Graham Smith

Why a blog

A few years ago, several people told me I was having a mid-life crisis. I don’t think I was. I think I just had disposable income for the first time in my adult life, and I was choosing to spend that money trying activities that had previously been unavailable to me. I bought some good shoes and started running; I tried rock climbing; I bought a drumkit, an electric piano, and several other instruments. I told people I was auditioning for a new hobby.

Starting a blog in 2024 feels much more like a mid-life crisis to me. I’ve published writing on the internet for the past 25 years, first on fan sites I ran, then on personal blogs, and eventually professionally on websites I worked for or edited. Writing professionally didn’t stop me from publishing occasionally to my own blog, but as readers and commenters dwindled, I - like many - moved to posting on social media instead. Then, as those social media platforms became more toxic, or more unignorably malevolent, I - like many - stopped posting altogether.

None of the hobbies I auditioned stuck, for one reason or another. Something else happened instead: I started to enjoy my older hobbies more. Writing, reading, playing video games, tinkering with code and webpage layouts, among others.

Returning to an activitiy I used to do as a teenager? Retreating from a world that seems more chaotic and threatening than ever? Now this sounds more like a mid-life crisis. I could counter that by framing this blog as a radical act of digital self-reliance in a world of tech giants run amok, yet really I just like the idea of once again owning a small plot on the internet, an allotment that I control and can tend to when the whim strikes. Disposable income or not, I still can’t afford an actual allotment or a home with a garden, so this website can be my shed, these posts my vegetables. That sounds like a pleasant mid-life, and not a crisis at all.

I don’t expect to be read, or to write often. (Experience suggests I’ll spend more time playing with the fonts than posting.) I do hope that I will write, however. In recent years I have tried several note-taking methods - while endeavouring to ignore the Influencer Note-Taking Industrial Complex and its urging that I pay for a Notion subscription - and have found the most success with the zettelkasten method and Obsidian. I’ve never successfully shaken off the thought that I would have more luck still with a webpage, hyperlinks, and the implicit threat of public accountability. So here we are.

#Hobbies   #Why