Four years later…

This first post of 2021 marks the fourth anniversary of my blogging adventure. My daughter originally suggested Hashtag Retired as a way to explore my transition to retirement. As I settled into a freer though still busy lifestyle, however, writing about retirement seemed less and less important to me. Retired or not, you are who you are… or who you’ve become, somewhere along the way. So I began writing about other preoccupations (writers have lots!): books, music, travel, language, food, friendship and family, memories of all sorts.

Because writers need to write, just as singers need to sing, I’m truly grateful for this forum, and for those of you who read my blog. But I’m equally grateful to be among a community of bloggers who invite me into their lives, share their insights and gorgeous photos, challenge my thinking, and—so often—make me smile. 

When I was a kid, a letter with my name on it was a big deal. Another big deal was having a pen pal, which I did, in seventh grade. Her name was Carol, and she lived in Salford, Lancashire, in the northwest of England. We wrote back and forth for a year or so. Our interests were probably too divergent for any lasting friendship to develop*, but it was my first personal experience of that wider world across the pond, and it was downright thrilling.  

In the last four years, the bloggers I follow have become like treasured pen pals to me, particularly so during gut-wrenching 2020, when everything seemed to go awry. Grounded at home, I’ve been transported to other countries and climes. Worried, I’ve been encouraged. Frustrated, I’ve been calmed. Gloomy, I’ve found reasons to laugh out loud. Bored, I’ve been motivated. Wondering what to read, I’ve discovered a new book. Sick of cooking, I’ve been inspired to get back to the kitchen to try something new.

So on this anniversary post, I send a sincere “thank you” to every reader. To my fellow bloggers, I send the special gift of these dooryard roses, with their unexpected, delightful splash of scarlet among the pale pink.

Tip to readers: When you see other bloggers commenting on a post, click to check out their blogs. Chances are, you’ll find many who provide that unexpected splash of color. I certainly have.

*For a truly remarkable story about enduring friends who became pen pals, read Joan Rearden’s  As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, via Amazon or Indiebound.

20 thoughts on “Four years later…

  1. francefougere

    Dear Angela, really a charming, very interesting post for your Anniversary. I do like your blog, and it is a joy to tell it to you, to-day. Go on, my dear, and many thanks.
    I am always enjoying pen pals – The exchanges began at school, when our English teacher organized exchanges, and I had pen pals : a japanese student, another from Greece, and a girl from England. I did like receiving letters, news and we exchanged small gifts during 2, 3; 4 years, I do not remember exactly. Then, many years after, I decided to keep my English fresh 🙂 and I bought some feminine English reviews which gave addresses of pen-pals. There came into my life Pauline who became a real friend and we could meet when she came in France.
    Nancy,” a lady vraie” who became as a discreet ” mother” in England when I lost my mother – years and years up to her death. And now, my japanese friend – and her husband, a true friendshipduring years also; and we could meet.
    Very beautiful human adventures.
    And now there are the blogs 🙂
    Do receive my best wishes for yourself and our loved ones.
    Thank you for roses, too !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy

    Angela what a lovely post! And 4 years of blogging is such an accomplishment!

    I too think of blogging as a fun way to have “pen pals.” I have actually met some of my blogging friends and have enjoyed a real friendship with quite a few.
    Congratulations and keep on writing…!
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ron

    Angela, I guess I didn’t realize that we started blogging around the same time and indeed for the same reasons. For me the thought of retirement was strange and I knew I needed a tool to make the transition and as with you, blogging was a great vehicle.
    Pen pals, you know I often thought of the same thing and I guess that’s why I enjoy commenting on blogs. I also had a pen pal when I was young. She lived on Vancouver Island, CA, and was likely an influence on me falling in love with that part of the world and indeed living in the Pacific Northwest for many of my adult years. Like you, we lost touch with each other after a year or so, but I still remember well waiting for her letter addressed to me.
    As always thanks for the memories and a big thanks to your daughter for inspiring you to create your fine blog…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rachel McAlpine

    Hello, Angela and friends! You’re right, the blogging experience has much in common with our long-ago experience of pen pals. That’s a new thought for me — and new thoughts are what we get from personal blogging, as well as comrades in this life. Instant feedback from friendly readers! I get a similar pleasure from blogging,and according to my research so do most older bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

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