Blog Friends – Preface
Elder Time, Energy and Scheduling

Meeting Blog Friends

blogging bug image Anyone who's been reading Time Goes By for any length of time, knows that I am a big advocate of blogging for elders. It's fun and interesting to do, it keeps our minds exercised and active, puts us in touch with the world outside our homes and – probably best of all, we make friends at a time in life when there are not as many opportunities to do so as when we were younger.

I think people who don't blog or who are not blog readers don't appreciate that last important aspect of blogging. We become real friends with some of the people we meet online.

It's my belief that no one can write day in and day out without revealing a great deal of themselves, their values, interests, passions, humor, etc. In fact, I think we come to know more about one another through regular interaction with our blogs than we would with new in-person friends we probably wouldn't see more than once or twice a month.

I include regular commenters in this – those who don't keep blogs themselves, but contribute their thoughts and ideas frequently enough that the rest of us come to know them well.

But there is one hitch with blog friends: as the friendship grows, there comes a time when you really want to meet them in person. An advantage of the internet is that we come to know people in far-flung place we could meet in no other way; but that is also a disadvantage.

Sometimes, however, our travels take us to other cities and we can meet. It has never disappointed me.

Three weeks ago, Jan Adams who writes the Gay and Gray column for Time Goes By and blogs at Happening Here was in Portland and she came to visit for lunch one afternoon.

As often happens, I was having such a good time I forgot to take photos, but I can tell you that Jan is very tall – at least to this 5' 2” person. And as has always happened when I've met blog friends, it was like we have always known one another.

Sure, we exchanged some historical information – how we got where we are these days and chose our careers and bits about our families. But mostly, it felt like Jan lives nearby and we were just catching up.

Marcia Mayo, who blogs at Well Aged with Some Marbling, lives in Atlanta and comes to Portland each summer to visit her children and grandchildren for a few weeks. If I recall correctly, we were just getting to know one another last year, but this year we met on Tuesday. Marcia came to my house in Lake Oswego and we had lunch at a little British shop in town that serves high tea.

Marcia Mayo

One of the first things I noticed about Marcia is that she bears a resemblance to the actor Shirley MacLaine and is sometimes mistaken for her. Oddly, we share that. There was a period of 10 or 15 years when I was often asked for autographs by fans who refused to believe I was not Shirley MacLaine. Marcia and I had a good laugh about that.

As with Jan, it was like we've always known one another. I can't tell you all the things we talked about – we covered a lot of territory and there wasn't time for all the questions I wanted to ask Marcia and follow up on other things we discussed.

And like Jan the day after she and I had lunch, Marcia is leaving to return home to Atlanta this week.

Like I said, the downside of blog friends. But we can continue long distance with a new kind of connection that spending time in person adds.

Although it has happened a couple of dozen times now, I'm still amazed at the comfort level when I meet people I've known before only online. It reinforces what I said above, that we cannot write day in and day out without revealing a great deal about ourselves which makes it easy to find those we are simpatico with.

I just wish I could pick up the phone and arrange to meet again for dinner or a hike at a nearby woods or a movie or just spend some more time in person with one another.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: The Blue-Green Mason Jars


Comments

Hmm, I haven’t noticed Shirley MacLaine in your photos, but I haven’t seen you in real life. Time to come to Melbourne, see who I resemble.

I've met several blogging friends and several from the crime message boards, and it has always been as you say. I feel lucky to have the interwebs, because I have met a lot of wonderful people.

I agree with you wholeheartedly. In real life it can take months for potential friends to open up to one another enough to know what they have in common. In the blogosphere, if a reader doesn't connect with the soul behind the blog, the reader usually just moves on. But when that connection IS made, it doesn't feel like finding a new friend as much as it feels like finding an old one.

I've met several blogging friends in person, which was delightful. And then there are the four sister bloggers from Arkansas whom I've never met except in my dreams. In dreams I've traveled to visit them three times now.

I too forgot the camera because we were just chatting so vigorously. Meeting up in person with Ronni was one of my greatest pleasures over the last month.

My husband,Roy, and I were talking the other morning and he said something about the debt limit fiasco and I said, "Well, Ronni had the same idea today. She said....And that's as far as I got before Roy interrupted with, "You always talk about Ronni as though you knew her and were friends."

I said,"I DO know her,and we ARE friends."

And the best part,Ronni, is that I know you feel the same about me.

I have been fortunate enough to have 3 blogging friends come to my home. It always feels like you have known them all your life. I have also had three others phone me. One is a friend from India and she called from San Francisco where she was visiting her family.

