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.
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