Blogger Birthday – Hitting Double Figures

It has officially been a decade since I started writing Girl with her Head in a Book. It feels slightly insane that I’ve been doing this for quite this long but at the same time, I’m a completely different person to when I started out. Back then, I was still in my early twenties and emotionally reeling from leaving university. I was a girl trying to find my way in the world. Ten years, 1,900 posts and a heck of a lot of books later, I have a partner, a child and I feel settled in my life.

I can see that for the longest time, my level of activity on the site served as a barometer of emotional health. Extreme flurries of posts or radio silence used to indicate that ‘things’ were going on in my offline life. I tended to process my emotions through my reading and from there to writing publicly on the internet. I have definitely become a more reflective reader with an improved understanding of literary theory. If only I had thought of blogging before I studied for my degree – I think it could have significantly boosted my grades. But an important step in more recent years has been recognising when I need to step away. With a full life and family commitments, sometimes I have needed a blog break. This year I didn’t blog for the whole of June and I actually felt relaxed about it.

Learning which things to hold on to and of which to let go is a lifelong journey. I am someone who has a tendency towards nostalgia. If someone sends me a postcard, I will most likely keep it forever. Part of why I have always loved blogging is that I enjoy looking back on my reading experiences. I’m the same with lots of things in life. I like to hold on to my friendships. I appreciate routine and the familiar. I am a creature of habit. But I had a moment of realisation this year. I was in St Andrews in Scotland, the place I called home for five years. I loved living there, I loved the friendships, I loved being a student. I wasn’t ready to leave when the time came. Return visits in the immediate years following tended to reinforce how much I missed the place. But this summer I went back for the first time in five years. We took our son to the beach, we went out for ice cream, we ate fish and chips and we had a wonderful time. On our last day, we walked to the end of the pier and I told my son about how I had jumped off it fully-clothed just after my last exam. I tried to point out the spot but it was too long ago to really remember. And I realised that I had moved on. A long time ago. St Andrews is still beautiful and I will always have a soft spot for it, but it will be somewhere for future family holidays and new memories rather than revisiting the old. I am not nostalgic about it any more – I am too happy in my family life, too grateful for the rock and anchor of my wonderful partner, too amazed by the daily miracle of our fantastic son. And so when I think about hitting the ten year milestone with Girl with her Head in a Book, that is the ultimate triumph.

I have really enjoyed the last few months of Austen adventures and then the Brontëing at the beginning of the year. I do feel that I’ve done more reading of books that I feel I ‘ought’ to rather than ones that I’ve actually enjoyed. I got to June and realised that I didn’t actually have enough books that I loved for a ‘Top Ten Books of 2021 so far’ … not a fantastic sign. I also had to go through my bookshelves recently and I realised yet again just how many unread books I have which I am genuinely interested in reading. So I think another push to reclaim my To Be Read pile is in order. Not thematic, not for a project, just for the fun of it.

I will always be the Girl with her Head in a Book but I think that this year has made me take a breath and accept that the time may come I can’t keep up the site. Most importantly, if that ever comes to pass, I will be ok. I have seen other blogs go quiet over the years and it always seems sad when the lights turn off but setting yourself on fire to keep the blog furnace burning isn’t healthy either. I am here for the moment and I am glad to be so. I hope to be here for a good while longer. Please come by and say hello. Happy blogging birthday to me!

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7 thoughts on “Blogger Birthday – Hitting Double Figures

  1. Congratulations on ten years! That is a truly impressive number. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful, detailed posts and I hope there are many more to come. However, if you ever decide to stop writing here please know that all the work you have put into this site is greatly appreciated. I am interested to see what books you decide to read just because you want to. I hope you will blog about some of them.

    1. Thank you – stopping for good isn’t in the plan but it’s just nice that the idea doesn’t fill me with dread the way that it used to. I put a lot of pressure on myself in the past to see pthe site up and running and with posts scheduled and it’s nice to just breathe and take it as it comes. Also good to try and keep my reading a bit more scatter gun! Still clearing up some Austen stuff and then on to the next!

  2. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, I have enjoyed reading your content over the last couple of years, and hope you will continue for as long as the blog continues to be a fun and relaxing activity for you rather than a chore to become stressed about. Isn’t St. Andrews a lovely place? I’m glad you have such fond memories of it, and will be able to make new ones with your family.

    1. St Andrews is a wonderful place – it was so lovely to rediscover it with my own little family. It’s a nice size of a pace with a toddler too – not too busy and lots of open spaces to run around in, plus the beach which he loved. We will definitely be back again. I hope to keep blogging but I’m also just taking it easy on myself – enjoying just reading and relaxing. By the way – I have really valued your comments over the past few years too and hope you will continue visiting as long as the site keeps trundling along 🙂

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