Unsubscribing from the rat-race.

On Black Friday, I took the opportunity presented to unsubscribe myself from every mailing list hawking crap I've ended up on over the years. (Black Friday being particularly convenient because everyone emails you.)

In the weeks that've followed, I've kept up the trend, starting my day by unsubscribing to the four or five messages that make into my inbox. It feels good, lighter, and I've realized in the process it's carried over to the rest of my life.

I've never been destined for a conventional life - a 9-5 job with a proper title, a partner, family, mortgage. But for whatever reason, I still felt those pressures, those expectations pressing on how I defined myself.

A few months ago, as I finished up my two year plan, and was vaguely heading in the direction of getting out into the world and making my writing a serious thing, I spent a number of days struggling with branding. I settled on making stevenskoczen.com my "professional" presence, replete with code and resumes, and a long list of the ways I've failed. I made Ink and Feet to be the travel me, the writer me, the I don't know how this is going to turn out but I've got a gut feeling me. The messy one.

In my head, it was about audiences - my colleagues didn't want to know I was a writer, I argued. My friends and readers didn't want to know I wrote code. Everyone would be bored.

Here, on the other side of the world, I can't understand why those can't all be the same person. I'm a writer. I'm a top-notch programmer. I lead and grow teams of developers. I'm a maker, an artist. I am a man who loves curry, who struggles with depression when it stops by, who will stay up all night talking with you about art or the world or the meshing of technology and humanity. I leave the room when a TV comes on. I pick up bugs and I put them outside.

And from where I sit, I don't know why I would ever separate any of those things. Why worrying about if other people are bored is a thing I should do with any of the seconds I get. Why I'd split out segments of who I am to scrunch into a mold that I don't honestly fit in anyway. Why, really I cared.

What I've come to is that, well, I don't. I'm a writer and a coder and a man with a heart and hands and feet that I love. I live on the Earth.

As for everything other expectation, I'm hitting unsubscribe. Yes, I will re-type my email address again. Unsubscribe.

Damn that feels good.

Enjoy this letter? Share it!