Yes! AOL itself celebrated five years of the 'journals project' existence this past summer and here I am today, celebrating my fifth year of journaling, now blogging I guess, in a new space with a new happier face.
I am going to miss journaling over there at AOL-J because my friends, we are what made that neighborhood fun, funny, silly, sad, grief stricken, stunned & stumped, supportive, glad, happy, angry, joyful, peaceful, enlightened, knowledgeable, along with putting up with tempers and hissy fits and tears of frustration when things on the technical side just would not work well. Or at all.
I have to admit, I found all of 'that' weird. Early on. I don't anymore. I found it comforting to know that at any moment on a given day a J-land friend was looking at their own computer screen (sometimes at the FLPL) and writing to me ... to all of us ... even though we all start out thinking we don't want or need an audience.
We do. Humans need to be in touch, to feel wanted and needed and cared for. Humans need to care for and about others.
I found it comforting to know that the friends who left us, through their own choice, God's Will, or even that dammed fickle finger of fate ... left behind their journals for us to visit, to read, to enjoy and remember. Whenever we wanted. I miss those that have left us -- willingly or not.
They enriched my life in as many ways as there are journalers and as you do every week.
When I first started this process I had no clue what I was doing, where it would take me or even if I would stay. Here I am today, five years later: I have learned about photography, politics, breast cancer, depression and Alzheimer's disease. I have new recipes, new links to fun places and a new outlook about just what constitutes friendship and social interaction.
I have become a better person because of each of you and your shared experiences. I have grown to know you, to care about you and to be a long distance friend. I have been able to share my own happy, sad, poignant occasions with all of you.
Why is that?
It is because of trust. I had no idea I would find trust, given and received, right here at the end of my fingertips.
As ethereal as this experience has been, it has been at the least as honest and real for me.
I have yet to come across the scary green monster hiding around the corner. Usually, over there, in AOL-J, they were right in your face. I have come across and come to know some of the most wonderful people. I hope only that I have been as good a friend to them as they all have been to me.
And so, as I say goodbye to AOL-J I also say thank you to AOL. I was unwittingly sucked in to one of the rewarding experiences of my life.
More importantly, I say thank you to all of my friends here on blogger ... the ones I misplaced when I went private on AOL -J (some of you I've found again) the friends who had already left AOL-J (you may not realize it, but I still follow you here) and the ones who were able to stick around ... or rather did stick around through my happiness, my joys, my sadness and my silliness.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Happy Fifth Anniversary to me ... may the next five years in this neck of the woods be as rewarding and interesting as the last.
Oh ... and I forgot to ask: Did anyone else ever wonder 'is this a PHd candidate's social experiment for their thesis? I always sort of wondered ...