Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 years at Epinions...

I posted the following Writer's Corner piece last year when I was celebrating my 10th anniversary on Epinions.com.  I figured since I have no way of knowing what's going to happen to my content once the site goes down for good, I'd repost this here.  A lot has changed since 2003.  It was fun to write this, though.

10 Years! My how time flies!

Mar 20, 2013

The Bottom Line Ten years. That could be a prison sentence!

I'm feeling a little sheepish this morning because I just realized that yesterday was my 10th anniversary on Epinions.com. Here's a quick look at where I've come from in ten years.

On March 19, 2003, I had been married about four months. I lived in a dumpy apartment in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was ten months out of graduate school and on a fruitless job search.

On March 19, 2013, I've been married ten years and four months. I live in a nice rental house in Sanford, North Carolina. I've long since given in to my lifestyle as an Army wife, freelance writer, doggie mommy, and Facebooker extraordinaire.

On March 19, 2003, I found Epinions because I wanted to vent about some outrageously poor customer service I got from my cell phone service provider.

On March 19, 2013, I have an iPhone and don't deal with customer service because my husband handles the cell phone bill. The provider that sent me to Epinions to vent is now defunct.

On March 19, 2003, my husband had many years of child support and military service looming in the future. He had bad credit as a result of a disastrous first marriage. His ex-wife was taking about half his salary and doing her best to alienate his kids. At that point, I hadn't yet met them. I would meet them for the first and only time in June 2003. Their mother concluded that I was a "bad influence".

On March 19, 2013, my husband no longer pays child support. He also has no contact with his two daughters or former stepson, all of whom are now young adults and under the hugely mistaken impression that he wasn't "there" for them. Miraculously, the ex is still married to her third husband and now has two more kids, bringing her grand total to five from her three husbands. She may have also gotten my husband's kids adopted by her third victim. We don't know, because they don't speak to us. We do know that my husband's daughters now use their stepfather's last name.

On March 19, 2003 I hoped someday I would be a mother, but knew my husband would have to get "unsnipped" in order for that to happen. He did get unsnipped, but I never conceived.

On March 19, 2013 I am now at peace with being a mom to dogs, since watching what happened with my husband's kids pretty much turned me off of motherhood. (I know this sounds really bitter, but I'm actually a lot less bitter now than I was... Life is pretty good.)

On March 19, 2003, I was driving a 1997 Toyota Corolla that I figured I'd have forever because I figured we'd never recover from my husband's financial hell.

On March 19, 2013, I'm driving a 2009 Mini Cooper S Convertible that I've had for four years and bought brand new. It will be paid for in less than a year. Last month, we paid off my husband's car, a 2006 Toyota RAV, two months early.

On March 19, 2003, my husband was hoping he'd make the Lieutenant Colonel's list.

On March 19, 2013, my husband is approved to be promoted to Colonel, but will have to retire before he can be one.

On March 19, 2003, I wondered if we'd ever leave the DC area.

On March 19, 2013, I've lived in northern Virginia, Germany, the Atlanta area, and central North Carolina... and plan to move to San Antonio in the next few months where my husband will retire next year.

On March 19, 2003, I wondered if I'd ever get to travel again.

On March 19, 2013, I'm looking forward to a trip to Italy and Greece in May and looking back on a great trip to Scotland in November of 2012. Over the past five years or so, we've traveled to more countries than I can quickly count and we've done so in style. Writing about those experiences on Epinions has been a great source of pleasure for me.

On March 19, 2003, I had a zero total balance on Epinions.

On March 19, 2013, I've earned a grand total of $10,497.13 on Epinions.com. It seems completely mind boggling that I've been able to do that. I certainly never expected to. I now wish I had invested that money somewhere.

On March 19, 2003, I was on antidepressants. I was heavier than I wanted to be.

On March 19, 2013, I'm not on antidepressants anymore and I'm even heavier than I'd like to be.

On March 19, 2003, I had a blue-eyed beagle husky mix named CuCullain.

On March 19, 2013, I have a beagle named Zane and a beagle-hound mix named Arran. My husband and I have rescued a total of five beagles... so far all of them have been males.

On March 19, 2003, I loved my husband very much.

On March 19, 2013, I love my husband ten times more than I loved him in March 2003. He's definitely a keeper.

I've come a long way in ten years. If I'm honest, I never expected to be where I am today, especially not ten years ago, when I was sure I would have launched a fancy career somewhere, firmly entrenched in the rat race. Ten years hence, I'm so glad I'm not in the rat race.

Writing is what I wanted to do from the very beginning of life. It's the reason I was an English major in college. I don't make a lot of money doing what I do, but I can't deny I've seen some success and enjoyed a lot of satisfaction. I've written in a number of places over the years, but Epinions is definitely my favorite place to share my thoughts.

I have met some amazing people on this site, online and offline. I have collected my share of Epinions ego boo and schwag. I've worn three hats and dipped my fingers in a broad gamut of categories on Epinions' dysfunctional site. I've seen people come and go and come back again. I've seen some wonderful people whose writings I admired pass away... and I've marveled at the resilience of some other wonderful people, who still keep plugging away at life and sharing their wisdom with others.

Epinions has been good to me. I will keep writing here as long as Epinions will have me. Will I still be here in ten years? Who knows? The future is a bit scary, especially since I know that our lives will change in 2014. But something tells me we'll survive.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me pass ten great years! Epinions has been a big part of that... and I'm suddenly so glad my cell phone provider gave me such crappy service!

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