Kaitlin Ugolik is an award-winning journalist based in Brooklyn. She writes and edits stories about the law, health, finance, technology and the media.

Trying new things

A lot of things are different around here, as you may have noticed!

First I'll address the obvious: my beautiful new website design, courtesy of the lovely Jenny Poore. She was a dream to work with and did a wonderful job, right down to explaining to this newbie how to move my clips and blog posts over to Squarespace. I haven't gotten around to completing that task yet, but I will eventually, thanks to her directions! 

Second: My whole routine and lifestyle has been upended, but it's a good thing, I promise. Last month I left my job at a financial magazine and moved into academia. I'm now editing an alumni magazine at a law school as my main gig. If you know me, you have probably heard me brag that I took the LSAT once and an algorithm told me I could have gotten into law school with my score. Not necessarily a good law school... but a law school! I used to write for a legal publication as well, and I missed doing that, so when this opportunity popped up it felt kind of perfect. My office is in Downtown Brooklyn so I have been walking to work, which has added time to my mornings and evenings, as well as some much-needed exercise every day and exposure to the outdoors. I didn't realize how much riding the subway twice a day was stressing me out until I stopped doing it!

Another big change I have made recently: Quitting Facebook. I know I've written about this before, when I've done "detoxes" for days or weeks at a time. Every time I did that, the results were pretty stark: I was calmer and I spent a lot more time reading and writing when I wasn't getting lost in the news feed spiral. So when I did get back into it, and found myself reading dozens of angry comments on posts about things that I didn't even care about, my heart speeding up and my cheeks getting flushed, I got angry with myself. Why was I doing this? What was the payoff? The answer was always: friends and family. Facebook is the easiest way to stay in touch with people and keep up with their lives. But - and this was hard to see while stuck in Facebook's clutches - there are other ways to keep in touch with people, and it is OK to lose touch with some. More on that another time. 

The final straw really came thanks to "On This Day," the Facebook feature that shows you all of the things you posted on a certain date over the years. I started to see posts come up that I had written one or two years ago expressing how much I "needed a break" or felt depleted from using the site, for various reasons. (It's not just looking at other people's baby and cat posts that is overwhelming - it's certain types of hostile conversations that are so prone to happening there, and the inherent vulnerability/accessibility to people who do not have your best interests at heart.) When it hit me that I'd been feeling this way for so long, I decided it was really time for a change. And what better time than when I was also starting a new job? I could just cut Facebook from my routine. So, I did. I'll likely be back occasionally to clean up notifications or post about super exciting things - I have a few freelance pieces pending that I will be really excited to share if and when they are published - but I'm focusing on filling all of the time I wasted reflexively scrolling the app with reading, writing, walking and cooking. It feels much more productive and rewarding this way - especially when these things can be done with other people IRL! I have absolutely nothing against people who live their lives online, by the way. I actually believe it's a totally acceptable - and for some people, necessary - way to live. It's just not for me.

And that brings me to what I guess is the whole point of this post, and of a lot of the changes I've been making in my life recently: I learned a few years ago to start accepting that I am not for everyone, and now I'm finally starting to figure out what is - and is not - for me. But in the meantime - more writing!!

Watch this place for more, and let me know what you think. Do you like the design? Do you like personal posts like this? Do you want more of them? Or should I stick to more journalistic stuff? Comment or send me an email!

Now's not the time for media bias click bait

Empathy = Hygge?