is strapping in to see where we go from here! This blog is a safe place for me, something that is consistently fulfilling and comforting—even amongst the craziest and scariest of times. So thank you for helping me create this space! And if you’re new, welcome to this space! We’re happy to have you.

To celebrate the big 5-0-0, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite blog posts, but first, in case there are any other data nerds out there, here are some fun facts:

  • I have posted a blog on every single day of the week, the most on Monday (178) and the least on Saturday (9).
  • My total word count (including this post) is: 390,606 words, which is the equivalent of almost five books.
  • My blog has been read in 165 countries
  • My best day ever for views was December 15, 2015, when I posted this blog about Gina Rodriguez and she shared it on social media.
  • My most viewed blog of all time is this one about How to Recreate the Princes Diaries Painting.
  • The most used search terms that helped people find my blog was “things that happened in 2018” which led them to my All the Good Things series.
  • The first post I ever had published on another website was this one.

Now to name a few favorites. This was nearly an impossible task, because narrowing it down to a reasonable number leaves so many behind. But in a quick scroll down the list, these ones jumped out at me:

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1) The Mt. Whitney series

This is slightly cheating, since it refers to five posts that cover my experience of hiking Mt. Whitney, but this was the first series I ever wrote for my blog and the first thing that made me feel like a “blogger“. I was so thankful to have a place where I could document what turned out to be a big turning point in my life.

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2) The Simplest Kind of Happy

This post gives me the warm fuzzies. It was such a simple moment of an ordinary day, but it was pure and it was happy and the song I mention in the post can still take me back to that day.

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3) A Literally Sick Rap Song

I wrote this post when I was on day 3 or 4 of being home sick with the flu and it was one of the only things that made me feel better. I spent almost an entire fever filled day rewriting the lyrics to Tupac & Dr. Dre’s “California Love”, renaming it “Day&NyQuil Love” and I laughed so incredibly hard. I will never not think of this post when I’m sick.

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4) To My Fellow Tough Eggs

Some of the hardest blogs to post are the ones that feel like I’m sharing my journal or the innermost workings of my brain. This post was meant to be encouraging to all but especially to myself. It also stands out because shortly after posting it someone mentioned it to me by name and thanked me for posting it and that meant the world to me.

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5) A Lesson in Love from Mr. & Mrs. Day

This is not only one of my favorite posts on my blog, but one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. In 2015, my Grammie was moved into a nursing home, where we met Mr. Day and his wife, Mrs. Day, who was in the bed next to my Grammie. Their love story will inspire me always.

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6) The Year of Give

This was the start of a series I do at the end of every year where I recap the word that defined my year. It put me out of my comfort zone to post, but I’m so glad to have shared it because I love having a place to go back and read what I’ve learned from each year and each word.

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7) The Butterfly

In late 2015, my Grammie passed away, and I wrote this post, which ended up being distributed at her funeral. I felt very lucky to be able to honor her, and I think about this post often.

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8) I Ran a Damn Marathon

This had to be on this list because I still can’t believe it actually happened.

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9) This Blog Was Written By My Dog

This was such a fun, silly post I wrote from the perspective of our family dog, Laycee, who was the cutest, most loving dog I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, only about a year after I posted it, Laycee passed away, but I’m so thankful to have this encapsulation of what an important, special member of our family she was and always will be.

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10) Just Live the Day

I have written many posts describing a struggle of staying present, but I feel like this one really hit straight to the point. It was inspired by The Grapes of Wrath, and offers advice that I try to carry with me at all times.

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Thank you again for all your support through these 500 posts, here’s to 500 more!

Places I Miss

Among the many positive messages posted to provide encouragement and comfort throughout this tough and confusing time, one of my favorites that I’ve seen was a reminder that it is okay to grieve.

Looking at the world as a whole, it would seem there are thousands of reasons not only to grieve, but to set aside your own personal grievances, complaints, etc. Because with pain and suffering happening on such a grand scale, it might seem like having your own personal grievances makes you selfish or ungrateful.

I thought it was so important for people to be reminded that they are allowed to grieve the things they are missing in their own lives. Things like vacations, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, concerts, sporting events, etc. It is okay to be sad that those things aren’t happening. It is okay to be mad or heartbroken that they are being postponed or canceled or brushed over. It is okay to wish things were different, that things were back to normal, that you could leave your house, see your friends and hug your family. It is okay to feel sad, angry, hurt and lonely—that doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a human.

For me, I miss baseball and Dodger Stadium. I miss sitting next to my sister in whatever seats we found a good deal on, drinking a beer, eating a hot dog and trying to talk ourselves out of ordering deep fried Oreos, even though we know we probably will anyway.

I miss going to the movies. I miss ordering popcorn, guessing how many previews are going to play before the movie, and then finishing my popcorn before we find out.

I miss sitting on the couch at my grandpa’s house. I miss eating lunch and catching up with him on our favorite television shows. I miss watching the golfers go by off his back porch and then coming inside and reaching into the dessert drawer in his dresser for a mini Hershey bar for me, and a mini Twizzler for my dad and my sister.

I miss going over to my friends’ houses and sitting on the couch and then the floor and then at the dining room table as we talk and plan and laugh. I miss us deliberating over what we should do for dinner and taking pictures when one of the kids does something funny or cute.

I miss sitting behind the menu at a restaurant, taking in each and every option before I decide 1) what I want to eat most and 2) what I can order that I can make the least amount of changes to because I’m brutally self-conscious about coming off as a picky eater. I also miss saying, “it doesn’t hurt to look” when offered the dessert menu, and then ordering something—and finishing it—even when taking another bite of anything seems impossible.

These are only a few of the places I miss, but they are places I can’t wait to see again once this is all over. They are places that, when I find myself there again, I will take a moment not only to appreciate them, but to thank those who worked tirelessly to help get me back there.

Thank you to everyone on the front lines of this pandemic, to everyone working round the clock to heal the sick, calm the fearful, and keep the peace. We will forever be in your debt, and I hope we can continue to motivate you, thank you, and appreciate you throughout the remainder of this pandemic and long after.

Thank you.