Overwhelmed, Yet Encouraged


I spent some time last night visiting some new blogs just to see what others were saying about writing, politics, and life in general. I was immediately overwhelmed by the number of people who are just like you and me–doing our best to have our say in this world in our own special, unique way. Thousands (millions????) have small, medium, and large circles of blogging communities where there’s support, encouragement, friendship, and even love.

It reminds me of the time when I was driving in Baltimore City a few years back. I was stopped at a red light, and in front of me, dozens of people walked in opposite directions toward unknown (to me) destinations (who knows…maybe unknown to them as well). It was at that moment that I recognized the insignificance of one life (mine) in this world, and yet, at the same time, the significance of it to my small community. Each one of these individuals had families, social networks, ambitions, and accomplishments that I would never know about. And, likewise, they would have no idea about the ambitions and accomplishments of all the people sitting in their cars, waiting for them to cross. I felt so much pressure lifted from my shoulders to be somebody for so many people. All at once, in those moments before the last heal left the crosswalk and the light turned green, I felt empowered to just be me.

My wife and I are in the midst of some pretty heavy planning to start our own business in the next few years, and when I went blog hunting last night, I saw so many others doing the same thing. It overwhelmed me in the same way when I was at that red light several years ago. The negative speak kicked into high gear, telling me that I was insignificant and foolish for thinking this way, that this was all a waste of time, it was never going to work, everybody else is doing it, blah blah blah.

But inside of me, some light turned green, and I then became encouraged, knowing that I’ve got a strong community who will help us get started, and from that core group, our small community will grow as we might need it to. It makes no difference what everybody else is doing. If I wasted all of my energy on that, I’d never get anything accomplished.

So that takes me to this thought: these online communities are so self-sustaining, aren’t they? It’s like starting or joining a new colony with every new blog that is created. Thousands of posts are being published every minute, just like hundreds of thousands of lights are turning green all over the country, even the world. It would be just as ridiculous for us to worry about every light turning green, just as it would be to worry about the millions of bloggers who don’t know anything about our ambitions, our accomplishments.

I’ll end this post telling you about a little survey I took earlier in the week. Some online fitness site asks you some questions to see what your real age is (www.realage.com???). One of the questions was about how many people are in your social circle. I could be wrong, but I believe I was actually penalized (i.e., years were added on to my actual age) for having more than 7 people in my social circle. Is that because there is added pressure to maintain these social relationships? I wasn’t sure if the test was telling me that, if I had fewer friends, I’d be in better shape. That just seems so backwards to me. Or maybe my definition of social circle is quite different than how this website defined it. If this is the case, though, that our lifespans are shortened by social activity, I’d like to think that the shortened number of years I will be here on earth will be lived more fully for knowing you all a little better…

2 thoughts on “Overwhelmed, Yet Encouraged

  1. I think that survey is set up with a model behind it that accounts for social realtionships “in real time”. Also there is as I am sure you know the difference between friends and social aquaintances. I believe that in general good friendships have more of a positive impact and than as you said “over-socializing” (as defined by the model behind the survey may penalize you because it makes the assumption that you socialze to a point where other things come at the expenses of it.

    Just my best guess I am going to go take that survey now.


  2. I thought about you so many times as I was blog-surfing. Did you know there are “carnivals” where you can submit articles, sometimes on specific topics, but not always, and one site “hosts” the “carnival” and publishes all the articles as links back to the original website. Plus I found so many writing websites as I was surfing. And finally, I was reading Dooce one day and read that she is actually publishing books of her blog posts!! Whoever would have thought that could happen when we each started our own little blog! But I thought of you when I read that, too. So many possibilities in the internet world for publishing….


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