2021 – What Went Wrong

When I started this podcast, I had lofty goals. I wanted to publish 10 episodes in 2021. It’s 2022…That. Did. Not. Happen.

So what went wrong?

To start, I’m naturally an introvert, but for some reason I’m drawn to having tons of hobbies that involve interacting with people. Not just any people though, my friends, so there’s a huge difference between entertaining strangers. It still takes a lot out of me. At the end of the day, being around friends and family drains my batteries. I need alone time to recharge. Well, in 2021 my friends and I started year 2 of an involved D&D campaign. I’m basically talking for 3 hours every other week, taking my friends on a crazy journey through the Forgotten Realms. I poured more time into that than I think any other hobby I have.

Next, my oldest daughter also started competing in more and more ice skating events, (some of which she placed 1st!). Those two things alone pulled me from the podcast. Each episode takes about 10-20 hours of work to do and I was trying to pump out one each month. That sounds kind of reasonable, but in reality, when you add in a family of 3 kids, a loving wife, a full time job, friends who are depending on you to run a D&D campaign and all the other extra things my family and I do, that barely leaves time for just me to do things I enjoy.

Something had to give and unfortunately, that meant A Reasonable Breakdown had to be put on hold.

The other thing that happened was I simply ran out of ideas 🙂 It happens. I hit a dry spell. I also wanted to avoid putting out an episode just because. I set a level of expectations for this that I wanted to maintain. If it takes me 2 months to produce a great episode, then that’s the way it’s going to be. Numbers don’t matter. Likes are trivial, listeners, while nice, are just icing on the cake at this point. All I wanted to do was have a podcast that I could work on and produce in my free time. I love creating content. I love editing audio or video. I love being creative. My 9-5 is data analysis. It can be a bit boring at times, pouring over spreadsheets and digging through patterns, but it lends itself well to what I wanted to do with ARB, which is research. All day I research issues, try to figure out why something broke and how to detect it sooner next time, (there’s always a next time). Taking that analytical side to a podcast felt right.

It worked for awhile. I started strong, but eventually I realized ARB was going to become yet another conspiracy theory podcast, discussing the validity of all of these weird topics. That’s fine, if that’s what I had set out to make, but I wanted something a little more grounded in reality. Stories that sound crazy but end up being true. Or stories that were published on Facebook or Twitter that embellished the truth for fake internet points. I like getting to the bottom of things. I tried to find more stories to look into but the vast majority of them were about Covid-19 or the 2020 election. Those were things I didn’t want to touch on. While both are highly topical, they were low hanging fruit. Every website and podcast was talking about Covid and Biden vs Trump. I didn’t want to rely on those. I’m proud to say that I successfully avoided all of those topics, which I think is another reason I stopped doing episodes. There was kind of an overwhelming urge to do an episode over Covid stories, diving into the data of vaccines or some of those stories of boxes of voter ballots being thrown out on the side of the street.

From the beginning I wanted to stray from the political side and everything in 2021 became a political movement. Everyone had a statement to make on anything. I just didn’t think my voice was going to be heard over the static.

I’m trying to keep this simple. I stopped making episodes because I ran out of ideas and I had too much stuff going on. That’s it. Life. Can you blame me for stopping?

I’m not going to promise anything for 2022. I have a personal project I want to take on at least until June or July, so I doubt any episodes will get produced between now and then. I do want to return to the format. It was fun. I felt like I was doing something for myself and it felt great. I also found more stories to dive into, so there’s content waiting to happen. I have to keep my priorities straight this time. Focus on one thing. Like Ron Swanson said, don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.

With the ramblings done, I’m going to sign off for now. I hope to return eventually, but only time will tell.

-Brian