This month I’ll be chatting with Chris

Hi Jason,

I was looking forward to December – not only for the start of my turn in the letter wiring – but also as it marked a year of change for me. So today, when I’m writing this letter to you, I’m a pretty different person than earlier in the year when I signed up. And that is for the good :-)

One of the biggest changes I made this year was switching my job. It took so much courage to take the step and go from something known - and not all bad - to something new and unknown. On the other hand, I’ve started to do sports regularly, and that would not be a sentence you heard from me last year. Chris is a computer nerd, and they do not do sports ;-). So I started swimming this year, and I quite enjoy it.

It is early morning right now when I write these words (6:00), and I soon need to start work. I’m conducting a “Cybersecurity” Workshop for my co-workers today. I hope all goes well. It is quite the change now that I’m in a company where I’m currently the only “computer guy.” It is funny how you can’t rely on a common body of terms everybody knows or a “common culture.” I don’t know how to describe that, but we all had the same background and knew the same stuff at the old place.

It is good for me to stretch again and navigate some uncharted waters. Having the same background is not necessarily all good – it makes for an easy life – but not for the best solutions. This also fits perfectly into the theme of change I have for this year: be more open to the world.

So, how was your year? Did the regular writing with strangers change something?

Looking forward to your reply, Chris

Hi Chris,

Switching jobs is a big change! One I haven’t made in almost a decade. It’s crazy to think that April 2014 was the last time I had a different employer. And while what I do and everything around me has changed a lot, I still have worked for Allovue for as long as I went to college, high school, and middle school combined. Wow.

A couple of years back I started playing volleyball again, and it has been a huge boost to my mental health. I’m glad you’re enjoying the swimming! What is it that you feel attracts you to swimming, specifically? I haven’t really done it in a long time, but I know how exhausting laps can be. And quiet. I’m not sure I could sit in my head for that long… or swim for that long, for that matter. How much swimming do you do when you go? Something tells me that even in my best shape, 15 to 20 mins would be all I could do.

Writing with strangers has been a highlight of the year. For one, it’s caused me to stop and think about what I’m doing and where I am a lot more than I usually do. Reintroducing myself, digging into different parts of my state of mind and what’s happening has been a form of forced reflection that is sometimes absent. In many ways, these letters are a better journal than any journal I’ve ever kept.

Let me know how your workshop went! Did you feel you were able to communicate effectively? Make it fun?

And now that we’re at the end of the year… what are your plans for next year?