If you live in the US right now, you may have heard that we're having a winter moment. And that's pretty true for pretty much the entire country, except maybe parts of Florida. As I've mentioned before, the Willamette Valley portion of Oregon doesn't handle snow events all that well. And by all that well, I really mean at all. It's not a flat area and usually not much gets done about graveling the roads (don't even get people started on salt or other forms of de-icing the roads; they rather wreck their cars) until it's become an issue. So instead of getting stuck on the wrong side of the tunnel and having to make my way up a potentially icy and long hill to try and get home, I opted out of one event that was still scheduled for today and I will most likely stay at home with my wine (please believe I made a run to the grocery store last night to make sure I was appropriately provisioned for a proper Willamette Valley snow day) and dogs in lieu of driving in freezing rain for another event that is technically cancelled, but still open to those game to make it.
I've been somewhat productive and did finally take down my Christmas tree. Le sigh. The last official vestige of Christmas left in my house. As much as I threatened that my New Years resolution was to leave the decorations up all year, taking them down does keep my butt in gear to continue gradually decorating my house. You know, like normal people do. I mean, who doesn't take multiple years to furnish and decorate a house? Am I right? Yeah, I know.
But I digress. Or not really. This post is going to meander a bit. Firstly, because I've got time and the aforementioned wine. Secondly, because I read a blog post that has had my wheels spinning and got me wanting to do a post that is just me talking. I do this as I also draw similarities between my dogs on a snow day (where I'm actually at home the whole day) and the irritated postings of my friends with small children on snow days. Miley and Dominic are currently "squabbling" over the same water buffalo horn. Miley has it, Dominic has another one EXACTLY THE SAME right next to him. But he wants the one that Miley is chewing on. She is fake grumbling at him. He continues to be the annoying little brother and bothers her in some pretty lame attempts to get her specific horn, when really, he's just bored and wants her to play with him instead of ignoring him in favor of chewing on the horn. People, this is why I don't feel the need to have children.
The post that got me thinking was this one.
I remember when I first started this blog. I was so excited to share absolutely EVERYTHING about my dogs with this random wide world of dog bloggers out there. I both "met" and actually met some of my fellow bloggers in real life. Some of them I'm very happy to say I'm still in some way connected to. Whether it's loosely on Facebook, despite the distances between us, or otherwise. It was this great and mostly welcoming community that I was so excited to be a part of. I was able to see into the lives of a variety of people and a variety of dogs, all with different things going on. I was able to glean tid bits of knowledge from various things that they shared. And I had this awesome outlet for me to share my enthusiasm for all things dog in general and all things MY dogs specifically.
As time went on, just based on my total number of posts per year, you can see that I started off strong and then I dipped. My posting was sporadic and much less than when I first started. As is said, life happened. I went through a divorce and the years it took to redefine myself in this new life situation. I lost first Bess and then Heffner. I gained Miley and now Dominic. I transitioned, mentally, from viewing my job as just my job and a lesser bolster to the overall dual income I was a part of to viewing my job as my career and one that I really did love and was invested in. And then there was the juggling. Finding a balance between the many things that I had to the do, the things that I needed to do and the things that I wanted to do. Along with balancing the expectation that various people had of me and learning how to prioritize everything in life that I wanted to do and fit in, with the various required elements that are part of being a responsible adult who is now the sole income supporting a mortgage, school loans and most recently, car payments. Life can be a lot to juggle just on the day to day. And finding that balance can take an irritatingly long time.
As I've made that transition, I've been the sporadic blogger. Lamely apologizing for my absences, while also wondering who is still reading the blog and whether I should continue or just let it drop all together.
Then this past December, I don't know, I just sort of starting figuring out the prioritizing thing. I'm busy. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. There's work, still loving it, really thankful and happy about the opportunities that I'm given to continue growing and learning and so incredibly happy with the great group of people I get to work with. There's non-dog life. I'm learning how to balance time with family. Both the family that I have here in Oregon and the rest of the family that's on the east coast. I've lost two aunts over the past years. Not getting back regularly to see the family over there is no longer something that I'm okay with. That is a priority. I will make the time and I will set aside the money to visit. Those relationships are important and finding ways to stay connected over the distance is also a priority. Friends. This one can get tricky. Balancing time with various friends and friend groups is a constant balance. Some people get it and some people don't. I'm incredibly thankful for those who do. I'm also less inclined to stress myself out trying to fit in the wants of everyone. Triple booking my weekend days is okay sometimes, but not something I'm willing to regularly do. That means that some people are just going to have to understand this. It is what it is and it's no longer worth it to me to stress myself out trying to accommodate everyone. Oh yeah, and I didn't get dogs just to ignore them. My time with my dogs is important. Hence the blog. ;) But if you're reading this, then you already totally get that part.
