Although I did not do the 100 days consecutively, the expectation to write one hundred blog posts within a calendar year focused the mind somewhat. I wrote about things that I’m sometimes hesitant, for one reason or another, to post here — or that I sometimes include in commentary over at Thought Shrapnel.
As I documented in the first weeknote of this year, my past year review of 2021 led me to a decision to avoid spending time on Twitter and LinkedIn. This was mainly to do with how they make me feel; in the case of Twitter it makes me angry, and in the case of LinkedIn it makes me sad.
Mastodon and the Fediverse I feel more neutral about. Posting there seems like a good place for semi-ephemeral thoughts, but there’s nothing like publishing something in a space that you own. In addition, writing something on a blog lends an expectation of coherence and attention to spelling/grammar that isn’t always there on social media.
So, as with much of what I write here, this is a note to myself to lower the bar for the kinds of things that can appear here inbetween my regular weeknotes. It’s useful, for example, to be able to immediately respond with a blog post when someone asks how to plan a workshop. Or to remind myself how I felt a year after a friend died. Or perhaps to remind myself that side projects are worth doing.
Is there anything that you, increasingly-rare visitor to this forest clearing, would like me to write about? Let me know in the comments below 😊
It took me 307 days to complete the #100DaysToOffload challenge, mainly because I didn’t include my weeknotes and (until recently) I also published posts at Thought Shrapnel. I wrote about all kinds of things, from privacy to project management, and from Stoicism to new side projects.
During the time period covered by this challenge, I’ve quit a job, dealt with internal strife in our co-op, turned 40, moved Mastodon instance and Linux distribution, spent some time learning about how to be antiracist and about non-violent communication, worked a lot with charities on digital projects and transformation, and come out of and gone back into, lockdown. It’s been pretty intense, when I think about it! Thankfully I managed to stay in pretty good mental shape due to having started CBT pre-pandemic.
Here is a full list of the posts I wrote during that time period:
Oddly enough, I made two mistakes in numbering — one towards the beginning of the challenge (skipping a number) and once towards the end (repeating a number). Happily, these cancel each other out. I’m not going through the ones inbetween to rectify the numbering as, in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. There’s 100 posts there, no matter which way you look at it!
Some mornings, I get up and read Stoic philosophy and a book of aphorisms. It used to be all mornings, and then most, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”.
However, it is another of Emerson’s quotations that I want to focus on in this post, one that’s been rolling around my brain for the last week or so:
People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘Settled’ is an interesting word, with many meanings. You can, after all, settle an argument, settle a bill, settle down and raise a family, settle into an armchair, and settle your affairs. To my mind, each definition has an air of being responsible, grown up, ‘conservative’ (with a small ‘c’).
In my own life I’ve definitely felt the pull to be settled. I suppose I am settled, in many regards: we’ve lived in the same house for seven years now — longer than I’ve lived anywhere, other than the house in which I grew up.
For me, there is a balance to be had between being settled in one area of my life and being unsettled in others. Being unsettled is where the sparkley-eyed creative drive comes from, the thing that I can only describe as a ‘wonder factory’. Without that turbulence in my life, I become hollowed-out, an empty husk of a man counting down my days.
To what extent, though, is it up to me to unsettle other people? If I recognise in myself that a need to balance areas in which I’m settled and those in which I’m unsettled, how do I know when it’s appropriate to go about prodding others?
Perhaps, and I suppose this is my get-out-of-jail-free card, by writing about unsettling things, people can opt-in if and when they’re ready. Interestingly, two of my three recent side projects (extinction.fyi and privacy.garden) have been on the unsettling side of things.
Finally, it’s worth noting to myself that being settled in my home life allows me to do unsettling things at work. This is a note to future Doug that when I’m unsettled with things outside of work, it’s time to do more ‘settled’ things in work.