“It Always Seems Impossible Until it is Done” (Nelson Mandela)

Last January 1st I made a single New Year’s resolution. I resolved to begin a blog containing my reflections as I transitioned into retirement. When I first moved to Beijing in 2001, I started a small journal that I emailed to friends and family. I, unfortunately, didn’t maintain that log for long, and always wished that I had. So many stories and newnesses from that period have been lost or modified over time.

I love to write, to wonder, to discover and to share. I now had a second chance with another new chapter in my life. Would I have any readers? I tried not to think about that part. I once again took a leap of faith.

If a crystal ball would have told me that within one year I would have written 71 posts, had 5,526 blog visitors (from 95 countries), 13,479 post views and 922 comments (plus an equal amount of blog comments on other social media links) I would have determined that the ball was broken! I realize that for the big and even medium-sized blogs out there these numbers may seem minuscule, but to me, they are a miracle.

As I continued to write and to read other people’s blogs, I began to discover what, for me, lies at the true heart of blogging. Keeping in touch with friends, building new relationships along the way, sharing ideas, connecting, reaching out, and inspiring each other have by far been the most rewarding part of the on-line writing experience. It is you that has allowed this to happen–and for that, I am both humbled and grateful. Blogging has also allowed me to process sorrowful events that have taken place for me this past year. Your kind words and sharing of your own experiences have deeply touched both me and my family.

In honour of this blogiversary, I have decided to shake things up a bit. I have updated my About Page (which you can check out here). I have also switched to a new theme (bye bye WordPress TwentyFourteen, hello TwentySeventeen). After my last comment update fail, I was hesitant to mess with my comment section, but I have added a feature that automatically allows other bloggers to link their most recent post. Fingers crossed that it works this time! I am also toying with the thought of switching to https (Secure Sockets Layer) but so far have remained firmly undecided on this move. If you have any feedback on any of these current or potential changes, I would love to hear from you. Also, if you are a blogger who uses WordPress Twenty Seventeen, and you have any cool tips, please share!

If you check out this blog even semi-regularly (or mean to) and have not yet subscribed, I would be grateful if you would do so. It is quick, easy and free (and you can do it by email or WordPress reader). Signing up helps you to ensure that you never unintentionally miss a post. And for me, it helps me to know that you are out there.

I am now off to choose my resolution for 2017. I am aware that resolutions do not work for everyone, but for me, a single, well-chosen New Year’s goal can be very powerful. I am finding my final selection to be much more difficult this year. In choosing, I hope to keep Nelson Mandela’s wise words in mind. Please stay posted!

Feature Photo created with: canva.com.

39 Replies to ““It Always Seems Impossible Until it is Done” (Nelson Mandela)”

  1. “So many stories and newnesses from that period have been lost or modified over time.” Yes, too true. I love that you included lost and modified–it’s hard to go back to that very first dumpling or crazy taxi ride without every other one also sharing memory space.

    1. Thanks, Katharine – That’s it exactly!! Congratulations on your engagement! Wishing you happiness and contentment in 2017.

  2. Congratulations on your blogiversary. I started my blog to write but the friendships and support were the best surprise ever. I talk about blogger friends as if they were neighbors and know more about them than I do about my neighbors too!

    1. Thanks, Kate – I would never have believed the friendships that can be formed through blogging. I love the familiar faces that show up each week — and I now miss them when they are not there.

  3. I’m very bad at blog housekeeping – I’ve had a to-do list for ages which includes rewriting “About” and changing themes, so well done for actually doing those things! Perhaps a blog makeover needs to be my resolution…..

    Happy New Year!
    Anabel Marsh recently posted…Glasgow canal walksMy Profile

    1. Hi, Anabel – ‘Blog touch-ups’ are quite addictive once you start. I kept putting mine off as well so saved them for my blogiversary. Once I began, it was actually quite fun…and hard to stop!

    1. Hi, Tom – Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for the extra blog traffic – I frequently get readers sent over from your blog! Glad that you enjoyed the fireworks!

