Sunday, April 7, 2013

Change, Structure and Blogging

I've never done well with change.  I like things to be the way I like them to be.  It seems I have a difficult time with change because creating structure for my life is extremely difficult for me.  Once I establish a system and create structure for my life, I feel less chaotic if I stick to to my system or structure.  I would like to say it is in my DNA not to conform to structure, but where would I be without the structure of my DNA?

As I write these words, I realize how conflicted I am over the roles that change and structure play in my life.   I need structure and hate change.  I love change and hate structure.  Deep down inside I have always resisted rules, structures, and schedules.  I feel very trapped if I am not free to do what I want to do when I want to do it.  My daily struggle involves one where I try not to do things as the spirit leads because if I only did things when I am inspired, a lot of things that need to be done would never get done.

If you read that previous rambling paragraph, you may be saying to yourself, "This girl is really confused.  Does she like change or not?  Does she like structure or not?"  My answer would be, "I truly am confused!  You've got that right.  I am a mess.  I love/hate structure.  I fight against structure because I feel it confines me.  I must have structure to do well.  Change scares me.  Change is exciting to me when I am in control of the change."  Can any of you relate?

As a teacher, I relied on structure in order to have good classroom management.  As a ninth grade English teacher, much of my task was to teach order and structure.  Much of my day consisted of teaching the structure of a sentence, a paragraph, an essay.  Other days, my focus in teaching was on teaching the structure of a story.  I loved teaching structure to my students.  I insisted that structure was evident in the way my classroom was maintained, and that it was evident in all writing assignments except for journals.

After retirement, I struggled most with structure.  I now longer lived by the bell.  I no longer had to stick to a lesson plan.  I was free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  Since I needed a hobby of sorts, and because I love to write, I took up blogging.  I had a slow start, but then, I found myself spending at least an hour a day blogging.  Blogging connected me to an entirely different life.  I soon found that a day just was not complete without visiting my blogging friends.

Since we moved in October, blogging has really taken a backseat in my life.  This is not because I don't love reading blogs and writing blog posts.  This is not because blogging is no longer important in my life.  It is because of change and a lack of structure in my life that blogging has been pushed to the back.  I so admire those of you who write blogs on a daily basis filled with photos, sayings, and family events.  Here it is a week after Easter and my camera full of photos taken on that day is still upstairs untouched. I have not downloaded the photos.  I have not written a blog post about our wonderful holiday, and now the news is a week old!

When we first moved, I couldn't even find my desk.  I didn't turn my computer on for days.  I didn't clear off a place for it on my desk and plug it in for weeks.  Then, I actually was unhappy with the location of my office space and my desk.  The room selected by me, and the only room suitable for such an area, is in the basement in what seems to me to be the most disconnected from life corner of the house.  Needing connection to life to write, I find I have a very difficult time even wanting to enter my office.

Realizing my dislike of my office space, I purchased a desk for the upstairs guest room.  This has caused me to feel a bit more connected to life and blogging, but so far, the location is still not totally working out for me.  I don't want to move my entire office upstairs, so I continue to feel disconnected to my space for writing.

Then, there is the lack of structure in my life these days.  Jim and I have really struggled with this.  We found that a new house means that life get lived a little differently.  The routine was disrupted when we moved.  We are beginning to adjust to our new environment, but it has taken us some time.  We have both dealt with multiple health issues in the past year.  These issues have not gone away since we moved.  These issues have also disrupted our routines in life.

At times, during the past five months, I've thought of giving up blogging since I just could not keep up with reading blogs, commenting, and writing my own posts.  I have not given up blogging, but my blogging life has certainly changed.  I hope to get some structure back when it comes to blogging.  I hope my blogging friends will bear with me.  Know that I think of you often, read your blogs as I can, and write when I finally am able to set the time aside to do so.

As I have thought about my future in blogging, I have been pondering adding a new blog.  This blog will remain, but I am exploring the idea of adding a second blog.  This seems like nearly a crazy thing to do since I can't keep up with this blog, but I hope to create a blog with a different theme and with more structure.  Again, don't give up on me as I explore this idea.  Stay tuned.


  1. I can definitely relate to what you're saying, Sally! I've got all these Kindle books I've borrowed all popping up for me to read. I've got doctors appointments. I've got things that just needs to be done. I do write a post a day and it's not easy. It puts pressure on me even though I enjoy the challenge. The problem for me is how to keep up with reading and commenting on all those fun and interesting blogs in my cyber family. It's impossible to do both. Perhaps I need to come up with some kind of structure and just set aside a certain day for reading and commenting. If you figure out a way, please let me know. Gosh! We're retired. We shouldn't be doing this to ourselves.

