Morning! It's a dreich, grey day here much like this one:
Except that I'm still in my dressing gown. And not doing moody poses in front of my camera's self timer.
And I'm writing a blog post.
I know: it's been a while. Again.
But I'm not going to apologise. I see a lot of bloggers taking a couple of weeks away from the internet and coming back full of self-recrimination: "I'm so sorry! I've let you down! I'm such a bad blogger!"
Come on, guys. When did this become our jobs? Those of us who write personal blogs are not obliged to be here, waffling into the internet. The people who earn a living this way are the exception, not the rule; the rest of us set up our blogs because it seemed like a fun thing to do (or possibly for some free therapy).
There is no set standard for what makes a Good Blogger. You are not bad because you don't post four items per week, one of which must involve a brand new outfit, one an unpaid review of a product you would never otherwise have used, one a collection of things you would like to own, and one a piece of vague diarising you have desperately thrown together so you didn't slip off schedule.
And as for other people, you do not need to provide their entertainment. Here's what I have learned from my extended blogging absences: the people you click with stick around; the real friends you've made will still chat to you on Twitter or send you emails or text you or ask if you want to meet up; nobody who matters abandons you because you didn't blog for a week.
The truth is: people don't read your blog because they have a desperate need to know what you think of some new lipgloss. They read it because they like you. They just want to hang out and chat with you. And that doesn't have to involve you writing a blog post first.
But it doesn't have to.
Actually, none of this is what I was going to write. I was going to explain why I haven't been feeling the need to blog as much recently.
Here it is: I'm happy.
When I was blogging a lot I was also counting the days until Steve and I could move. I loved our dinky little flat but we had utterly run out of space and I was feeling claustrophobic.
When I was blogging a lot I was also applying for many, many jobs. I won't go into the details but I was feeling both trapped and unchallenged in the position I was in.
So: two big parts of my life were leaving me dissatisfied. And so: I blogged.
Blogging gave me a challenge. It gave me a place to be creative. It gave me a soothing, reassuring routine. It gave me something over which I had full control. And it gave me an actual end result I could sit back and admire (and stick on my CV).
Perhaps most importantly: because I write my blog in a very positive tone of voice, it made me feel happier. You know how when you plaster on a smile, you feel more cheerful? I find blogging with a smile has the same effect.
My life now is wonderful. I love our new home. I love my new job. I feel challenged at work. I'm focused on creating comfortable rooms. Life feels within my control. I can sit back and admire the freshly painted walls.
And most importantly: I don't have to trick myself into feeling happy.
So... I'm still around. I'm still on Twitter and email. I'm still dropping by the blog when I have a bit of time to fill. I haven't given up entirely.
I feel so lucky for all the friends I've made through blogging.
But the blogging itself has slipped right down my list of priorities. And part of me kind of hopes that's where it stays.