Weekend Coffee Share: The Hard Year

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve missed these chats over the past couple of months. I’ve missed lots of other blogging things, too, but the #weekendcoffeeshare is my favorite regular blogging activity, and I feel as though I’ve been away too long.

weekendcoffeeshare

And I’d tell you I’m terribly out of practice. It’s amazing how quickly I get rusty when I stop doing a particular type of writing. So today, I’m just putting one word after another until I’m done, because I need to publish something before the weekend is out.

I’d tell you 2015 was one of the hardest years of my life. It was harder than the year I spent in Central Texas working for minimum wage plus tips and living like a monk because I didn’t have any friends there. Harder than the year I lost a good public sector job due to budget cuts — the only time I’ve ever been terminated from a job, and it took a toll.

The only year that was worse was the year Vicki broke her ankle, then was allowed to develop pneumonia due to poor medical care and spent 17 days at death’s door in ICU. That experience was so traumatic I ended up in therapy for PTSD for almost two years.

There are four things that are sure to disrupt the normal rhythm of a person’s life and bring on a ton of stress.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

  1. Major lifestyle changes, especially when they’re involuntary.
  2. Loved ones dealing with life-threatening medical situations.
  3. Changes in professional responsibilities.
  4. Financial pressures.

I spent most of last year dealing with all of those at once. Since I’m a hypersensitive, anxiety- and depression-prone person, what I ended up with was a mental and emotional shitstorm that turned me into a functional basket case. I got to the point where I had to let go of something just to get through to the holiday break, and blogging turned out to be the thing I had to let go of. And not just the blogging. I pretty much left the entire Internet and withdrew from every part of social life except work and my immediate family.

I don’t even know when I last published a blog post, but I went from Oct. 20 to Dec. 15 without so much as posting a Facebook update. At one point Diana had to email me to get my attention and make sure I was ok. That should give you a clue as to what a bad way I was in.

In late November, I started thinking about how and when to come back, but I was overwhelmed trying to catch up on all the stuff I’d missed, beating myself up over several blogging commitments that I just didn’t show up for,  and the holidays were just around the corner. I was paralyzed. I felt like I had nothing to say and little to offer. And then, the week of Thanksgiving, this little girl showed up. Her name is Diesel.

diesel_9wks_2

She’s probably got genes from a dozen or more breeds of dog. Here mother is a Golden Retriever mix and her father is a Lab mix, but we know she has some Chow in her ancestry several generations back and she seems to think she’s a German Shepherd. Having to care for her somewhat jarred me out of the funk I had fallen into, but she was only two months old when we got her, so taking care of her has pretty much been a full-time job until the last week or so.

Then on New Years’ Eve, this fella showed up. We found him on our back porch hiding from the fireworks. We fed him and gave him a blanket, and he’s barely left the yard since. He’s a big dog, but he’s less than 8 months old because he doesn’t have all his adult teeth yet. He’s much less work — hardly any trouble, really. He’s an outside dog who likes to come in after school and play with the boy and the little puppy.

Ren_01_03_16

Anyway I’m somewhat better now, thanks in part to the doggies. I’m trying to figure out what I can do, blogging-wise, through the spring. I simply don’t have the time or the energy to get Sourcerer busy again right now, and that pains me. I put two years of my life into building that blog and dozens — if not scores — of people supported it, so it’s not something I can let go lightly.

we_iz_innocent

I’m publishing this here today because I don’t want to post over at Sourcerer until I decide what to do with it — I don’t just want to post a couple of times there and then have it go silent for two or three more weeks. And I’m not ready to shut it down, so silence is the best option until I figure out what I want to do with it.

I’m pretty much in a bind with the blogging. Keeping a blog humming the way Sourcerer was when it was firing on all cylinders last spring requires two things.

  1. The person who’s running it has to produce a lot of content and spend time on the blog at least every other day; and
  2. Posts have to be planned at least a week or two in advance, even if they are written at the last minute.

