Back to school

Hello dear readers,

A few of you got in touch to ask why I haven’t written anything in a while. And the reason I stopped writing is: pregnancy nausea. (Yes, I’m pregnant! 😊) Fortunately, the nausea is long gone now but for about five to six weeks I could not bring myself to sit behind a computer for fun—and I have every intention to keep this newsletter in the category of things I do that bring me joy.

So here I am again and it feels like a new beginning. The combination of having taken an extended break from an activity, it being September and the recent cool weather we’ve been experiencing in Berlin is giving me strong back-to-school vibes.

The first day of school was always a day I looked forward to. It was a day full of promise. I used to wonder if new kids would be joining my class and whether we would become friends, who my teachers would be, what my timetable would be like. I remember putting a lot of thought into my back-to-school outfit. What did I want people to see when they looked at me?

My school days are long gone now, but I still get the feeling that something new is about to start when summer starts winding down. I also must confess that I prefer autumn to summer. It may have something to do with spending a significant portion of my childhood on the North Sea. The fact is I ❤️ mild rainy weather.

I love the kind of rain that’s light enough that you can still go outside for a walk or a run without getting too cold or too wet, but also that lets you stay inside and have a cup of tea under a blanket and not feel guilty about doing very little. Also, after two packed weeks away on holiday, I’m enjoying having an excuse to be at home and do things for myself like write this newsletter.

So here it is, September 5th, and I’m asking myself where I want to take this newsletter. For now, I simply want to get back into the habit of writing. But I’ve also been thinking about whether to focus more on the books I’ve been reading (partly as a way to stop myself from forgetting so much of what I read!).

For example, right now, I’m reading both Audre Lorde’s autobiography Zami: A New Spelling of my Name and the book Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World. It’s too soon for me to say much about the first, but the second has already given me a lot to think about. Chapter 4 focuses on the lie “the best people are well-rounded” and how we should prioritise playing to our strengths over filling our gaps— the authors don’t rule out filling gaps completely, though. I like this quote in particular:

Growth, it turns out, is actually a question not of figuring out how to gain ability where we lack it but of figuring out how to increase impact where we already have ability.

Trying to figure out my strengths and where I can make the most impact aren’t new questions for me, but pregnancy has added more weight to them. What do I want to achieve before the baby comes? How do I want to spend my time after the baby arrives? Right now, some of the things I’m spending time on are: writing, learning about Docker and Kubernetes and swimming. (I haven’t quite figured out if improving my Docker skills is plugging a gap or playing to my strengths… but for now, I’m enjoying the course so that’s enough! Also, the course is very low stakes, nothing like the 4-month Udacity course I completed earlier this year.)

Keep well,

Alicia