6.16.2011

A Little Bit of Looking Back...

image via for me for you, I also posted it way back here...







I’ve been thinking some lately about how having this blog has “changed me”… how it has altered our day-to-day, even if in only small ways.

It all started innocently enough, with a simple request by Millie to see pictures of herself as a baby. Given that Millie is my second-born, I (not surprisingly) have very few actual physical photographs of her. This is in stark contrast to Audrey’s painstakingly documented baby and toddler years (think six bursting at the seams photo albums).

What I do have is a blog. (I knew this blog would somehow come in handy.) And in between posts about my various obsessions (i.e. France, Sofia Coppola, northern California, drool-worthy rooms, striped shirts, attempts at simple living, what I wanted to buy, what I actually bought and what I didn’t buy…) there are photos of the girlies, quite a few in fact, and they happen to be handily organized in chronological order (take that photo albums).

So, with Millie perched on my lap, I pulled up the blog and selected August, 2007 from the pull-down menu…the month I started this blog, just six months after Millie was born.

After she got bored of the whole enterprise (which took a while, as she's pretty obsessed with looking at photos of herself of late), I continued scrolling through past posts, until I had looked at all 1300 (!) of them. It was nostalgia overload friends... a sort of speed "this is your life" covering the past four years that proved to be equal parts poignant and enlightening. I laughed, I cried.

One of the things I walked away with though was this notion that having the blog has somehow been a catalyst for my attempts at living a more fulfilling life. I mentioned this when I was writing about "Operation Simplicity", but there's something about being accountable, even if to just a handful of people, often strangers, on the Internet, that makes you want to rise-up more than you would normally.

Don't get me wrong, I would aspire to live a good and full life even if I weren't sharing details of it with you guys, but let's just say I might spend more entire Sunday afternoons watching tivo’d episodes of The Daily Show, and instead I’m compelled to do something more worthy, more inspiring (not that watching The Daily Show isn’t a worthy pastime…it’s a really good show). Rather than of OD'ing on Jon Stewart, I might, say... grab the girlies and hit up the museum for a couple of hours or go on a nature walk or attempt a craft or take-on some multi-step baking endeavor.

So for helping me be my best self I thank you friends...truly, from the bottom of my heart.

I'm curious if those of you who blog regularly have done the same thing? Do you ever look back on years worth of posts? Do you think your life has changed as a result of sharing it in a more public way?












a little trip down memory lane in photo form...

27 comments:

Ana Degenaar said...

I definitely do, especially at the time in my life were I'm in I look back on them and it's a cathartic process. I love this space.

karey m. said...

i read my stories all the time when i'm craving...i don't know how to explain it..that kind of writing, maybe? when i'm craving a good conversation or a good story or something meaningful underneath seeming nonsense.

and always? i always always make pat laugh afterwards...i say "i am a good effing writer, pat." his answer's always the same..."well. you're a braggy one, too."

loved this post. and you. xoxo.

Alice Q. Foodie said...

Definitely. At first just when it came to cooking and eating, now for other things too. It definitely makes every experience feel more shared and more visible, and I like that.

saltandpine said...

I just started blogging, but that is exactly why I started it...to give me motivation to experience more, document more, connect more. However, I think it may take me a little time to figure out the whole blogging/actual life experiences balance. I want to make sure that the documentation of life & interests on the computer don't overtake the real life experiences. Seems tricky...I'd love to hear how you balance it because it seems like you do a fabulous job!
Katie

Torrie said...

Absolutely. I've been blogging for a year, and it keeps me aware (reading other blogs), enlightened (not feeling like I'm living under a rock), balanced (aiming to do more, see more, read-learn-craft-cook-try-listen-move more), and fulfilled/inspired/connected (learning & sharing with others- what I've learned, what I want to learn, what I'm facing- and vice versa).

It keeps me a little more track- of living the life that I strive to live (because I can easily get off track!). =)

Tracey said...

I feel exactly the same way. I think it makes me want to be an even better person.

Kristin said...

