Still standing

City Lit

Hello to anyone reading my blog for the first time, and welcome back to those of you who have been here before. Thank you for showing up after the long break that I took from posting stuff here.

So, what’s new?

Yesterday I did a one-day course called Blogging for Beginners at City Lit, a further education college in London. The full name of the establishment is City Literary Institute, but City Lit is the name used by its adoring students and fans.

City Lit is a fantastic place, where you can study just about anything you can think of, and lots of things you probably couldn’t imagine, like Advanced Belly-dancing and Biscuit Decoration. Those are two courses, by the way, in case you were wondering how students would go about pursuing those pastimes jointly.

Why, I can hear you ask, did this Wilson chap do a course called Blogging for Beginners? He isn’t a blogging beginner, he’s a blogging geriatric. Too blogging right! Ken Wilson’s Blog kicked off in July 2009, so I can’t make any claim to be a virgin of this corner of cyberspace.

However, eagle-eyed readers will note that my last post was in March 2014, and prior to that, I had hardly posted anything since the autumn of 2012. I stopped tweeting at about the same time, too.

I’m not sure why I stopped, but I did realise that writing Facebook updates was a much simpler task, and the sugar-rush of likes that follows FB stuff led to a sense of well-being.

Unfortunately, as various psychologists have pointed out in the last couple of years, this kind of quick fix dopamine release isn’t really that good for you. In my case, I think it made me a bit lazy regarding anything to do with social media, preferring a couple of short sweet Facebook remarks, rather than anything longer.  

Whenever I feel I’m getting a bit lazy, I tend to sign up for some kind of training or re-education, and my remedy this time was to apply to do a Masters in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, which is part of the University of London and another wonderful educational establishment. I got accepted on the course, finished it last summer and graduated last month.

Anyway, I did the City Lit course yesterday as a kind of refresher and reminder of the possibilities and pitfalls of the world of blogdom but also because … well, there’s no way of avoiding telling you … I have a very big birthday coming up later this year. Extremely big, monumentally big … the biggest big birthday of a life that has been full of big anniversaries recently.

In August, I will be 70.

And there’s rather more dramatic news. I had a heart attack last December. Only a mild one, but it required an emergency surgical procedure to sort out. That kind of thing stops you in your tracks and makes you think.

Amongst the many things it makes you think are … it’s about time I started blogging again.

So, I’m going to do just that. I thought about starting a completely new blog called STILL STANDING – Careering Into My Seventies, but in the end, I just re-worded the sub-title of this one.

I rather like the double-meaning implicit in the word ‘careering’, because I think I will have to go on working for a while yet, so my ‘career’ hasn’t ended.

Let me know if you think this is a really bad idea with no mileage in it at all. If you think the world of blogging and social media in general has moved on and there’s no longer a place for a superannuated septuagenarian, let me know. Or if you don’t think that, let me know the opposite.

And if you have a vote in the UK, please don’t vote for the Tories.

01 Ken
Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, age 69 and three quarters.
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34 thoughts on “Still standing

  1. Hello dear Ken, and thank you for sharing your posts again. It’s good to hear that you´re still standing… here in Cuba we´re still looking forwards to learning a lot from you. Stay healthy and keep blogging. Sincerely, Marisol

  2. We’ve missed you! I love your stories and writing, Ken! There must be something in the air. I’ve been thinking about blogging again, too. Maybe something about life in a new town in an old house. I haven’t taken the plunge yet. Feeling inspired now… Or maybe I’ll just bake some cookies. Either way…inspired.

    1. Thanks, Tara. Yep, must be something in the air! 🙂 Btw, do you live in Toronto? Dede and I will be passing through briefly at the end of July. We’re planning to hook up with Tyson Seburn at some point.

  3. Im very happy to know you are back, healthy and with lots of new projects. Eager to read your blog in this new age. And the title rocks.

  4. Hi Ken, I’m new to your blog. This post made me smile. Your positivity shines through. I’m glad you’re looking so fit and healthy now. That heart attack was probably the proverbial kick up the arse you needed to get on track for a healthy lifestyle … and to remember what’s important and what isn’t. Good luck with the blogging and with everything else you undertake. And please excuse my French.

  5. Dear Ken, I’ve attended some of your presentations here in Rio, Brazil, and I gotta say that I still have a lot to learn from you, either from your blogging or on your FB page 😉 Besides, it sure is inspiring to see that your ‘careering’ is moving on and on. I’m not quite sure I’ll get to 70 with that much of energy and enthusiasm. You look great!

