June 2022 Newsletter: Hot boy summer

So we are now in June. The weather is supposedly nicer. It’s a time to wear tank tops and soak in the rays. My friends hate it when I call this summer hot boy summer but I’ve been working out and am in the mood to have a little fun. It is a packed summer and one that will hopefully conclude with the finishing of multiple professional certificates.

Getting Ready for July

July will mark the second annual sustainability month as I explore topics that are near and dear to my heart. For preparation this month, I am making it a goal to remind myself every moment I get to ride my electric bike, which I rode for the first time the other week! If all goes well, it’ll be a month of bike rides.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health awareness went really well! My goal with the series has been to measure my personal growth and push the limits of what I’m comfortable with. To that end, I achieved my goal. After I wrote ‘A tale of two Mikes’ I have made an active effort to go by Mike. I posted on LinkedIn regarding this change and think overall it’ll create a better me. It’s a small change but truly feels like a fresh start, where I can accept every aspect of myself. And of course I wrote about my Dad. When I finished writing the article, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and I feel better than I have in a long while. It finally feels like my life will start moving forward after the last couple years.

Year of Desire

This year is about myself. A time to reflect and improve who I am. That’s not to say the other years I’ve neglected my well being but most of the time I don’t act. I wait and wait until feelings pass. So this year I am doing everything in my power to act. Other aspects of this year are my self image. I am working on body positivity this year! Already over the last couple months I have been feeling much better regarding my overall look. This has been primarily thanks to guided work at classes such as Yoga and Spin. It’s also a time to focus on dating and relationships over career. While I can juggle both at the same time, I feel in the past I have blatantly ignored my love life. An exciting year for sure and thus far I’m feeling good about my prospects.

For This Month

This month will be another relaxed month as I plan articles for Sustainability month in July. I may write an article later in the month if I have time but most likely it’ll have to wait till August as the series take a while to work on.

Outside the Blog

Life has been going relatively well. I’m making money, will be a day camp counselor in late June and have been working out with most of my free time. I joined an adult Co-Ed soccer league and played my first match the other week. I’ve been off social media for a while now and that includes dating apps. It’s overall been a liberating year as I do some much needed soul searching.

Cooking

Cooking has been going slow. I’ve made a few recipes here and there but took about a month off. The beet dishes have been my favorite while my experiment with eggplant went okay. For now, I might stick with beet dishes as I have a blast making them. For eggplant, I simply roasted them. In the future, I think I’ll need to prepare it in a salad and do a proper dish. Cookies have been fantastic and I seem to have a knack for baking. I have a lot of recipes planned, so I’m hoping for better cash flow over the summer so I can spend money on more dishes I’ll enjoy.


And thus ends this months newsletter. Next month will be Sustainability Month and with it three articles dedicated to a sustainable life. We’ll see how much I switch it up from last year and I’m excited to focus my efforts on the drafts this month. Come August there’ll once again be a Newsletter and we’ll gear up for the colder weather that comes with the changing of seasons. As always, thanks for reading!

State of the blog: 2022

Ah, January. A month of promise, a month of hope. With my resolutions written, it is time to take a look at my blog. My bastion, my slice of the internet. Whatever storm weathered, this is my safest port (if not my only port in the storm). With this post, I wanted to take the time to talk about the past and look forward to the future. All my plans and dreams (blog related), laid out for the world to see.

2020

A lot of planning went into my blog for the year and the effort showed. My goal was to provide consistency without burnout and to that end I am extremely proud of the work I’ve done. I have no pressure to write and have a lot of freedom when it comes to what I write. I’ve situated myself as a poetry, short stories, and articles blog and made the brand Mike Cole, so there’s no confusion as to what you’re getting into.

2021

I could better understand what was working and what could be improved upon. Overall, a great year. A year of growth and progress and I really have no complaints. Some minor tweaks here and there and 2022 is poised to be another great year.

Come this year

I didn’t want to take too long going over the last couple years as this year is the most exciting to me. This year is simply refinement of the core concepts developed in 2020 and 2021.

