WHEN IS IT TIME TO QUIT?

There has been a lot of chatter about how to rev yourself up to keep on blogging. This is a perfectly reasonable point of view for those who haven’t been blogging for a long time. Some of us have been blogging on WordPress for a decade and/or elsewhere for years before WordPress, although it wasn’t called blogging yet. Whatever it was called, it was the same.

Slowly but surely, all those other sites closed. Geocities. Remember that? I worked there for years, though not with quite as much diligence as I have on WordPress. There was another one that used stories. It was bought by Facebook who promptly closed it down. At least three different other blogging places closed while I was still using them. I suppose the reason WordPress is still around, along with Blogger (Google), is they are still available.

The thing is, I’m pretty much blogged out. I have blogged my way through a huge variety of personal and medical crises as well as government calamities. Whatever I had to say, I’ve said it. Meanwhile, life has slowed down for us. Not only are we older, but the lockdown changed the world and somehow changed us. I’m not sure exactly how, but maybe I just learned how to do nothing.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I had never been any good at doing nothing. I’ve always been busy. The older I got, the busier I got. I was always writing, reading, taking pictures, thinking about doing all of that. Between getting older and having health issues that tend to make me not able to move freely — and feeling as if whatever I have to say, I’ve said it. Whatever I have left to say, is it important enough to bother? I’ve also grown surprisingly negative about the state of the world and the likelihood of anything getting better in my lifetime. My level of cynicism is very high.

I believe that many well-intentioned people intend to do their best. I simply wonder how they can really do it.

There is also the sudden and rather shocking recognition that while I may get “healthier” relative to how I’ve been in recent years, I’m not getting younger. Garry isn’t getting younger. For his age, Garry is very healthy, but he isn’t young. I’m younger, but not as healthy, so we more or less even out. Is this — me and my computer — how I want to spend the rest of my life?

I feel like I’m missing a personal life because I live on the computer. I like posting pictures and writing a little about what’s going on. How the garden is growing. How my orchids are doing. Little tales of the birds, the Duke, the house, the seasons.

When Sue Vincent died at the end of March, it changed me. I don’t know quite how to explain it. We have suffered so many losses in recent years. Many of Garry’s colleagues are gone. Many of our friends are gone. All my and Garry’s older relatives are gone. Because so many living souls have passed, I had developed closer relationships on line — and now, they are beginning to slide away too. In the course of lockdown, we lost a handful of close friends, two of our three dogs, and several online friends. In some cases, I didn’t even know who had died because I just stopped hearing from them. Then Sue got cancer and died and for some reason, that cut the legs out from under me. She was 20-years younger than me — just two years older than my son — and her passing dug a hole in my heart.

The world has grown so mean. Slowly but surely, I’ve severed relationships with people with whom I used to be able to have something resembling a civil conversation. Now, it is either full agreement or rage. There are no cross currents of thoughts and ideas. We live in our own, rigid world and reach out to no one who doesn’t already agree with us.

This isn’t the world in which I grew up and I don’t like it. I don’t see how we can move on from where we are to a better place. I don’t see a road or even a path. Anyone who does see a better future, please tell me about it. Because all I see today is our world drifting until we fade away.

What can I say that wasn’t said by me or one of my co-writers? What surprises remain? Things can get worse. Things may get a bit better here and there. But major changes? Do we expect any? I don’t. And because I don’t, I’m not sure anyone really wants to hear what I have to say. I’m not even sure I want to hear it.



Categories: Anecdote, Blackstone Valley, Blogging, Photography, WordPress, Writing

Tags: , , ,

21 replies

  1. Oh, Marilyn. It’s a testament to how little attention I’ve paid to WP lately that I didn’t even know Sue Vincent had died. She will be missed.

    As for blogging, I’ve been cutting back since I also feel I have nothing new to say. I’ve pretty much stopped photography, too, because I’ll never really be any good at it – heck, everyone with an i-Phone takes better photos than me. And there’s only so many posts I can write about my new love, crocheting, before my readers will abandon me. Thank heavens I have email addresses for those fellow bloggers who have become friends, so I won’t ever lose touch completely.