You were my best blogging friend of all, Ronni, when you called me after I broke my hip. Other blogging friends sent many cards and it cheered me more than I can ever say.

I have even received gifts from fellow bloggers. What delightful surprises.

I always hope that I can meet with Jan when I visit my daughter, but the timing has never been right. Maybe some day I will be lucky enough to meet her.

I do feel very close to some people I have met via blogging and have told them things that my next door neighbor doesn't know. I have probably revealed too much, but you feel so confident that they will not tell your secrets it makes it easy.

I think it is not an exaggeration to say that blogging has saved my life. At least, it has made it more enjoyable.

Ronni, thanks for the great picture. I too had so much fun and, when I write about it, I'll be sure to send my story to ESP.
I met Mary B. Summerlin last summer and now Ronni this summer. I am a happier and better person because of blogging.

I heartily agree with all you say! I've met several blogfriends in person the last few years, and agree that it's like meeting old friends every time! Sometimes the husbands are there too and they feel the same, with much surprise.

I usually get to Portland twice a year & I would be delighted to meet Ronni and anyone else on my next visit. Those of us in extreme rural life hunger for like-minded connections and I very much look forward to hearing Ronni's voice & 'catching up' on joys and similarities.

And for anyone finding themselves in far far northern CA on I-5, give a hollar!

I'm relatively new to the blogging world, having started my blog on dealing with aging and Pakinson's last November. I'm loving my introduction to this and I've been amazed at how helpful and sharing bloggers are with each other. A welcome contrast to everyman-for-himself outside world. Reminds me of the same emphasis on helping one another that I've found in my other "separate worlds" -- the gay world and the world of recovering alcoholics. I was introduced to those two worlds at about the same time 34 years ago and they've enriched my life ever since.

PS Somehow, clicking on my name now takes one to a blogger post that says I don't exist. To the contrary, http://mysisterwasastbernard.blogspot.com is alive and well. Any ideas, Ronni-san?

~Kathi

Kathi...
You must type in the URL of your blog correctly. What you've typed in each comment is this:

http://mysisterwasastbernard.blogspot.com./

There is never a period after .com

This is your correct blog URL: http://mysisterwasastbernard.blogspot.com/

Ah, so...thank you!

Wait a minute, Ronni. You didn't say anything about a hike in the woods. There are animals out there and they ain't Ollie.

I have a whole set of blog friends who get together once a year - we range in age from 20s through 60s! And other blog friends I consider dear, even though we have only met in person once or twice, or never!

Peter: It is in the eyes that Ronni resembles Ms MacLaine, as I recall from when photos were posted and discussed.

Ronni: I've only met, in person, one blog friend - Buffy of Arrrgh!!! whose link I had originally followed to find you. Just after I retired, Hunky Husband and I drove to New Hampshire to see our daughter, Bogie, of Bogieblog. We arranged to stop in the Chicago area to see our nephew and to meet the ever-gracious Buffy for brunch. The following day, I spent a little time with Buffy who then invited me to come quilt with her for a few days - which I did a few weeks later.

That was so much fun that I can imagine your joy at meeting many of your blog friends and say: more power to you!

Thanks Ronni and everyone for reminding me that blogging is another tool to communicate and connect with others. I find myself isolating more lately and that I have fewer friends to connect with. I realize that this can lead to depression after awhile. So I will make a concerted effort to start blogging....I have a blog and used to do an email newsletter to friends and family but got tired of trying to find topics to talk about. I took a time out now it seems like I need to rejuvenate and get back into the swing of things. Thanks again for the reminder!!

As I read your blog, I thought of my friend of 51 years, my "pen pal" in the Netherlands. Back then having a pen pal was as close to today's blogging as you could get. And just as you said, when we finally met in person, it was as if we'd know each other forever. Now, when we visit, it's like time has stood still and we pick up right were we left off. It's a truly marvelous feeling! Thanks for this post!

Oh, my, did I mention I was coming to Portland. LOL

Yes, there are some really wonderful friends I've made here that delight me every day....you among them.

It is so heartening to hear about these visits. It is easy to get sentimental about finding new elder (old) friends at this point in our lives. You are a treasure for us all.

Meeting new people and become friends with them is awesome. I wish I could meet bloggers too.

I really like to meet people through this means while making friends at the same time we can share information between the same theme blog and together make the road to success easier.

I have not had the opportunity to meet someone through this medium of blogs. But if I have several blogs where I talk about different topics it's time to go back and try to socialize more.

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