Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Archive for the tag “changes”

Announcement regarding my blogging future

Whoa, so much for getting into the habit of posting everyday with that #365poems exercise.  I still see the value of doing it, but when you go two weeks without a post because of the backlog of poems needed to catch up, and not wanting to come up with a separate post until I did, that just spells trouble.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of my blogging.  These days, I can’t really say it’s been the biggest priority for me anymore.  I’ve been maintaining blogs for over 12 years now; an ever-growing chunk of my life has been documented across multiple platforms and usernames.  I’ve been reading blogs for a while longer.  I’ve connected with a number of awesome people through blogging: writing is how I communicate best and feel I can reveal my true self that gets lost in the awkwardness of face-to-face interactions.  I haven’t really bothered reading blogs in a little while, though, or keeping up with my RSS readers.  Maybe this is due to the pervasiveness and ease of social media, or maybe this is just annoyance at scripts not responding in my browser.

I have three blogs on WordPress right now.  One is an “official site” under my full name that hasn’t been updated in a month.  Another is a sporadically updated “pop culture” blog that’s mostly SNL.  And then there’s this one, which has been sort of a clearinghouse of whatever came to mind.  I also maintain a few Tumblrs but those aren’t so much about the words.  With all these blogs, no wonder my focus is so divided.

I think my blogging is also dividing my focus from getting my writing to a point where I want it to be.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I should be posting as much of my work online before I get a chance to really fine-tune it.  I also feel like writing for the public at large has become a crutch for me, and an excuse to no longer write personal correspondence aside from cursory, business-like missives.  It’s not that I don’t like blogging; it’s just that I want to be more confident in the direction my writing takes.

I’m going to take a break from blogging online for the next little while.  I also think it’s time to close Not In The Past.

I feel like I’ve hit a wall with my writing online, and painted myself into a corner.  I’m debating whether to delete everything here, make everything private, or allow it to gather dust and spam comments.

I’ll be posting similar messages on the other blogs; I don’t think I’ll delete the other two, especially if one is supposed to be my main footprint online and the other is my most popular site, but I think a break is due.  I haven’t decided what I’ll do once I decide I’m ready to rejoin the blogosphere; I may try to get the blog rolling on my “professional page” or just open a site that I don’t put my name on or publicize (not even in comments).

I’m not disappearing from the internet completely, though.  I’ll still be on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you don’t know my username, send me a message), and you can still e-mail me directly.  I just have a bit of blog fatigue at the moment.

Until we meet again,
Ben

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Know Thyself

It hasn’t been a month since coming back from Toronto, but I feel like it was ages ago; too many late nights spent on pointless personal projects.   It doesn’t seem likely that the rest of my 30 before 30 is going to be fulfilled by my extended deadline of July 2.  Not that some of these goals matter much, but it just makes me feel like I really don’t have the discipline to keep at even the most trivial personal goal.  I had a job interview this week (don’t want to jinx it by talking about where it was), but I could not sleep the night before.  I’ll hear by the end of the week.

I actually have considered selling my camera from time to time.  For someone who calls himself a photographer, I really don’t take a whole lot of pictures.  I’m beginning to think that I got the SLR more to say I have one than for any potential photographic career I may have.  I feel pushed into molds sometimes, and while “photographer” was more appealing than some of the other ones I’ve found myself slotted into, I’m having doubts that it really is my calling.  I don’t know: maybe it’s another case of me knowing myself.  I feel like the two lessons I’ve been raised with are “settle for what you’re given” and “don’t do anything unless you’re obligated to do it”.

I’ve acquired so much junk in the last few years that I’m tethered to it.  I need to make massive changes, but I don’t have the means to do it.

Forgive my sour tone.

Answering my own questions…

How have I changed in the past ten years?

I’m a bit more pessimistic, to be honest.  I’m also considerably more politically outspoken, but while I do believe in fighting what I believe in, I’m realizing change is gradual, there’s always going to be some setback, and sometimes the fight is more to prevent things from getting much worse than it is to fix them.  I’ve figured out more what I believe and don’t believe, and am even more skeptical of religion and authority.  I’m more open to some experiences and my palate has changed somewhat, though I still shy away from some things.  I question my habits more.  I’ve come to accept my sexuality.  I’m less interested in being in a relationship than I am interested in getting other areas of my life sorted out right now, and I’m more aware that I don’t have as much together as I thought I did.  I’m fatter and balder, and more aware that I need my space.  I let go of hurt easier, more out of lack of interest of wasting energy than anything.

How have I stayed the same in the past ten years?

I still enjoy comedy and music a great deal.  I’m still curious about experiences and discovering new things.  I drink way too much Pepsi.  I’m very cautious, phlegmatic and awkward at times.  I focus too narrowly on the details.  I wile away hours on my hobbies and can shut the world out when I do them.  I’m concerned about the welfare of my pets, and I value the company of my friends.  I dislike being condescended to intensely.  I am worried about failure and have a need to prove myself.

