January 2023 Newsletter: Mike Cole’s year wrapped

What a year. As has become tradition at this point, I’m using the January newsletter to illustrate the previous year. I’ve fiddled around with the title a bit and since literally everything else has a “wrapped” this year, I figured I would too!

How My Year Starts

As I sit in my room, sipping on my coffee, I thought it’d be fun to go over how I like to start my year. Each year, I like to brew myself a cup of coffee and make myself breakfast. My new hobby has been listening to lofi and I have chill beats playing as I write. Now fast forward a week two weeks and here I sit once more. I am excited to say I just wrapped up my third day first week at my new job. A New Year, A New me. Once I finish this article, I can once more post my New Year’s resolutions to this site and thus begin again what has become annual tradition. In December I wrote about my habits and what I had achieved in 2022 and can say with confidence that I am proud. From being a man who was content to bum along to someone who has dared to dream, my journey has been long and the fruits I planted many years ago have become an orchard. Last year I highlighted the past but 2022 was a year spent living in the present, with much of the thanks going to the daily stoic. So, let’s highlight some of it!

MMO’s and going full nerd

This last year I doubled down on my gaming and found an MMO I enjoyed in Elder Scrolls Online. I have not played an MMO since Runescape and it’s been fun simply getting lost in a world. In ESO I officially joined a guild and have been working on finding communities that align with my interest. Whether I pick up another MMO remains TBD but most likely not as we’re talking hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of content with just one. With my new job, I’ll have less time to game so I’m in the process of figuring out my schedule as I readjust to having fulltime work. Pokémon Go I’m still active with and it’s been a year of questing through my hometown to catch them all. And looking at my wrapped, I apparently walked 930km or 578 miles thus far! I’m really glad I’m leaning more into my nerdy tendencies as I feel like that’s been missing from my life as of late.

This Year

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want out of the blog this year. This year will mark the 9th year my blog has been in existence and as I’ve learned over the years there is always something to improve. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own personal mental health and what I want to talk about come mental health awareness month and might even get an early start on writing the articles. I’ve also been looking at what’s been working and what hasn’t over the last year (fortunately more has worked than has not). As I’ve mentioned a bit before, I really want to start looking at my writing as a whole. For the last 9 years, I’ve been winging it and outside of an English class here or there, I haven’t really had any formal training. Do I need it, I don’t really know. I’ve seen fantastic writers over the years and read beautiful articles, so it’d be interesting to see how I can push myself even further.

New Zealand and other things

So, I just recently got my passport back and it is now good for the next ten years! I have one dream for this year and that is to do a working holiday visa. I’m anxious and stressed but also very excited as things are seemingly lining up to make this a reality. I plan to bring my camera if I do end up going over, so here’s to hoping everything continues to go well!

More Dating Articles

Speaking of looking at data regarding certain articles, one category that has done surprisingly well has been when I’ve talked about dating. It is odd because I don’t date often and truth be told I have yet to be in a long term committed relationship. That’s not to say I haven’t tried but it has been a long, messy process filled with few highs and a whole lot of chaos. Apparently most men don’t get bit by women, who knew? In the past, I always thought I should be going on dates and having these crazy adventures to talk about dating but this year I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to start to open up and be a little more candid about my experiences as well as some of my speculations. There’ll be the craziness of it all for sure but I want to share more of the difficulties I’ve been having and talk about my thoughts on the current dating scene. I’m super excited and hope you like the content I have planned!

Are My Business Articles Dead?

One aspect of my blog that has changed over the years is what I write about. To think I used to write a lot of business articles on my blog! What I hadn’t realized is how much my blog has changed over the years and in turn, myself. Writing business articles no longer interests me as much as it once did! I enjoy talking about business related subjects but in terms of the time dedicated to writing an article I would honestly much rather spend that time talking about mental health, fitness, games, or other subjects that I find to be more interesting. So this year is going to have renewed focus on what I write and while I love business, it’s an easy subject to get writers block on and doesn’t bring in the views.


2022 is officially wrapped and what a year it was! 2023 is already shaping up to be a very exciting year with a lot of big changes! Expect my new year’s resolution post in a few weeks! As a preview, the year theme is “new beginnings”. As always, thanks for reading!

