In that very first post I wrote about the occasion years earlier when I was leaning against the side of the plane and looking out of the window at the scenery below. Last Sunday on our way home from our weekend in Blackpool I finally had the after image from the before and after 'spot the difference' scenes. On that first flight I was heading to Northern Ireland for the first time and I was sat alone pondering life and love. This time, with Blackpool and the Fylde coast disappearing into the darkness below, the scene was different. My wife at my side and my sister-in-law and friends nearby laughing and joking, the risk I took that first flight was the biggest leap into the unknown of my life and for certain the one I would never change.
So although I blog and end up complaining about a lot about things in the local and wider world, in my own deeply personal and largely non-blogged world, the ride of life is firmly on the tracks, zooming along with the fervour of time.
That ride has been quite eventful in the period I've been blogging and blogging itself has now become a part of my ride which is slightly odd but odd in a good way. I hadn't anticipated that writing my blog would take up so much of my time. Due to its almost therapeutic release, for me it is a nice problem to have to balance but nevertheless I have found that blogging is a bit of a paradox. Blogging to me is all about recording and portraying experience but the more you do, the more experiences you have to blog about and the less time you have to blog so the less you get to blog and in turn to blog it all would impact on time used to type. With the quieter times, you get more time to blog about what has happened but the fewer experiences you have to blog about.
I have one regret with blogging so far and that is not having the time to give as much as I'd hoped. I have posts written but not typed about my wedding and honeymoon and several fun events slipped under the radar. One day in the not-so-distant future I still hope to catch up with at least the major things.
So that has become my main dilemma with blogging. The reasons I started to blog are the same as they were from that original post however throwing yourself into the mix brings a dedication of time I wasn't anticipating, but you know what, I think it's worth it.
In that 1 year, 8 months and 6 days, which translates to roughly 88 weeks, an awful lot has happened and due to blogging it, I have a half decent record of it. Not only that but through reading other blogs and researching my own point of view, I have learned a lot and reassessed a lot from creating my content.
The extra plus I have found (other than slowly learning to spell and structure a sentence!) is that there are some really great and genuine bloggers that I mightn't have come into contact with if it wasn't writing my own blog. I've been able to see life close to home and far away from a perspective different to my own but in ways I can relate to. A lot of bloggers go for page clicks and ads but some, such as these few examples (in no particular order) are a some of my favourite blogs and where I believe blogging is really at its best:
Sadly, as well as the great personal and interest bloggers, in what can be a weird and wonderful blogosphere there are an awful lot of shallow and materialistic bloggers who will do anything for a page view, usually those who don't create all of their own content or don't reference their source which a little pet peeve of mine I'm afraid to say. The culture I've come across in the world of blogging is slightly different to other online communities I've had the privilege to being a part of. It's maybe because everyone operates from a different page rather than all coming together on one but there seems a larger emphasis on being seen and getting your voice heard, especially when it comes to people who want to be authors or to sell their product. Finding people genuinely interested in what you are saying is a rare thing as there largely is no other connection and I find that kind of sad. Sad because although a blog can be even more personal and expressive than a lot of other online environments, the one-to-many nature of it seems to leave a gap of sincerity.
On the plus side though, blogging gives you freedoms of speech unparalleled and the ability to reach audiences to whom you wouldn't ordinarily even have contemplated passing on your views. I guess that can be a bad thing as well as a good thing. One instance I had of reaching someone I didn't expect came when my blog post about Toy Story 3D and the cinema in question out-ranked that organisation's Google search result at the time. I received a comment from the General Manager offering me tickets to another show and perhaps to blog about it. I turned down the offer as I am a not-for-profit sort of guy and so is my blog. What did surprise me though was the fact that my ramblings led to someone with the ability to influence our future experiences to go so far as to act on them in their own way gives an indication that blogging has the ability to give an individual a voice otherwise muted in the big giant ball of spam out there. Hrmm, if only the folks at Stormont would take so much notice and offer a second election (or more) until we get someone with common sense in a seat of power!
Other than that, another surprising but fun moment was receiving a few mentions on the Belfast Telegraph site thanks to Blogger and Columnist Geoff McGimpsey whose blog is Boballs (but slightly mothballed at the moment) and whose column is largely dedicated to the local bloggers here in Northern Ireland.
It's great that there are some people like Geoff and the Belfast Telegraph out there who are putting a lot into promoting the blogosphere and also great that this area of the world, with all it's issues and problems, has an active online presence led in voice largely through much more dedicated bloggers and blog sites such as Alan in Belfast and the tangled web of politics debated at Sluggerotoole.
So on this, my 100th post, I'd just like to say that blogging, like taking that first flight to N.I many years ago, has been very much a good thing for me up to this point at least. Blogging has intertwined itself as a part of my life, it's encouraged me to involve myself more in what's going on around me, to engage further my interest in photography and to savour the special moments in life that little bit more as typing it out again really does almost mean reliving it. It has very much been worth it so my advice would be: if you don't blog or have never blogged, why not give it a try?