Justin Tadlock

The college era: Then and now

Hands holding a mound of soil with a seedling popping out.

I've taken some time away from my main work this week to focus on cleaning things on this blog. I still have much to do, and I'm only about halfway through everything.

Earlier today, I completed the cleanup of what I call the "college era" of the site. It consisted of 349 posts (assuming I didn't miss any). I was a prolific blogger for 4 years, starting with my 1st post on April 15, 2003 and ending with my 349th post on May 24, 2007.

Nearly half the posts I've written on this blog happened in the span of 4 years.

What's crazy about that number is that it was the busiest time of my life. I routinely slept 4-6 hours a night, tops. I was a fulltime student. I worked two jobs during half of that era. I took time to learn Web design. I created art, digitally and by hand. I wrote stories and started on more than one novel.

And, somehow, I carved out enough time to routinely blog. I wrote approximately 87 posts each year. If I hadn't been so busy, I probably would've doubled that number.

Writing regularly is something I always tell myself to do, but I never get around to it. Therefore, I'm making a promise to myself to do better. To take more time to share my thoughts.

While I didn't have time to read through all 349 posts, I did read many and scanned a great deal more. It gave me a chance to reflect on how much I've grown in the past 15 years. I'd like to revisit this blog again in another 15 to see how much I've grown again. I must spend time keeping a record of my thoughts to make that happen.

There've been times when I considered marking some of my old posts as "private" so that only I could read them. There are posts that I'm not proud of. There are some borderline racist remarks. There are sexist posts. But, I haven't hidden those items because that's not who I am now. That person has grown into someone who is a much better human being. The person I am now is a reflection of my experiences.

I still have some growing to do. It'll likely take a lifetime before I'm the best version of me.

The most important thing I've learned is that I need to spend more time letting loose. Today, I'm always hesitant to pull the trigger on anything. Whether that's publishing a blog post or releasing a product or sharing my thoughts with someone on a subject. Part of that is the wisdom I've gained over the years -- don't open your mouth before thinking. Part of it is the current social climate, particularly online. One mistake can spell disaster for a person's reputation, or in the case of a small-business owner, that person's livelihood.

But, I believe the best version of me is the version that takes more risks.

For me, that means just being creative and not being afraid to share what I've built with the world.

It means writing blog posts without worrying if I'm offending the wrong group of people.

It means trying to be the best me I can be.


In the coming weeks, I'll unveil a new version of this blog. I won't get into all the details now, but I'm excited about what I'm working on. It will be the biggest change on this site since May 13, 2005.