You might already know this, but I think of my hair as a metaphor for my life. Seriously, I do.
Let me explain.
Back when I was a little kid, my mum struggled with my long, thick hair. She scraped it back from my face, gathered it into a tight ponytail, cut my bangs short, and in that way subdued the mop. At age nine, I had my pony tail cut off, my natural curl manifested itself big time, and my mum threw in the towel, and the hairbrush. I’ve been fighting my hair battles on my own ever since.
We all have to learn to to fight our own battles, follicular or otherwise. Right?
Over the years my hair battles mirrored my struggles in life. Struggles with my rampant perfectionism, my need to be in control, my youthful lack of confidence and the need to look good, and thus feel better about myself. Looking back, I see that I was constantly seeking change, the perfect style, the perfect colour, and the perfect cut, often one that was totally inappropriate for me and for my hair. It’s as if I was searching for my identity through my hair. Ha.
|Reeling in the years, all the ‘dos from age 6 to 60.|
I only reached some sort of acceptance of my hair when I was in my forties. At age forty-six, I cut off the smooth bob which I’d been striving for since I was a teenager, which I’d finally achieved just after my fortieth birthday, and which had driven me nuts for six years. Gad, that hairstyle was labour intensive. And when I finally went back to short, I felt more like myself. What a relief to have the confidence to no longer try to be something I wasn’t. Yep. My hair was indeed a metaphor for my life.
That acceptance, however, didn’t mean the hair (or the life) battles were over, just less fraught, with fewer unrealistic expectations. I was still finding out who I was. At sixty, I tried to decide if I should go grey or not, and whether I wanted to let the curl in my hair have more freedom. Did I see myself as a naturally curly, grey-haired person? Turns out the answer to that was “maybe a little” and “not yet.”
A couple of years before I made that decision (or delayed the decision, more like) I retired, and I had to decide who I would be if I wasn’t a teacher anymore. Turns out I wanted to write a blog.
Which brings me to my point. Next week I will have been writing this blog for five years. I just reread my very first post back in January 2014. It’s about new beginnings, and how I hoped my blog would, in some ways, chronicle my journey after teaching. But it’s been much more than that.
Blogging was a new and challenging experience for me back in 2014. I researched all kinds of topics new to me, many of them to do with technology. I am most definitely NOT a tech person, and my learning curve was huge. Aside from taking pictures, and researching and writing posts, I spent hours tinkering, installing gadgets and making them work; the night of the social media buttons stands out in my memory. Ha. A year and a half ago, I nervously changed up the whole format of the blog. That was scary. I was fearful I would lose all my work from the previous years. But I didn’t and, to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself.
Lately I’ve been feeling in need of another big change. I should pause here to assure Carmen, my hairdresser, that I’m not talking about my hair when I say that. She’ll laugh. I show up at her salon about twice a year, with an array of pictures. “Let’s change things up,” I always say. Sometimes, well, most of the time now, the changes are small. Grow out asymmetrical bangs? Cut them off for a choppy, chunky style? Tinker with the colour, maybe a swatch of bright blonde in the front? You get the idea.
So no, I don’t mean a hair change this time; I mean a big blog change. I’ve been treading water for a while. I feel the blog is stale, and looks stale. That, and the fact that so many of you have contacted me about not being able to leave comments, started me on a quest. I’ve been reading a lot, trying to figure out the glitch. I do have a couple of suggestions which I’ll explain at the end of this post for those who are affected. But you know, it’s more than that. I feel, deep down, the need for major change. For some kind of renewal. I don’t want High Heels in the Wilderness to go away; I just want it to be better.
I sometimes feel as if my blog is neither fish nor fowl. It’s not a fashion blog, nor a travel blog, nor a book blog. I’ve been thinking about that these past few weeks, and I’ve come to the conclusion, again, that I won’t change that about my blog. I don’t want to write about strictly one thing or another. I see my blog as a place for story telling, and those stories will sometimes be about my childhood or life on the farm at home in New Brunswick, sometimes about Hubby and me and our adventures. At other times those stories will reflect my passion for clothes, or travel, or books. And if that’s not the way that the blogger handbook, if there were a handbook, says it should be done, then let’s toss out the handbook.
As you know, my blog is not monetised. If I provide a link to a site which sells what I’m wearing, I do it as a courtesy, in case you are interested. If that changes it would only be because some big company whose clothes I love, and already wear, decides to pay me for saying what I’m already saying. And that’s not going to happen. But I have decided that I’ll spend some cash on the blog, on doing it up right, moving platforms, upgrading my format, instead of trying to do everything for free. And to that end I’ll also spend some money to get someone to help me do that. I have over four hundred published posts that I don’t want to disappear into the ether if I make a mistake.
