🗞️ Letter 138: Why do I write this newsletter?
Mele Kalikimaka, the evolution of reasons of why I write this newsletter, and philomath
If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other 490 learn-it-alls:
Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from a winter wonderland outside of Detroit, Michigan ❄️
(Snowy pictures to come next week… I’ve been mostly hibernating the last 48 hours inside from the -14 fahrenheit degree weather.)
This past week with my sister visiting me in Honolulu has been an absolute dream come true. We spent our last night on the island camping in a secluded bay. We found some sea glass. I tried (and failed) to catch some waves on the boogie board. We stargazed while eating goldfish and li hing strawberry belts for dinner. It was the most stars Steph had ever seen. I told her “you haven’t seen nothin yet…” It made me realize how fortunate I am that I have seen an even more lit up sky on the Big Island, Hawaii and Kadavu, Fiji where there is close to zero light pollution.
My biggest insight from that night starring up at the massive universe: just like the little specs of sand from the beach that creeped into my hairline and in the crevices of my body that I didn’t want, I am a spec of sand on a big ball. Why not take more risks?
Now, let’s dive into letter 138 from a learn-it-all and I’ll explore what I thought was such a huge risk in March 2020. Enjoy!
❓Questions to think about
Why do I write this newsletter?
📨 Why did I start my newsletter?
I figured what did I have to lose? Back in 2020, I always looked forward to the newsletter of my favorite online writers each week like James Clear, Shane Parrish, and Mark Manson. I knew myself and that my natural tendency is not to share. I needed a forcing function to share publicly. I wasn't sure if anyone would read these, but I knew it was an experiment worth running to see how it went. I never knew I would make it this far but it has led to countless benefits. To list just a few, this has:
Served as a playground to share half-baked ideas
Made learning more enjoyable knowing I can share the knowledge with others
Helped me crystallize my own ideas
Opened the door to people I would never have been in connection with
Given me an outlet to find my voice and more intentionally understand what I consume while actively questioning it
Held me accountable and create public evidence that I can show up and follow through on my promises
Last but not least, apart from my journaling, this weekly letter has been one of the few things consistent in my life. There hasn't been much stability in my life and in pursuing this weekly ritual, it has afforded me the feeling of self-reliance and trusting myself.
🔄 Why do I keep on writing it?
Those seven reasons above are a slew of benefits that were my initial thoughts. they’ve evolved a bit to fit uniwuyely into my life now.
Here are seven more reasons:
Create a launching off pad for cure my intellectual loneliness. Island life is winderful but I’d be lying if I didn’t come forward and admit that I do struggle to finding friends that match my nerdiness.
I love writing. The process of reflection and refining my thoughts is intrinsically motivating and enjoyable. Despite the usual dread of publishing, I absolutely love the process of writing these letters each week. I change the topics based on where my curiosity leads me.
Proof of work to self to identify as a writer. It keeps me confident with anyone when I share the identity with them that I am a writer. I’d hate to ever be someone who says I’m an author. That is a one and done label that doens’t show that you are in the arena still showing up. It’s kind of like seasonal sports. I’m mostly a surfer only in the summer when the south swell is up or a skiier when I am in Michigan in the winter.
Stay connected to the world. Just because I live on an island, by no means is because I want to ostracize myself from connection. Community is still a top priority for me. That is much of my professional responsibilities revolve around cultivating connection and marketing products for the House of Pure Aloha.
A vehicle to create rather than only consume. Each time I read, watch, listen, or converse about something, I immediately put it into a backlog of ideas to share in a letter someday. Consumption ignites my spark to create.
Having skin in the game by sharing with my name on it. I grew up as an agreeable midwestern gal. The idea of having controversial spiky points of view that cause conflict are still something I get hives thinking about. For Pete’s sake, that’s why I dedicated a month of this past year to doing something daunting. These ranged from volleyball court and setting to the Internet when I tweeted uncomfortable things.
For my future self to look back on how my life has changed. For example, I forgot in letter 40 that I met my Dutch cousin Bruno for the first time.
That’s a wrap. If you’ve ever considered writing a newsletter or have specific questions about it, feel free to reach out! It’s been one of my favorite things and I’d love to share it with more folks and inspire them to start one!
Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say Merry Christmas to you
🔎 Word to define
Philomath: A lover of learning; a scholar.
Etymology: "a lover of learning," 1640s, from Greek philomathēs, from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + mathos "learning," from manthanein "to learn," from PIE root mendh- "to learn."
🌟 Quotes to inspire
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams
📷 Photo of the Week
Thirft shopping and a used bookstore. That is what my brother’s Christmas present consisted of from my brother. What a lovely day!
This is bumble boy Polo in front of my Mom’s bird tree. She’s so creative with how she decorates. It makes me grin like the grinch looking at this moment, so I’m including it in case it does for you as well :-)
To my past self for writing Letter 40 and inspiring this newsletter.
I appreciate you reading this!
If ideas resonated, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you forgot who I am, I welcome you to my online home.
Never stop learning 😁
PS - if you missed last week’s 🙉 Letter 137: My Letter to Expectations, you can catch up here.
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