  2. Uh oh.... I just wrote you a long message and Art distracted me. I hope you got it. Doggone it.

  3. Oh Sally! I can relate with a capital "R".
    Don't despair, though and don't give it another thought that you can't visit and comment on blogs or even blog yourself right now. You know what, my friend! We are all so much like you and it makes me feel better all over more than any place else to read your post about structure/unstructure. Been there...done that. Relating.
    And I will still be right here when you get to that "ahhh ..... I'm ready to jump back into this blogging thing with both feet" moment. Until then, take care of your health, your hubby's health and know that we are right here. We are family! Blogging brothers and sisters!!!
    Love you ,

  4. I had to smile as I recognized myself in your words. I need structure too, and a completely blank day on my daily planning calendar is not a good thing. At the same time I don't want anyone else imposing structure on me. I like my structure self imposed. If too many outside forces start to dictate how I spend my time I get frustrated and cranky.
    And so it is with health problems, which are forces imposed upon you. And while you chose to move, outside forces had an impact. Now you struggle to make your new nest work for you. It all makes sense to me. And I appreciate it whenever you make an appearance, on blog or Facebook, new FB friend.

  5. I share your ambivalence. My vote (which doesn't count for a hill of beans) is to stick with one blog. Either this one (and there's no harm is changing the focus of a blog, is there?), or a new one; but not both. Also, there's no law against blogging every once in a while is there? That's one of the benefits of blogging: no schedule, no structure but what you make on your own! Anyway, good luck with your new routine, as soon as you find one.

  6. First off, relating? Amen. And I suspect it will sink in more when I'm not working every day. In fact, the thing about retirement which most worries me is the lack of structure. I say I'll build my own, but if it was anything like this weekend, so much for that idea!

    But the blogging part. Blogging is not an obligation. Life happens. We have life so that when we get time, we can blog about it! But sometimes it is so busy, so crazy, so out of control or so deeply personal, we can't. We don't always have time to visit -- people understand. They'll check in on you if it has been too long between posts or visits, just to be sure you are all right. But they get it. Well, I get it -- and I am quite certain I'm not alone.

    Did you know I have four blogs? Only two of them are public; the others are more for practice and journaling. But they are there. And even on my second public blog -- if you follow it -- you'll find the posts very few and far between. Maybe your second blog, if you do it will become your passion. Don't let it be your albatross.

    And hang in. You'll figure it out. Of that, I have no doubt!

  7. I so relate to this topic. I admire those who structure their lives and organize their homes. I love structure, but can't do it myself and resent it being imposed on me. I've struggled with the time management issue in retirement. I've got a lot of time, but I get nothing done. On the other hand, so what? There are not bonus points in retirement for keeping a schedule. I have, however, put myself on a schedule for basic household at least the bathrooms get cleaned and the sheets changed.

  8. Like others, i can identify with much of what you write about the enormous adjustments that retirement brings. Add moving house and health issues to retirement and it;s small wonder you are feeling conflicted about things.

    Blogging should be a pleasure and never an obligation. if it becomes a burden we need to reassess our priorities. I have never even attempted to blog every day. For me the comment conversation is a huge part of what makes blogging important to me and I would hate to make my readers feel burdened with commenting on over-frequent posts. I blog when I have something to say and not when I don't. Sometimes that may mean two or three posts a week, sometimes much less when life gets in the way.

    Only you can decide how you blog and I think you'll know when you've found the right balance for you.

  9. Well, obviously from all the comments relating the same problems, you are not alone. I started one blog and wrote daily and found it to be a burden, so I started another blog that I felt didn't have the same structure and write there once a week only. I cut back to two or three posts a week on the other one, and I think I have found my own equilibrium. But I impose structure on myself because otherwise I am not happy. I want something to DO with my days. I am sitting here before dawn reading blogs, drinking tea, and then I'll catch the bus to town. I won't read blogs again until evening. Sending you big hugs, and thanks for this thoughtful post! :-)

  10. Yes. Very understandable. Structure for me is much of life and especially "everything has a place and in its place." And the classroom of course...:) Unstructured is retirment I do what I want when I want as the mood strikes me. I started a nature blog on the advice of my sone and they it became a smorgasboard or I can a second one for book reviews etc. Now I try to do post a week as I try to keep it fun and not become a chore. It's worked for six years now....:)

  11. Where but in a blog can you write about this topic and have friends respond with their own truth?

    I like structure, myself, and a day with nothing on my calendar, as Linda said, is actually a little scary.