December 2022 Newsletter: An End to Bad Habits

So it is officially December and what a year! The biggest changes have been to my habits and this newsletter we’re going to do a little reflecting.

One Hell of a Ride

Usually I save the reflection for January but as fate would have it, Habitica has a New Year Resolution challenge. For the challenge, it’s asking for reflection during December and thus I write. So let’s dive in.

My goals have all been reached but one. This year I set out to learn as much as I could and I’m impressed with what I was able to accomplish. It was slow going but the wheel still turned. In Duolingo, I was in the top 8% for learners and spent a total of 953 minutes learning, which comes out to be a 16 hour total! I was able to reach a 50 day streak and am on track to make it for 365 days. My top languages were Spanish and French, staying true to my word.

In total, I cooked four meals this year and about a thousand quesadillas. I learned how to make French Toast and figured out the dishes that would give me the most bang for my buck. My cooking habits are in a good spot and I’ll be looking forward to more meals next year.

I walked a lot this year! I wish I had the data on how much walking I did but alas I do not. Pokémon Go got me out of the house and adventuring more than I ever have before. My Ebike has now hit over 500 miles on it and got me where I needed to go.

On WordPress, I wrote over 17000 words and averaged around 800 words per article! And this year saw 180 likes on my content!

With Piano, I practiced a bit during the summer and invested in online learning platforms. It is the final stretch and I’m going to try to learn the basics by year’s end. All other goals have been reached, this is it!

Challenges Faced

The greatest obstacle I faced was myself, as cliché and cringe as it sounds. I’ve learned that much of my life has been a failure to fully commit. I will tell myself to do something and the hours will not match. No matter how smart I am, I failed to understand what I wanted and to put the hours in. This realization came from my quest to Diamond League in Duolingo. Duolingo I used to do the bare minimum. I would do a quick lesson just to keep a streak going until eventually giving up. And then a friend added me on Duolingo. I started competing and haven’t stopped since. With this, I realized how much work I need to be putting into everything I do and really just enjoy the journey. French has made me want to pull my hair out until I just chuckled and let it be as it was. Progress is progress no matter how slow. For this next year, I want to reach a level where I put in the work and see the payoff. I say this every year but each year I get a bit closer; the difference now is I know exactly what I need to do.

Planning for Next Year

An end to bad habits. This year has really seen me digging into the trenches and pulling out all that goes bump in the night. I have really come into my own and looking back I feel a sense of completeness. What I set out to do this year has changed my way of thinking and has made me realize the importance of doubling down. There is always something new to learn and always room for improvement. Finishing up my habits has given me a new perspective on my blogging and made me realize how much I can improve. The format of my site I’m in love with and now I want to really focus on content. Doubling down and really writing my heart out. There are so many ways I can expand my writing and I feel like I’m in a good spot to set out on this journey.

Goals for Next Year

As I begin drafting my resolutions for next year, I’m really taking a look at where I want to be. This year has had a heavy focus on my habits and laid a foundation that I’m happy with. Coding I’ve begun earning certificates, which a few months ago I never thought I’d get to. I have an understanding of what I want to use coding for and have made steady progress getting there. Piano I’ve learned half a song and am jumping back into it to finish the year strong. Cooking adult recipes on my own has been great. So in all honesty, it might be a lot of the same with an emphasis on the hours I put in. I want to really sit down and be with my habits, strategizing with an end in mind. As this year comes to a close, I want to thank everyone for reading my blog and if I don’t post anything else this month, look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Elon Musk Twitter: The Death of Twitter?

So it feels like ages since I’ve written a business related article. Years, in fact. Business has had a strange journey on this blog. Originally, that’s all I talked about. I would read a business book and then talk about those ideas. Eventually, that transformed into Mental Health and the rest of the blog has shifted away from a heavy focus on articles. Early in the Pandemic, I tried writing business articles on LinkedIn. Those saw some success but I felt a disconnect. Effort vs. Reward just wasn’t there. Here, I write for the fun of it. And I’ve been itching to talk about the Elon Musk acquisition of Twitter.

