Today is the tenth anniversary of my very first post on Suburban Scrawl.
*does celebratory dance*
I’m a little amazed that I’m still here after ten years, but not surprised: I’m pretty good at keeping commitments. Truth be told, while there have been a couple of occasions when I considered shutting it all down, I have always felt that I wanted to maintain an online home indefinitely, even if I got to a point where I published new posts infrequently. (Surprise! I’m there!)
When I started, Suburban Scrawl had a Blogspot address. The background was black and my header text was purple. I know, it was horrible. Eventually my background was light blue and I designed a header that was more fitting:
It was a lot easier to write personal anecdotes on a regular basis when I started. Dylan was fifteen and a high school sophomore and Jason was twelve and in seventh grade, and there were so many family stories to record for posterity. I was only 38 going on 39–wow, those were the days!–and was trying to find a publisher for my second book. I was also teaching group fitness classes and working part time at a salon. Jim and I were getting ready to celebrate our 21st anniversary at the end of that year. We lived in Naperville, Illinois. Our beagle Roxie was only three and gave me more blog fodder than I ever wanted from a mischief-making, loaf-of-bread-eating, basically-cute-as-a-button-but-a-huge-pain-in-the-butt dog. (I miss her.)
Now? The kids have all grown up, literally. They’ve both graduated from college and are outstanding human beings, if I do say so myself. Dylan, twenty-five, is a graphic designer and Jason, twenty-two, is in the thick of a logistics management trainee program. They are still in the Chicago area, while Jim and I have relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee. We said goodbye to Roxie in February of last year. Jim is still my rock, the keeper of my crazy. He’s a saint, truly. Don’t get me started.
I…am ten years older. I found a publisher for my book in 2011. I retired from teaching group fitness classes years ago and now have the pleasure of only worrying about my own workouts. I left the salon years ago, too. I’ve spent the last ten years building up my writing experience as a freelancer as well as working in social media for an amazing, women-founded, women-run company. During my time at BlogHer I worked with some of the best (and most fun) people on earth and learned new things every day as I helped manage the social media department while working with the events team to produce two conferences each year. In my spare time (hah!) I fit in co-producing the “Listen To Your Mother” show in Chicago for six years, and was on the LTYM National Team as a mentor for other production teams for four years. All of these things–except for the book–happened because of this blog. One thing I’ve learned in ten years is that social media opportunities aren’t linear and there’s no one path to or definition of success for everyone. I have been open to new things (unusual for someone who hates change) in regards to where this blog takes me and because of that openness I enjoyed some of the best experiences of my life.
I haven’t even mentioned the people yet. I have met hundreds and hundreds of people as a result of this blog, starting with the super-tight, mega-awesome Chicago blogging community. My network there is full of smart, savvy, creatives who help lift each other whenever possible. The LTYM community in Chicago is also second-to-none; getting to know six casts-worth of people who went on a wild and crazy, three-month journey to bring their intimate motherhood stories to stage was one of my favorite things ever. We’ve already planned our 2018 summer alumni picnic!
Some of my very best friends in life, I met because of blogging (and Twitter, of course). I have also met and built relationships with some of the most fantastic kids in the world–the kids of my friends–when I popped into their towns for visits as the “cool aunt” (self-proclaimed but I think one or two of them would agree). I even discovered an entire new branch of my family (*wink*), in New Jersey. I’m not sure of any other way I could have met so many great people who “get” me and shared so many awesome adventures with them in locations all over the country, so once again I count my lucky stars I started blogging.
As for what I’m doing now, I’m still figuring things out. My time working at BlogHer and with LTYM ended (simultaneously but totally unrelated) over the summer. It feels weird not to be working working working, but at the same time I haven’t had stress levels this low in years. I’m working on building up my freelance writing business again. I have time to keep the house clean and I have time for creativity. I’m working out nearly every day. Who knows…maybe I’ll attempt to blog more regularly again. All in due time.
I have some news, too. When I found out we were moving to Knoxville I knew that a blog rebrand was in order. I started thinking about names and themes immediately, but took nearly forever (i.e. a year) to figure it out. It’s nearly ready, and this is officially the penultimate Suburban Scrawl post. Next week I’ll publish a final post telling you where I’m taking this next.
Finally for now, thank you so, so much for reading over these past ten years. Whether you’re one of the long-timers around here or you just recently found me, and whether you’re a fan of my family stories or my travel adventures, I appreciate everyone who takes time to stop by and read whatever I’ve tossed out here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Stick with me…there’s more to come!