    When I quit my job I had some goals, and I've accomplished them all. So far I haven't set any new ones, and I'm a little restless. Add to that a lingering injury and a very long rainy season. I think about possible blog posts and this comment may be as good as it gets for today!

  12. I think if we are all honest - we have to admit we have all thought our blogs out. My advice is to stick with this one - and just change it around - blog about what makes you happy. I'd miss you. sandie

  13. The tug of war between structure and change makes alot of sense, and will likely go on in perpetuity; I think we all absolutely require both. Whatever choices you make, I'll look forward to your posts when they happen.

  14. My life is fairly unstructured, but I do think I have discipline to get the important things done. Some things I like to do more than others! I haven't been blogging in over a month, and I must say I enjoyed the time off, though I missed everybody's news. Don't worry, Sally - we'll stick with you. I have a feeling we're all in the same boat. I write on my laptop at the kitchen counter - I like being in a sunny space where I can look outside (and get a snack).

  15. I have friends who think I am the most organized and structured person in the world and other who think I am a complete scatter brain...and the thing is, I can relate to both views. I am a list maker and planner, but a day without an agenda is my idea of heaven. I am a Gemini.

  16. I write when I have something to say. Otherwise, I just let the blog sit. I write the post when I get a chance to do so. Right now, I have a set of photos and a story about a fieldtrip that is itching to be told. It will wait until tomorrow, though, because right now I am reading a few other blogs and enjoying some taped tv shows with Terry. I like to multitask.

    I would suggest you write when you feel like it, and don't let it pressure you. Life should be fun.

  17. You're still going through adjustments, and moving takes so much energy anyway. Give yourself permission to discover what it feels like to do nothing, to just flit from here to there without an agenda. Having spent all your live with lesson plans, you need to learn new ways of doing things. It took me six, seven years after working to find myself in an accepting mood to let things just develop.

    Besides, life has a way to interrupt you when you least anticipate.

  18. Yes, please don't givve up. We do so understand. Life would be emptier without our blogging friends, but we don't have time to blog. :)

  19. Hi Sally, I can definitely relate! I am very uncomfortable in new situations...until I have time to get used to them. Sending you a hug.

  20. Sally, after reading this, I feel we are kindred spirits. I like structure and routine, too, but if I don't have change at times I feel as though I'm in a rut. When I first retired, I was thrilled to have such freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But after a year or two, I realized I needed some routine as well. I guess it's like so much else in life--balance is the key.

    I understand your conflicts about blogging, too. Blogging has been a great outlet for me and a wonderful hobby, but it does require so much time. I've found in recent months that I just don't want to spend that much time on the computer. Lots of my blogging friends have cut way back on posting in the past year or so, and I find it actually easier to keep up with them that way. That's the best part of blogging--nobody says you have to keep a regular schedule!

    By the way, that diagram of plot structure looks very familiar:)

  21. Yep, I get it too. I started blogging six years ago with sometimes 3 posts a day - I had so much to say. Now, sometimes weeks go past... it's just that I can't just blog about nothing. I feel that if I write something, it must be worth reading to someone. We all get it. I am lost without a structured day.

  22. This is really a wonderful post. You've clearly expressed what many bloggers feel. I love the diversity of blogs. Some people just blog about books or knitting or movies or animals/birds. Some are photo blogs. I am interested in all of them. I personally couldn't manage more than one blog. It would be stressful for me to divide my writing. But others do it, and do a good job. Whatever you decide to do, your readers will be there to read your words.

  23. I've lost my blogging mojo of late but am making an effort to restore it now. Life and all it brings can get in the way sometimes - but our blogs/lives are surely better for that?

  24. You were certainly preaching to this choir of one in your post, Sally. I loved the structure I maintained in my classes, and I knew my ninth graders needed it. So many came from homes of no predictability. I love having no structure in my life now, since retiring, but I also know I'd be more productive if I had some. I find it difficult to think of topics for blog posts, yet I hate to give up blogging. I enjoy checking out various blogs, yours among them. Your post a month or so ago about working with those who were hard to tolerate really " spoke" to me, and I wished I'd read it 25 years ago when I was department chair with three obnoxious male co-workers who made my life miserable.

    I hope you don't give up ths blog. I enjoy it so much.

  25. I relate, Sally, and admire your sharing the evolution of your blogging process. I think many can relate, I for one.
    It's just life and OK. I do love your writing talent and hearing how you are doing!
    The best to you.

  26. Moving takes a lot out of you. I know that. I haven't blogged in months due to moving and the desire to finish my book.But I love to browse blogs and would be saddened to see many of my friends' blogs go down. Hope you find that balance and structure you need. I enjoy being in touch with you!


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