As I explored different ideas typing up this first email newsletter, I felt a tinge of nostalgia…I missed emails. I’m not talking about the hundreds of emails that flood our inboxes everyday at work. I’m talking about the back and forth, intimate, long-form emails we’d send to the people we loved. The ones that might’ve taken a couple hours, maybe even couple days to write.
I checked my inbox this morning to see when the last time I wrote or received an email like this was…and it was 2006! 15 years ago! I opened a few to re-read and it was like dusting off snapshots of relationships trapped in time. I wrote emails in the middle of the night to tell my friends why I loved them. I told embarrassing stories and sent travel updates. I sought advice and gave it. I confessed deep hurts and comforted betrayals.
Instead of the finger vomit, auto-corrected string of reactionary text messages, riddled with emojis and animated gifs, these emails were carefully crafted, contemplative reflections of what the person thought and felt at the time. They were quiet and intentional. In fact, back then there were movies and TV shows that explored how email might affect dating and falling in love. Remember You’ve Got Mail?
I know. I’m romanticizing emails, but there’s something about conveying an uninterrupted string of thoughts…carefully wordsmithing it to see if it’s accurately communicating what’s on your mind. Maybe that’s what attracted me to blogging (what some might consider a dying platform). It’s personal.
Of course, I also remember getting these emails and sometimes feeling a burden to reply in kind. Which brings me back to this newsletter. It’s my intentional, long-form thoughts and feelings that I’m sharing with people that might care to read it. The beauty is there’s no pressure to reply (though please feel free to if the spirit moves you). My hope is you glean something of use or interest from it before hitting delete.
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving week! May all your loved ones stay healthy and safe this holiday season!
Hugs & Kisses, PJ
I’m up and running despite hitting some technical roadblocks. Starting a blog reminds me of the false assumptions I held when I first started teaching. Initially, I thought a teachers job was just to teach, but I discovered the bulk of my time would be spent on logistics outside of the classroom.
Unfortunately, I’m realizing there’s a lot more to blogging than just writing every day, at least if you’re a one-man band. There’s programming, design, marketing, social media engagement, and the constant managing of expectations and self-doubt.
I feel a bit self-indulgent and narcissistic writing so much about myself and saying you should pay attention to me! The imposter syndrome is real. I’m trying to figure out how frequently to post on social media. The last thing I want to do is spam anyone.
I’m noting all this because I want to document that the creative process is messy. Confidence and uncertainty sit on top of a see-saw as they take turns dominating my perspective. It’s like if you called your friend…and you just start talking about an idea you’ve given a lot of thought to, and when you’re done, you hang up without knowing there was anyone on the other end. How do you know what you said meant anything? Writing into the void is a scary thing.
For now, I’ll just keep putting in my reps. Except, I’ve decided I’m taking Sundays “off” from posting. It’ll give me some time to digest the week and hopefully, it’ll help avoid burnout. For now, it’s on to week 2 of blogging.
Here’s a mashup of what I’ve gotten into this week.
Book I’m Rereading – The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga. I read it the first time not knowing anything about it. I just thought the title was intriguing. It sums up the tenets of Adlerian psychology, the philosophical framework introduced by Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. It may not resonate with everyone but if you’ve ever felt trapped by the circumstances of your life, it might provide some practical advice on how to move forward.
What I’m Listening to – The Daily Stoic Podcast. [episode interviewing Olympian and mountain bike champion, Kate Courtney] Interesting interview all around, but the bit about the distinction between optimization and maximization was particularly insightful.
What I’m Watching – Yowamushi Pedal. I love that there’s an anime about almost everything. This one is about a road racing cycling team. I may or may not have played episodes when I hopped on the Pelaton to get me amped up to ride harder. You can learn a lot about Japanese value systems from watching anime. My favorite theme from this one is that we don’t make breakthroughs unless we’re pushed to our very limits first.
What I’m Drinking – Strawberry Hibiscus Tea from 7 Leaves. We order about eight of these a week. If the next couple years allows me to make enough money off of writing to pay for our family’s addiction to tea drinks, I’ll be in good shape.
What I’m Cooking – Ginger-Dill Salmon. This is by far one of my favorite recipes I’ve come across this year. It ticks all the boxes to be a keeper. It’s fast, easy, healthy, and tasty. I’ve made it at least a handful of times already. The hardest part is finding dill that’s in season.
Quote of the Week
“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” – Epictetus, Discourses, Book II, ch. 17
Well that’s it for now. Have a wonderful week! Much love.
best, PJ Milani