I have been blogging for over a fifth of my life.
Purely as a statement, it’s meaningless. Abstract. People will tell you that you’ll be asleep for a third of your life, or waiting in line for a seventh of it, but you won’t suddenly re-evaluate the way you’ve been living your life. People don’t find god in an attempt to save themselves from a seventh-of-a-life of waiting in line.
I have been writing this personal web log for five years. I turn twenty-four in less than a month. I have been blogging for over a fifth of my life.
That’s a little more succinct. It works in numbers that you may be able to grasp – you know what “five years” feels like, and you either remember what it was like to be twenty-four or you can imagine what you want to be doing when you will be.
Or maybe you can’t do either. Perhaps you’ve never done anything for five whole years – not live in one place, or date one person Perhaps twenty-four is just another meaningless milestone in the blithe fiction that is your imagined future – so you can’t relate to that either.
Also, there are the concepts of “personal web log” and “blogging.” What do they even mean?
I have been writing this personal web log (an internet-based, sometimes diary-like, irregularly updated collection of thoughts, feelings, links, pictures, music, and other online errata) for five years (one year longer than a US president’s single term in office, half of a decade, less than a third of the the time The Simpsons has been on the air). I turn twenty-four (twice as old as a twelve-year-old, one year shy of a quarter century, three years younger than Joplin, Hendrix, and Cobain were when they died) in less than a month. I have been blogging (“blog” n., short for “web log,” thus “blogging,” v., the act of creating and maintaining a blog) for over a fifth of my life.
Is that explanation thourough enough? How else can I more succinctly quantify this peculiar obsession to you? It is at once less and more than keeping a diary, more and less than a simple concatenation of thoughts I have and pages I view. It started out as a place to say something without editing, but soon evolved into a more oblique window into my life complete with its own voyeristic audience of hundreds. Sometime after that it became about documenting moments in time, snapshot stories of misadventures freed from the banality that surrounded them.
All of this attempted definition begs the question: what is it now? And: how can I hope to quantify something that I can’t even define? This is no longer my occupation, or my pre-occupation. Sometimes I only write once in a month, and other times I have a week’s worth of sentiments tied together with a common string. In the past this was the central repository for all internet statements, the me-archive. Now I sometimes want to publish a thought or a piece of writing that has no place here.
Ulimately, I have run out of pithy, charming, defining things to say on August 26th. August 26th now looms less as a day of celebration, and more of a mandatory mark on my calendar to remind me to remember, and to try to remind you, what this means to me. The date has become less like the birthday of a child over whom I dote and obsess and more akin to the wedding anniversary of a second-cousin – to whom I periodically send a card.
In either case, I thank you so much for being an inexorable, impossible-to-define part of this half-decade-passed … for being the eyes and ears receiving these words and sounds … for being a friend, even if you are a silent one. I may not be able to articulate my definition of what you’ve been consuming, but it couldn’t be whatever it is without you to observe it.
So, thank you. And, Happy Birthday To This.