Have you felt a change in the blogosphere in the last six months or so? For one thing, I don't think anyone says blogosphere any more. But more significantly, blogging seems to have passed its peak as a medium, or at least the phase of rapid growth and rabid press that typifies popular new things. There seem to be fewer new blogs, fewer new readers, and fewer posts. The mantle of all things to all people seems to have passed to Facebook and Twitter. This was confirmed for me in a recent NY Times article.
It's like when you're surfing*, and you ride the swells, waiting for the right wave, and eventually you see it coming and you start to paddle. Sometimes you start too late, and never really catch the break. Sometimes you go too early and it crashes over you. When it's perfect, you ride and cut and sometimes you even get tubed. But no matter what happens, eventually the wave passes and you're left behind, watching it go (if you're lucky), and you have to paddle back to catch the next one.**
Life is a little like that. Sooner or later, you notice that you're not thinking as much about changing the world as finding a way to enjoy the time you have left in it. You see the younger generation raising their kids, worrying about their careers, and making all the same mistakes you did, and realize that the peak has passed. At least, you do if you're paying attention. And whether you kicked ass or never really got started, there will be no paddling back for another.
It can be a jarring realization, and depressing or frightening for many people, but I find it strangely comforting. In blogging and in life, the pressure is off. Sort of. At least, I know what I've got to work with, more or less how I'm going to handle it, and I feel more comfortable working to my own purposes. Sensing a decline in something is realizing that nothing lasts forever, including screw-ups.
It doesn't mean we have to retire to the porch and blog about knitting. I'm starting a brand new career, for crying out loud. But I am doing it with a different attitude than most of the twenty-somethings who comprise my competition. No matter how far I go, or where I end up, I will try very hard to treasure the experience.
Who knows, I may even take up surfing.
* I have never surfed, but I liked the Beach Boys okay. If I ever did hang ten, I would definitely call myself "Moondoggie."
** Yes, I know sometimes you can surf right to the beach, and chicks will run up to you as you pick up your board and toss the water from your hair, and you will all run up the beach to the bonfire and play guitar and do the twist, but I'm trying to build a metaphor here.