Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

One year ago I started this blog to help me go through the emotional journey of graduating my youngest child from high school, downsizing and potentially selling my home, and moving across the world from the American Midwest to Prague, Czech Republic.

My home in America

One year ago, I was living a very American mom lifestyle in a 3 bedroom/3 bath suburban home with one child at university and another in her senior year at high school. I only went places by car. I didn't yet know how to blog. I didn't yet know how to Twitter. I didn't yet know how to couchsurf.

I was mowing the lawn once a week. I read somewhere that not having a lawn to mow anymore frees up 30 hours a year. Hallelujah! I still own the house and the magnificent blackberry tree that goes with it. Currently, I have it rented out to some terrific people.

At the beginning of my blogging journey, I was working on what to do with all of my "stuff." I don't think of myself as particularly attached to possessions but once a lifetime of them have built up, the task of thoughtfully going through each and every one and making a decision about what to do with each one is overwhelming.

Fortunately, I found this fantastic book that helped me go through the process in an incredibly empowering way. It's called "When Organizing Isn't Enough: Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life" by Julie Morgenstern. Wow, did that book help me. I didn't waste any years in procrastination before starting. All of those posts are under the label SHED. They used to be the most-read part of my blog.

My children have thrived on their own. Each of them are attending their university of choice and living their own dream. They're loving life and they haven't needed their mother stateside to do it.

Pinch me!

And where am I now? I'm living in Prague!!! In the six months since I moved here, I've found great students, great friends, a great neighborhood, a great flat, a great flatmate, and a great church community. I feel like I'm living my values 100%. Life is awesome!

My property maintenance consists of cleaning my apartment every other week when it's my turn. That takes about two hours max.

I no longer have to worry about oil changes, or tires, or brakes. That frees up even more time. Using public transportation has been a Godsend. In six months, I've lost twenty pounds because I'm walking to and from metro and tram stops rather than merely to the driveway. I have zero worries about traffic - imagine how stress-free that makes life.

Even the stress of having a rotten president has gone away! Hallelujah!

Over a year of blogging, I've written 226 posts. I've had 4,200 visitors and 10,000 page hits. My blog was chosen as Expat Blog of the Month (thank you Julian!) in December of 2008. Now that I'm actually living here in Prague my readership keeps growing about 5% a month. If this were a business that would be an outstanding rate of growth. But it's not, it's just for fun.

And fun it has been. Blogging has helped me focus, focus, focus on achieving my dream of moving to Prague to learn about this beautiful city and the wonderful people of the Czech Republic. Thank you for reading and being part of the conversation!


Michael Carøe Andersen said...

Hi Karen, as always a very inspiring blog post. It's really cool that you left the comfort of your home and made the move to Prague.

Best of luck for the next year (and many more) of blogging.

Sher said...

Hi Karen,
Happy Birthday to your blogging!!! Love this post showing how you were able to get here! You should include some backlinks to those posts that go along with the themes you raised in this post!

Anyway, happy birthday...and wishing you all the best in this next year of blogging and life adventures!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Jana said...

Looking forward to reading more from you.


Kelly! said...

Congrats Mom!

Chaplain said...

Hi Karen! Many congratulations, both on one year of the blog but also on achieving your dream. I just hope & pray that Czech bureaucracy doesn't foul things up for you!

Whilst I've not read the the Morgenstern book, I concur with the ideas she puts forward. I found going through all my possessions and getting rid of so much 'stuff' I just didn't need, was truly liberating. And making my kids (now aged 24 & 28) sort out what they did and didn't want of their things, helped them grow as people and become truly independent.

Like you, I'm enjoying the freedom of having no lawn to mow, no garden to try & keep under control, together with far less living space to clean. And yes! Prague's intergrated public transport system is wonderful & far less stressful than driving everywhere.

We enjoy having you as part of the Church community. Your enthusiasm and smile are infectious!

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