Welcome to my digital garden

Welcome to my digital garden; a blog that isn’t really a blog. This is my personal notebook where I can write down thoughts and ideas without feeling pressed to write a fully researched and polished blog post that fits in a predefined publication plan. I have many thoughts that I’d like to share and have developed and run different websites, but the thought of starting my own website/blog always caused a bad case of stage fright.

The main reason is language, as I have a multilingual audience. I grew up in the Netherlands where I have friends and family, moved to Norway in 2008 where I have even more friends and colleagues, and then, there is the international audience that I can reach with English. But the thought of having to translate every post or find a way to seperate posts is enough to give me a splitting headache and make me give up my ideas of sharing my thoughts with the world.

My depth year

So what happened that I managed to get over that hurdle now? It all started with my resolution to make 2021 my depth year. While surfing, I came through a serendipitous string of links across this post on David Cain’s website raptitude.com, where he talked about a new tradition he’d like to invent, a Depth Year, spent going deeper instead of wider. A year to focus on what we already have and drill deeper in existing interests and hobbies. His website, by the way, is well worth diving into! Anyway, that post put into words what I was feeling as the Covid pandemic forced us to think anew about a lot of things. As my social world shrunk during lockdown, my private world became more prevalent and what a mess it was. I had so many hobbies and interests, collected many resources for do-it-yourself activities to try out and so many future projects that my home and brain were completely cluttered. Therefore I decided to use 2021 to start decluttering and stop buying unnecessary new stuff. No new hobbies this year, but focus on what I’m already working with. 

Decluttering my personal knowledge

One of the my long-term projects is digitally decluttering all the places I have stored information. As it is turning out, that may well be the big project for the foreseeable future, because I have a lot of junk everywhere. This led me to a deep dive into the world of personal knowledge management systems. Trying to consolidate my personal knowledge into a future-proof system that makes it easier to actually use that knowledge to learn and discover. I found out I also wanted and needed a way to share my journey.

And this is where I am now. Thinking hard about what is important for me, how my brain works and what system would work best for me. In the meantime, I learned about digital gardens and mind gardens. These are digital places where you can putter around yourself, not for an audience. Where the important thing is the process, not the product. Where you can sow the seeds of your thoughts and ideas and see them grow organically. Where some of these seeds grow continuously, while others come to a natural conclusion. This concept caused a mindshift for me. Tending my digital garden as a metaphor for writing down my thoughts and ideas and using that for my personal learning makes it seem just like tending my physical garden, where I also have to do a lot of learning by doing. It needs consistency and patience, but is a intrinsically rewarding process just like physical journaling, which I have been doing on and off during my whole life.

The first seed is planted

So this is the first seed planted in this digital garden of mine. I’m journaling about my personal growth and learning, not blogging. Learning and experimenting, not telling others how they should live their life. I’m not going to stress about language, I’ll write in whatever language feels right for that moment. I’m looking forward to see what more will grow here.

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