When I first made the decision to begin blogging, I believed that it would be a great way for me to record my thoughts and experiences as I transitioned into retirement. I also hoped that it would help me to keep in touch with friends around the world, especially since I had just returned home from living overseas. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the additional bonus that on-line writing would bring, namely being part of a blogging community.
Early on, my blog has helped me to connect with others–many of whom are on their own retirement journeys and many of whom I will likely never meet in person. Without even realizing it, I began to develop relationships with other retirement bloggers. I gained insights from their blogs and comments. I had many morning chuckles over their anecdotes. I looked forward to their comments and wondered about them when they had a sudden gap in their postings.
One of the retirement blogs that I began to follow early on was RetirementallyChallenged. I love that blog! The author, Janis, is slightly ahead of me in her retirement journey. Her blog has helped me to reflect further on my own retirement process. The other striking feature of Janis’ site is her irrepressible gratitude. This mindset is something that I deeply wish to maintain in my own retirement.
A few months ago, I posted about coming to Southern California for a home exchange. On that post, I received a comment from Janis suggesting a mutually convenient meet-up. I was thrilled! Being a relatively new blogger, I had a million questions for her (although I don’t think that I forewarned Janis about this at the time).
Last Monday was the day of our get-together. The Lazy Dog Cafe in Temecula was our meeting place. For me, it was like catching up with an admired friend and mentor. We had barely settled in when my blogging questions began pouring out. Janis more than obliged – she also fired questions right back at me. It was incredibly stimulating.
“Are you familiar with the term ‘elevator speech’?” Janis asked. “Yes,” I answered quietly, wondering where this question may lead. “What is your elevator speech for your blog?” I hesitated. If I said that my blog housed my personal reflections as I transitioned into retirement would that be too obvious, too corny or too open for (constructive) criticism? I said it anyway. I then quickly extended my answer to include that I believed that many current retirement bloggers were writing about a new, emerging retirement reality–very different from the retirement of previous generations. I definitely include Janis’ blog in that circle, and … hope to include my own as well. I believe that this acknowledgment struck a chord for both of us. Janis also gave me some great advice about blog comments that I plan to test out in the next couple of weeks. I will keep you posted regarding that experiment!
Although they only joined Janis and me part-way through our visit, my husband, Richard, and our dog, Cody, also took part in the meet-up. This helped to extend my ‘blog reflection afternoon’ as on the drive home, Richard and I continued the discussion on what I get from blogging, and from being part of an on-line community. (Spoiler alert: The short answer is that I get more from both than I ever realized was possible…but that’s a whole different post)!
This visit was a very positive experience for me, and I hope it was for Janis as well. We left The Lazy Dog Cafe agreeing that we would both post about our time together. You can read Janis’ version here. Oh, and the other real cool thing about blogging–two people can write about the exact same event with entirely different perspectives. Since I had written all of the above paragraphs before seeing Janis’ post, when reading her version I kept wondering, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’