Welcome to Robust.
Join me here, in the stubbornly thick mid-section of life.
Robust has shape-shifted a bunch since I started it in 2017, expanding every now and then as a catch-all workspace for my many and varied creative ventures, but always contracting back into the form of a newsletter. I’ve often struggled, or been hesitant to put a finer point on what it’s about, which is arguably an apt metaphor for my life in general. At times I’ve written about food, other times about entrepreneurship, almost always about things I read somewhere.
Only recently did I come to realize that what I’ve really been writing about is my midlife experience, an ongoing attempt to find or create coherence between all the things I do and all the things I am. You know, the multitudes, etc.
For years I’ve fought with myself trying to reconcile these things, to once and for all address that nagging voice that’s always telling me to Choose. Focus. Decide. But I am not an indecisive person. Quite the contrary. When I decide, I go all in and I see no need to be apologetic about the relentlessness of my pursuits. As Emilie Wapnick says in her perspective-shifting talk about those of us who’ve spent our lives wondering if we’d ever land on our one true calling: "The notion of the narrowly focused life is highly romanticized in our culture.”
I couldn’t agree more.
This is maybe a long-winded way to tell you that this newsletter is sort of like the opposite of Seinfeld; instead of being about nothing, it’s about everything. That doesn’t mean it’s scattered or distracted or incoherent.
I like to think it’s just well-rounded.
Why you should read it is pretty much the same as why I write it:
"Ideally, the task of culture should be to compensate for the failings of our brains by assisting us to a more correct vision of what other people are normally like – by taking us, in a realistic but seductive way, into the inner lives of strangers. This is what novels, films and songs should constantly be doing: defining and evoking states of mind we thought we were alone in experiencing – in order to alleviate our shyness and loneliness."
–Alain de Botton