After doing my personal Blogmas challenge, it really re-energized me to back to blogging. I've missed it. I'm not necessarily the most creative person in the world, but this is kind of a creative outlet for me. It's also a medium where I get to talk unabashedly about my dogs. I am freaking proud of my dogs. Yeah, sometimes they're frustrating and they have definitely brought me the greatest sadness that I have felt, but holy crap, I freaking love them to pieces! Again, if you're reading this, you know what I mean. They can irritate us, they can do ridiculous things that we can't even comprehend, but I really don't know what I would do without them. They have gotten me through rough spots and given me immense freedoms. I very likely would not go out hiking as a lone female I didn't have the security of my giant dogs with me. And without those moments out in the woods with no other human beings, I don't know that I would maintain my sanity. Truthfully.
With Blogmas, I decided to do some minor revamping of the blog itself. I've found it easier to subscribe by email to some blogs. Then I decided to start looking at the blogs on the side bar that I used to spend so much time reading through. I noticed a very saddening trend of blogs that hadn't been updated in a few years. Some bloggers had lost the dogs they had when they started the blog and could not bring themselves to continue. I completely get that. Others have had life circumstances arise that have resulted in them making the decision to either remove their blog all together or just stop blogging. Many of the blogs that I used to love reading so assiduously when I first started blogging are now defunct, for reason or another. And I completely understand. Again, I haven't exactly been the most constant blogger. But it still makes me sad. The community that I first felt so apart of has changed so much.
I am sad that Rescued Insanity, and many others, have stopped blogging. I understand, but I'm still sad. I agree with her; things have changed. Yeah, there's a lot more people out there promoting their brand. There are other shifts in society and social media that I think have really pushed this. Notably, the YouTube vloggers. People can make an actual living just vlogging their daily lives. The dog community has been more of a niche community and making a living off of dog blogging, especially when there are other forms of social media that are proving to be more financially viable, means that you REALLY have to promote yourself and your "brand." It's changed the face of things. Like she said, the amateur blogger isn't as prevalent. The just chatting about daily life with your dogs, isn't as prevalent. I even have to admit this. My posts lately have been heavier on the training side of things. I am still absolutely an amateur and this is something that I do for the enjoyment of it, but I find myself falling into more of the habit of creating posts along the lines of having some sort of content. I have no outside pressures to produce and I'm happy to keep it that way. But I do understand how dog blogging in particular has changed. But I'm okay with that.
The things I do with my dogs, my focus and what I'm more jazzed to blog about has changed, somewhat. I competed more with Heffner and Bess than I have so far with Miley and Dominic (though they're both still young), but I still really love training in general. I really enjoy putting together videos and doing the editing, even though the editing I do is pretty basic, I still really enjoy it. My focus is a little different, I was heavier on the agility with Heffner and Bess and I'm definitely heavier on the obedience with Miley and Dominic, which is a blog post in and of itself. My prioritizing of what is important with my dogs is different. I went from a position of basically being able to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself, to now have more limited time and needing to prioritize where I was spending money. You could say that I was having to think about things more critically versus just going for a variety of things. And then there's the fact that with each dog I learn more and I like to think that I become more empathetic and cognizant of what each dog is going through and having to make decisions that are in the best interest of each individual dog.
Like I said, her blog post got me to thinking. I am very sad to see so many people that I used to love to follow, who are no longer blogging. Though I totally understand. As with everything, change is inevitable. We may see a time where blogging is obsolete and no one reads these any longer. Who knows? In the mean time, I'm going to keep on keeping on. I may go through more life changes that result in absences from the blog, but I'll make my best effort to always come back. The basis of this blog is that I love my dogs, their individual personalities and what each one of them is capable of and I want to continue to share that with whoever out there is still reading this. :)