Coming out of the pandemic, I realized that a lot of my relationships had gone stale. Over the past two years, I had simply seen way fewer people. I attended fewer house parties and bars, fewer events and meet-ups, and stopped going to the office altogether. I traveled less to visit friends, and work trade shows, college homecomings, and other reunion opportunities had dried up. Social gatherings became more intimate and social circles shrank.
And then at the end of 2021, I moved from my lifelong hometown (goodbye Chicago, hello Austin) and left my job of seven years. I’m now physically removed from most people that I care about, and as a result, maintaining my relationships is only going to get harder.
Social media was created in part to solve these problems. Yet existing social platforms don’t seem to be great outlets for me to stay connected with folks. I’ve found myself posting and engaging less, as no platform has felt like the right place to share meaningful life updates, let alone receive them from friends.
Facebook’s for the old and Snapchat’s for the young. Twitter is for some weird combination of witty quips and personal brand building, while LinkedIn is for announcing new jobs and professional humblebrags.
Instagram is the one platform where my friends post about what they’re up to. But I don’t feel like it’s conducive to me sharing my life in the way that I’d like to. I’d rather share my reflection on life events after they take place than post real-time snapshots that take me out of the moment. I don’t want to be dependent on a good photo of me being taken to tell you that something important happened in my life. And I don’t think you need to (or for that matter, want to) hear from me daily, or know every meal I’m eating or concert I’m attending.
So instead, I’ve decided to write a monthly newsletter called ‘What a Month! It’s Ben’ (say it in a monotonous tone and hopefully the corny wordplay will land) to share life updates with the goal of keeping in touch in a thoughtful and personal way.
On the surface, it likely sounds silly to think that sharing life updates via a monthly email can help bolster relationships, but here are some of the reasons why I’m excited to try it out:
I’m particularly excited to spin this up as I enter a new life chapter. I’m not quite sure what I’ll commit my time to next and I hope to use the next several months to explore various interests and see what I gravitate towards (see: Kicking Off a Self-Directed Master's Program). Posting monthly updates will be a fun way for me to work through this in a public way and hold myself accountable towards answering that “what’s next” question.
So if you’d like to receive a monthly life update from me, you can follow along by entering your email below. I’m excited to give this a go and to have you all along for the ride 😊