As you may be aware, I’ve done away with my social media presence since the Pandemic began. Think of this article as more of a continuation of what I’ve already talked about on my crusade against social media. If there was any doubt about my decision to leave the digital realm behind, it has been erased by watching the social media giants implode. Meta is a whole other story and quite frankly a mess. There’s a certain satisfaction in watching their fall but I also worry about those impacted by the collapse of the social media giants.

Twitter

Twitter has been on a wild ride within the last couple weeks. The biggest news is Elon Musk laying off half the workforce and charging $8 for a verification system that seems inconceivable with how Twitter was designed. That said, I can understand some of the decisions made. When I’ve envisioned Utopian social media, there has to be a way for the site to be supported. Typically, the two go-to options are crowdfunding or advertisements. You can either have it free and your data sold or you can give money to the creator to help support the site. If I’m not mistaken, Myspace was completely free, which led to it’s eventually demise. Myspace was the ideal and while I was too young to share in its joy, I still remember how amazing it was. A time when the internet was actually Utopian. Then came Facebook and Twitter. And now here we are, in uncharted territory.

What is Elon Musk doing?

It seems like madness and it seems like chaos but I’m intrigued at what’s happening at Twitter. My theory is Elon Musk is gutting Twitter as we know it and trying at least in part, to create a more concise social media experience (in a perfect world, where everyone was a rational being). I would not be surprised if we saw it integrated with his other companies and went the route of a professional social media service, similar to LinkedIn but more specialized. However, if he is forced into a particular vision remains to be seen. Advertisers are leaving Twitter in droves and soon we will see a mass exodus of users on the platform. Based on what I’ve read and watched, it seems Elon Musk does indeed want the current userbase to stay. While I gave up the Twitter life a couple years ago, I have hopped on from time to time to check in. With the acquisition however, my desire to do so has all but disappeared. The new verification system sounds exhausting and begs the question of who can you trust on Twitter? What would a post-Twitter world even look like? Once Pandora’s box is open, can you close it? While we don’t know for certain if Twitter will die, I think we can all agree that Twitter as we know it is done. It is essentially in the hands of a madman.

Random Thoughts

It’s a lot of information to process. One day, Twitter was fine (in the loose definition of the word). Then overnight, the Media giant was brought to its knees by one man. Half the staff, gone. Many others resigning, quitting. It is alarming to think that if one has enough money, they can do this. People’s livelihoods have been destroyed and for what? Seemingly nothing. A CEO does not simply do these things. At least, not a proper CEO. I always thought of Elon Musk as a sort of madman businessman but at least with his other companies he could hide behind “Vision”. A mission to colonize Mars, a mission to reinvent the automotive industry through electric batteries. While a tough sell, getting people to hit the grindstone when you have a mission to save the world makes the pill easier to swallow. With Twitter you’d have to be out of your mind to stay.

Covering Social Media

As part of my long term goal for the blog, I want to start covering social media trends on a more regular basis. I’ve written about their mental health implications and since then I’ve been noticing more coverage on the detriment behemoths like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have had on society. I know deep down in my heart, there are better ways to run Social Media. I’ll be keeping up with all new developments and look at the global impact. If you have any thoughts, sound off in the comments below!

November 2022 Newsletter: When Chaos reigns

It’s been a crazy last couple months. There’s been a lot of good and a whole lot of crazy. Short Story month was a success. Adulting has been hard and the wheel of time never stops turning. This is the intro and now we’ll dive into the nitty gritty.

Short Story Month

The first “official” short story month was successful. I was able to publish two short stories and the second story I was especially happy with. While the stories did lean more towards horror this year, I’m glad I made the series open ended; the main goal is writing practice and to that end I achieved my goal. With it’s success, I’ll solidify it into the series rotation.

When Burnout Hits

So it has finally happened, I have reached a point of burnout with work. I’ve been working at a nonprofit for the last year now and it’s been an interesting experience to say the least. I have hit the maximum of part time hours I can work (about 30) and I have become well established in multiple departments. I work the front desk, teach rock climbing, and assist with events currently. Over the summer, I was a camp counselor and still assist with childcare from time to time. Teaching, Event Planning, and the right type of customer service. Here’s where it gets tricky; the pay. I did the math and I’m only bringing in $19000 a year (rounded-up). Short-term, this is ok. Long-term, not so much. Compared to previous years of income, this is the least I’ve made since entering the workforce. It is a rate that has not kept up with inflation and it is a rate that doesn’t sit well with me personally. Now that I have the experience, I can once again look at the factors that make for a satisfying life. While I have work that I find enjoyable I just cannot justify everything else I would be sacrificing.