The Newsletter

The Newsletter is now official. It was experimental in 2020 and was my way of adding cohesion to the blog itself. In the past, if I disappeared for a while, I would occasionally write an update to let people know what was going on. The problem was, it would be completely random. By having a monthly update 7 or 8 times a year, I’m able to better communicate what’s going on. I find it enjoyable to give a glimpse into my life and the reception to the updates has been fantastic. The Newsletter had a bit of a branding crisis early on but this year I’ve worked out most of the kinks and have a better idea of what I want the purpose of the posts to be.

Series

In 2020, when I made the decision to make my blog a more consistent, cohesive experience I looked into what specifically that would look like. The Newsletters were a big aspect of that change. Every month, even if it was a busy month, there would be a newsletter; I wanted practice writing them and it makes a lot of sense from a blogging perspective. The second aspect of the blog was to give myself a time and place to write about what I enjoyed. Up till this point, the articles I wrote were great but once again inconsistent.

Short Stories

For the series, I decided early on there needed to be four. This gave my content a rounded out feeling and would allow me to have exciting content throughout the year. Short Stories are something I had always pondered writing but usually make me blush in embarrassment with how dorky they can be. I equate them to a similar experience as a D and D campaign (I have only played one, I swear!).

The reason I’ve been so adamant regarding scheduled time to write short stories is I truly believe it helps with creative thinking and problem solving. I love any activity that challenges my brain so being able to create a world from nothing is extremely enticing. What I’ve written has garnered positive feedback and it’s an aspect I’ve been wanting to expand upon for a while now.

Sustainability Month

Years of brainstorming and it’s finally come to form. I picked two issues I cared about and chose those as my hills to die on. Sustainability has been near and dear to my heart ever since I was a young lad. My first memory is that of the garden we had at my preschool, picking peas from a pod and remembering how delicious they tasted. In my later years, I joined Students for Environmental Action and built a community garden at my high school. In college, we had a garden in our backyard and even made our own compost from our leftovers. Now, I can at the very least write.

Last year was the first year I started my sustainability series. It was exciting, fun, and for the most part lighthearted (except for the Oregon wild fires). This year, I plan to continue all that was good from the last year and expand upon it. Sustainability is a broad topic so it gives me a lot of ground to cover. I could talk about corporate greed, consumerism, and all in-between. I can also talk about walking, cooking, and all other manner of fun topics. The goal is for the series to be engaging and not go into climate crisis mode. There are many pieces written nowadays that stress the urgency of action but as far as effectiveness I don’t know if I believe it works. I’ve read about terms such as “climate anxiety” and it all seems very peculiar to me. Our world is complicated and my hope is to make it simpler. I’m excited for what this year brings!

Mental Health

Mental Health is a tough subject to talk about. In my everyday, I brush it off when in the company of others. I tell everyone everything is fine and it’s rare I’ve been vulnerable around anyone. A lot has happened to me the last couple years so the articles planned for this year will reflect that. I have a rough outline of what I want to talk about and overall I’m excited to share as I work through my life. This year will be a mix as I experiment with articles, only one is planned to be heavy subject matter with the rest being general mental health articles that are more on the lighthearted side.

Poetry Month

Celebrating national poetry month was fantastic last year. I opted to return to form to when I had started this blog all the way back in 2015. A simpler time filled full of questions of the weeks and a bunch of random other topics as I tried to gain a foothold on my chaotic world. It is rare that I have the opportunity to reach back into the past and pull it into the present, so the fact I can for poetry month has brought a smile to my face.

Most poems I write nowadays I simply write and leave up to the readers interpretation. I have my inspiration but the beauty of poetry is applying your own meaning to the poem you’ve read. To make poetry month special, I brought back analyzing poetry from my ‘Fruitful Friday’ series, a now ancient relic of a bygone era. The best part is now the analysis is of my own poetry rather than famous poets. Poetry month will stay the same for this upcoming year.

In Sum

There won’t be any major changes this year. The website is easy to read and follow and the content has been solidified. I am talking about what I want to talk about and the final piece of the puzzle has been resolved this last year. Horror Month is no more and Short Story month is here to stay. There are no creative restrictions and basically the sky is the limit for what I can write about. Two to three articles a month is reasonable for me and writing now takes top priority over other activities.


That’s it! This is just an overview for the upcoming year! Of course there will be updates through the Newsletters and more to come as we get closer the series. I’ll be back soon for the February Newsletter!

