I started blogging years ago with WordPress, just brain dumping whatever came to mind in the hopes that it might manifest into some kind of ad-revenue, or be a cool feather in my cap for my next job interview.
That first blog got clouded in a lack of updates and a mish mash of topics that I felt was too difficult to send to any one recipient; my next boss probably won't care about my custom Magic: The Gathering proxies or my emotions regarding the latest book I read, and it wouldn't be in good taste to try to dump ad-laden content to the random masses that are already overburdened by that latest top 10 list that I don't really have an opinion about.
This blog was supposed to be a bit different, answering questions in a central place with my opinions and input about any topic that I get asked more than once. Whether it be my first post about how I actively try to overcome imposter syndrome or any number of draft posts about my lab infrastructure or musings on technology.
A couple weeks ago, my mentor passed away unexpectedly and has turned my life in a weird direction. Am I doing the right things? What are the "right" things? Do the people I care about know that I care about them?
At his funeral, I had the opportunity to meet someone that he called HIS mentor. Maybe my grand-mentor? Either way, I got to shake this man's hand, thank him for putting my friend in my path, and I promised to send this guy an email... about something. I knew I wanted to stay in touch, to feel the impact that made the man-I-looked-up-to who he was.
My grand-mentor had a signature in his email that included a blog of his own. This blog was like my first one, infrequent and random at times; it mused about whatever he was thinking about on any given day and mutated as his own thoughts and feelings evolved on a week to week/year to year basis. I found a lot of common thoughts and hobbies in that blog, and it immediately wiped out every concern and hesitancy I had to write him and ask questions, to start a conversation with this stranger in a way that I felt was worth his time and with topics that I could legitimately use opinions on, to take away the weight of the generalist "I'm sorry for your loss, I loved him too." platitudes that I struggle with.
We'll see where that relationship goes as I literally sent him that email today, but I wanted to immediately pick this blog back up and cement it's position with a letter.
To Whom It May Concern:
You are loved, and I am friendly. I promise not to bite, much. And I promise that, underneath whatever exterior I'm wearing at the time you're reading this, I want to pay forward my mentors gifts to me. I want to talk to you. I want to know what excites you and gets you out of the bed in the morning. I look forward to your email and I look forward to having a conversation about anything and everything. Do not hesitate to find that common ground in this blog, and may it make it easier to reach out and help me to pay it forward.