On the 15 August, 2005, my daughter set up this blog for me. I said hi, and then let it sleep. On the 9th September, I actually wrote something, and again in the next few months, but it wasn't until 2 April 2006 that I really started exploring the emerging blog world, and took a leap into the vortex.
So, it is nearly 8 years since I said hello, but we will ignore that. It is April 13 today and so it is just over 7 years since RCR built up a head of steam and the words started flowing. Seven years. I can hardly believe it. SEVEN. And along the way, I have shared illness, death, birth, celebration, goodbyes, hellos, sadness, stories, thoughts, ideas, philosophies, faith, creativity and a recipe or two. A real mishmash of just about everything. Big decisions, work - the good and the bad, and the oh-so-challenging times. A son still at school back then and now doing his Masters degree. A daughter who has explored the world, and a firstborn learning to be a father himself.
And me. How I have grown, and in so many unplanned ways. I have had the enormous privilege of getting to know some of you in real life, and so many more through words alone. I feel that I know so many of you, and yet at the same time, I am also aware of how little we actually share most of the time. It is only natural, in this wide open Internet world.
I have been alongside some of you as you have faced difficulties, and as you have celebrated too. It is like one constantly moving film clip, rolling through my mind, with bits of all of you and a good helping of me as well.
I have never regretted the words. We are all interesting people, with our own opinions and ideas, and of course, we will differ at times. Hopefully, with grace. We come from so many different countries. We have cultural differences. We live in different worlds. The rich, the poor, the older and the young and yet all of that is unimportant, because here, in this place, we all have the equal right to space, and to share. You know, I have met people I would never meet in real life around here, and it has been so fascinating to get to know every single one of you. You have added both colour and texture to my life.
Back then, the world was humming along merrily. Well no, actually. Back then, Geoff was very ill only I didn't talk about it until the last few days and even then, I spoke about it very briefly. So, during that first year, everything changed with his death. With my world imploding, and trying to make my way out of the fog, it was a scary place to be. There were many sleepless nights, and then I discovered that someone was always awake and on line, and I could communicate.
The blogging world. I was not alone.
It made a huge difference to my life.
It still does.
But in different ways. I have watched some of those first friends move on to wonderful success and I have cheered them on. I have also seen some amazingly gifted writers sort of disappear into the ether, and that has been so sad. I have seen friends move continents. Write books. Cope with so many changes in their lives. Children growing. Going. Staying. Parents ageing. Medical dramas. Empty nests. Classroom chaos. Tiny babies. Weddings. Bunting................
Life. In all its glory. And in all the mess.
Back then, I would not have known that 7 years later I would still be here, pounding the keys. Nor would I have even begun to guess that it would still be on that aged computer which chooses to expire now and then. I am good at computer first aid. My talents know no bounds.
If I hadn't started writing, and then dared to comment and become a part of a wonderful band of women blazing the blogging way, there would never have been a combined US/UK choir of 140 voices singing Zadok in a village church with a thousand year old tower in the middle of England last year. In that first moment of music, when Becky and I looked at each other and didn't know whether to laugh or cry, we knew it had all been meant to be. Part of some amazing plan. It was pure magic. Pure joy. Pure delight.
If I hadn't started writing, I wouldn't have learned as much as I now know about the Internet and, thinking back, life has changed so radically since the inception of the Internet, smart phones, tablets etc. Being able to recognise a cassette tape or slide rule makes one a dinosaur, and yet I am only 58. Only, please note.
You know, it was just a decade or so ago that man suddenly discovered that the human brain was not fixed in place at 18. Unchangeable. We know now that new neural networks are being built every microsecond in our brains, and that it keeps changing, evolving, and will keep changing for the rest of our lives. We are always a work in progress. not only physically, neurally, psychologically and emotionally, but in so many other ways too.
You are never too old to change. To learn new things. To dream. To dare.
Neither am I.
So, let us look forward to the next while. I am not going to say years. There may be years more with me rocking away in the corner here. But then, I may decide to harness a camel and depart into the hazy distance. You never know. Life is full of surprises.
It has been a good 7-8 years here at RCR. I have loved it. Am loving it. So stick around, my friends. You make my world a little more technicoloured. And I am immensely grateful.
Seven years already. Amazing.