I’m not in a position to do either of those things at the moment. I’ve not been able to predict my schedule more than three days in advance since I started packing my apartment the last week of May, and that seems to be the “new normal” for me. But at the same time, I really must blog. So, I’m setting what I feel is a reasonable goal for myself for February and March, and I’ll re-evaluate the situation the week of spring break.

My blogging goal for the next couple of months is to produce a blog post per week, not counting the coffee share posts, which I’ll do here as often as I can. I’ll offer the one post per week to other bloggers. I have to give Part Time Monster and Comparative Geeks priority, because I doubt I would even be attempting this comeback if not for the support of Diana, David, and Holly. But I’m pretty much writing whatever I feel like writing, so it’s entirely possible that I’ll come up with some things to offer other friends, as well.

I also plan to get back to reading and sharing blogs at least one evening a week.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’m back, but it will be awhile before I’m able to be all over the internet the way I was in 2014 and 2015. Honestly, I don’t know how I kept that up as long as I did. But it was fun, and it made me a lot of friends, so I hope I can get back there eventually.

Emanuel_Wynne

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52 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: The Hard Year

  1. It is great to see you back blogging, even if it is just baby steps. Sorry times have been so rough. I do believe in the power of doggie therapy. The can be a royal pain in the butt, but they also force us to get outside of our selves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, exactly that. I was totally living in my head for weeks, and then the little doggie came home, and all of a sudden I had to think about what’s best for another living creature who depends on me and stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear from you Gene’O. I lightly dipped my toe into blogging in 2014 and yours was one of the first blogs I came across and followed. I noticed when you weren’t around. I hope 2016 is a better year for you. I suspect your gorgeous pups will be a massive emotional support for you – my doggie certainly is for me. I love that fur ball to bits. Wishing you all good things for the year ahead. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back my friend, you were missed. So sorry that 2015 turned into such a crappy year for you. Here’s to better days ahead.
    I suspect that your own blogging expectations were harsher on you than anyone else would have been, so give yourself a break and just take it one post at a time.
    You have lots of supporters here and we’re just glad you’re back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While animals required extra work they add joy to yor life. I dislkie fireworks much because what they do to animals. I have been blogging about two years now and at times I find it growing to large to handle. Istpped myself from going to blogs to add people and ot understanding pingback has help slowdown. I am not looking to have a large one so it doesn’t bother me if I don’t have a lot of traffic. It is God’s hands and I know he won’t give what I can’t handle. Maybe you need to go a different way. Look and you will find it. It is not always what you want.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s to a much calmer, productive, and mentally healthy 2016. I know it can be rough! I feel so weird not blogging once a week at the moment, but the usual fare simply doesn’t encompass the feelings I have inside at the moment, so I’m waiting… Hopefully April will be better for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So sorry about your year, Gene’O. My heart goes out to you for everything you went through. I know it wasn’t easy for your to put Sourcerer on the back burner and I missed you on line but I applaud the fact that taking a step back, you took care of yourself.
    I can so relate to struggling to keep going with something. I haven’t really written in over a year. It’s never easy to see a huge part of your life change.
    I love the fact that those two mixed breed puppies basically took over your heart and home and are forcing you to get out of your ‘funk’. Animals give such unconditional love. And it sounds like you got those two just when you needed them most. And they you. What a beautiful story.
    I hope things get better for you now. And know you’re in our thoughts. Certainly mine. I’m hoping that 2015 earned you a ton of good karma!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so glad those doggies found you. Just at the right time, it seems.
        Letting go of Sourcerer must have been gutting. I know you put so much time and work in to it.
        I am so glad that you did though, if only because it means you took care of yourself. Especially with the challenges you had this year.

