Last Saturday, WordPress informed me that I started this blog five years ago. After resisting for a few years while writing my nursing career memoir, Caring Lessons, and being told by writing teachers that I must start a blog, I stopped Helen Gallagher (teacher and blogger extraordinaire) after she gave a presentation at the Off Campus Writing Workshop (OCWW) and said, “I’m ready.”
Within a day, Helen had me set up with my WordPress blog. Within a week, I’d spent about twenty hours clicking on every single thing that would accept a click to figure out what I could do there, and I had a follow-up telephone conference with Helen to ask my zillion questions, and then I was off and blogging.
I read the WordPress notification while I was watching the live stream of their PressPublish conference being held in Portland, OR. I’d shooed my husband out of our study, so I could settle in for the day-long presentations. And I’m so happy I did. I got lots of inspirational ideas:
- I learned from Christina Lee, who blogged about having a stroke at 30-something, how her blog turned into a book. I immediately rephrased her title to one I could use, Losing Weight at 73! Just think, a book about older women losing weight. I bet it would go viral.
- I learned from Joe Boyston how to blog from my phone. This will be useful this summer when we go on a Viking River Cruise up the Danube.
- I learned from Mark Armstrong what Longreads means, blog posts over 1500 words, some people’s preference. Sometimes I like to write these myself.
- Plus lots more, but most importantly, I learned from Mary Laura Philpott to write about what I care about and what I find entertaining.
Mary’s advice prompted me right then to start jotting this blog post. I know what I care about! I care about this stage of my life, the process of growing older and staying vibrant, relevant, and interesting. My peers are doing just that. So growing older (in the city of Chicago!) is what I will continue to write about.
This will be my 406th post. I thank all of you, my readers, for sticking with me. It’s been fun hearing from you as well as doing the writing. I’m looking forward to personalizing this blog even more with my journey of growing older. For instance:
- What do I do with my time? I studied the leisure of older persons in my master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing, and now I’m that older person, older even than some of my respondents who lived in a retirement home. From time to time, I will relate my research findings to my life now.
- What are the upsides of aging? As my respondents agreed, I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want, and for how long I want. A huge upside!
- What are the challenges? Well, the usual signs of deterioration in aging, for sure.
- And, how is my faith helping me out? Seems I depend more on God nowadays since my older self isn’t at all up to things as when I was younger.
I hope and pray that some of my experiences may be of interest or help to you. Old or young, we’re all growing older every day. And the more we know how to do this well, the better off we’ll be.
In final words at the PressPublish conference, Ceceila Gunther advised us to write the truth as we believe it to be so. She said readers know when we’re holding back. She said to let readers see what’s in our hearts, our progression, and they will see theirs.
So, in closing, in the words of Robert Browning, I invite you to:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
the last of life for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand who saith,
‘a whole I planned, youth shows but half;’
trust God: See all, nor be afraid.
Read the entirety of Browning’s poem, Rabbi Ben Ezra, at the Poetry Foundation.
Find information on each blogger mentioned above at PressPublish.
From my desk overlooking Millennium Park, March 2015
Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self (Deep River Books, 2010)
I love You Little…: A Grandma’s Memoir (Unpublished, 2015)
The Essence of Sophie (Novel in progress)