My Life As A Blog — Guest Post By . . .
Blogger: Christine Koh
Blog: Boston Mamas
Seven years ago, my life appeared so rosy and impressive. I had a Ph.D. under my belt and was finishing my postdoctoral fellowship in music and brain science with joint appointments at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.
But I was so incredibly lonely.
My time was spent coding experiments alone, decoding journal articles alone, writing grants and manuscripts alone, and running experiments nearly alone (it was a scientific transaction rather than a social experience). Yes, there was the occasional conference and the weekly journal club but these were not warm and fuzzy experiences for me.
In September 2006, I decided to leave my decade long career in academia — to trust in the universe and make a huge leap without a safety net or a plan. My postdoctoral discontent — coupled with the birth of my daughter and the death of my father — made me realize that I deserved joy and creativity and camaraderie. Every single day.
I had just started Boston Mamas two months prior to deciding to leave academia. It was one of the first geographical niche lifestyle blogs and I didn’t start the site to get something out of it. I simply started it because I saw an editorial hole in the online space and wanted to fill it creatively. The response was amazing, but I had no financial expectations about the site.
And I didn’t care. My gut told me I was making the right move. So I left academia and decided to forge a new career as a freelancer. I kept developing Boston Mamas. I launched my design firm Posh Peacock. I started taking on freelance editing and consulting work. I expanded my voice beyond the Boston Mamas niche via my personal blog Pop Discourse and freelance lifestyle writing assignments. As I connected with more bloggers online and in real life, I found myself amidst an incredible community — a community replete with talented, funny people who inspired me every day, and sometimes supported me in ways that I could never have imagined.
Last year, my professional identity evolved notably in three ways. First, I decided to take my consulting to a different level and started working with the talented and cause-impassioned Morra Aarons-Mele on Women Online (a digital strategy firm). Second, with Morra, Whitney Johnson, and Roxanna Sarmiento, I helped launch Pivot Boston (an event series focused on inspiring women and equipping them with the tools to make awesome things happen in their lives). Third, I landed a book deal and am writing Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less with my dear friend and blogging rock star Asha Dornfest.
And now, I stand on the precipice of a new venture. The Mission List is a project that Women Online has been developing for some time — it’s an online network of women who want to use their social media influence for good. The beauty is that anyone can join — it doesn’t matter whether you write about design, parenting, fitness, home/work issues, etc. And you will be compensated for your time and expertise. Totally awesome, right?
I am honored to announce that I will serve as Community Manager for The Mission List and the project feels like I’m completing my loneliness 180. We are creating a community platform that we hope will be the online hub you’ve been looking for: a place to make friends, glean wisdom from your peers and other professional resources, and engage in meaningful online marketing campaigns. I will be the hostess at the cocktail party, as it were – there to interact with you, answer questions, share awesome opportunities, and keep abreast of what matters to you.
Those who already know me know how much I love people. How I thrive on connecting people. How I find inspiration being among smart and funny people. How I send Twitter fist bumps and unicorns when I see members of this community elevate one another. It’s amazing how much has happened in seven years, and how I have moved from a professional life characterized by loneliness to one replete with incredible relationships. I hope that all of you in the Blogstar community — many of whom I already know and respect, and many who I look forward to meeting — will come join us at The Mission List. You can opt in to as much or as little as you have time for, but rest assured — whatever your chosen level of engagement, a welcoming light and virtual cup of tea will always be waiting for you. I don’t want any of you to ever feel loneliness.
With affection and gratitude,
Christine Koh | @bostonmamas