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Five Years of Blogging

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Photo credit: Midjourney AI

Five years ago last week, I started blogging on this here blog. Of course, I was blogging before about parenting from the lens of an academic studying child development (here), and before that, I was blogging in Hebrew about living in Canada (that’s long gone, I’m afraid). On and off, I’ve been blogging for nearly twenty(!) years. But I think that post can wait.

Today, I want to reflect on this blog. I wanted to summarise it, so got ChatGPT to do it for me (of course). I mean, I do have 361 posts on here (which is impressive all on its own). I tried several prompts and found that the tone analysis was interesting. Note that I only gave it the blog posts without my writing prompts.

ChatGPT said that overall, the tone of the blog is one of thoughtful reflection and personal exploration and is generally positive and approachable, which is nice. I was interested in seeing whether the tone changed over the years. ChatGPT can only analyse until 2021, so I only have the first three years, really. But it was interesting.

Apparently, in 2018, my tone was conversational and reflective, and I talked a lot about the challenges of creative work, with a strong focus on personal development. In 2019, however, the tone was introspective and contemplative (huh), again with a focus on creativity and mindfulness. In 2020, the tone is thoughtful and introspective, but I apparently used humour to break up the seriousness of the topics I discussed. Themes from 2020 included embracing imperfection and being kind to yourself.

Then, in 2021, the tone was practical and informative. I apparently began to write in a straightforward, no-nonsense style, with a focus on productivity, the craft of storytelling, and the publishing industry. I find that to be a rather interesting shift. I do think that right after the pandemic, I dove into personal work, and that helped me to stop wringing my hands worrying about whether or not I’m an artist, and just getting on with the art.

I was rather disappointed that ChatGPT couldn’t do an analysis on the live website. It would have been interesting to see if my no-nonsense tone continued in 2022 and this year.

I also asked ChatGPT what are the insight from the blog and it gave me five insights. The first insight is that creativity is a powerful force for personal growth. Well, no question. Before I started this journey of creativity, I was rather scared of this side of myself. I do feel like I’ve learned to live with this side of me over the last few years. I used to be scared of my emotions, too, because growing up, I wasn’t taught emotional language at all. Over the past few years, I learned to feel my emotions, and, more importantly, I learned that I could feel my emotions and not fall apart, which was a real epiphany. It made my life much easier.

The second insight is that personal growth is an ongoing process that requires introspection. I think I’m still struggling with that, to be fair. It’s been hard for me to accept that no one will hand me a certificate at the end of the process. Congratulation, you win at life. Or at least, congratulations on your graduation from life university. But the more experience I gain (i.e., the older I get), the more I realise that there’s no peak that you get to, and then you can sit down and watch the younger people climbing while you have an energy bar. You just keep climbing, and you take rests and energy bars as you need them. AND—and this was the hardest part for me to accept—that’s the beauty of life. That is exactly the point of life: you’re never done learning until you’re done.

The third insight ChatGPT fished out of my blog is that vulnerability and authenticity are key ingredients in building meaningful relationships. I like that. Very much like Brené Brown, I talk about vulnerability, but I hate being vulnerable. I guess Brené’s whole point is that no one loves being vulnerable. But we have to do it anyway.

The fourth insight is that technology has the potential to both connect and disconnect us from one another. I’m not entirely sure that’s an insight from my blog, but I do agree that technology, kind of like every tool we’ve ever come up with, can be used for good or bad, and it really depends on how we use it. That’s true for this newfangled generative AI thing, too, by the way.

The final insight, according to ChatGPT, is that "parenting is a challenging but rewarding experience that requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to learn and grow." You betcha.

Last thing, I promise. In May 2018, I wrote a post titled The Five-Year Plan. The plan was:

to write and read and travel as much as I possibly can. I even have goals for that. I want to write two books a year for the next five years, up my reading capacity from 24 books a year to 52 books a year, and travel up to 4 weeks at a time with my family. But I know in my heart (which is different than knowing in your mind) that these plans mean nothing. It can all change tomorrow.

I may not have got the specifics of this plan (writing two books a year! I’ve been laughing at my younger self for a week now). The specifics may even change. For instance, I now don’t think that travelling for four weeks straight is something we want to do. But, I managed to surprise myself yet again because I actually did execute the general plan. In the past five years, I wrote, read, and travelled as much as I possibly could.

Here’s to another five years of that.


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