I definitely feel that way! There is something very powerful in writing these daily (or more like weekly for me lately) musings in that I am definitely inspired to try more things rather than being a lazy bones... cooking, crafting, you name it. I think it's also the reading of all of these other inpsiring blogs - your's included - that makes me want to go out and do more as well.

Melissa said...

oh yeah. i've had a blog since before my girls were born, but over the years (and ever moreso) it's helped me live more openly, be more brazenly "myself", see the brightside of who i am + who i want to be, and share the joy (and trials) of my kids and family with the handful of people who are inclined to follow. i feel like my blog helps me celebrate "the everyday", and looking back on the archives (sadly, the baby years of my big girl are on an old un-archived site) is very special to me.

Hadley said...

I don't have a blog, but just wanted to say how much I truly enjoy reading yours. I look forward to it everyday! I do think it has the same effect on me though - by getting so much inspiration from your blog, as well as others, it definitely pushes me to do more everyday. Thank you! :)

Kelly and Kelly said...

I do look back. I love having the memories there. And yes, I too feel that I've changed a lot because of blogging. So much of who I am today has somehow come about because of the blog. It's amazing kind of.

burntphotograph said...

i love looking back on my blogs. every once in a while i'll think "what was i doing 5 years ago today?" and i love that i can click "archive" and go back. :)

the main thing i realized is what a hopeless romantic idealist i was! oh my, i have grown as a person in exponential ways. in fact, if i was then who i am now i would have conquered most of my problems... but then i probably wouldn't be where i am now.

Rachel said...

I do look back, sometimes. What always amazes me is how quickly the memories come flooding back - not just about what I posted but about things that were going on below the surface at the time. A blog functions on many levels.

I definitely think that having the blog gets me to strive towards a more fulfilling life. I don't do anything specifically for the blog (baking, crafts, photography, were all things I was doing before - the blog came into being so that I would have somewhere to put those photos), so it doesn't end up exhausting me the way I know it could if I felt pressure to crank out projects. But it does remind me to think about what I'm doing and appreciate little tiny moments that pass by quickly. I think that most of us do have really beautiful snippets of our days, but they're fleeting and it can be hard to pin down those thoughts and feelings. I have a much easier time remembering annoyances than blessings, personally. Which is why the blog ends up being mostly about the good stuff - it is my reminder.

Mary said...

I definitely agree. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted my blog to be, so I don't like going all the way back, but now that I have figured it out, it definitely helps me focus on all the good things in life. Not everybody gets it, and that's fine. It works for me.

Terri said...

I haven't gone back to the beginning yet, but I do feel like my blog(s) have changed me for the better. I feel more creative, more resourceful and like you, much more likely to go do something as opposed to sitting on the couch watching TV. I also love that I'm constantly inspired by all the blogs that I visit!

Ana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

I agree with you.. having a blog definitely inspires me to do more productive things with my time and live a more wholesome life.

I often look back through my old posts and I always think that my/ our life looks so perfect on my blog.. My husband also says the same thing.. anyone reading it would think our life is close to perfect.. Here we are making fresh pasta, planting veggies, playing in the park, life is so good.. etc.. etc..

Although, In January I had a stillborn baby and I had been documenting my pregnancy on the blog, so of course I had to share our tragic news with the world.. I could not believe how much support I got from strangers all over the world and although I have hardly posted since Grace was born I have decided to continue blogging to remind myself of all the good things we have in our life.

Ana said...

I started my blog in October as a way of finding my voice and it has definitely given my life a new sense of place and direction- the accountability and practice of writing regularly, the push to make myself write in an honest and vulnerable way... I have always struggled to find a creative outlet that was the right fit and so far this has been a really satisfying experience. I sometimes go back and read my posts but mostly I try not too.

Janice MacLeod said...

Knowing a handful of people on the Internet is watching has definitely made me rise up. I wanted to give everyone who was in a corporate slumberland to aim higher then the life behind a desk. So I went and aimed higher. Now I'm a nomadic blogger and don't even have a desk. Not bad.-- dispatch from Paris, ooh la la!

