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Back to the blog

A few months ago I wrote a tweet that was a bit tongue in cheek but also true.

I’ve always loved Twitter. I love the way that I can stalk the thoughts of interesting people that I don’t know and may never meet. I love the ease by which I can push things out. I barely have to think about it.

That’s really the problem, isn’t it? You say your little piece and then it disappears and at the end of the day you have nothing to show for it.

At some point in time blogging became too hard to do. To write something every day, to edit it, to add links, to pair it with an appropriate image, (or, in my case, a Sebald-style random or only tangentally-related, uncaptioned image). Then I’d have to to resize that image appropriately and upload it then preview and tweak until it all looked okay. At some point in time that stopped feeling fun and started feeling like a lot of work. So many steps. I got tired of it and I got busy with other things.

But there’s something about spending conscious effort and time on things. So much of the way that the world is designed actively discourages one from pausing to reflect and plan. Maybe that’s why I started my mending project and why I’ve jumped with both feet back into knitting. They’re slower activities. They give me time to think.

Earlier this year everyone said that they were going back to the blog and I got excited. I half-wrote a blog post with the best of intentions, then promptly got distracted and now here we are three or four months later. Typical.

And now I’m blogging about not blogging and returning to blogging. Also typical.

But here I am. I have shit to say, and I’m going to say it.

2016

Icy pond

As seems to be the case these days, I’ve left this blog alone for too long for much of what I was going to say to have much relevance anymore. I’ve been busy, but also I’ve felt that 2016 is a year when so many things have happened so quickly that there has barely been enough time to react to them. It was a year when change was constant and the only constant was a sense of overwhelm.

A few years ago I left my job because I’d begun to feel stagnant. I could not have imagined the impact that would have on my life, and the things that that would set in motion. It started a period of my life that has been full of many interesting and rewarding experiences on the one hand, and compounding uncertainty on the other.

Since then I have not lived in any one place for a period of more than six months. Stability in my employment has been illusory. I survived a merger at work only to lose my job due to tightening visa rules which ultimately meant that I had to leave the UK at short notice. On coming back to Vancouver I made the jump from working full-time to freelancing, which is great for flexibility, but not great for certainty. Lots of things I’d previously taken for granted as stable have not been, and the pace of change feels like it’s been accelerating to the point where I feel like everything in my life is just one big game of wait and see.

I remember being in the UK during Brexit and hearing people say that years of history had been squeezed into just a few days. I wondered why everyone was singling out Brexit. This whole year has been like that in life, in politics, in pretty much everything. Living through Brexit innoculated me to the bewilderment and shock of a Drumpf victory, though I’m no less concerned and anxious about it than anyone else I know. This year I’ve like life had taken a turn toward the surreal. The US election was confirmation that things really are worse than a lot of people thought. The federal government’s greenlighting of the Trans Moutain pipeline project and its disappointing approach to electoral reform have rubbed salt into the wound. I’m taking comfort in the fact that many around me are using the events of this year as a rallying cry to take positive action. It really blunts the edge of what would have been a sharp despair. So much piled on all at once, and a lot of it not very good.

I’ve always found it funny how much emphasis people put on the end of the year. A lot of the significance we ascribe to it is arbitrary. And yet I get sucked into it as much as the next person, with plans and hopes and resolutions. It’s not even over yet but a few weeks ago I started going through the checklist that I do at the end of the year, trying to reconcile and evaluate everything so I can start fresh next year. I guess I hit a point where I thought I’d had enough and it was time to move on.

Uncertainty and politics aside, I’m cautiously optimistic about next year. I have some plans I’m excited about that I will share in due course. 2016 was a year of uncertainty and great destabilization. My hunch is that that in 2017 that uncertainty will bring opportunities that I haven’t imagined yet.

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