I’ve decided to look at it this way… if I took up oil painting I’d not be getting my canvases and paints for free. I had to pay for my skis, and my bike, and our trip to Italy. Blogging has given me every bit as much pleasure and satisfaction as my other pursuits have.
And more importantly, blogging has given me an outlet to blather on to you folks. And it’s given me … you folks. The community of like-minded women who chat with me, and sometimes with each other, here on High Heels in the Wilderness. And I sure as heck don’t want to lose that.
Now that I’ve finally made up my mind to make a leap, of some sort, I’m excited. As I said to Hubby, I feel as if I’ve been lilly-dipping, afraid to dig in, to really make a commitment to my blog. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know when, and if, I’ll be leaving “Blogger” for another platform, and where and how you can access High Heels in the Wilderness. *** I’ve lots of reading and research to do in the next while, but I DO love a project.
So big changes are in the wind, my friends… hopefully big changes, and not just a lot of hot air from me. Ha. I’m thinking this will be the blogging equivalent of chopping off my ponytail at nine years old.
Okay… maybe not as life-changing as that. But it will be pretty life-changing. And I am in the mood, as I said, for change.
*** Of course if you’re only just now reading this post, you’ll be reading the new and improved version. New template, new logo. Hope you like it.
78 thoughts on “Time for Change. And I’m Not Talking About My Hair.”
Glad to hear you are not going away! I love the combination of topics you cover.
Yay for you! I love your blog and will be impatiently waiting to see what comes.
Thanks, Leslie. Don't be too impatient… it may take me a while to make up my mind about all the things that need deciding:)
I'm excited to see what changes you make, Sue (and hoping I'll be able to benefit from your experience, if I'm honest).
I just hope I don't mess everything up:)
Go for it! It’ll work out. Perhaps take your time though.
Thanks for the encouragement. I plan to be VERY deliberate!
Thank you for taking so much trouble … I look forward to seeing where you go and continuing to follow.
Exciting and glad you that you'll keep the same subject matter. We all need changes in our 60's!
I know, eh? Retirement does NOT necessarily mean sitting on one's butt and fading into the background.
I finally had to switch to Chrome in order to leave comments on almost all blogs that are still on the blogger format. Took me ages to figure that out.
Looking forward to seeing your updated site!
Thanks, Suzanne. I think it's long overdue.
I am a poufy hair person. My lovely stylist does it flat and I feel like a pinhead. So i curl it and pouf it a little. Not the current style but it is me. This is just my thought but as we age I think fashion and beauty start to take more of a back burner. I am still interested but not as much as I once was. Think we know our style and what works.
I find I'm just as interested as I've always been, just in a different way. Not as trend influenced. I'm grateful that I've found other women through blogging who love fashion as much as they love books:)
Sue, I'm excited for you! We either move forward or slide backwards. It's odd but true that we can't stand still. Looking forward to your changes. 🙂
Ann in Missouri
Thanks Ann. It makes me angry that so many people equate retirement with "sliding backwards." We can continue to challenge ourselves even if we don't get a salary for what we do.
Do glad you’re not leaving us, Sue! I look forward to your insightful posts! Exciting times ahead and good luck with the changes.
Thanks, Susan. Wherever the blog goes, I hope you'll still follow.
"Neither fish nor fowl" works wonderfully for me. I discovered you at some point during 2014 (though not right at the beginning), and have enjoyed all aspects of your blog since then. (I'd be hard-pressed to say which kind of entry I look forward to the most, but I'm particularly grateful for all the additions to my book list thanks to you and your commenters.)
I'm glad that you're going to keep "blathering on" about the same things, and look forward to seeing your new and improved format.
Yes.. you have been around almost since the beginning. Thanks so much for continuing to hang around, Denise.
When I was working I hated change. It really complicated up my organized system. In retired life my motto is, change is good. Lol
I too have lost many comments. Good luck with the new format…I’m excited.
Thanks, Robin. I'm hoping the new format won't be so frustrating. Thanks for persevering!
Ps…I discovered I can leave a comment on your blog thru the FB post. 🙂
I'm sure it would be great !
All hail change. You go, girlfriend.
