Tomorrow is my 5 year tweetiversary. Not a rite-of-passage moment, or a seminal turning point in my life by any means, but certainly something to make me stop for a moment, take a slug of wine, and look back on 5 years of life and tweeting.
I look back through my photo archives and 2008 is a bit of a lost year (or, more accurately, I lost my camera early in the year on a canoe trip after capsizing and going down Jackfield Rapids without the canoe. My camera is probably on Lundy Island by now.) One high point of the year, though, was abseiling down Dudley Castle in the rain to raise money for the Stroke Association after my Dad’s stroke earlier that year. (Very few things are worse than a parent having a stroke – one of them is a parent having a stroke 3,000 miles away.)
This day 5 years ago, I was about to be interviewed for what turned out to be the worst career decision in my life, a job working for a local Environmental Consultancy. A soul destroying job that lasted only 20 months – I left as soon as I could find other work.
In May of 2008 I had no idea that within 18 months, I would have had the best day of my life – my incredible wedding day, but also no idea that Sarcoidosis would have begun the slow and savage process of breaking down my life. On the day I was diagnosed, you would think that I would have been devastated, but after 2 years of doctors telling me there was nothing wrong, and genuinely thinking I was dying, being told I had sarcoid was the best bad news I’d ever had. It has presented me (eventually) with the opportunity to take my health into my own hands, and to become aware of everything that I eat or come into contact with. It has also brought other ‘sarkies’ into my life, that I wouldn’t be without.
In the last 5 years, I have seen my nephew brought into the world – a bright and shining package of hope contained in a human body. I have seen my middle brother married, and when I see them together I believe in soul mates.
I have also held an alligator, a tarantula (named Raptor), and a Florida Bonneted Bat. I have learned to bake bread, and to knit things that are not square; I have saved bats; I have bred Peruvian Stick Insects; I have learned lots about bees; I have climbed a mountain (a small one) and failed to climb another (but learned the humility to know my own limits – a hard lesson)…
…and I have tweeted 9116 times (@TheReremouse and @WalsallWildlife).
Dr Phil McGraw (I lufs him!) maintains that there are 5 Pivotal Moments in each person’s life. I wonder if diving head-first into social media was one for me… Its weird (some might say a bit sad!) that social media is such a huge part of my life that it is difficult to visualise a future without it (that is, until I buy my island and start my own country with no electricity, but with lots of bats and bees and stick insects, and knitting, and cake.)
Without a doubt, the twitter highlight (twilight?) of the last 5 years was watching STS135 live on TV, with tweetdeck streaming on my laptop. That last ever space shuttle launch brought a lump to my throat, and twitter made that moment all the more present and real. The power of twitter to enable strangers to connect and watch history as it happens is simply (so far) unequaled.
So, in my 5-year mission, have I boldly gone where no one has gone before? Nah, don’t be daft. But I’ve had a lot of fun, and shared small moments with other people who cherish the same small moments. Its about living in the present for me, and sharing present moments with other people sharing theirs in turn. Its one of those things, like Star Trek, it makes you think how cool humans are, and how connected we can all be. Until I get my island, anyway…