When I started this blog seven years ago I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to begin writing about topics that mattered to me. Of course, I hoped others would find them interesting and helpful, but one never knows for sure. The idea of rightsizing had never even occurred to me at the time, and neither did I have that much interest in positive aging. Fast forward seven years and I still find myself drawn to ideas that are encouraging, intriguing and uplifting to both myself and others. But along the way my interests have deepened and broadened in ways I never imagined. So if on this seven-year anniversary (or birthday) of my blog you will humor me a bit, I want to look back over the years to recap a few highlights. Your reward for indulging me is a short quiz asking what YOU like, and a free gift.
Here are a few thoughts about blogging and SMART Living 365 in general.
- The hardest thing about writing blog posts. My greatest stretch comes from trusting my ideas enough to write about them even if they don’t fit a pattern or seem to fit my brand. All blogging experts tell you that in order to succeed in blogging you have to stay on topic. That might be true, but it sounds a bit too much like a “job” if you are just doing it to try to please other people—or generate income. Instead, I’ve chosen to follow my instincts and through that process, I’ve learned greater trust in that still small voice within. Priceless!
- The best happy-surprise about blogging. When I started it was all about the writing and the desire to communicate. What has happened through the years is how I’ve been able to connect with a handful of writers and other bloggers that I now call good friends. While it might seem strange to say that people who I’ve never met in person can be a close friend, what I’ve found is that other writers and people who read my blog regularly share more in common with me, and care more about things I care about, than many people I know IRL (in real life.) My online community has become a big part of my “tribe” and I value that so much.
- The top read blog post in seven years. According to Google Analytics, the top read blog post in seven years continues to be the post “Is There Really Proof of Heaven Or Life After Death.” Who knew? I find the subject interesting but find it even more fascinating that so many people are drawn to this subject.
- One Of The Least Read Blog Posts That Surprised Me. Again, according to Google Analytics I was surprised to see that one of my least read posts (out of 405 written) was “Five Life Lessons I Learned From Dad and Other Thoughts About Father’s Day”. With Father’s Day right around the corner, I would love to know what you all think of it and see if my ideas there deserve more attention.
- SMART Living 365 readers. According to Alexa, a website ranking service, SMART Living readers are far more likely to be women over 45 with a college or graduate degree. Also according to Alexa, 57% of my readers are in the U.S. while the remainder are scattered around mostly among English speaking countries. Although I would like to be more diversified, it is natural that a person like me would be most likely to be interested in the topics I cover.
- Something most people who read blogs don’t know. I think the illusion about blogging is all a blogger has to do is sit down, crank out a post (or two) and wa-la! Our thoughts magically appear for all the world to see. Unfortunately, the menial truth is that it takes nearly as much time maintaining a site, finding photos and uploading, and then spreading the news about your site as it takes to write anything. I am in awe of those bloggers who put out several posts a week because it takes an enormous amount of work that most people don’t realize. Of course, there must be a payoff of some sort, but it isn’t always easy!
- Worst Comment I’ve ever received. Most bloggers enjoy comments very much. It is wonderful to know that people are reading something you spent so much time writing and putting out there. Because other bloggers understand that more than most, they often make the most comments on other blogs. But it is always nice to hear from others and each is appreciated. Well nearly everyone. Recently after posting a blog post about Rightsizing, I received a comment that basically asked “Why are you writing about rightsizing again? It’s boring and not at all helpful. And stop talking about yourself all the time and think about your readers.” Thankfully I don’t get many of those, so I just have to laugh when I do and keep going.
- Another unexpected surprise. Something I would never have anticipated when I started SMART Living was the large number of invitations I am receiving to do book reviews. Many of the books I cover here are offered to me free in exchange for the review. But not all, some I just want to read. As a person who loves to read AND appreciates being offered books I might never have found on my own, I love this current unfolding.
- The easiest blog posts for me to write. On average I spend between eight and fifteen hours a week on my blog. While I always enjoy biting into a meaty topic to see where it will lead, the easiest article for me is the “List Post.” And yes, some of you might remember I wrote a blog post about that as well titled, “To List Or Not To List.” Chances are very good you will see more List Posts in the future! I also enjoy researching quotes so those are always fun and easy for me.
- The greatest benefit from blogging on SMART Living 365. It is said that what you “think about you bring about” and what you “dwell upon you become.” During the seven years, I’ve been writing posts on SMART Living I have trained my thoughts to constantly seek out ideas that are empowering, inspiring and uplifting. And the more I do it, the longer I do it, the more I am rewarded by constantly thinking about ideas that serve a quality life rather than the alternative. That ongoing focus has changed me in more ways than one can imagine. While I sincerely hope others benefit from reading what I write, I am immensely grateful for the gift it provides me every single day.
Okay, so what about that quiz and your free gift? Because I find it rewarding and interesting to know what you think about some of my topics, I decided to ask you straight out. Please do me a big favor and pick/click (up to three) of the things from the list below that you enjoy reading about the most. (use any browser except Firefox!) In return, and in honor of my seven years of blogging I offered a free ebook download of my latest book Positive Aging—A SMART Living 365 Guide to Thriving & Wellbeing At Any Age. The book was free on Amazon for five days June 8-12, 2018. Thank you to those who downloaded a copy. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
SMART Living 365 and all of you are such an important part of my life. While I certainly don’t know all the people who read this blog, just the idea that you are out there and you care about many of the ideas I explore here gives me hope for humanity and our future here on planet Earth. While there may be lots of challenging things going on in the world today, knowing that a “tribe of people” are staying resiliently and practically optimistic is important. And like Margaret Mead said and I think it is SMART to remember, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Okay your turn! Do you have any other feedback you’d like to give me? Like I said above, I do enjoy hearing your thoughts and am always grateful if you take the time to share them with me. Other than that, I hope you enjoy your birthday gift from SMART Living 365!