  4. Happy blog anniversary. As another small blogger, your numbers are impressive!

    For me the new year is about looking at accomplishments from last year and plans for the new. This time between the holidays still feels like “down time”‘even in retirement! A good time for introspection and planning – Not resolutions as much as goals & plans. I’ m planing to post about it! Happy New Year๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

  5. Happy blogiversary! Wahoo! I salute you for making fundamental website updates – I’m a little wary of having any changes I make go terribly, terribly wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do want to update my very out-of-date “About” page too… I’m not worried about doing that, just lazy. So, good for you, and thanks for the prompt for me to do the same.

    I’m so looking forward to reading more of your great posts in 2017 and, most of all, to our continued friendship!
    Janis recently posted…A New Yearโ€™s Resolution for EVERYONEMy Profile

  6. Love the new look; ditto for the “About” page, which is wonderfully accessorized by the pictures (particularly the very handsome one of you and your husband). Well done. Congrats too on the blogiversary. May you have a productive and “well-written” start to 2017. – Marty

    1. Thanks, Marty – As Janice mentioned, there is always the fear of things going (terribly) wrong when doing blog updates. So far, the changes seem to be working well (fingers crossed). Wishing you a happy and productive New Year too!

  7. Happy New Year and Your Blog Anniversary! Love to read your writing as the words bring me closer to you as if I am still working with you:) Would love to be noticed once you post on the blog.

  8. Donna! Your blog looks great and congrats on your blogoversary! I think stats and numbers are over-rated anyway. We need feedback, but engaging with others on this blog journey takes time, but worth every moment! I am so blessed by the relationships I have built as a blogger, and excited to meet some of them face-to-face! I hope you can find a secure certificate at a good rate. When I self-hosted with BH, their package was ridiculously expensive. That was one reason i went back to WP dot com. To be honest, having the “s” on the http is not that critical to a blog. Many do not have that and work just fine! Happy New year, Donna!

    1. Hi, Terry – Great tips! Thank you for your on-going support. I appreciate it greatly. Did you get a chance to have a meet-up with Janis when you were in Southern California?

  9. I love your new WordPress theme, Donna. And, the “post comment” button after writing a comment is way more obvious than before, when it was white (I kept forgetting to point that out to you). Looking forward to your newest resolution!

    In regards to lost email reports from the past… have you checked your sent folder for that time? Maybe you can retrieve the emails that way?? Or, if people replied to (some of) those emails, you might find some of the content back in your “friends” folder or other folders you might have kept conversations…
    Liesbet recently posted…Monthly Expenses โ€“ December 2016My Profile

    1. Hi, Liesbet – I always love your detailed and helpful comments. I am glad that the comment feature on my blog is now more user friendly than it was previously (I LOVE comments)! The ‘lost’ information from my transition to living in Beijing occurred because I quit recording it. I am grateful to have a second chance to record a brand new transition (retirement)!

  10. Donna-Enjoy reading your writings so so much. Congratulations to your successful transition–what a classic transformation of lifestyle! Happy 2017!

    1. Hi, Suyi – I am so happy to keep in touch! Thank you for following along — and for commenting. Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy 2017!

  11. Hi Donna – it’s been lovely finding your blog thru BSL and I love your round up of your first year of blogging. I did a similar one recently because I’ve just passed two years and I can’t believe how much it has expanded my life and opened my world. I have friends who read it and I’ve made so many blogging friends along the way too. I’ll be interested to see your NY resolution – have you thought about choosing a word (I’ve done it for the last 3 years and it’s been really fun!) x

    1. Hi, Leanne – Thank you so much for stopping by. I just checked out your word of the year and can’t wait to read further how that word inspires your writing. For this year, I have stuck with my traditional single resolution — and an extremely conventional one at that! At three days in, I can already see a profound impact that such a simple resolution is making on my choices and decisions. I promise to reveal my resolution a little bit later (so that I have more to report…and don’t embarrass myself too badly if it totally doesn’t stick). I also just checked out your “round up” on your second year of blogging http://www.crestingthehill.com.au/2016/12/midlife-monday-a-quarter-of-a-million.html What an inspirational post! As a blogger, it got me TOTALLY hooked into reading your posts further!!