    1. Hi Dayse. Thank you for your kind words. I think one of the main messages from having a heart attack is that some things about my working life have to change, and flying long haul, then immediately standing up in front of 500 people at a conference may be one of them. 🙂 But I do hope I get back to Brazil one more time.

  6. Hi Ken! I’m also new to your blog but I’m not new to your Facebook updates. In fact, we’ve been Facebook friends for a number of years and I enjoy reading your Facebook posts. We’ve met at the annual IATEFL conference a couple of times and we were about to meet in London not long ago. I’ve just subscribed to this site, and I’m sure there will be plenty of food for thought (as well as some hilarious posts). I don’t know whether blogging is actually better than posting stuff on Facebook but whatever you do, just keep posting. You still have plenty of things to say and we still have a lot to enjoy #keepcalmandkeepposting

      1. I just have. Thank you very much, Ken! It’ll be a pleasure to read your book.

  7. I don’t like the alternative to “still standing ” which could be “standing still “! – keep trucking…your opinions are always good to hear. 70? NO WAY!!

    1. Hello Mr Sales. There’s a whole seam of funny stories about ETT visits to Italy waiting to be mined. And ‘still standing’ v ‘standing still’ – isn’t English wonderful?

  8. Ken, you’re an inspiration so it’s super to read you here as well as on FB and great for us to feel inspired both professionally and privately by your words. I think online writing has it waves like all things in life so it’s good to put it down and then take it up again. I think “blogging luls” are hugely important as they provide room for other activities and reflection and then evolve into new directions. Lots to learn from sharing the reasons why people start blogging again. Thanks for your openness – this is the refreshing style I love. Can’t believe the big 0 number, truly amazing! Will be keen to read you…

    1. Hi Vale! Thank you for the kind words. When it comes to social media, I’m a bit of an addictive personality – or do I mean I HAVE an addictive personality?? Whatever, it feels right to be back here, but now I have to make sure I don’t flood it with stuff. The two years of my Creative Writing Masters (i.e. until last summer) involved so much extensive writing that I never felt the need to write more than a 50-word Facebook update. Maybe it’s the lack of that disciplinary requirement that has brought me back here. 🙂

  9. Very happy news! I’m curious about the upcoming posts, so I’ll follow closely from afar 🙂 I also wonder how your newly gained MA will change your blogging and/or your perception of it, if at all.
    Here’s to many more years of writing… standing or sitting in the shed 🙂

    Please take care.

  10. Well, you’re *looking* great, Ken! Very pleased to hear you recovered from your scare, and we are of course all delighted to see you blogging again.

  11. Welcome back, Ken. I too have taken intermittent breaks from the onslaught of blogging that was pre-2014. Things happen. Life changes. Responsibilities take over. There is a still a place for you here (all of us really). I look forward to reading more and maybe becoming more inspired myself to continue blogging.

    1. Cheers, mate…. I may have a few things to say about what happens when I try to get into the USA tomorrow. My first visit since I was banned. 🙂

      1. I hope you won’t have any incidents. I can’t say I’ve got any immediate plans for a trip south at the moment.

  12. Dear superannuated septuagenarian,
    Thank you for coming back! There’s a place for all of us in the blogosphere – that’s one of the great things about blogging: that there’s no one ‘right’ way to do it. Looking forward to reading more of your stories and your thoughts about life in general.
    Wishing you many more years of health and happiness,
    Sandy

  13. Dear Ken:
    So so glad that “You´re Still Standing, better than you ever did. Looking like a true survivor”. Sir Elton sings in 1st person and for another reason. I don´t know if you agree but I´ve always liked the song and the title matches your post and your mindset. You inspire, Sir and I so wish you make it to your 70th birthday anniversary full of wonderful ideas and experiences! Blessings from Buenos Aires!

    1. Thanks, Fabiana!

      I find Elton’s story quite inspiring. I mean, clearly he’s always had lots of money, so he’s a funny person to feel sympathy for, but his life did go off the rails a bit, and I guess that’s why he wrote the song.

      And of course we were born in the same year! 🙂

  14. Finding your blog post was one of the things that made me smile today. Thanks for coming back to the blogosphere Ken. I’ll be looking forward to more from you here!

  15. Hi Ken,
    Met you a few years back in Vigo, Galicia at an Oxford session you were doing. What struck me was the energy you transmitted. Glad to hear then you’re still standing and careering… definitely a place for all that energy in the blogosphere 😉

    1. HI Lisa,

      thanks for that! The ‘energy’ was all nerves! 🙂 Seriously, there comes a time when you run out of that kind of energy, and when that happens, I won’t have any other strategies. But for now, I still feel the excitement when I get on my hind legs in front of a crowd of teachers.

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