One Year Later
On May 28th, 2011, I posted my first essay on The Greatest Blog Of All Time. It was a stupid look at the fact that we study and debate things that happened hundreds of years ago, and it set the tone much more than I expected it to. One year later, and I’ve not only made my website something that embraces the absurdity of life, I’ve gotten that way myself.
One year ago, I never would have expected that writing a blog would impact the way I view the world. I needed a creative outlet. Outside of college, I didn’t have the time to do all the stupid things that I used to in order to channel the energy I had. I couldn’t just grab a few friends and make stupid videos as easily as I used to. I figured a blog would accomplish that, and that’s all I wanted. Stanton Martin and I would joke around about becoming “Internet Famous”, because that’s totally a thing, but I had no desire to build an audience or anything. I just wanted to create something, and if people laughed, that was perfect.
One year ago, I never would have expected to have stumbled into an actual community of Internet People who have been so awesome. It’s been fascinating for me to get a peek into all of your lives and minds as you’ve been so willing to share. It’s been fascinating to see how all of you, so many different people with so much variety between you, think and operate. How you interact. It’s been fascinating to know that I could actually, genuinely connect with people just using written words, published on a stupid website.
One year ago, I never would have expected that a series I wrote about Teddy Roosevelt would be used as educational materials by a high school history teacher. Apparently I’m having an impact in the classroom, and I feel like I need to apologize to the children involved.
One year ago, I never would have expected that I would eventually start up a podcast with three of the funniest people I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think I ever would have gotten to see myself listed on something on iTunes, much less have something I was involved with actually downloaded and listened to by other people. It’s honestly amazing to think that there are some of you out there who willingly take some 45 minutes of your time to listen to something that I helped make.
One year ago, I never would have expected that I would decide, slightly on a whim, to fly to Ontario and hang out with another blogger I had never hung out with before but secretly thought was super cute. Yet, here we are, five months after the fact, and I am thankful every day that I made that decision. In the interest of not grossing all of you out with mushiness, just know that I start every single day thankful for a new day, my family, and my Tiny Canadian.
But perhaps more importantly than all of that, one year ago, I never would have expected that blogging on a stupid (yet fantastically named) blog would encourage me to grow. To be a better person. To live outside myself. To want more out of life than to just make it through and grow complacent. But it has encouraged me, in many more ways than I thought it would.
In January of this year, I talked to God a bit about the future. I let him know that by June, I wanted to be taking steps towards doing something with my life that was more than just working to get by. I liked my job, sure, but I knew I wouldn’t continue there for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to be complacent with work, and honestly, making myself write new stuff every week was reminding me that I shouldn’t ever stop growing.
Well, God has a funny way of taking this sort of stuff seriously, so He moved things along quicker than I thought. He brought up conversations between my boss and myself much earlier than I thought they would, then He threw a bunch of odd jobs in my lap all the way until a day that I would be able to go up north for an extended period of time. When you really looking at the timing of life, it’s pretty hysterical.
So here I am. Funemployed since the beginning of this month and about to take advantage of a perfect opportunity to close 1,000 miles of distance. And to be quite honest, this stupid little blog has played a huge role in that.
I recently had a great discussion with Ricky Anderson, another cool kid that I’ve enjoyed getting to know over the past year. We talked for a while about internet burn out, and how it’s easy to get lost in the discussion of building a brand and discovering your niche or whatever. All that stuff is fine and dandy, but it’s easy to make that the focus and not the people. Sometimes, you need to take a step back to get refocused on what actually matters. Sometimes, there’s too much going on, and you have to make a few necessary changes in order to continue growing. Ricky and I both talked about taking breaks from blogging, a move he pulled off and I applaud him for.
I need a break too. I don’t think I’ll be taking a full break from this site, but I need to get back to the roots of why I started writing to begin with. It was never about being Internet Famous, depsite the jokes. It was about nothing more than having a creative outlet. And honestly, The GBOAT has suffered because I’ve veered from that. I’ve become too focused on my internet presence, and The GBOAT has become more of a tool for that than it ever should have been.
In the interest of refreshing myself, I’m going to take a break. Not from blogging. I’ll still do whatever I can as I go off and enjoy my Funemployment in the Great White North. But I won’t have the same internet presence. I won’t be promoting like I used to. I might not even be interacting as much, because my interactions have been more about myself than they have been YOU, and that’s not how I want it to be. If I need to slightly kill off my internet presence in order to get back to creativity and community, which made me fall in love with the Internet, than I must do that.
So this isn’t goodbye. This isn’t “So long, and thanks for all the fish” (that one is for you, Chad!). This is just a voicemail greeting, letting you know I’m out of the office for a bit. I’m not shutting things down, but I’m stepping back some. I have a lot of things to take care of, and it sadly requires taking focus away from here for a small period of time.
The internet can wear on my nerves sometimes, just as actual friendships can be frustrating. That is what makes it so great. When you connect with people, build actual relationships, then yeah, sometimes it’s frustrating. But the fact of the matter is, people on the internet can annoy you sometimes because they are still actual people. There is no grand dichotomy between the real world and the internet anymore. We are our own representatives on the web. We actually connect with each other.
So I love you guys like I love the friends I go and eat chicken wings with on a regular basis. I love you guys like I love my friends that I play pickup basketball games with. You have come to a stupid website, chosen to read the stupid words I write, and chosen to do so again and again and that blows my mind. I am thankful for you, just as I am thankful for the friends that I sit with on my front porch, glass of scotch and a cigar in hand, discussing the bigger things in life.
One year ago, I never expected any of that.