  12. Hi Donna, Congratulations on your blogaversary and what a wonderful result for you. I found you through Leanne at Cresting the Hill who is one of my ‘blogging’ friends and also another Aussie. I look forward to following your blog and have a fabulous New Year.

    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for stopping by (and thank you to Leanne for “introducing” us). I just left a comment on your site as well. I look forward to getting additional health and fitness tips from your posts!

  13. Hi Donna,
    I’m new to your site. I’m also one of those people who won’t watch a movie if I have missed the opening credits. So when our mutual friend, Fran, suggested that we check out each other’s blogs, I was interested but a bit unsure. While singing your praises, Fran had mentioned that you were connected to lots of other bloggers. Was I going to be entering the party too late? Would I be the guest standing in the corner trying to appear intelligent and feel wanted while the real conversations swirled around me?

    Three events of the past week have allayed my concerns. You welcomed me warmly and openly in our initial email conversation. You generously left a comment on one of my posts this week. And I availed myself of the pleasure of reading every single word of your year’s worth of posts.

    Your other readers will already be aware of your generosity of spirit. But if there’s anyone who hasn’t read everything you’ve written, I highly recommend it. My reading process was to read one category at a time, starting from the bottom post in each category and working my way up to the most recent post of the category. Doing this, I’ve had a wonderful window into your first year of blogging and your (almost) first year of retirement. I applaud your love of new learning and new experiences. Having the time and ease for these is absolutely, for me, the single greatest pleasure of retired life.

    Let me add my congratulations on this one year anniversary. A great many bloggers never make it to this point. You’re not only here but you’re here with consistent, high quality posts. Kudos, Donna. I look forward to reading your retirement reflections (don’t even think about changing that title!) for years to come.

    1. Hi, Karen – There seriously needs to be a ‘reader’s award’ for anyone diligent enough to go back and read all seventy-two of my posts at one time! As I mentioned in my email, I believe that the only other person to read all of my posts is my Mom. Not even my husband or sons have read that many!!

      Welcome to my little corner of the retirement blogger’s world. As I also mentioned in my email, there are many great retirement bloggers who pop in here, and I also try to keep my blogroll updated with retirement bloggers whom I love! It is an open and generous group, so no standing in the corner for you. Please just jump right in!

      One of the other retirement bloggers (Janis from RetirementallyChallenged) and I plan to begin a link-up soon (she says with confidence). It should be a great way to meet and mingle with others who have similar interests. I’ll keep you posted!!

  14. Happy blog anniversary Donna. It’s a real achievement to get through the first year and building an audience is well worth the effort. It’s always good to have a cleanup and I too have recently updated my About me page. I enjoy reading your reflections and considering my retirement hasn’t been my idea i am very new to the whole retirement arena. I look forward to catching up on my reading and interacting with others in similar situations to see how they cope. All the best for 2017!
    Debbie Harris recently posted…Whatโ€™s in a name? โ€“ Weekly Photo ChallengeMy Profile

  15. Hi, Debbie – Thanks so much for stopping by. I just finished reading your updated About Page. It was incredibly inspiring and has made me want to go back and read ALL of the posts that you mentioned (especially the one about the Queen, and the other from your daughter as guest-blogger)! Looks like I have much reading to do — I can’t wait to get started!

  16. Congrats on your one year bloggoversity. That’s a huge accomplishment. Keep ’em coming. And yes, I’ve discovered so many new friends through my blog – men and women I may never meet ‘in person,’ and yet who have made an indelible difference in my life.

    1. Hi, Pam – It is incredible how blogging allows us to so openly share, and be so incredibly connected, to people whom we may never meet in person. I am a huge fan of your writing so greatly appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

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