New Year day, 2013Today is my first REAL day of the New Year, after spending the holiday up at my sister’s and taking all of yesterday to drive back home from Sacramento.

We had a wonderful holiday, as you can see from this photo taken on New Year’s Day. It was three relaxing, easy days of hanging out with my sister’s family (which usually entails eating too much, because she and I are Jewish and that is how we celebrate). It was a fitting end to a year that had some ups and too many downs.

For example: I began 2012 by breaking my thumb my first day back home, while I was springing our dog from the kennel. And soon after the thumb healed, I broke a toe.

I am happy to report that I managed to get the dog home today without incurring injuries to either of us. But there have been other things today that popped my happy New Year’s bubble.

I suppose that’s just a case of what happens when the holiday eventually ends and you need to resume your normal life.

I am trying to figure out what “normal life” means to me. Last month was the beginning of my TENTH year of writing this blog, (which I’ve been celebrating by reprinting highlights from the 1500 posts I’ve written over those years. Just the good ones, of course.)

Re-reading the old material is sobering. There was a sweet spot around 2005-08 when I think my writing had gotten pretty good. Since then, I’ve written some things I am proud of – but the newer posts lack the heart and spirit I put into this thing in the beginning.

Ironically, as my blog became more recognized, my writing became less personal. Some of this was deliberate: When I was flying under the radar, I felt free to observe the world around me (including the people I knew). The minute I started gaining an audience, I had to be more circumspect. I also began writing for other entities – for recognition, for products and for pay. I started writing for others instead of what was in my heart.

It wasn’t deliberate. The world was changing – FAST – and I was simply trying to keep up.

I am not the only old-time blogger who has made this kind of observation. My friend Liz Thompson laid it out beautifully in this post she published just before the New Year:

As 2012 comes to a close, 63 days post-Sandy and 10 days after the Mayans quit counting (can you blame them?) I find myself in the totally opposite situation: clinging to my archives, like a teething child looking for something to bite into (HARD!) and stomping my feet while declaring (in a totally whine-y voice):

“But, I don’t waaaaaaaant to stop blogging AND you can’t make me…DAMMIT!”

Especially, whenever some whippuh-snap-puh-marketing-type insists that my blog and I just don’t meet the demographic…or have the following…not to mention, the traffic…necessary to be deemed successful…in the blogging terms.

To this I say: BITE ME!!!

So the buck stops now.

This is a new site, in a new location. Whatever audience I once had has pretty much disappeared.

I’m starting over, and it’s liberating.

Like my friend Liz, I am trying to get back the magic of 2003, when this blogging thing was shiny and new and we were making it up as we went along. So I am going to try to write from the heart, to read what my friends are writing and to actually leave comments (on their blogs).

And hopefully, I can do that without breaking any bones.