My First Year of

I signed up for a account on 4 January 2018, a day after reading this post by @brentsimmons.

The next day, life went seriously sideways. A simmering health issue my wife had been dealing with for the previous few months flared up suddenly. We spent the better part of the next two months in rooms that looked like this…

ER triage room with lots of cables and wires, and an extremely high blood-pressure reading on the vitals display

…and hallways that looked like this:

long, empty hospital corridor with empty hospital bed parked in the distance

I posted my first message to in early February. A curt declaration of existence — “hello world!” It went unremarked upon, and I didn’t follow it with anything else. (That post soon disappeared when I moved my account’s feed to a different external blog at a new domain.)

By late March, my wife was convalescing well after a lengthy and harrowing surgery and, as I tended to her, I finally had the emotional bandwidth to consider participating in this curious and curiously warm and civil community. I once again announced my presence, this time with a picture.

And we were off!

So 4 January is actually only the first of (let’s say for the sake of argument) three one-year anniversaries for me. While I’ll certainly toss a little confetti in the air on those two subsequent anniversaries, I feel this first one is the most important, since it marks the day I chose to begin exploring this new environment.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say, since I always seem to have more to say, but for now, I’ll say only this. I missed the whole Twitter and Facebook thing almost completely, so for me, isn’t an antidote to social media, it’s actually my first real exposure to it. Also, and somewhat more importantly, I was a very active blogger for most of the 00’s, but always under one of several pseudonyms. I had no interest in using blogging for anything other than expression, certainly not for self-promotion. And holding the online world at arm’s length seemed like a smart thing to do, even before the trolls had begun slouching en masse towards the comments sections to be born…

So, I’m still working out how much of my identity I’m comfortable presenting via Indeed, it’s taken an entire year before I could bring myself to even add the initial of my last name to my profile. And hey, look: my avatar is an actual picture of me — admittedly a blurry picture from 28 years ago. These are both big changes for me.

I’ll conclude for now by adding this: was one of the very few positive things about 2018 for me, and I am so grateful for the community that I have found here.

(fleeting) @rnv