This Month (and a little of last month)

I’ve been running around the last couple months. September I had a wedding to attend, my bike got a flat, and I was coasting along. Come October, I got my bike fixed, my student debt relief application sent in, and braced for another busy month. Now, my two main goals are health insurance (through the affordable care act) and my New Zealand application. I cannot believe how fast time has gone by. The health care application is nearly complete and I’m just waited to be fully approved for coverage. New Zealand is going to be a lot more work. Everything goes well, I’m still waiting four to six months for the application. Afterwards, I’ll need to renew my passport and get a RealID for domestic travel before the deadline. In the meantime, I will also be ramping up my job search as a backup. December might be the first month where I can truly relax this year. And yet, I’m still swinging a miss on one of my new year’s resolutions. And that is… Learning the piano. So, it is time to practice. If I can put 10 hours into deciding a vote, I can put time aside every week to learn the piano. I’ve been cooking, coding, walking, biking, and learning French. So it’d almost be criminal if I didn’t at least try again with piano.

The Drum Beats On

It’s a bit of a fever dream right now. I am in a weird limbo where things are going well but my heart craves more. I am pushing my personal goals forward but it all moves slowly, then quickly. The blog is exactly where I want it and no major changes will happen (unless I live in New Zealand, then you bet I’ll do another travel series). Poetry, Short Stories, Mental Health, and Sustainability all make writing incredibly fun for me. It took many years to get here, but we’re here. My posts get plenty of likes and there is not a whole lot of heavy lifting. I write what I want when I want and keep on schedule (mostly). With short story month behind us, November really could be anything in terms of content. A poem? A short story? An article? Hard to say.

Other Nonsense

As of right now, it’s just a lot of planning. Believe it or not, I’ve begun longing for the days of the call center. Full benefits and a work environment that in hindsight wasn’t all too bad with a large organization that gave me access to resources. That’s not to say what I’m doing now is bad, it just is very limited as far as what I can do career wise. Since I’ve achieved my work experience goals, it is a simple matter of moving on out. It’s been a year of personal growth and I’m proud of what I’ve done, I just hate how there always seems to be extra steps to get what I want out of life.

Voting

Quite recently, I voted. I have been voting since I turned 18 and this election I really dug in to understand my values and who would best represent those. For my entire life I have seen Oregon on the decline under the leadership of Kate Brown and I simply said enough was enough. Being a moderate my views run a spectrum so I sought to provide balance in our legislature. I watched a couple debates and found information on each candidate. Each ballot measure I looked over and thought about how it would affect me as well as the larger implications as a whole. I feel I struck a nice balance and all the choices I made I’m happy with. That said, long term I think I will end up relocating. Oregon is not as it was and I want a fun city in a fun state where I can live. The job prospects here have not been great and I’m wondering if I can use my alumni network to make a smooth transition elsewhere. So basically it’s a “we’ll see” sort of year.

Doing the Math

So I’ve done the math [my favorite phrase today, apparently]. Career wise, I cannot stay any longer than the end of the year. Early 2023 is fine but any more and I’d be doing a disservice to myself. I also cannot outright quit as it is still nice to have a source of revenue (and the work is enjoyable). The schedule and hours all work with my current plans so I can simply build on what I’m doing. The weekends are typically pretty quiet, so I simply work on my blog and get my coding goals done. It also affords me time to read books and just really sit back a take a breather after the last couple of years. However, if I were not doing these things, I’d be bored out of my mind. And that is not ideal for a workplace environment. Overall, I think it’s good to have this type of experience during my 20s. I’m jumping around and just figuring out this thing we call life.


This will be a month of doing. Ramping up my coding, finishing a few books, and getting the foundation laid for next year. It’ll be a time to learn piano and make sure all personal milestones have been achieved. I’ll be looking towards the future in what will be another busy month. As always, thanks for reading!

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