June 2021 Status Update: A Tinkerer’s Guide

It’s June! As we move into the warmer months, I’ll be talking about Sustainability in July and in August I will be taking a month off to relax. This month will be relatively tame with most likely a poem and will be used to plan out my articles for next month.

Mental Health Awareness Month

This year was a pivot away from some of the darker topics. Instead, I’ve opted for the articles to be more story driven in nature and focused on concepts, reminiscent of my older articles when I discussed business terminology in the context of my life. I’ve written some great articles on my personal life and personal strife but it’s time for a change. I scrapped a couple drafts this month in favor of talking about social media, meditation, and anxiety. Anxiety I enjoyed writing about and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m comfortable talking about my fathers alcoholism but that had a time and place. I was able to make sense of his world and any more on the subject would be to dwell; a road I don’t feel inclined to walk down. I had a draft for an article talking about the passing of my father but ultimately left it unpublished and unfinished. I thought writing about his death might reveal some hidden knowledge much as writing about his alcoholism helped me come to terms with my reality, but it didn’t. The fact of the matter is death is death and I was with him in the end. In the end, I chose love over bitterness. If I do bring it up, it’ll be here or there but I have a strange sense of peace with the whole situation, a peace I didn’t have a year ago. The toughest aspect has been an underlying exhaustion which could be symptomatic of mild depression; understandable given the trauma I’ve endured. I wrote a poem at the end of April and that felt more a fitting send off then the cold calculus of an article.

Special Series and other Joys

I’ll be making a slight adjustment to my series; instead of a post a week, I’ll be doing three for a given month. Four a month was an arbitrary number, based solely on the fact that I thought it’d be cool to write every week of a month. Three a month is more manageable and gives me more time to work should I have to re-edit an entire article (which happens more often then you’d think). I might make other changes as I continue to write special series but for now I’m happy with making this small adjustment. I’ve started initial work on creating a podcast and while nothing may come of it, I’m in the process of drafting the script for my first episode. I have no idea what I’m doing but I want a hobby where I can actively practice public speaking, much as I’ve done with writing.

Goodbye Social Media

As you may have noticed, the Twitter feed is gone from the blog! I’ve had a lot of time to think about the internet during the Pandemic and I have deemed social media unworthy of my time. Since writing my mental health article, I reinstalled and uninstalled various social media apps; I now have none on my phone. If people need to get in touch, texting is the way to go. I want the blog to reflect this choice and not create stress through a constant feed. The blog is healthy as it is with organic traffic and while I might still use social media sites from to time, I long for the day where I can be free, or at least, for social media to be better. I’ll most likely write about social media more as the years progress, however, I’m looking to make improvements from my mental health article. Mostly, I’ll emphasize the positive benefits of quitting rather than focus on the dystopian nightmare social media is.

Outside of the blog

A career is weighing heavily on my mind. I’ve worked a job but not a career. I’m frustrated that when I invest in an action, there is no payoff. What I mean by this is, for example, my brother is an artist. He can go out and take photos because he thinks something is of interest. He can then take those photos and use those as reference for his work. His hobbies lead to his craft and he gets that satisfying burst of fulfillment. I do not have that luxury at the moment. Writing I enjoy but that’s where the buck ends. In the intangible sense, it’s great, I can craft narratives and work on my communication. Conveying voice in writing is not easy and yet, my writing becomes more distinct the more I write. It’s a fun bit of trivia, a quirk to mention in passing. Yet, with Management as my field of study, it can be a difficult sell. I’m not writing articles as a Manager, Sales Rep, or any numerous fields attributed to Management. And thus, a lack of fulfillment ensues. A framework I’m adopting is I have not quite found a job where I can directly apply what I enjoy doing in my free time. Learning to code feels far from home and while the dots might connect to business, they do not connect easily. Hence, a lack of fulfillment and a wave of misery that follows. The dream is to learn web development as a starting point but often it can feel as though I’m throwing effort into the void. Or it could be simply a dark shadow cast by depression, a lack of meaning brought about by tragedy. Who knows!

But…

The blog is healthy and I’m building it around the future work I’ll eventually do. That means a month off in August, three articles instead of four when writing special series, and a steady stream of status updates that are essentially my newsletter. This is my little piece of the internet and I’m going to hold onto it. No update next month but get ready for articles on sustainability! August off should be nice! That’s all I have and feel free to comment below; I am always open to feedback!


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