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Gently

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
Current location: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Reading: Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price
Listening: Nothing New Under the Sun by Kay Logan
(if you have a moment, reply with your own 3-item status)

Gently
We’re living through a period of inconvenient, dangerous, uncomfortable upheavals.
The variables shaping our lives are changing daily, and many of us feel some combination of frustrated, scared, exhausted, and desperate for a semblance of clarity and control.
That’s how I’ve been feeling the past 18 months-ish, at least.
It’s been weird and discombobulating and at times strangely thrilling—in the same sense that being caught in a zombie apocalypse would, in some ways, be thrilling.
Heading into a new year, a symbolic chronological milestone that doesn’t have to mean anything, but can if I decide to make it mean something, I’m trying to remind myself to move forward gently.
To be optimistic and upbeat and open to whatever comes next, but to be gentle with myself in the process. Because I’ve been through a lot. Most of us have, for some value of “a lot.”
Although it’s tempting to feel emboldened by this symbolic transition—we’ve made it this far, so why not just go all out and use of the last bit of fuel in the tank?—we’re running a marathon, not a sprint. It’s prudent to settle into a sustainable pace, rather than wringing ourselves dry in a fit of bravado and reckless enthusiasm.
It’ll take time to settle into a new “normal,” whatever that word comes to mean these next few years.
It’ll take time to recover, physically and psychologically and economically, once we reestablish stable foundations.
We’ll need the time and space and social (and internal) permission to mourn; for the people, the expectations, the institutions and norms we’ve lost over the course of this collective tumult.
And we’ll need whatever energy we can muster to deal (and cope) with inevitable last-minute complications.
We should be visionary in how we imagine what comes next and our place in establishing that (hopefully) better-in-many-ways reality. We should invest ourselves in building lives and societies that align with our values and which are sturdy and humble enough to withstand and learn from inevitable future turmoil.
But we should be gentle, understanding, compassionate with ourselves as we adjust our stances, recoil our springs, and set to work making it all happen.
If you found some value in this essay, consider supporting my work by buying me a coffee :)
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I've had what was probably a winter cold for twelve days, and in that time I've done little but read, work, and make soup. So here are some black eyed peas I liked the look of—it's clearly been an exciting few weeks!
I've had what was probably a winter cold for twelve days, and in that time I've done little but read, work, and make soup. So here are some black eyed peas I liked the look of—it's clearly been an exciting few weeks!
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Projects
Select, recent works from across my project portfolio.
Aspiring Generalist: Lifelogging
Brain Lenses: Nature
I Will Read To You: The Drowsy World Dreams On
Let’s Know Things: Log4Shell
Curiosity Weekly: Dec 28, 2021
One Sentence News: Dec 29, 2021 (podcast version)
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Interesting & Useful
Some things to click (I curate & share similar links weekly via Curiosity Weekly and daily on Twitter):
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...And here are the above beans converted into a delicious soup (consumed with buttermilk biscuits, wielded as a sort of carb-shovel).
...And here are the above beans converted into a delicious soup (consumed with buttermilk biscuits, wielded as a sort of carb-shovel).
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Outro
As mentioned in the photo-captions above, I’ve had what was probably a cold (I received a negative COVID test about a week into my symptoms, but it was a single rapid test, so who knows) for about twelve days, which was at times borderline miserable but mostly just massively annoying and inconvenient for someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in front of a microphone.
My usual strategy when I catch something is to re-delegate as much of my energy to my immune system as possible, so I blasted the disease with hot, cozy soups, strafed it with long, relaxing periods of book-reading, and slit its infectious throat with soft, fluffy socks and aggressive bedtimes.
This morning was the first in a long while I woke up without significant sniffles and dammed-up sinuses, so I feel terrific and am amazed by how easy it is to breathe!
That said, a few things:
First, thank you so, so much for your support, enthusiasm, messages, and overall amazingness.
The work I do is supported by the people on the other end of it, but I, as a human being, am supported in so many ways by your engagement and presence—even if we’ve never emailed or otherwise communicated directly.
I’m regularly reminded of just how fortunate I am to have curious and conscious and globally distributed people on the receiving end of the work I do, and I don’t take that for granted.
Thank you thank you thank you. For being you and for making what I do both possible and meaningful.
Second, I did a somewhat unusual livestream on Instagram last week, where I chatted for a few minutes, but then just read a book for half-an-hour, encouraging folks watching the livestream to do the same.
I enjoyed it! And I received some very positive feedback from people who decided (and were able) to set aside a small chunk of time to read or write or otherwise just chill, doing their own thing with someone else in the same virtual room.
I’ll riff on that concept again in the future, but I’d like to try another experiment this upcoming weekend, aiming for a casual, virtual version of the Q&A’s I do after presenting talks.
So! On Sunday, January 2, at 3pm US Central Time I’ll be livestreaming via Twitch—which is a platform most commonly used by folks streaming video game things, but which I’m keen to try out for other purposes (maybe eventually presenting talks, but keeping it simple and interactive for the moment).
I’ll post upcoming livestream info (including a link you can click to go straight to the right place at the appropriate time) here: Colin’s Livestream Page.
As was the case with the Insta livestream, please note that I have no idea what I’m doing and this upcoming event might be lame—but it also might be wonderful (immediately or eventually), and this is what learning looks like :)
And finally, I mention this at the bottom of every newsletter, but I want to emphasize that I’d truly love to hear from you if you’ve got a quick moment to reach out and tell me something about yourself.
It can be a quick introduction or a question, but also feel free to just riff on whatever.
Also, the end-of-year holiday season can be lonely and rough sometimes, as there are a lot of pressures to do and be and feel certain ways.
Not everyone responds to these sorts of milestones happily and positively, and that’s okay. And if you think it might help to just say howdy or vent or complain to a stranger from the internet, I’m here and I respond to every message I receive.
You can reach me by replying directly to this newsletter, or at colin@exilelifestyle.com.
You can also communicate via the typical methods: InstagramTwitterFacebook, or live nature cam.
If you’re finding some value in what I’m doing here, consider supporting my work via one of these methods: Become an Understandary member / Buy me a coffee / Buy me a monthly coffee
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Colin Wright
Colin Wright @colinismyname

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