Well, this one snuck up on me both faster than I had thought it would, and slower. Why faster? Because I never thought I'd be a blogger. Why slower? Because taxes are almost due, and I've only managed to eek out one blog entry this month. Until today, that is.

Today marks my 200th blog entry. In the past, I've done self-proclaimed "special" blog entries to mark various special milestones (such as this and that). As it turns out, they were just normal blog entries, but with an extended title. And once again, I am following suit with this 200th entry: normal blog, longer title.

And yet, before writing this, I racked my brain trying to come up with a suitable topic for this most trivial (and yet quintessential) of blog entries. I wanted something different. Something new. Something I'd never thought to do before. Periodically, an idea would pop into my head, only to be shot down quickly for being horrible. After reading a few emails that were recently sent to me, I found my topic to write about. I now end my three-paragraph introduction, and will commence my 200th entry, below this incredible line break.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Phil, and I'm a blogger. But what is a blogger, really? I can't answer that question, but I can tell you how it relates to me. My blog is a slice of my life. On it, I get to write anything that happens to float around in my head, congeal into some form of conscious thought, and get typed onto my computer. I have no rules regarding subject matter or specific grammar, except that it has to make sense to me when I read it. I have a tendency to get distracted and go on tangents, and that's okay because there's no rule that says I can't do that. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, I'm a blogger.

I was thinking recently about the fact that I blog, and how that all came to be. I realize that kids these days dream of growing up and becoming bloggers. I wouldn't be the least big surprised if some third grader did a report in front of his class saying that he wanted to grow up to become a blogger. I had no such dreams. I'm a self-made blogger. In my youth, there was no such thing as a blog. In fact, the internet hadn't even been invented yet!

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what to do with a blog. For that matter, I didn't even much care for writing. All I knew was that I had all sorts of thoughts flying around my skull, and I needed some way to set them free. I tried writing a journal, but that just felt like a second head, and that was the last thing I needed. Eventually, I discovered Yahoo!360 and started this blog. It seemed a good spot to express myself, and so I set about writing. I had no illusions that anyone would actually read it, much less actually like it.

Little by little, I began to find my voice. I discovered a side of myself I had never before known: I like to write. At the same time, I learned a great deal more about myself, including (but not limited to) a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, keen observational skills I never knew I possessed (i.e. I paid a lot of attention to a lot of stuff I wasn't even aware I was paying attention to), etc.

Strangest of all, though, I discovered that people were actually reading what I wrote. I have been fortunate for having had the opportunity to get to know many of these people (all of whom are incredibly talented writers whose work I love to read), and to call them my friends. Getting to know each of them has been nothing short of amazing.

There are also a number of people who read my blog, but choose not to show their faces or comment. Occasionally, though, I'll get a message from one of them, or a comment periodically. I recently received a few such notes, and was completely stunned by them. The notes offered thanks for my writing, as my words meant something to them. Whether it was to brighten someone's day, to provoke new thoughts or ideas, to inspire, or to ring a chord of sadness, I realized that my words have made a difference. In one way or another, I have touched lives without ever having intended to do so. To learn this is one of the greatest gifts a writer can ever receive.

It serves as a reminder that no matter what it is we do, no matter how small we deem ourselves to be, we can make a difference. To all my friends and readers of this blog, I want to say thank you. You've made all the difference for me.