Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I was a Neo-Homesteader Lifestyle Blogger

Despite the typos and badly aligned photos and other detritus in my posts, this is not my first blog. In fact, I have had many others over the past decade and a half. The one I kept the longest would be best classified as a "homesteading, coming into adulthood, parenting, lifestyles" sort of blog back when blogs were only somewhat classified. I kept that blog for almost ten years and during the time it was active, I had two farms, two children, got married/marriage fell apart, traveled through my 30s into my 40s, moved back to the city and started a career.

Back in the days of the homesteading life, I met so many other bloggers and some I have remained RL friends with many over the years despite distance and lifestyle changes. Most of our lives changed pathways as we grew older or our children grew older or our needs changed. Some grew with their homesteads, starting businesses or writing books, others gave up the ghost for new adventures  (I am in the latter group).

If you glance at my blog list on this blog, I still have some from my old blog listed despite no updates in 2 or more years. Some had already faded away and the URLs were lost between my old homesteading blog and this one. I am always hopeful they will come back and let us in on how they are dealing with life in general. I still follow many on new social media like Instagram and Facebook. I still feel as if I have known them as neighbors and friends and I hope they are all doing well. I  miss the community we had back then.

Today, while watching the news, I saw the story of a for-profit mommy blogger quitting due to the stress of having to create great money-making posts full of ideas, thoughts, happy children/marriage and "98% bullshit" (her words). Part of me feels empathy for how addicting and competitive blogging can become and part of me wonders why we ever became a competing blogging society full of pretty facades, graphic designer perfect sites and impossible ideals in the first place. They call these bloggers "Influencers", but what they influence, to me, is this strange, fake idealistic bar being set for us and, even though you may try as hard as you can, we will never meet this standard. For one, time is an element that makes this impossible. I am a full-time employee, a single parent, a single woman, borderline hoarder collector, home owner, dog mom, and community advocate and I barely have time to make sure my socks match most days. What I remember from the blogging days of yesterday was the sharing of our lives-the raw honesty (marriage stress, parenting stress, fatigue, mismatched socks), the fumbles and heartbreak (animals dying, crops failing, debt, or weather blues), the celebrations (childbirth, holidays, great crops and baby animals), the juggling of deadlines (work, parenting, farm, seasons, life), and our individual goals and dreams. I have to say I loved those days of few sponsored posts and simple, online journaling.

Now that is not to say I would begrudge someone who makes a little money or products from their blogs or that I don't read these blogs. Some of them are so interesting, pretty and colorful like a bag of jellybeans! I can see how much work they put into creating a beautiful, tailored online 'zine. And, back in the early days of blogging, I was occasionally contacted by companies to try out and write about their products and it made me feel proud. I can't say I wouldn't again say yes to trying out products and blogging about them. However, constantly happy blogs-you know the ones-full of perfect children, perfect d├ęcor, perfect meals, perfect figures, perfect photography and perfect projects, well these are really not as interesting to me as ones with a true snapshot of life. I am talking about blogs full of self-growth, real life experiences (including the painful moments), weird interests, change, failed and successful projects, celebrations when something actually does go as planned mixed in with the happy moments and just, well, full of real life moments. These blogs, like a real conversation with a sibling or friend will always hold a place near and dear in my heart and make me feel a little more like I have been a part of a much bigger society.

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