PS Your Simple Living blog has helped tremendously with getting my possessions down to one suitcase, so thanks for that.

Gabrielle - Design Mom said...

Love this post, Joslyn. I don't think I've ever looked back through my entire blog, but I love when link within suggests a really old post and I have that remember when feeling. I do love the idea of a blog as a catalyst for living a more full life. I think that has been absolutely true for me.

Megan Taylor said...

Jos,

I could not agree more. Having a blog has really opened by eyes to certain things in the world that I might not have noticed before, because I was perhaps looking at it through a different lens. Not a worse lens, just a different one.

In the few instances where I've had to "defend" my blog, I make the honest point that my blog has actually made me more interested in attending events, trying new things, and re-imagining the world.

It's a great PUSH...I think, well, maybe I'll get a great post out of this thing or that. I'm so grateful for your blog. It's an inspiration and you should be proud of all of those posts! xoxo

kikiazure said...

I love your blog and read it daily! You're a groovy, elegant, sophisticated yet funky lady and your blog posts are sweet and uplifting and simple!!
<3, Chris Azure

About Last Weekend said...

I always love coming to your blog, it has a tranquillity, sweetness and gentleness that I really appreciate in our complicated lives. I've been blogging for a year and it hasn't really made me do more but it has made me reflect on what I have done...

Anna said...

This is beautiful, Joslyn. I, too, have found that blogging often becomes a prompting to look for opportunity around me.

And then, upon reflection, one realizes how beautiful everyday life truly is. Even the monotony has it's own version of shimmer and holiness.

Thanks for the peek into your heart and life ...

Ashley said...

The question of balance (that saltandpine raises) is one Aron and I talk about a lot: how to be sure that we don't let blogging about life overwhelm life. But so often we come to the conclusion that you make: we probably wouldn't be doing as many exciting things/noticing so many beautiful things around us if it weren't for the push to capture them and share them. We sometimes worry that if we leave NY (which is a constant source of inspiration) for someplace smaller, that there will be less to explore (and then post about), but the exercise of blogging has definitely given us skills that would carry anywhere!

Joslyn said...

Ashley
i love those thoughts...and i'm sure given you and Aron's eye for beauty you'd be prolific bloggers no matter where you live!

Katie...
i've been meaning to respond to your comment re: balance and Ashley reminded me with her comment (thanks Ashley!) sorry it took me so long. You know i think early on in blogging the issue of balance was a much bigger one for me. but the longer i've kept this blog, the less it feels like something that needs to be balanced. i rarely think anymore that i need something to blog about, rather i just sort of go through my day-to-day and somehow thing topics, activities, etc...just bubble up. Does that make sense?

That said, I always have a camera on-hand. ;-)

Nomadic D. said...

What a wonderful post! I've only just started seriously investing time and energy into my blog but I think it has already had a profound effect on me. It's hard to put in words, especially at this early stage in its development, but it does somehow push me to be the person I want to be, because of the accountability you talk about, and it just makes us more aware of who we are and what we love and helps to prioritize and put things in perspective. I think just the idea that someone will get small windows into your life as an outsider nudges us to make sure those glimpses they get are a good representation of who we are/want to be. I'm not sure exactly what it is really, but I do feel somehow freer and more creative and satisfied since I've started my blog. That may sound silly, but I think a community of bloggers would understand, no?

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com

Fern and Feather said...

such a great post. I have talked to Ross about this very thing many many times. and ABSOLUTELY. my blog has pushed me to do all of the things I am passionate about. Passion takes effort. In fact I haven't blogged since May 30th and in many ways it has been great {I love to unplug and I am loving this time with Henry as my belly reaches full capacity}... but... at the same point I am missing the life that my blog encourages. At 9 months pregnant it is hard to feel like 'yourself' so I am giving myself a brake but I can not wait to feel 'normal,' plug back in and get my list of passions out again.
Part of not blogging is that I really haven't been on my computer at all. I decided to browse around the blog world tonight and like always... your blog was refreshing, authentic and lovely.
ox, Alexis