Letting go to move on
There’s a post sitting in my draft folder on Medium that’s two years old. It was my goodbye post to something I once loved. It was my “Dear Jane” letter, my “it’s not you but me” excuse. It was a post about shutting down one of the most pivotal pieces of work I have ever created.
It was my goodbye to my first blog.
“After 12 years of writing my old blog, I decided to cut off my metaphorical arm. I sat in a California hotel room and cried when I wrote the goodbye post. It sat in my draft folder for weeks before I hit ‘publish.’ I questioned if this was the right thing to do. It’s been 12 years of my life. Twelve years of writing, 12 years of shaping me into who and what I am today. Was I crazy? Did I lose my mind? Did I start to hate writing? No, it wasn’t any of those. It was growth. I grew.”
You realize that the memories of the past and being together again might not be the best idea.
I was going to publish that post when I returned home. Then I waited a few days. The days turned into weeks, then months, and then years. I decided not to give up and give it another try.
It was like a couple that tries to patch things up after a bitter breakup. The feelings that brought you together in the first place “feel” like they’re there but then you realize those are just echoes.
You realize that the memories of the past and being together again might not be the best idea. You hope it’ll get better. You have some good days together but you have to force it. Then one day you have an existential crisis and conclude that you have to break up for good.
That’s what happened to me in the last week of August 2021. I loaded up my About Me page and wrote a goodbye. Then I changed my Twitter handle from @neuralmarket to @ thomasottio and the emotional dam burst.
Big day today. I finally put a big important part of my life in the past. It wasn’t anything bad but I needed to move on. I felt like I was jumping off a cliff but in reality, it was a curb. Will write soon.
– Thomas Ott (@thomasottio) August 31, 2021
I felt like I jumped off a cliff and my stomach dropped like a rock. I questioned myself, did I do the right thing? Was I being a fool? All those feelings washed over and then they were gone. It was over. It wasn’t a cliff I jumped off, it was a curb. I stepped off a curb. A tiny curb.
I took a deep breath and exhaled.
When I started blogging I was working as a Civil Engineer for a medium-size Engineering company. It had its ups and downs but I knew that it wasn’t the right profession for me at the time.
Blogging was my escape from the drudgery of working in a cubicle. I wrote about stocks, the markets, and machine learning. Those were topics that interested me at the time and they kept me sane when things looked bleak.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zones, failed a bunch of times, and succeeded more.
Over time my writing got better and my audience grew. My tutorials on machine learning attracted a lot of traffic and I helped 1000’s of people learning machine learning. It was very a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor!
In time, my writing and blog turned into a full-time dream job when I was offered a sales engineering position at a startup. I became one of those lucky people that turned blogging into a job!
I felt like I’ve found a new voice in me, a voice that speaks with vulnerability and authenticity.
I left my career as Civil Engineer in 2014 and never looked back. I pushed myself out of my comfort zones, failed a bunch of times, and succeeded more.
I grew as a person. My family got better. My partner noticed a new feeling of confidence. My children had a better and more loving father.
I grew back then and I’m growing today.
Just like when I left Civil Engineering, I felt like now was the time to leave the old behind. It felt like I needed to let go of the blog to keeping growing, and so I did.
No, I haven’t quit the startup world, in fact, I’m still on that crazy ride! I would never dream of leaving that world behind, but the blog was different.
You see, 2021 has been overly emotional and stressful for me and it’s in that stress that good things can happen if you listen and learn. It’s led me to soul search and untangle myself from emotional and spiritual anchors that dragged me down my entire life.
I felt like I’ve found a new voice in me, a voice that speaks with vulnerability and authenticity. A voice that can cherish the past, with all the good and bad, and revel in the sordid and the pure.
I’ve boarded a new ship and charted a course into the unknown. With salt spray on my face and the wind in my hair, I watch my last port of call grow smaller on the horizon. I don’t know what I’ll find on this new journey, or if I’ll ever get there but right now the sun is shining and the water is inviting.