Before jumping across the fold, you might have two questions:
I migrated my newsletter to a Buttondown account for Distillations. If you subscribed to the former and don’t want to be on the latter, feel free to unsubscribe—I won’t be offended, pinky promise. Updates will be sent to this list going forward.
In late March, I quietly reframed my writing as a collection of essays, draped a theme over it, and tucked away older reflective and technical posts as etceteras. The reasoning was two-sided. First—and we won’t dig into this—were my qualms with the connotations surrounding the word “blog.” Second, calling the collection “Distillations” better distanced my identity from it. The goal isn’t to be anonymous, yet I feel healthier saying “Hey, I’m Jasdev and I write at Distillations.” compared to “Hey, I’m Jasdev and I write at…jasdev.me.” Decoupling myself from my work has always been important. But, the “jasdev.me” umbrella made that challenging on a subconscious level.
Below is the Twitter thread I was going to send alongside a recent essay, “Slowing Down Time,” to introduce the series. Pay special attention to the link in the third tweet—you might find your name on the Village page <3
1/ Over the past few months, I’ve been writing towards my next project: Distillations. It’s a collection of essays on human behavior, our relationship with technology, and engineering. Or, more succinctly, written attempts at distilling my thoughts.
2/ Since writing of this kind develops over time, I won’t keep a strict posting schedule. But, you can expect monthly updates. I’ve also shuffled the archive, highlighted my favorites, and tucked away some gems in the “Etceteras” section.
3/ What keeps me going are those of you who have edited, provided feedback, and reached out when a post resonated. It doesn’t go unnoticed. I’ve actually kept a log of every person who has helped me over the years, no matter how small the interaction.
4/ A long-term goal of mine is to write full-time. I have no clue where Distillations will end up. But, I look forward to making the collection worth your time.
Belated introduction behind, here’s the latest essay: “Ladder Construction”—in which I explore how schooling, groups, friends, coaches, and managers can all build “ladders“ for us. I won’t rehash the thesis here. I’d rather reveal the exhaust created en route to the final draft.
The motivation for “Ladder Construction” came from the “Defining ‘Enough’” section of “Chasing Earned Fatigue.” Specifically this excerpt:
“I have done this circuit both with and without a coach. Despite the similar levels of effort in each context, completing it with someone else calling the shots feels more rewarding. It’s as if the rungs on your ‘ladder’ are created for you, allowing you to focus on climbing; as opposed to trying to simultaneously climb a ladder you’re building. More generally, this delegation of ‘enough’ might explain the (more recent) proliferation of group fitness classes. They’re instances of having someone construct ladders for us.”
In editing, Shiva mentioned how the ladder metaphor landed for him.
I saved the screenshot, sat with the topic for nine months, and finally had the headspace to tackle it this month. It’s the first post where I mention going to therapy. I’m not going to editorialize and claim the leap in doing so was easy—I questioned its inclusion multiple times. Kristen’s tweet summarized how the drafting process felt this time around:
“me: writing this essay is gonna help me uncover how i feel about something
[discovers what i feel about something] me: oh no”
I’m going to capital-T-Try to use this newsletter to paint context behind future essays. If you have any feedback, are curious about something specific, or want to send me a corgi GIF, replying to this email will land directly in my inbox.
See you next month—look after each other.