Just read the captions which didn't really show up on my phone..Pageboy Fail and Afro Desperation…genius
Hi, Sue and what an interesting post and so similar to my experience. Several things strike a chord. I don't exactly have a problem with my hair but the number of changes I've made over the years are remarkably similar to your changes. I'm now almost all white/grey but longer and not hiding from age so, off the face to show my forehead – no bangs. I will be copying this response, btw, because I too have made comments on your blog and they've disappeared so will save and try again. It is Blogger as there are other Blogger blogs that I have difficulty with and thanks for those tips. OK, re: you changing the actual blog and then your decision to monetise. Btw, yay to change says me – it's good. I too have thought long and hard about renewal and have decided this. My actual blog will remain un-monetised, instead I have gone to YouTube and started a YT channel on makeup for older women. WHAT a learning curve – but so good to have that I think, as ti keeps us on our toes and we learn, learn, learn. Hey and I could make money out of it! So, am with you all the way in your challenge – it's all good!!! And thanks for sharing this – loved reading about your choices. Best of luck – now going to copy this response!!!! And this is the 3rd try, on Firefox this tiem instead of Safari!
Yes, Blogger has been a trial for many people. Hoping that the new format will change that. Good luck with your new venture, Penny.
I enjoy the conversational feeling of your blog. I have often thought it would be quite interesting to chat with you over coffee, sharing perspectives on fashion, travel, books and aging. I believe in change, in refining style always, in trying something new and, perhaps, a bit scary. Bravo to you for trying something new to you and I look forward to seeing what your changes bring to the blog.
Thanks very much. Change can be good… scary, but good.
I'm looking forward to whatever changes you make! Just keep on keeping on – I love your blog – I enjoy some sanity in this media moment! Love N
Thanks for tuning in, Nancy! We should have coffee one day.
Changing, learning and growing through new experiences is such a wonderful part of life…looking forward to watching the changes and growth that will take place on the blog in the future! I have appreciated the various topics, information and stories you cover and will anticipate future topics when they are posted….kudos to you for being adventurous with a new look (aka 'hairstyle' for the blog)! Cheers, Alayne
Ha. That's right, Alayne… a new hairstyle for the blog.
I love your combination of themes and I love that you're not always trying to get us to buy stuff, as is the case with so many blogs. A couple of years ago I stripped back my "women over 50" blog commitments to just two – yours and one other (Midlifechic) when I discovered how much of my shopping was a direct result of reading blogs. I also appreciate that you fund this blog – a fact I've never taken for granted. Keep up the wonderful work – you make this Ottawa girl proud.
Thanks, Lianne. That's so kind of you to say so. Very much appreciated:)
I love your blog and somehow discovered you right about when you won the Twiggy jacket. Enjoyed reading your first post! Like others, I appreciate the variety of your stories and the fact that you're not pushing products. That said, I've occasionally found shoes or clothes via your posts and I love seeing them in real life first. Looking forward to your next steps. 🙂
P.S. I've struggled with straight fine hair the same way you struggle with curls and thick hair. Over time, I came to a similar conclusion and have a short haircut that I've had for years. And like you, I randomly take pictures to my hairdresser looking to "change things up a bit." She does, and although it doesn't look all that different to others, I appreciate a small change to update once in a while.
I use Pinterest now to keep track of hairstyles. I'm sure Carmen cringes every time I get out my phone and say…I've been thinking. Ha.
I am SO glad your blog is not going away, because the mix of topics makes it one of my very favourite reads!
Thanks for saying that!
Hi Susan, I discovered your blog through the makeup ‘makeover’ you had done a few years ago. We’d visited Canada that year and Ottawa was my favourite city, so when I discovered that you live there, plus the fact that your hair ‘problems’ pretty much mirror mine, I subscribed and have followed you ever since. I love the fact that you don’t confine your posts to one genre, so that when a new post drops in it could be about anything, just like having a get together and chat with a close friend. I hope this new project you are undertaking is a success, and look forward to hearing about your news, views and adventures for as long as you wish to share them with us!
Thanks. Jean. I always find it interesting to hear how people found my blog and why they stuck around.
Susan, I really like reading your blog and follow you on instagram. I find that I have more in common with you then some of the other over 60 bloggers and since I am looking at retirement in a year I also am questioning what my life will look like when I am no longer working in a professional capacity. Please continue with your wisdom.
Well… wisdom… not sure I have much of that. More like lots of questions and muddling through to find answers. But thanks for saying so:)
I hope you can also enjoy the process of reimplementing your blog – maybe you will find there are design changes, functional changes you want to make too. xox.
I'm kind of going cross-eyed looking at possible themes and functions etc etc. Looking for something that suits me and my limited abilities as a photographer. So many of the blogs have beautiful, but HUGE shots in their posts. Almost certainly taken with fabulous cameras and much better photographers than me. But I still want the blog to be mostly about the writing, illustrated by the photos.
