I have very pale skin – very pale skin – and as a result I religiously slather on sunscreen. Then last summer, in a combination of a miracle, an early summer cruise and lots of unemployed time on the beach, I actually got a tan. And once you get a tan, keeping it up becomes addictive. I actually deliberately laid out in the sun in order to work on it. It felt good every time someone complimented me on it.
This summer rolled around and I was still in the “get a tan” mindset. My dad and I went on a cruise over Memorial Day week to the carribean and I was eager to get started on Tan 2017. The carribean sun ain’t no joke, though, and I got a second degree sun burn – my back and shoulders were covered with blisters and I could hardly move. I learned my lesson and now I’m back to hats, shade and SPF Liquid Shirt when I go out into the sun. What was I thinking, damaging my skin that way?
To me, being on the Internet (and especially blogging) is a lot like geting a tan. It feels good at the time but too much can also injure. Sometimes the injury is direct – for example I’m pretty sure I had a harder time finding a job last year because of some of the things I wrote here. It’s also more indirect. Mainly, in order to blog I feel like I have to wade into a fight and be ready to defend my ideas and always be up for interjecting my opinion on a topic. In short, I have to be a bit of an asshole. Basically, blogging turns me into someone I don’t want to be.
(For an extreme version of this, read this apology from the redditor who made that gif of Trump fighting CNN on how the Internet can warp your mentality.)
Over the years, I’ve lost that competitive spirit. And frankly, with my mom dying, my own health problems and the state of the world taking up more of my mental space, the risks of blogging aren’t worth what rewards there may be. Getting into pissing contests about the value of legal tech just seems pointless.
I’m not retiring from blogging. I’m just still trying to figure out how to do it and stay true to myself and not become obsessed with winning imaginary “internet points.” I think I can do it, but it’s definitely a slow process getting there.