I remember my first day of kindergarten. The morning bell rang, I tripped over a hula hoop, and started to cry. Before I knew it, I had two big square bandages on both my knees.
I remember my first day of high school. I brought a pencil case to gym class and was late for third period English.
I remember my first day of university. There was a residence-wide barbecue organized for dinner and I sat at a picnic with two people I had just met, eating a burger with a side salad that had cucumbers I didn’t really want but still ate, and a half dozen bees doing figure eights around the table.
I remember the day I started this blog. It was June 23, 2013. Five years ago, today. I didn’t know what I was doing, but something inside me said I had to do it.
I had just graduated from university. They were the best four years of my life. They were the happiest years of my life.
And if I’m being honest with you, these last five years haven’t been as happy. To be fair, the bar was sky high.
They’ve been hard and challenging, and just when I think I’ve erased all the question marks, the whiteout peels off and there they are again.
I’ll think back to the person I was in university and wonder where that guy went. Did I leave him behind? Did he take off on me? Why do I feel so different?
At the same time, I feel as though the last five years haven’t even happened.
Sometimes I think I’m reading the calendar wrong, or if I just squint a little harder at the clock in the distance, it’ll show me the right time. Heck, before I started writing this post, I counted on my fingers, just to make sure that it has been five years.
While these last few years have felt like collecting puzzle pieces in a maze, I know I can always turn to this blog and put the pieces of myself together to find the complete picture.
Don’t get me wrong, writing isn’t always easy, but my stats page tells me I’ve written 603,084 words since I started this blog, so…yeah. That’s just an overwhelming number.
Three months into this blog’s existence, I gave up on trying to maintain a facade. Every post felt like a school essay, with little emotion behind anything.
I didn’t start this blog thinking I was going to tell strangers on the internet that I miss school, or that I watch The Bachelor, or that I love professional wrestling. I never thought I’d share poetry – I didn’t even know I could write poetry.
With every post I wrote, sharing exactly how I felt became second nature to me.
People aren’t as judgmental as we deem them to be in our own mind. In reality, I think we’re all just looking for someone to relate to. Someone who says the things we’re thinking, so we know we’re not alone.
That’s what I’ve tried to do here. I’ve put my words out there in case someone else can relate to them.
We’re drawn to passion. We’re drawn to words that make us feel something. We’ve all read too many textbooks that put us to sleep because there is no oomph behind the words.
Other bloggers inspire me all the time, and all they’re doing is talking about things they’re passionate about. When in doubt, write about what you love, right?
The reason I started this post by listing off my first day of school memories is because those days felt like the start of a new era in my life. Starting this blog also felt like the beginning of a new era.
In many ways, it also felt like I was enrolling in an online school that didn’t have a specific end date.
In this “online school” we call blogging, we are all teachers and we are all students.
You can learn so much about someone just by the way they write. What they say becomes secondary to how they say it.
I say pop, you say soda.
I put a “u” in favourite, you might not.
I say Grade 6, you may say 6th Grade, or 6th Year, or something completely different.
We’re all saying the same thing, but we all live somewhere else and that’s reflected in our diction.
The milk in my fridge right now is sitting in a bag. To most of you reading this, you’re wondering what the hell that means. But to me, it’s perfectly normal.
Small things like that reveal of our culture and way of life. Scour through the blogs you follow and you’ll learn so much about the countries around the world.
Like I said, this kind of education has no specific end date. It ends when you don’t want to blog anymore.
I’ve seen so many bloggers come and go in the last five years. On one hand, it’s sad because there were some really entertaining blogs that are now collecting dust. On the other hand, I’m grateful for crossing paths with them.
I don’t know when the last day of this blog will be. I can’t see it being any time soon. However, I imagine there will be a final day.
And when that day comes, I hope every post I’ve ever written will act as a puzzle piece of my life, so when you put them all together, you get the complete picture.
Thank you all so very much.
– Paul, The Captain’s Speech