        Like

  7. It’s so nice to see you. I understand the feeling of being unsettled. After staying with my parents for four months upon my return from Taiwan, I moved into a house in November until it goes on the market in the spring. Then things happened, and while it’s good to have another house to move in more long-term at the end of the month, the idea of trying to move again has just about done me in. My job is adjunct, so I have no office–no place to call my own to work, or to set up stuff to work, and I find that my depression and anxiety are difficult to keep at bay. So far, 2016 is starting out a little better, and I hope that it goes the same for you.

    I love the story of the dogs. I had a rescue chihuahua during the last 3 years in Taiwan, and she helped at times when very little else did.

    Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much. I moved from an apartment which was a 10-minute walk or 15-minute drive from my office (because parking) to a house which is more expensive, has a yard to keep up, and is an hour away.

      That was a big part of the problem — a two-hour round trip is not much of a commute, but when you’ve been so close to work that you could walk any time you felt like it for 10 years, it’s a big adjustment.

      Commute and keeping up the house are just taking so much of my time.

      Like

  8. Im sorry it has been so tough. Nothing on the level it sounds like you went/are going through, but the last part of my 2015 was hellish and now I am trying to move in two weeks, holding my breath for the money to hold and fighting a cold. 2016 needs to be better than this…point is though, I started over on my blog, pretty much hiding in plain sight, and have done nothing with it so far. I am hoping after Feb 1 I can get back into it, though nothing like I was doing before (everyday? no way)

    Anyway, we’re here when you are and totally get where you are coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t actually write a post a day for very much of my 2013-15 run. I just got lucky ansd made a lot of friends, so I was more publishing every day than blogging every day. I miss it, but I have no idea how I kept it up as long as I did.

      Here’s to a fabulous 2016.

      Like

  9. Obviously, I’m glad you’re back! The Social Media just wasn’t the same without you! I’m glad those pups showed up when they did and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

    As for the blogging? I have no idea how you kept up the pace that you did for so long. But here’s my thoughts on going forward… scale it back a bit. Just post twice a week. One of those posts can be a re-blog or a roundup of your favorite things you read that week. (I did that very briefly and really want to get back to doing that). I think the blogging world/social media world is very forgiving with time and absence (case in point, your Twitter numbers) There’s so much noise out there that scaling back a blogging schedule probably doesn’t even register with most readers. Those are just my thoughts. I have really scaled back my blogging, not intentionally, but because life. If I only post twice a month? I think I’m ok with that. (I’m lying. I get antsy if I don’t post once a week, but I took some month long breaks and I don’t think anyone noticed except for me.) Regardless, you make the rules and you can try different things and experiment before you settle on what works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually had a mutual friend of ours tell me that when she cut back on the number of times she posted and upped the quality, she got more reads.

      So, giving up the publishing every day isn’t necessarily the worst thing. It just stings a little, because not many bloggers can manage that for any length of time, and I had a system in place to allow me to do just that — publish every day, even when I wasn’t writing the posts.

      It’s a status marker of sorts, and it’s harder to let go of than you might think. Definitely back, though.

      Like

  10. So glad to see you are back! You were one of the first blogs I followed when I started mine. I learned a ton from watching you work and you were always so encouraging to me. Thank you for that.

    I hope that 2016 will be a better year for you. The dogs will help, they are loyal and loving no matter what. And don’t worry about scaling back, we will be here whenever you have time and feel up to it 🙂

    Like

    • Yeah, the dogs are one of the best parts of this new order.

      Thanks so much for this comment, Lisa. We don’t talk that much and I don’t know what to make of you, but I am glad you learned things from my flailing around 🙂

      I enjoyed your MLK post very much.

      Like

    • Well, I can’t actually stop blogging, so youse guys are stuck with me.

      Just not sure when I’ll be able to do it often again. I am definitely back, though. Tell your friends!

      hee hee.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How wonderful to meet you 🙂 I am sorry to hear that 2015 was so rough, but the good news is, it *has to be better this year, right? I look forward to staying in touch and hope you get your blogging groove back…whatever that means for you/however that feels best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: If we were having coffee… | The Daily Post

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