Dr Wikipedia defines identity in the context of social psychology as the “distinctive charateristic belonging to any given individual or shared by all members of a particular social category or group”.
I stopped blogging for a while, not just here but in other areas, both personal and professional. I found that my need to write in blog form had dried up. Each time I tried (or was encouraged) to kick-start the process, I stalled. Not because of the lack of material, or the inability to express what was in my head. That was all still intact.
It took a while to get to the root of why the need to describe and dissect my life had dried up. I wasn’t really sure why I was doing it or what I was trying to achieve by the action of blogging. It is not for me a source of income, or the likely route to a source of income. I work in a field very remote from running or fitness. I do need to write, and occasionally blog for work, but the nature of that writing is very different. l am not at the running blog level of popularity where I am offered items to write about or given access to things I wouldn’t normally have, I don’t create recipes, training plans, run a group or sell clothing; so I have nothing material to offer my audience. I wouldn’t want to, it would introduce a level of ‘work’ into something that has always been intended to be an amateur activity. I learnt a long time ago that my running and cycling are not of the rags to riches type – I don’t have a story of Cinderella the Couch Potato being swept off her feet by Prince Running and living happily ever after as the Queen of Thin and Fit Land. My fitness is a cycle of boom and bust, plenty and famine which leads to nothing except (like a long-running soap) the next peak or trough. So inspiration is another thing I don’t offer, don’t be like me or you will struggle realistically with your desire to be the woman sitting in the sun, with a G & T watching the runners go by with one eye, while she reads a good book.
Why did I start blogging so many years ago (2007)? Mainly to make my friends laugh at my ability to get lost and fall over at the same time. Also as a space to stuff the reams of thought that pour through your head when you run ( I have the same problem with motorway driving and made a different home for those thoughts). But after several years, you do start to worry and wonder about the use for all those words. And realise that you have had some of those stunningly unique and funny thoughts over and over again.
There are millions of blogs out there, probably tens or hundreds of thousands devoted to the riveting observations of those who run; excuse me for not looking up the numbers. Of those blogs many are winking in and out of existence as I type; some are started for events or fundraising or on a whim. Few last very long.They are all presumably a part of our need to assert our identity in this huge virtual society, and to identify ourselves with the group into which we fit, to whittle down that immensity of millions into a few hundred or thousand that we can call ‘our people’. So in the search for commonality in the vastness, we find a village called ‘running bloggers’ and make our homes.
Blogging can be as solitary as writing a diary, or as public as a newspaper column. But it is a mark in the shifting sand of our virtual society that says ‘I am here, I am this’. Whether we are one writer with no audience or a team with an audience of millions, we still just saying ‘This is me.’