Hi Jason,

I already feared for the worst when I read your message on Micro.blog this week. I’m glad it was “only” from water from a leak instead of a burst pipe. But still, no matter how small or big, it comes at the worst possible time. I’m glad it can be fixed quickly and that you will return your office and living room as soon as possible.

I don’t mind the cold so much. I like it more than the sweltering summer temperatures. But then also it does not get as cold here as in other places. And I can be inside for 100% of the day if I want to.

The thing about moving is something I think about sometimes. I’ve moved around quite a bit. But all my moves were within 20km of each other. So, I always stayed in the area where I was born and grew up. I wonder how it would feel to move to a completely different place where you know nobody and don’t know the geography. I would feel totally lost and uprooted (“uprooted” is a strange word; “unrooted” would sound better – but that is a tangent ;-)). My wife took those steps as she moved into my region.

I love your idea of being “burned-out” of a location – it is not something I ever felt myself so far. But I can certainly imagine it could happen, especially when the surroundings change significantly due to external circumstances. I never felt much wanderlust (another lovely word ;-)) – actually, I’m starting to feel it now – but more for holidays than for moving my whole life to a different place. Not traveling much when I was younger is something I’ve come to regret in recent years. Now that I have a child, it is so much harder to do.

I need to remember the concept of “finding your pace.” I like it very much. And you can apply it to so much in life, not only sports. And it is undoubtedly a good thing to remember when you set goals. Focus on something other than the end result, but focus on how you can get there. By using a pace, you can keep up for a long time.

These letters helped me escape my bubble and the snail mail penpal habit I also started. It is just something different. And I can now write these emails without being nervous all the time. You should have seen me earlier that year when I wrote the first email to Jarrod!

I wish you (and your family a happy Christmas). I hope you can still enjoy the time, no matter the situation with the roof. And I now need to move some furniture around myself to set up our Christmas tree. Until the next email,

Cheers Chris

Hi Chris,

I’ve been avoiding responding, mostly because I feel pretty flustered and down. We continue to have water issues, and I’m having a lot of difficulty getting any help. Because of the holidays and bad weather we’ve had, it seems impossible to find someone to fix the source of the leak. In the meantime, our house is very loud, with blowers and dehumidifiers on every floor, very hot, and very messy. I like to start the New Year having spent some time decluttering and cleaning my slate for the year. I feel more cramped, cluttered, and uncomfortable at home than I have in a long time. It’s impacting my mood, and I was hoping to be a better one by the time I wrote our final letter.

I am thinking a lot about goals right now. It’s the end of the year, and I am seeking a theme. Last year it basically never came. I’ve been a bit knocked off my axis again at the end of this year, so I’m having trouble being introspective. I am having my own wanderlust, not for a place as well, but for a state of mind where I can feel a bit clearer and think about what I really want.

I hope you had a great holiday with family. I’m impressed you waited so long to setup your Christmas tree– around here it’s almost unheard of to go deep into December without fully embracing the season. We had a lot of folks visit prior to the holidays and get out of town around December 23rd. This meant we still got to have some restful time to ourselves, including taking a trip up to Philadelphia for a couple of days which was a welcome change of scenery.

Letters is nearly at an end. I have, I think, just one more set of these planned to go. I considered opening up all of 2024, but instead, I think I’m going to let this project live its 13 months and move on. Last year I started this project to do something fun and as part of creating a community, in a small way, on the internet. I missed blogs that responded to other blogs back and forth. And I read about the Republic of Letters and felt… well… jealous. I wanted to be a part of a network of people who shared interesting ideas with one another. Lofty for my short engagements with folks I mostly didn’t know.

So maybe what I should think about is not my theme for next year, but my next project. I want to continue to find ways to put the inter into the internet. I want to build a social web, but from the comfort of my own home there. I’m going to think a bit about how I can keep the spirit of this project going. Its format was rigid, but helpful to get at what I really want– to share ideas online in deeper conversation than the current model of social tools encourages.

I’m glad you’re no longer nervous writing these emails! I think that’s a sign that all of this is working. The best part of the weird web was always when we found each other.

Thanks for finding me.