Lynet has tagged me for the Five ways blogging changed my life meme. I've taken my sweet time answering this one because the change has been so dramatic that I hardly know where to begin. But I'll take a stab at it:
1. New Skillz: 1.(a) Writing, obviously. Regular writing exercise for a few years is bound to have an effect.
1.(b) The new skills that surprised me most, though, are the social skills I've developed. I've always liked parties (and especially holding dinner parties for friends), but aside from isolated social events I'd always though of myself as a shy, aloof, anti-social, introverted person. The kind of person who doesn't make friends quickly or easily.
Now, through blogging, I feel like I know everybody. I have gotten to know an astonishing number of fascinating people around the globe through their blogs, through their books and manuscripts I've read, and through email and chat conversations. I've even had the fun of meeting a few of my blog friends in person, and I hope to meet more. It's amazing!!! And I never would have guessed or predicted this would happen.
2. It eats all of my free time: I'm starting to think that blogging is a form of O.C.D.
2.(a) I get up at 6 a.m. every morning so that I can have time to check my stats and reply to comments before work. I'm proud to report that my hit counter has recently passed 500,000 hits, half-a-million. (Note that that doesn't include hits on my articles on other blogs, but I am including every click on every page of Exmormon. I figure that if after reading one page the reader liked it well enough to click to the next page, that should count for something, at least in my own personal accounting. :D )
2.(b) Even though I I only post a few times a week, I still spend all my free time on it. When I'm commuting on the train or just walking around town, I'm generally composing blog entries in my head. Or reading a book (which I will no doubt review on my blog). Or reading a fellow blogger's book or manuscript and contemplating it (which I may or may not blog about, depending on the author's preference). Then, to relax when I get home from work, I grab a beer and skim the hundred or so new blog entries that have shown up in my google reader since the day before, selecting a few of them to read carefully and reply to.
Actually, even before blogging came along, I used to analyze different subjects and ideas obsessively and compose elaborate essays in my head. But I never used to bother to write them down because who's going to read them? I'm glad that blogging has given me the motivation to write.
2.(c) Naturally, the things I used to do with my free time, I don't do them anymore. I would be spending an hour or so a day on German verb drills, but that's an hour or so that I just don't want to cut out of my blogging time. Also, I'm less ambitious at work these days: to be the star requires a certain amount of thinking about problems from work on your own time at home, and I just don't care enough anymore to think about work anytime except when I'm physically there. Also, there are fun arts-n-crafts things I'd like to be doing with my kids (like making up puppet shows like my mom did with me as a kid). I haven't done as well on that as I'd like to, but I'm planning to make an effort to do better.
I probably shouldn't be posting all this since now everyone will think I'm insane. Next thing I know, people will come and stage an intervention. ;^)
Then -- by coincidence -- UneFemmePlusCourageuse tagged me for the Where would your eight homes be? meme. I imagine the idea is to tell you where my eight fantasy homes would be -- if I were to stop wasting all my time blogging and make some money instead. ;^)
1. Paris, France. I know it's cliché, but it's a really pleasant city, and incredibly convenient for visiting friends. It's so central for train and plane travel (and tourism in general), that it's easy to get people to visit if you have an apartment in Paris to invite them to.
2. New York, NY, U.S.A. Same reason.
3. Bordeaux, France. This was the one place in the world where I most felt at home, and (after seven years there) I was sorry to leave.
4. Zurich, Switzerland. My job is here, and so is my husband's, so it's rather convenient to have a home here. Also, it's an incredibly beautiful city and a nice place to live.
5. Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A. That way I could see my family all the time, and my kids could see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Then those guys could organize all the arts-n-crafts and puppet shows for the kids, etc., and I could stop feeling guilty about it. ;^)
6. Provo, UT, U.S.A. Haha! Just kidding!!! :D
After that, I'd just like to tour the world -- not necessarily settle anywhere else. I'd like to visit India and other parts of Asia, Africa, various islands, more of Europe, and everywhere else! We'll see how much of that actually ever happens.
I don't feel like tagging anyone in particular today, but if either of these memes interests you, please go with it!!! And if you do the first one, don't forget to link back to the originator of the meme.