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  2. Sometimes things just come to an end. This just happened to me. After 8 years as Greeter at Home Depot it’s come to an end. I’d been feeling this for a while. It’s over. I know I can stick around longer if I want to. So I wondered what to do? So I did what I always do: I asked inwardly for some guidance. Very shortly Rose came up to me and said “I want you to retire'”. I hadn’t even told her how I was feeling all this. So that was a pretty direct answer. I’ve come to a point where I am not Growing there anymore. It’s done.
    Sooo0 … at the end of June I’ll leave. It has been a fulfilling growth experience up till now, but sometime things come to end it seems.
    Blogging? I have very few followers. But there’s still creative growth for me there. I’ll keep going till it’s run it’s time too.

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  3. I totally sympathize with what you are saying. To express it in Camus’s terms, I’ve always known that life has no meaning, but with the pandemic, I’m beginning to doubt whether it is worth living. Maybe if we keep on doing the things we like and enjoy (and bring enjoyment to others), we will not feel like giving up altogether.

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  4. I say this selfishly. It’s not time for you to quit, Marilyn. I sometimes feel like blogging has become a chore and that my muse has left me and that I have little to say that is new, unique, interesting, or engaging. But I can’t not write, and neither can you. Cut back if you like, but please don’t stop. Your voice must continue to be heard and all of us who rely on reading your perspectives, seeing your photography, and enjoying your wit would feel a tremendous loss were you decide that it was time for you to quit.

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  5. Marilyn; I understand what you’re saying. I haven’t been around your block very long, a good year maybe or two?! Nobody will hold it against you if you stop blogging; if it isn’t at least halfway satisfying for you, you’ve got to stop – life is too short for doing too much stuff you don’t like.
    May I just say that you have become, for me, a place to visit I really looked forward to, I think you always had something to say and if you didn’t, I wouldn’t have followed you…
    As per the passing of dear friends, ‘in the flesh’ or virtual ones who, frankly, can become better friends than I imagined, probably because we only talk about stuff we are interested in, we kindly disagree if we have to, we’re not throwing out our toys of the play-den over trivial things – and nobody is complaining if I’m not commenting on EVERY post.
    I lost my youngest sister mid March, last Sunday my mother-in-law passed on…. I too have health issues taking up much time. I do NOT have a blog – I don’t do Facebook, but I read tons, I ‘talk’ to my blogger friends and those in my real life, I’m hours on the phone with ppl who seek me, I’m HH’s secretary and everything else – I can’t even think of having a blog too… So no complaints from me for stopping. I just really, really wish you the BEST for your future, whatever you decide.
    I shall very much miss you and if you stay a bit longer, you can always count me in – I’m interested in everything you have to say (well, maybe minus the orchids, I prefer a bunch of flowers from the field – or shop!) Much love and greetings to both of you, Garry too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. You have no idea how much I really DO appreciate you.

      I’m intending to slow down rather than stop. Eventually I will have to stop because everything ends. Meanwhile, I need to feel it’s okay to do something other than some blog-related activity. I can’t read everyone’s blogs. I understand that people feel I should, but it takes me a long time to write and edit. I can’t toss off a post in ten minutes, take and process pictures AND read dozens of blogs a day. Often, I can’t read that many in a week. When I start to push beyond my limits, I feel as if I’m back at work, but without getting paid.

      I’ll keep doing this as long as I reasonably can, as long as folks don’t get mad at me because I don’t have enough hours in a day to get it all done.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I understand your feelings here and would say just post when you feel like it. And we’ll be happy to see you

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is what I am trying to do. I know if seems unfair that people follow me and I don’t often have time to follow them back. Believe it or not, I actually feel guilty about that, like I really OUGHT to follow everyone. Except I can’t. Even when I really like their material. Maybe if I gave up reading everything except blogs, but I’m a reader and have been since I learned what letters are. And sometimes, I actually want to watch a movie rather than having it float by while I’m writing a post at the same time. Sometimes, I want to have a conversation or write a personal letter — and I feel like I’m wasting time when I should be doing something for the blog.

      I need to just step back and get a bit more perspective. It turns out that perspective is a lot harder to get than I expected.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I want to hear what you’ve to say. You may have said it all before but not everyone has heard or read it. Your posts are funny, wise and interesting. And of course the photos are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Everything you said so beautifully and pointedly resonates like a silver bell within my 94-year old soul. Yes, the world is not the one in which I grew up. I have lost many close friends in the past few years, most of them younger than I am now. People were kinder. Even during WW2, they were more aware of the welfare of others and our country. When I was teaching for forty years, I saw changes in the students’ attitudes, prompted by their parents’ beliefs. The attitude of “entitlement ” became more prevalent.
    As for blogging, I did that fairly frequently for a year or so before I started questioning whether what I had to say was really necessary. After all, my teaching days were over. I had friends with whom I could talk up a storm about the past and share concern about the future. They are a handful now, but a precious handful.Life goes on, if not quite the way it once did, and I can only hope for a better future for us all.

