1 year of blogging – The search for kindred spirits and how I got here

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A whole year has gone by since I first wrote on this blog. I remember the night when I started, home alone and bored and sick as hell. I had no idea what I was going to write about but I was spending too much time mumbling in my car or starting conversations at the dinner table that struggled to take off. And even when they did, they rarely took the direction I hoped for.

Getting to know and spend time with kindred spirits gets more and more difficult with age. When in school, we choose our friends according to mutual interests, compatible characters and shared time. At college it becomes even easier: it’s obvious that most of those enrolled in a literature class will love reading and writing and will constitute great friend material. Once in the adult world things get more complicated. We have less time and more limits: we hang out more with those sharing our own routine and lifestyle (the gym friends, the dog friends, the school mothers, the husband’s friends, the grocery store friends…) because, simply, it’s easier than venturing into the unknown to meet that stranger that will share our obsession for Russian literature.

My longing for kindred spirits started early on: showing the schizophrenic behavior that somehow is my trademark, I went to a business school. Me, the Tolstoy-by-heart-and-only-interested-in-reading-and-writing-person. Studying finance and math and statistics. I wanted to show my high school teachers that I could do anything, despite their written suggestion to pursue studies in the arts. Of course, they were right and I was wrong. I suffered through 4 years of diagrams, equations, formulas and theorems I rarely found inspiring. But that gave me a vague idea of the practical world I struggle so much with, and so I learnt something. There were no kindred spirits there. Apart from a couple of fellow students that made a U-turn and are now photographers, 90% of the people I hanged out with in my early 20s became bankers, lawyers or corporate executives. I look at their Facebook pictures and I feel like a child. They have business cards with fancy titles and maybe they look at them before sleeping and feel better about themselves.

Imagine my surprise when I finally found myself in a press office, sitting among people who all seemed to enjoy books and films and tv and to stay up at night to build a different world. As a 22 years old journalist, I thought I hit the jackpot. I was being paid to do what I loved most and be happy. The honeymoon lasted for a few years. Then my first, enlightened, amazing boss took another position and welcome to reality. Journalism is to most people just a job. As in almost every job, it’s difficult to sail through it without hitting internal politics, compromises, disappointments, unfairness and deception. I had my fair share of these and realized what I really enjoyed about the job wasn’t witnessing the news, uncovering the truth or telling a story (in this era, anyway, images get way further than the most seductive literary voice) but observing the actors. The people behind the facts. Those who had power and those who had none. Those who struggled and those who made the calls. The facts, the news, then became a mere byproduct of the interaction among the characters involved.

I retreated into fiction writing and here I am. In search of kindred spirits again since it is pretty rare to bump into an Alain de Botton’s avid reader at the playground or at the school fair. There might be some, of course. But they’re probably all in disguise as I am, concealing their passions behind everyday’s duties and a dose of comfortable laziness.

For exactly these reasons I didn’t tell about my blog to real life friends for months. I didn’t want to ramble to people I already know in real life and I didn’t want to have followers that felt somehow obliged to sign up to the blog, out of politeness, kindness or affection. I wanted to see if there was someone out there at sea who didn’t know a thing about me and still shared some of my interests. I found a lot.ย Thank you to all of you, cyber friends and readers, for finding my message in the bottle.ย 

11 comments

  1. I know what you mean about being out of college making it difficult to find people with similar interests. After several years of post-graduate study and travel abroad, I came back to my hometown to live, and here, people with whom I can discuss my true, deepest interests are rare. I cherish them when I find them, but I also, like you, enjoy finding others through blogging. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thanks for sharing! I still haven’t told my real life friends about my blog, but I plan to soon. My blog definitely keeps me excited about living overseas…if I were to move back to the states, I think my expat blog would be one of the biggest things I’d miss!

  3. I started my blog for the same reason, and it has most definitely paid off, I’m delighted ๐Ÿ™‚
    It’s not easy, though, finding like-minded people, especially when your life path diverges significantly from the norm, and when you move countries regularly. And the older you get, the harder it gets. The blogs are invaluable.

  4. Congrats on the year! I know how much dedication it takes. I am almost 2.5 years in and struggling with finding the balance at the moment. My blog initially was only for friends and family who wanted to know more about my reality in Asia, but became so much more as I found the community who follows along with me. Great description of why you blog!

  5. Congratulations for creating a great blog and keeping it going for a year. I passed my first year in September, I nearly stopped blogging in August, but a friendly prod from a couple of wordpress friends got me going again ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ August was very difficult, the company I was working for decided not to pay me for June & July (Italian style, don’t get upset we will pay you… just not yet) So Mrs Sensible and I had to tighten our belts through the summer. But all is ok now

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