You should be able to wind up with an interface that allows you to upload photos at any size you want. If you work with tech support, make sure they let you test the editor before you settle on an implementation. The dashboard I have allows me to upload very large images, but then display them at any size I choose. What you are choosing, maybe, is the size of the column your text will be in? In any case, give your wish list to tech support (text gets priority in design, customizable photo sizing, etc.) and they should be able to find you the right template.
Thanks, Lisa. It's good to know what to ask for.
I've been sort of thinking along the same lines lately, that it may be time for a change. But not to content…one of my blogging friends suggested I go with a food blog, but I get more interaction/comments when I just write a post from the heart, or post about my home or garden, so I can't see just sticking to recipes. Looking forward to seeing the changes, although since I just recently found your blog it's certainly not stale to me!
As I said to Lisa above, I'm a little intimated by the professional level photography on many blogs. Way above my limited capabilities.
Full support from the left coast! Hopefully the implementation will go smoothly…..
Suz from Vancouver
Good for you Sue. I’m interested in all that you write. Some times my comments show, and other times disappear. That’s one of the reasons that I don’t comment often. However, I ALLWAYS read. Looking forward to your changes. Oh, and I can keep up with all that’s happening in the area that I formerly lived.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully your comments won't disappear when I move to another format.
I have been reading your blog from the beginning and love your mix of topics although I don't always comment. Therefore, I am pleased to hear that you will not be changing the content. I do, however, think that to continue to grow we do need to try new things whether they be style, hair or learning new things. I always appreciate the effort that you put into your excellent blog and it's certainly one of the few that I read. I don't wish to be bombarded with things to purchase and the pop up ads. I am sure you will have lots of fun making the changes.
Thanks for sticking around for so long, for being such a faithful reader and commenter, Christy. I think I'll be looking for new and interesting topic ideas along the same lines as I write about now. That's really the fun part. I'm excited, as well, that I will no longer be limiting the format to the free templates on Blogger. Loosening the purse strings somewhat… that will be fun too:)
I thoroughly enjoy reading you — and the variety of subject matter that you address — but I also understand, completely. (I haven't changed the look-and-feel of my blog in several years, and coming up on 10 years, I need something different, something new…)
I will say that your topics feel cohesive, so while you have breadth, the common thread — a very authentic "you" — really feels good to the reader. So I, too, am glad that you will still be writing across subjects of interest, and so beautifully.
(By the way… I love seeing all the hairstyles.)
But… you see… your blog looks so professional, and is one I have long admired. Mine has moved from being very hokey looking at the beginning to somewhat better, but I hope to make it a bit more spruced up. And as I said to Christy, now that I have decide to not limit myself to free stuff… that will be fun!
You had me worried! For awhile this read like a good bye post. Thank goodness it isn't!
I think you and I must be long lost twins… same hair, retired teachers, similar blogs. Like yours, my blog doesn't fit the handbook. It's not about one thing and I'm not seeking monetary gain from it. I just love to write and interact with my readers on a variety of topics.
Looking forward to the new High Heels in the Wilderness look!
Ha. We should write our own handbook, Elaine.
Congratulations on your 5th blogaversary!
Curious to see what the changes bring.
(Do you moderate comments? any chance that the lost comments are lurking in your spam folder?)
Thanks, Diana. I don't moderate comments. I receive e-mails whenever a comment is posted and if my Spam filter on Blogger hasn't caught an obviously spammy comment, I delete it myself. The Spam filter is not very good. I'm much better at catching the weird syntax and obvious attempt to promote something.
P.S. There are no comments undetected in my spam filter. I keep a close eye on it.
I really enjoy your blog. The variety of subjects, the lack of sales promotions….I also thought it was a goodbye post and was upset. So glad you're staying.
Thanks, Kathy. Not leaving blogging… just moving house, so to speak.
So glad you're not going anywhere! I love reading about your style journey and books and anything else you feel like writing. Happy New Year! Definitely a good time for change.
Thanks, Beth. I'm excited for the changes.
Keep blathering and carry on. I adore your blog and look forward to seeing where you take it from here. Best wishes for the upcoming new year.
Ha. Thanks, Beth.
Hairy moment there! Thought you were moving on from blogging. Delighted it's just a styling issue and look forward to seeing your new look. It's great that you've discovered a retirelent activity that give you and us such pleasure. Iris
Ha. Thanks, Iris.
Whew….so glad you're continuing to blog! I look forward to all your posts!
Renee in NorCal
I am very excited for you. Several years ago you suggested a big change for me, and it has turned out to be incredibly satisfying – both challenging and totally in my wheelhouse. I wish you joyous research and implementation.
Thanks, Nancy. It's been fun to totally refurbish my wheelhouse:)
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