This is my 100th post on ChicagoNow. At some point during the year and a half I’ve been writing this blog, it dawned on me that I’m not having to motivate myself to produce a post. That I’m going through my days being alert for experiences and observations that might grow into a post.
An ideal retirement activity — indeed, ideal at any time of life — is one that grabs you so much it would be hard to quit. But it’s especially gratifying in retirement, when the need for stimulation is heightened, when there are more hours to fill.
Enthusiasm didn’t come instantly. There were times I asked myself why I was making the effort, putting in the time — especially when the manager sent out statistics showing the thousands of hits some ChicagoNow bloggers get. I’m lucky to get a few hundred hits, and comments have been scanty.
Of course, I wouldn’t mind having more readers, but I didn’t do anything about promotion because I don’t want the blog to feel like work. The ChicagoNow manager recommends Facebook, but I didn’t do Facebook before and wasn’t going to start just to promote the blog. All I did was tell friends and acquaintances.
That the blog isn’t about a predictable topic also works against readership growth. Since I write about anything that captures my fancy, Retired in Chicago may have been a poor choice of a name.
I fed myself the “I’m doing it for me” cliché. That is true, but in the beginning I wasn’t certain it was for my enjoyment. Maybe I was trying to find out whether I could still write my own prose after 25 years editing other people’s. Maybe I still had something to prove. I wasn’t sure whether it was a want-to-do or should-do activity.
I can’t pinpoint when I didn’t have to motivate myself anymore. It’s been quite a while, but I wasn’t aware of it right away. If there’s a message in this post, it’s that sometimes you have to stick with something for a while before you realize it’s going to stick.
I’ve written before that it’s okay to try out activities and later drop them if you find they don’t interest you. I wish I could say something wise about how long to give it a shot, but there’s no formula. There’s a reason you decided an activity might suit you, so you’ll want to give it time to gel. You’ll know in due course whether time flies by or drags when you’re doing it, whether you can't stay away from it or grudgingly make time for it.
I don’t want to sound like I’ve got retirement figured out. Not every thing I do passes the want-instead-of-should test. A lifetime of hyperconscientiousness isn’t turned around in two years.
Instead of throwing out more advice, I’ll end by thanking loyal readers. What I’d like for the next 100 posts is to get more comments. If you ever feel inclined to write, don’t hold back.