I'm skipping the 15 Things post on "Goals Are Fun" that technically should be next because I think what I have learned about training for goals was addressed pretty well in this post. And because I was going through my blog email recently (I'm a terrible email correspondent, by the way) and it made me want to tackle the lesson: I Reach People.
Since I've been blogging, I've learned that I can reach people. It is the most gratifying thing about the blog for me. I like to reach people in person, too, to create an environment that feels safe and meaningful, where I can speak the truth and so can they. But I also like the feeling that this blog lets me reach people, people who I might not ever meet. I can't begin to tell you what that feels like.
Some excerpts from emails I've gotten since I've been doing this:
"....Last night I was out running a few errands, my three year old riding along in the backseat. She was babbling away back there - she's very talkative, and opinionated - but (I am ashamed to say) I was not listening to her. Just too much on my mind. So, I drove along with all these worries as my inner monologue....I could go on, but you get the idea. I was feeling very serious and very stressed. I had the radio on, but wasn't listening. Until...Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" came on. And I immediately thought of your funny little post about it, from a few weeks ago. And I got this silly can't-stop-myself giggle from thinking of it, and of course I had to turn the radio up (and sing along). I thought you might like to know the funny and probably unexpected ways your writing can affect other people. The song would never have cheered me in that way without your post...."
"....I've been touched by your openness and vulnerability. I've recently been feeling low about my single life and I wrote this in on my computer and debated about posting it to my blog but so far it remains on my computer. But i did send it to a couple of friends. And though I don't actually know you, I feel like I could send it to you because you have shared so openly about your fears and hurts in the world of relationships...."
"....So there you have it. Your blog helped me leave the law and move to a semi-socialist country. You had no idea of your influence!!"
"Just wanted to drop a line to tell you that your blog is giving me hope that there are actually interesting, thoughtful people in the legal profession who are concerned with more than having a big house and a partner track."
"....I found your blog,and have followed your adventures for the past three months. You are bold to "out" yourself like that. I admire that. me, I keep a lot inside...."
"....I think your blog lately has been as good as it's ever been. You always give me so much to think about. You inspire me. You make me want to be a better writer, and thinker, and lawyer, and friend. You make me want to be happy, because I would tell you about it, and you would be happy for me...."
"...anyway- i didn't write you to talk about myself- but i did want to say thank you. you seem to be not just a highly ambitious person, but one that can discern priorities- even if they are not always in line with our passions. i am always pleased and intrigued by an artist who can remain optimistic as well-- there seems to be a shortage...."
"... Just wanted to tell you that, though I stumbled across your blog during a fit of boredom induced web surfing, I’ve become a regular reader of it. You write wonderfully and I enjoy getting to know a bit about how your mind works. I like the way you think and I admire the courage and integrity you show in the life choices you’ve shared on your site. I knew I was hooked when I caught myself checking repeatedly for word that your recent medical procedure turned out okay and that the findings were (relatively) benign. I didn’t know I could worry so over someone I’ve never met and know only through postings on a weblog. But I was and I’m glad that it sounds like you're going to be okay. And I think it takes a tremendous confidence…wrong word…and I’m not doing well finding the right one so I’ll let it stand for now…to reveal vulnerable moments the way you do in your writing. We wear so many masks as we tumble through this life. Thank you for dropping yours. I don’t really know the point of this other than to say thank you. Reading your weblog makes me, in a way I’ll never adequately describe, feel better about the world I live in. so…thank you..."
You're welcome, and thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Knowing I can reach people, simply by writing about how it feels to be me, is a huge gift, because whatever it is I may end up doing with my life, that is the thing I most want to do, and that is what I will be trying to do with all of my best intentions and time and resources. You guys have taught me so much. Probably the biggest lesson is that by trying to be a good person, and by flubbing up again and again, by admitting my yearnings and my hopes and my fears, I am just being human. And all those things that make me ashamed and imperfect, and therefore human, connect me to a whole world of other people who are yearning and hoping and fearing and trying and flubbing up. Which continues to shock me, somehow.