I started my first blog not long after college. I was working in the admissions office at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. I had just moved back to Indy after a year as an assistant editor of a beauty business magazine in Chicago, Illinois. It turned out the hustle of big city life wasn’t for me.
I had heard about a new website that writers were using called WordPress. (Blogger also existed at the time, but I liked the WordPress templates and user interface better.) So, on my breaks, I’d write on my blog.
Looking back, I wasn’t even sure what a blog was at the time. It was a new concept. I thought it might be a little like LiveJournal but with less of a “tell-all” vibe. So, I used it for short, personalized journal entries, as well as creative writing excerpts and news updates about what my latest band was doing. I had way too many tags and categories at the time, and my design was a bit wonky but I wasn’t really sure how to organize this new blog yet. That was in 2009.
This year I’m celebrating 10 years of my personal blog!
A lot has happened over the last decade – (*gasp*) in my thirties. It’s unbelievable, really, when I think about the past 10 years. Today, I’m a senior editor for a natural health ecommerce company (NHC.com) – a respectable yet far cry from my early college dreams of becoming the next Rolling Stone music journalist!
But sometimes dreams change, or get side-winded. After all, I began my career during the great recession of 2009. I learned to adapt and persevere.
So Here’s How the Numbers Add Up
- 5 jobs (divided almost equally between marketing and magazine journalism)
- 5 professional conferences attended (TEDxNashville; Society of Professional Journalists; and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia)
- 5 apartments
- 4.5 CDs released (of which one was an EP and one LP, which was unreleased “officially”)
- 4 ferrets; two cats by proxy (sadly, most of the ferrets have passed)
- 3 blog redesigns (at least) and 2 site naming iterations (https://irenewrites.wordpress.com and http://www.leslieirenebenson.com)
- 3 bands (Irene & Reed, The Sweetest Condition, and Electric Dream Society, which is still a work in progress)
- 3 romantic relationships (two longer-term)
- 3 friends who committed suicide (2 of which were exes; none of which were the long-term beaus)
- 2 trips to Berlin, Germany
- 2 trips to Las Vegas
- 2 trips to Florida
- 2 cities that I’ve called home (Indy and now Nashville, Tennessee)
- 1 house (I’m so happy to finally be a homeowner!)
So, through all the ups and downs – as dramatic and painful as some of them have been – I can surely say I’ve been blessed and have grown by leaps and bounds as a human being over the last decade. I’ve learned more empathy and compassion, as well as how to act courageously, even when frightening or uncomfortable situations arise.
I have taken many leaps of faith and landed relatively steady on my feet (in most cases, but not all). And I’ve realized where my shortcomings are and what opportunities I need to embrace to achieve my fullest potential.
I’ve also enjoyed writing hundreds of articles – both for my blog and for my employers – covering topics ranging from health and beauty to arts and music to architecture and home improvement to the lives of soldiers in the National Guard and much more. … It’s been a whirlwind of learning, observing, reflecting, and writing.
Here’s to another decade of blogging and personal growth!
Thanks for reading!
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash