Oct. 1, 2023: Introducing ‘The Morning Walk’
A there-and-back-again chronic pain journey
Illustration by Kevin Sterjo
Welcome back to The Morning Walk, a free newsletter about writing, technology, and personal entrepreneurship.
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The last two years have been challenging.
In August of 2021, a gym injury left me with severe chronic back pain. The sciatica zapped down my glute, hip, and knee constantly. Life sucked.
- I couldn't stand for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- I only wore slip-ons for months, because tying my shoes left me seeing stars.
- The complex pillow formation I slept on at night to align my spine looked like Stonehenge.
Nerve pain is wild. I was popping eight Ibuprofen a day for months, which surely did a number on my liver. The pain became very mental. It clouded and distorted my thoughts. I no longer felt like myself.
One of many e-stim treatments in 2021.
I spent my first hot seat in a new mastermind-like accelerator program bawling about my pain, then dropped out after one quarter. (That program was Platform Builders with traditional book deal queen Meghan Stevenson, for the record -- killer program.)
As someone who had been in or around the wellness industry for most of my twenties, both as an enthusiast and a consultant, I missed sweat. Even more than that, I realized I had taken for granted all the things our able bodies let us do. Social gatherings. Being present with loved ones. Scratching your ass.
“I’m 34. I’m too young for this,” I would say to myself at least a dozen times a day. But here we were.
Learning How to Move Again
Eventually, I found the right combination of physical therapy, dietary changes, and torturous mobility devices to start getting better. Nearly all exercise inflamed my pain, so all I could do for a while was walk.
I walked through West Hollywood, getting to know the neighborhood, stopping at the grocery store, getting on a first-name basis at the dispensary, and so on.
My favorite route was and is to walk to Runyon Canyon Park, a lovely patch of urban wilderness smack-dab in the middle of Hollywood. The trails are steep in some places, letting you toggle between walk and hike depending on the route you take. I sweat. The sweat feels so good.
Better yet, these walks are responsible for most of the good decisions I've made professionally over the last two years. It's often been on these walks that my best ideas and decisions finally clicked into place.
Some days I listen to news. Other days I read up on what's going on in marketing, advertising, AI, publishing, finance, the creator economy, and so on. Sometimes I just take an hour to think deeply about what's on my plate, what I want to create, how to organize it, sharpen it, and then do it. My ambition gets me in trouble often personally, but when I channel it well it provides fuel to create a career and life I love.
The back pain is still a lot some days, and my body has physically deconditioned a lot. But I'm getting stronger. I ran a 5K last month. Jogged the whole thing without stopping once. Never thought I'd say that after running an Ironman nine years ago, but I'm older now. I appreciate and aspire to different things. We change.
I realized I wanted to show up more as my current self in this newsletter and in the world.
So today, I'm launching The Morning Walk, a newsletter about writing, technology, and personal entrepreneurship.
Much of what I've been writing about and consulting on since 2016 will remain the same: marketing operations, business strategy, Beyoncé analogies, and occasional promotions.
But my perspective is different. I've had a day job as an editor and journalist for a while now, and I like this “both/and” balance between corporate and consulting. Making it all work is often a time crunch. So my self-publishing and branding game must be better than ever, and I'm committed to sharing what I find works now with all of you.
This newsletter will now move to Mondays and Wednesdays, with a future aspiration for higher frequency. More to build on my end in order to hit that. But you'll see it roll out soon.
Until then, go take a walk. Or go tell someone about this newsletter. Every newsletter is now also a blog post, so if you ever feel inclined to do so, sharing with others is always appreciated.
I'm happy you're here. ◆
Cheering you on,