Light in the distance

Spring is almost here.  Miramichi’s finally getting some fantastically mild weather, and the snow’s starting to give way to clear sidewalks and patches of green.   I’m starting to get a little more optimistic about the future: making plans here and there, actually working to get out of town for the time being.  The plan is to be in Halifax from March 26 to April 1, then take the train back to Moncton for a night, and then go back to Miramichi the next day.  I’ve also decided to go to Sappyfest this year after remember how much I regretted skipping out on it last year. Maybe the one skipped year was necessary: it felt more like a ritual and a way to cling onto a version of myself that I felt was fading away every year I stayed in Riverview.   Travelling and having the opportunity to see friends are more important to me than a lot of things I thought I wanted.

I’m thinking I need to find a way to phase out Pepsi (or for that matter, soft drinks) from my diet.  I’ve been hooked on the stuff since I was kid, to the point where I get caffeine withdrawal headaches without it.  The more I think about the crap I put into my body, the more I realize what kind of changes I want to make.

New look

As you can probably see (unless you’re just looking through a feed reader), I’ve decided to change the look of the blog a bit.  I did like the old layout at first, but I felt this one looked a little cleaner.  I’m going to be doing a few tweaks to the site’s overall appearance here and there over the next few days.  I think this look has a bit more potential.

I’m also considering renaming the blog.  I do want it to be unabashedly and openly myself, but I think that there might be a better way to do this than just putting my name up there.

They say it better

I read a number of blogs regularly.  Sometimes there will be a post that gets my attention, and they address the issue in a way that I feel that any attempt on my part would be superfluous.  The great Schmutzie has this regular feature on her blog called Five Star Friday where she has readers submit other peoples’ blog posts (as opposed to their own) that they’ve found to be excellent pieces of writing on the web.  I don’t think I’ll make it a regularly scheduled segment, but I like sharing good writing and good ideas as well, and I’m going to share a few posts I’ve read lately:

When did it become ok to be dumb? – Julie Laurin writes about the working world’s tendency towards encouraging mediocrity over creativity, innovation and intelligence.

Cynthia Nixon’s remarks about her choosing being gay, the backlash that ensued, and her damage control have already been covered in the press extensively, but I found a few good individual reactions to the controversy by Brahm of Alfred Lives Here, CanuckJacq of Gaelick and Sulli of We Were Going To Be Queens.

Graeme DeCarie normally devotes his blog to ripping apart the journalistic shortcomings of Moncton’s daily newspaper, but on one post, he takes some time to share his secret for doing well in school despite bad habits derailing his studies at first.

The Ghost Of Identities Past – Lee Harrington writes about how changing identity does not necessarily make any previous selves less authentic.

I have a lot of things on my mind these days, including a few things in the news, but tonight’s not the night for epiphanies or soapbox rants.  It’s a better night to step back, get some reading done, and relax.

Stream of consciousness

I want to do something similar to the five minute free write I used to do on here, but without blinding scraping at the keyboard and leaving horribly misspelled words in my wake that cast doubt in potential employers’ minds.  The fan is going off in the bathroom, and it irritates the hell out of me, so I’m going to shut it off first.

I get these doubts in my mind about whether I really have any abilities that can be nurtured and developed, or if maybe I had something that went away years ago and was dulled by lack of discipline, growing resignation to a day job, and whatever.  Waiting to stand still, and waiting to be happy.  What is happiness, really?  Is it this temporary feeling you get when some sort of craving has been satisfied, or is it something you get when you’re sure you follow all the rules?  I’ve been reading a blog by a lesbian ex-Mormon who was writing about the attitudes she still encountered, that growth and happiness and self-fulfillment is discounted as not being true happiness compared to following the righteous path and waiting for something that you don’t get unless you 1) are dead and 2) have done all the “correct” things.  I’ve been used to that kind of thinking myself.  I’m not Mormon but growing up in a Christian household, that sentiment is somewhat familiar.

These feelings I have come and go.  For the most part, what I really want is time away from the familiar.  I’m going to see what I can do about that, but first, I have to define what it means to do that.  Do you just do variations on the same theme your entire life?  By thinking about these small changes I want to make by the time I’m 30, I’m thinking more about the bigger changes I want to make by 35…but how high to aim?  Should I include goals that are somewhat out of my control, and fulfillment depends on the other person?  Or should I just stick to things I know I have complete control over the outcome?  What counts as an actual try?

Living vicariously through others’ blog posts and achievements.  Change is coming in a small way.  My headache and poor sleep schedule make me feel like I’m still in a cycle.  The space caused by jazz piano, bass and drums under scat singing sounds.  The verbs and nouns and my big toe.  This is the grace of the clacking keys and the relaxed traffic going by the window.  They’re heading somewhere, but it’s not important.  The tube of ointment sitting on a shelf will be squeezed empty one day: try not to anthropomorphize the whole thing or it sounds really depressing.  Is life good?  I’m not being torn limb from limb by a hungry jaguar.

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