For only the second time in the five years since I’ve started this blog, I am taking a break.
Since I started this blog on February 24 2014, I’ve written 1,871 entries. Calculating how much time that means in hours is difficult. Some updates take me 20 minutes to write, while others might take two hours. Do I factor in the time I spend throughout the day keeping tabs on the news, saving links and liking tweets for later? Calculating how many words I’ve written will be easier.
I think that a conservative estimate is that I write 500 words per daily update. I’ve probably written 10 entries that are not daily updates (like my yearly “Final Thoughts” reviews).
There’s about 500 words in a page of text, so by that estimate I’ve written approximately 1,861 pages of text. The famously long “War and Peace” comes in at 1,440 pages.
Since I’ve started this blog, the only time that I willingly took a break was during a couple of days at the end of 2014 when I went on vacation and thought that I’d earned it. The handful of other update-less days were accidental. One time, for example, I was visiting a rural part of a foreign country when the place where I was staying lost its internet for the day.
Otherwise, I’ve written the daily update on birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and New Year’s, and every other event an ordinary person might experience during the year. Illness (my own and that of others), exhaustion, joy: they have all been my companions at some point or another while I wrote these updates.
Pub nights with friends mean two things: either the daily update is done before I head out, or pub night ends early for me.
I recently read the wonderfully nihilistic essay by Peter Wessel Zapffe called “The Last Messiah”. In the essay, Zapffe talks broadly about what he considers to be the essence of the human condition: the fact that we have been “armed too heavily” by nature with a consciousness that is aware of itself. In order to help us from going insane from the terror that this brings (of death, of future suffering, of the realization that justice and order are seldom found on this earth) humans have developed coping mechanisms, Zapffe argues.
One of these mechanisms Zapffe calls “anchoring”. He writes:
Anchoring might be characterised as a fixation of points within, or construction of walls around, the liquid fray of consciousness. Though typically unconscious, it may also be fully conscious (one ‘adopts a goal’.) Publicly useful anchorings are met with sympathy, he who ‘sacrifices himself totally’ for his anchoring (the firm, the cause) is idolised. He has established a mighty bulwark against the dissolution of life, and others are by suggestion gaining from his strength.
I think this blog is my anchor. It’s given my life meaning. I can remember painful days when, with tears streaming down my face, I wrote about some horrific injustice that had happened in Venezuela. And I distinctly remember that writing made me feel better, that it made me feel like I was participating in something larger than myself through this website and that somehow that helped. I realize that I don’t know who or how it helped, but that’s what I felt at the time.
I like writing the daily updates. I like running this website, and I like seeing that people read it and cite it. I like thinking that there are people that I will never meet who have a piece of knowledge in their minds, and that I put it there. I like to think that this knowledge will help these people be better informed about a place that is very dear to me.
I am where I am today in my life because of a decision I made on the morning of February 24, 2014. And I am happy where I am today in my life.
I am also ready for a break.
See you next week.
Questions/Comments? E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org