Today marks five years since I sat down at my desk with a sticky note of domain names and created what has grown into sherinaspeaks. Every year since then, I’ve used September 19th as a time to reflect on my blog.

Last year, on my fourth anniversary, I wrote about a particularly interesting experience I had when I published a post I wasn’t sure about. It ended up being featured on WordPress, which led to my blog gaining a ton of new followers and traffic. The year before, on the third year of sherinaspeaks, I wrote about blogging as I began studying journalism, and how it has given me an avenue to share my opinion.

For my two year blogiversary, I wrote about some of my favourite blog posts I’d written at that point (which is cool to reflect on now). For my one year blog anniversary, I published a post asking if music influences society, or if society influences music. At the end of that post I acknowledged that I had created my blog one year before.

In that post, I wrote: “I guess this makes me an expert now, so… thanks for sticking with me for a year.” Reading that now, I have to smile. I have learned so much about blogging and writing in the years that followed, but I love that I felt confident enough in my blog to say that I could be an expert after one year. Funny enough, now, five years after I started my blog, I’m not sure I’d call myself an expert. There’s always more to learn, especially when the Internet is constantly changing and growing.

One of the reasons that I love to reflect on my blog is that it has changed so much over the years. When I started it, the student column of my local newspaper where I wrote had just shut down. I used this online platform as a way to share similar articles as I would write for the newspaper, things about news, life and inspiration. In my first few months of blogging, I wrote about things like the idea that history is written by victors, and how to keep the spirit of Christmas year-round.

My five years of blogging have covered an interesting time in my life. The first three years were when I was in high school. As I started following the news more, some of my posts shifted into political opinion pieces. My blog, along with my writing for HuffPost, used to be my primary outlet to share my writing. But the past two years, as I’ve been in university studying journalism, I’ve been exposed to what feels like a million other places to share my writing. Suddenly I started writing news articles and features, pieces for magazines and newspapers, campus news websites and blogs.

As I wrote more for other publications, I kept blogging, but it took on a slightly different meaning. Because I already had so many avenues to write about news, my blog became an even more personal space. Lately, I feel like most of my posts fall under the Life & inspiration category. These are some of the most fun posts to write—and they’re also some of my most read and responded-to blog posts.

Although I wouldn’t call myself an expert, as I hinted at in my first anniversary post, the second sentiment I expressed at the end of that blog post is still true. I ended the post by saying, “I’m so happy to be here!”

I really am so happy to be here, on this corner of the Internet with a community who leave uplifting comments and share details of their lives. No matter what direction my blog goes in the future, I will always be grateful not only for my decision to start blogging back in 2013, but for the amazing people, offline and online, who have encouraged me along the way. Whether you’re a new reader or have been here for a few years, thank you for your support, kind words and willingness to read and reflect. Here’s to the next five years!

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