So apparently these days, our little planet celebrates 20 years of blogging. If blogging were a person, and not just this concept my parents still can’t grasp, well, they’d be out of high school and on their way to a life of their own. They’d probably own a car. They’d most likely have had their heart broken at least once. They’d think they know everything. Or at least that’s what I was like, when I was 20.
But when blogging was born, 20 years ago, I had no idea it was even happening. I was 9. I was living with my parents and sister in a two bedroom flat in a small Transylvanian town. We had a phone, a radio and a color TV, and knew nothing of computers or the interwebs. Communism had only just fallen, four years previously, opening our country to cable television, whitewashed jeans and Barbie dolls. It was a brilliant, overwhelming time, but no one was blogging about it yet.
When blogging turned six, I got my first PC. I was 15, had just passed my high school entry exam, and would go on to study High School Computer Science for the following 4 years. What I remember most about that computer was that once we set it up, my bedroom kept that new, plasticky smell for weeks, and I felt both special and a little terrified. Like I was an expensive action figure living my tiny life inside my perfectly sealed box.
We had no internet for a while, so the computer was just sitting there, its brand new smell slowly fading, its bulky monitor gathering dust. Then school started and we set up our dial up connection. I’d have to ask my parents for permission to go online, because it was expensive and they didn’t really see the point of it. Sometimes my mom would come and sit by my side, as I was jumping on IRC to chat with my friends, which was all I knew the internet was good for at the time. She wasn’t impressed, my mom.
In high school I set up my first email address and wrote my first line of code ( Pascal ftw! ). My window to the internet was Internet Explorer, and I wouldn’t have guessed there was anything wrong with that. No one I knew had a blog yet.
Blogging had turned 11 when I took my Uni entry exam. Computer Science again, in a bigger city away from home, where my life would finally begin. I was 19 and thought I had all the answers.
It was in a Uni lab that I set up my first Yahoo!Messenger account. The days of IRC were long gone, and I never looked back. My dorm had no internet connection, so I almost failed my first year. After that, I moved into a wonderful, online friendly flat. That’s when I discovered blogging. By then it was already 12 years old, almost a teenager. I thought it was something I could and should have invented myself, and was heartbroken. I’d been born a couple of years too late, in a country stuck decades behind everybody else, where even blogging was bound to come later than everywhere else, I thought. Those were sad, bloggable times for me. But I didn’t blog a word about them. In fact, I watched blogging from a distance for years, trying to figure out its darkest, most embarrassing secrets, so when our confrontation finally came, I’d be prepared.
In the meantime, I was growing up. I tried smoking, I gave up smoking. I had my heart broken, I had my heart mended. I graduated, and landed my first Web Development job in a small Romanian company. I started making money, real money, my money, so I went places and saw things I’d originally only read about on the internet. I didn’t blog about any of it. But people were. Every other person, it seemed, was writing about anything and everything. Current affairs, movies, books, the intricacies of dating in the 21st century, fashion, cats, seeing the world, fighting the world, sharing with the world. I was addicted, but still kept myself at a safe distance.
Years went by and I moved to London. It was a difficult move, followed by a difficult accommodation process. I stopped reading blogs for a while, and focused on turning my life into a less terrifying, more liveable experience. I felt a lot of things. Alone, out of place, proud, adventurous, misunderstood. I didn’t blog about it once.
Fast forward a couple of years to present time, things are somewhat beginning to settle. I set up this blog exactly five months and one day ago. I couldn’t tell you why, or actually, I guess I could come up with a couple of reasons why, but they won’t be anything special. Let’s say it was just about time I gave it a go. Twenty years too late, it’s true, but I guess I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer. I’m OK with that. As I’m OK with this, my very own little cell in this 20 years old blogging organism, and what it’s become so far. It’s not going to turn into some vital, blood pumping organ, but that’s fine.
I try to keep it clean and healthy, though it’s not always easy. This language I write in is not my own. These people I write for are strangers to me. These feelings and stories I am indeed feeling and they are indeed happening to me, but I sometimes fail to understand them. That scares me. In fact, a lot of this blogging business scares me. It could be why I’ve stayed away for so long. But if I’ve learned one thing from this walking-talking-blinking experience my life has been so far, it’s that most things I’ve been frightened of have changed me for the better. So here you go, blogging, do your thing. I am but a piece of clay in your hands.
Oh, and Happy Birthday! 20 is an age of wonders.