Spring cleaning your categories, and is it worth it?

Staff members at WordPress.com post a writing suggestion daily for those of us who have taken up the WordPress post-a-day-2011 challenge, which I am still hanging in with although I sometimes have my doubts. Since I began this blog on January 21, I think I have used their offered suggestion once. That shows what a team-player I am. One of the suggestions this week was to do a post about your favorite posts, and since I’ve been thinking it’s time to re-evaluate, I decided to do a variation on that theme.

Why the name, Random Thoughts from Midlife?

You might say I’m a jack of all trades. (We won’t deal with the master part of that cliche.) I’ve recently wondered if I have gone through life with undiagnosed ADHD—a lazy, the-activity-is-all-in-my-head, type of ADHD. I have to contend with a barrage of multiple ideas on a regular basis. Ergo—Random Thoughts.

Midlife is where it’s at. Or at least it is for me because that’s where I’m at. And when I look back over my life from this point, I find this midlife stage to be the most challenging. It could just be that as we age life continues to get more challenging. I can’t speak to beyond midlife yet.

A lot of transitions happen in midlife that can shake your foundations. Transitions are tough.

If you’ve had children, chances are pretty good this is the time they will leave your home and go out on their own. Noisy, busy scheduled, entertaining, stressful-at-times family-life shifts into something much quieter, calmer, and . . . less.

If you were a person (I’m going to use female gender here for simplicity) who made raising her children her life’s work, leaving a lucrative profession to do so, (where she got to dress up and have interesting conversations with adults, and travel to interesting places, and have people appreciate her talents, and got paid, by the way), (just saying), ( I’m over it), the children leaving can create a major shift, not only in life-style, but in identity—they’re gone, and your life’s work is gone with them—you are obsolete. Big changes in who you are and what it’s all about.

I’m never going to get to the end of this post at this pace. Anyway you get the idea. All sorts of transitions happen in midlife with your parents, your careers, your own physical fitness and health.

And the world is no longer interested, for the most part, in you. We are a fickle society that worships youth. Midlife is not youth.

So I felt like I had a lot of things I could discuss.

What have I written about?

Okay, I just spent way more time than it was worth, counting how many posts I have in each category. The categories are not mutually exclusive because often I put posts in more than one category. But I like using categories because if someone is only interested in what I write about Alzheimer’s, for example, they can go to that category and read only, and all, the posts concerning Alzheimer’s.

My categories need a little clean-up, fix-up, and paint-up.

The surprises:

I have the most posts about photography, postcards, Arthur and other wild animals, and by my side.

Photography and postcards need to have separate identities and reasons for existence. The problem is that I put many of the travel posts into the photography category. I need to move all of these to postcards; they’re gumming up the photography category.

Who knew I liked animals so much? Big surprise at how many animal posts I have, although Arthur monopolizes more than his fair share of them.

By my side is the gigantic catch-all for the people in my life. This contains the posts about Dad and Annie (both of whom I write about with regular frequency),  and other individuals, like tributes to my mother, grandmother, father-in-law, husband, etc. Annie and my dad both have their own categories in case someone is particularly interested in their stories. If you’re new here you might have missed an early one I wrote about Annie — Pink Velcro Shoes.

I only have five rants. Another big surprise. I must be getting better at controlling my temper and holding my tongue. That’s all I can say. Here’s an early one I wrote about publishing — Not a Photo from Italy.

Nostalgia also contains a lot of redundancy with Annie, Dad and by my side. But it also includes other things like Addresses, or The Town Where I Grew Up. I probably need to sort things out here.

I’m not sure anyone uses the categories anyway.

On writing is a big category, as it should be. All my incessant posts about self-publishing appear here, as well as my not-so-helpful tips on commas (probably should move that one to gravel).

I’m also surprised that I haven’t written more about books or women, two of my favorite topics in the world. Although I guess I have mellowed out on the women topic. I don’t know whether inequalities have been corrected, or I am not much affected by them in my own life anymore, or I’m just weary of it all. You might like Where Have All the Women Gone?

And why do I have three posts in uncategorized?

The things that grow category is just simply a mess of animals and gardening. I probably need to quit trying to be clever and reduce my category names to Dad, Annie, Other people, Animals, plants and minerals.

