How’s this for crazy: I published my first post here on Shades of Sarah five years ago. Five. Years. Ago. I was still a teenager! Twitter was just starting to become a mainstream medium, and Instagram and Snapchat didn’t exist yet.
Shades (as my college friends lovingly refer to this space) was not my first foray into blogging. Back in eighth grade (which, oh my goodness, was 11 years ago) I started a Xanga because well, a friend I met on a cruise had a Xanga, so obviously I needed a Xanga to stay in touch with her. My theme colors were hot pink and lime green because, duh, I still worshipped at the alter of Lizzy McGuire. (Really feel like I’m aging myself here.)
I guess I’ve always been a new media geek. Along with Xanga, I participated in a few online forums, like Craftster during my pre-Pinterest DIY phase. I remember being part of another independent forum where teen girls chatted about boys, shopping and celebrities after YM (now I’m really dating myself) folded its own forums.
Oh man. I even had a Neopets account. (It was the best, but if my full on geekiness has overwhelmed you, it’s okay if you close your browser window.)
I rediscovered what I would say are more contemporary blogs (because this medium is always always changing) my second semester of college. I remember Googling what to wear to class on cold, rainy days, because as a Floridian I was (and remain) fully unequipped to deal with the weather in the northeast. I landed on CollegeFashion.net, and it was like a whole new world opened up.
After a few months of reading CF and a few other personal style blogs, I decided I was ready to throw my proverbial hat in the ring. When I was home from college, I brainstormed names and registered on WordPress while watching Roy Halladay dismantle the then-Florida Marlins. My first header was an image of lavender fields pulled from We Heart It.
My, have times changed.
The first summer I blogged, I wrote about anything and everything: politics, baseball, the World Cup, the environment, shopping, movies, Colombian candy. Some of those early posts are still some of my favorite. Now the ideas behind my blog are slightly more in focus (see the tagline above), but I still love all those things. I have Frunas on my kitchen table and I get excited when I get home in time for the evening news.
And offline? Wow. I did my first internship (serendipitously, at Xanga, and partly thanks to my blog) and too many more after that, but at some of the coolest places. I acquired like 12 roommates (not all at once). I fell in love. I wrote a thesis (for a degree) and presented my own research (on bloggers!) to an audience (for fun). I volunteered in San Diego and the Dominican Republic. I graduated college. I moved to a new city. I started over. I got my first part-time job, and eventually a my first full-time job. I adopted a dog. I was a bridesmaid. I learned (a lot) and I grew up (some).
Five years is a long time, but one constant has been this space. So thank you. Thank you to my real life friends, my online friends, the lurkers, and the friends that are all of above. Thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, favoriting a tweet or liking an Instagram, telling me you liked that thing I wrote and not making fun of me (to my face). To be honest, I do this for myself, but you guys make it even better.
So I propose that on this rainy Monday (excellent start to June, right?), we all treat ourselves, whether it’s to some wine or gummi bears, because you rock just for reading this. I treated myself to this pretty new online space (and maybe a chai latte), so I say it’s only fair.