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    • It’s good to hear your thoughts because sometimes, I think maybe it’s just me. It just feels like the world is made up of sharp edges and rough surfaces. Everyone talks about love, but I’m not seeing much of it around. Even on the news, I keep hearing that tough times brings out the best in people, but frankly, that is NOT what I am seeing. There are nice people around, but they were nice before times got tough. The nasty ones just got nastier. And that sense of entitlement infuriates me. Each year, we have a little less money available and more things for which we need money. I have trouble figuring out how we will survive over the years to come.

      I’ll keep doing this as long as I can, but slower. I can’t keep pushing myself. I don’t WANT to keep pushing myself. I want to regain some sense of ease. I’ll write because I have to write — I’m not sure how I can live a life without it, but it’s got to be at a pace I can live with.

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  9. Oh Marilyn, I sure feel your pain here. I’ve almost quit blogging — just keep it open and add a post once in a while now. Most of my time is spent sewing and quilting now. I agree with you about the world becoming meaner. Frankly, every time I see Joe Namath doing Medicare commercials lately I want to throw something at the TV. Fortunately I remember how much the TV cost before tossing the nearest moveable object at it, but I can’t help but wonder why so many people think they are “entitled” to so much more. Most of us are just fortunate to receive what we already have, but now there are too many people living on the streets who want it for themselves. Too many drugs that are
    too easy to get. Just too much of some things and not enough of others. I’m glad I am old now and don’t have much time left. My MS is getting worse and all I can see ahead is a nursing home. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I’m still not sure, but just living one day at a time, learning to live with whatever life tosses my way.

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    • I had to laugh. I often feel like throwing something out a window or at the TV and then I remember that we are on a fixed income and heaven help us if we actually needed to get a new computer or TV!

      Those of us on fixed incomes are feeling a lot of pain now and that is one of the things that makes me feel so discouraged. After more than 10 years in retirement, I think our social security has gone up — between Garry and I — MAYBE $50/month in all 10 years. The little pension Garry gets has not gone up at all and never will. If my son hadn’t moved in and picked up the cost of feeding us, we wouldn’t be able to live at all. I look forward and I feel sick. I try not to think about it because it’s terrifying.

      MEANWHILE, I have not seen people becoming nicer in hard times. As far as I can see, it has been more the opposite. The people who were nice before are still nice. They rest of the population went from thinking entirely about themselves to thinking entirely about themselves, but being uglier to everyone who isn’t them.

      These days, rather than worrying how long I will live, I worry that we’ll live longer than our money allows and wind up spending out old age in our car. With the dog. It’s a terrifying world we are living in and I can’t find anything very good to say about it. “Hard times” seems to have squeezed all the warmth and kindness out of our world. Does anyone need to hear that?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I was on Windows Live when it closed and they moved us to Word Press. I did not write much there but I had a lot of pictures. I still have a lot to say, but finding the time is a challenge while I am still at the airline. Next year should offer better opportunities. I recall what you said one time which is absolutely true. We write because that is what we do.

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    • I will probably always write because I can’t help it. I write. But it’s going to be less. It already IS less. I think you are like me in that you can’t just throw a post together in a few minutes and move on. I write, I edit, I reread and re-edit. I put a ton of work into posts and that includes pictures.

      Owen was going to build a small cabinet for his hi-fi stuff. So he drew up some simple plans and went to the lumber yard and discovered that the price of the LOWEST grade of plywood is up to — are you ready? — $96/sheet — and he needed three sheets. He came home and threw the plans in the trash. Meanwhile, SSN has give us MAYBE $50 in COL raises in the past 10 years. If Owen hadn’t come home, we’d be living in the car.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are right. Some of the posts take a lot of time. Political posts were particularly time consuming because I wanted sources for everything. Top ten lists are also time consuming, believe it or not. I have to find the right recordings of trailers.
        I will retire at the end of the year. I will have more time to write and less money to go anywhere. My medication costs were very high with Part D and I am hoping for copay assistance here. The same medications I can get for nothing now, will cost thousands per month with Part D, no matter which one I choose. I can’t afford to retire and I can’t really keep going. If Republicans successfully win in the Suprme Court and get preexisting conditions tossed along with ACA we are all screwed. I guess I could write about that.

        Liked by 1 person

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