I’m not giving up trade-offs, though. I was inspired to create this category by a woman who I worked with and who had a baby shortly before me. She returned to work and I made the choice to stay home. We saw each other a little later at a company party and she said, “I feel like I have it all.” And I thought, I don’t. I gave up something to stay home with my children. But I don’t believe that you can have it all. No free lunch. Just make sure you get what you pay for. I like this post I wrote about technology and the trade-offs involved—Fiddles, Radio Broadcasts, Signing-Off, and iPads.

Gravel are just dumb posts. Like this one perhaps. So far I’ve only demoted three posts to gravel. Here’s one that also appears in the blogging tips category (like I have any business giving other people blogging tips)— Writing Avoidance Strategies.

I might make a new category—Posts under 300 words. Nobody likes to read long-winded posts. But I’m not sure I have any posts that would fit in that category. Something to strive for.

I think I’m going to be spending a little time in the next day or two trying to get organized. I think I’ll write a blog about it—Spring Cleaning your Categories, and Is It Worth It? I’ll file it under blogging tips and gravel.


11 thoughts on “Spring cleaning your categories, and is it worth it?”

  1. You are perfect as you are.

    It is your blog…run it as you will 🙂 Write about what you want and when you want.

    There is nothing better in the worlds than children who have a mother who loves them. You and I were women who were told we could ‘have it all’…..and then felt the pull to stay home. In my opinion our decision was and is the best for me. My children never lacked in any way. And to this day…our relationship is strong.

    Making a positive difference in someone’s life….benefits the world. There is no better gift than giving of you. No status, no money, no accolades…nothing compares to love.

    No we are no in our Youth, but being young has its downfalls. This is my time for me to do and be. And so it is for you.

    Take time for the quiet moments…and relax in them. You are perfect as you are.

    1. That’s what I love about it. It’s all mine. I get to make the decisions.

      I would never trade my days at home with my children for any other life in the world. I understand not everybody is able to do that, or even that everybody feels the same way about it. But it was a good choice for me, even if I did struggle at times.

      Thanks for your continued support. We need more people like you.

  2. You just brought categories to mind for me. When I started blogging almost two years ago, I used to fil under catergories…lasted about three months. I no longer categorize my post unless it’s place under one of my tabs at top which is seldom….hmmmm, nah, too much blog cleaning for me to fix it!!!!! Told you I am lazy!

    1. I don’t think anybody looks at them anyway, except for me. It does help me find old posts when I’m looking for one—like if I need to blog about categorizing. (It’s a vicious cycle.)

  3. Darn blogger again, I don’t get to categorize stuff! I’m so jealous…. nonetheless, it’s irrelevant to the fact that regardless of categories it’ll probably come as no surprise (since I read it everyday) that I love your blog! Do you ever consider whether you want to keep doing that — just curious…. (it’s something I wonder about myself, like in my blog post today…) Great post with a walk down memory lane to times before I was reading your blog, thanks!

    1. Yes. I often consider whether I want to keep blogging every day. Sometimes negativity overtakes me and I wonder what it is all worth. It’s not like I sat down, looked at my life plan, and said, “I want to blog everyday.” Actually, I was pretty content putzing around in my garden, writing on a manuscript here or there, and stalking wild animals to photograph.

      But for now, it is getting me to sit at this keyboard everyday—and that was something that I sat down, looked at my life plan, and said, “I want to sit here and write everyday.”

  4. I probably use the categories on SLTW more than anyone else . . . so I don’t stress about them. I used to post in umpteen categories and now I try to select the top 3-4 that suit the post.

    When I stumble upon an olde poste that needs updating, I update it . . . but I’ve abandoned the idea of “Spring Cleaning” the entire site. Life is too short.

    Wherever you choose to file this post . . . I loved it. 😀

  5. Boy do I relate with how you describe yourself…hence the term “creative eclectic” helps me to rationalize my multiplicity. I’m not so concerned about my categories as I am about too many blogs. I’m trying to decide how to merge some or just kill off a few. Any thoughts?

  6. One of my categories is Empty Nest. I thought of it while reading the beginning of this post. It’s a category I haven’t used in a long while. I wonder if that means I finally adjusted…? 😀


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