Today, I turn 35. It’s been a long road since I started writing in a blog over a decade ago in order to update family about our oldest son’s rare disease. The blog has taken a lot of twists and turns and I would never have imagined that now I’d be writing about women and the Bible, chronicling my journey through seminary, and talking about books.
I tried my best to write a post for Instagram and I couldn’t do it. This happened earlier this week as well. I feel quiet. I think about all the ways what I want to say could be misconstrued. Of course that is part of writing publicly, part of being human. One has to be willing to be misunderstood. But in this case, I think of people it could hurt. If I post a beautiful series of stories of things I’m grateful for on this birthday, context is absent. There is no accompanying version of the hard parts of my life because I only talk about those slowly and thoughtfully and sometimes never on the internet. Show up in my kitchen for that. The internet doesn’t get my whole life and I have never pretended it has, but it does tend to pretty up my life more than I am comfortable with. What if that beautiful snapshot is what causes someone to be discouraged about their lack in a particular area? Yes, ultimately that’s on them, but it’s on me a little as well.
I logged out of Twitter on my computer browser this week. I’m sure my password is saved somewhere but I don’t know where. This is a culmination of moments realizing that I finished seminary work and then browsed through Twitter for 20+ minutes. How much of my life has been spent there, gaining nothing and getting angry? I don’t post so I’m contributing to thoughtful interactions or making the space beautiful or nourishing.
If you’ve been here, you know I have mixed feelings about Instagram. I love how easy it is to talk to readers. I love the conversations we’ve had. I love how it hands out information, though that used to be better than it is now. I love how creative one can be, the friends I’ve made there, the things I’ve learned. I love adding music from the Hamilton soundtrack to my stories. I love finding newsletters to subscribe to.
I hate spending my life looking at my phone. I hate feeling discouraged that I don’t have more followers. I hate the algorithms. I hate how it gathers my information and then “owns” my content that I post there. I hate spending my life looking at my phone. The “metaverse” feels the worst thing we could have imagined. What happened to being human, living tangible lives, putting down roots? Of course, I know you’re still reading this on a screen. And far fewer people will read it here than would on Instagram. But this format feels slower, more thoughtful, more intentional.
Right now, I just can’t muster the energy to post on Instagram. I feel quiet and it disturbs that. I may go back and forth being on Instagram for as long as it exists. But for today, here I’m saying that I’m 35 now. I love my birthday. I’m having cherry pie instead of cake because I love pie and there’s a beautiful bakery about a mile from my house. I ate a brioche bun there for this morning with two friends in celebration.
One of my friends teases me because I’ve talked about turning 40 this whole past year. Suddenly 40 seems so close- and in the best way. I don’t have qualms about getting older, though concerns have grown heavier. My gray hairs are on my head and I’m not stressing about my wrinkles. But I do want to live well and mature, not simply get older. These next five years feel significant in a way I can’t fully describe. I bought a “line a day” journal to use for the next five years, to keep a record.
This year, I want to do what I want with this space because I love it here too Maybe I’ll post my Instagram-esque captions here. Maybe they’ll be on Instagram. Either way, thanks for being present with me. Let’s spend less time on our phones, ok?