mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
bigato
Posts: 2360
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

That’s touching and all that, but remember that you don’t really want to do math using your heart. Be sure to analyze it in a more comprehensible way that includes the other important factors other than how it feels.

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Yeah, but: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6123 ... culations/

I’ve always felt that it’s my heart’s responsibility to point me in the right direction (and away from the wrong direction!), and it’s my brain’s responsibility to handle the logistics and planning to make sure I go about that path in a safe / appropriate manner, manage risk and consequence, etc. We’re probably saying the same thing in different ways, @bigato, to maintain balance, but the emotional component of Big Life Decisions is and must be central. I think.

@mooretrees thanks for sharing. Isn’t it incredible how the inspiration for moments like these can seem to come from anywhere? Like, there’s a certain amount of energy or momentum growing in you, but you might or might not even know it yet, and then there’s a flash of inspiration or something else that makes it all seem to happen at once. How long would the epiphany have taken if you hadn’t read those letters? Would it have happened quick like today from something else, or would it have dawned slowly?

Your story also makes a strong argument for taking the time to ‘good off’ and be idle regularly, to give space for these kinds of epiphanies to happen.

bigato
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

I don’t think we’re saying the same thing nor do I believe the article you linked helps your point. My position is that a more comprehensive analysis should be done and that should take feelings into the equation, but I think it’s far from guaranteed that your feelings will point you in the right direction; rather I think they indicate something but the conclusions we take from them are often wrong.

AxelHeyst
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Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

I don’t think that emotions can be disentangled or decoupled from decisions. I thought you were implying they could be, so I linked an article that suggests that even highly analytical activities like chess have an inseparable layer of emotionality to them.

I agree that we often make erroneous conclusions from our emotions, but that’s “just” a matter of emotional intelligence. Emotions can’t be wrong in the same way we can make a math error. But our interpretations of those always-true emotions certainly can. The answer isn’t to disregard our emotions with distrust, but to develop a nuanced, fine tuned ability to understand what it is our emotions are guiding us towards, and integrate that understanding with our “higher” faculties to make sure we don’t do something we’ll regret later.

So I agree: comprehensive analysis with emotions considered. But I caution that attempting to rationally integrate emotions is a great way to neuter them. It is like, I don’t know, trying to figure out what “ballet” is all about using Matlab.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I think that careful analysis is required to make my heart and mind be on the same page. I have a child and a stay at home dad that I'm supporting. I won't do anything to jeopardize them, I think that's what you're getting at @bigato? I realized yesterday that there is an end in the near future (depending on the comprehensive analysis!) to full time work. While my heart is providing a clarity, it's not the be all in deciding what to do.

After that realization at work, I wrote down a few fears that came up.
Fears (limited answers to fear in parenthesis):
1. Health insurance- DH has regular medicine he needs and semi-regular appt (beef up HSA and research Oregon ACA)
2. Not enough money in old age (keep working, just not full time)
3. Can't provide for our son, not just college but other activities (be more creative as a parent!)
4. We'd be poor (gain more skill with living frugally)
5. Life would be harder (life is hard now, it will always be hard....just different problems, read Stoicism, be brave)

I don't have all the 'answers' to these fears yet, but that's my next bit of homework. Also, there is a point at which my comfort with risk will be the deciding factor in leaving full time work. I've been middle class, on food stamps poor and we're slowly working our way down to a lower cost of living now. I think the living middle class lifestyle has been the most stressful for me. I've always been able to squeeze money from something (selling things, getting a job) so the dirt poor lifestyle, while temporarily stressful, had some quick fixes. The middle class lifestyle has had tons of debt, tiredness and so much loss of free time.

I knew when I went back to school to get the degree for this current career, that I was sacrificing my freedom. I'm ready to get some of that freedom back. Back to the risk tolerance bit: I do think I'm comfortable with a higher level of risk than others I see here on the forum. Not in the 'universe provides' way, but in the 'I'll work my ass off to find solutions' way.

A short story:

I have a friend that grew up in a really stressful (bipolar mother who committed suicide) Appalachian poor situation, like really in Appalachia. Years ago when I was panicking about taking on a lot of student debt before going back to school, I called her to get some soothing. She wasn't soothing. Instead she said she thought my parents had done me a huge disservice in how they raised me. They didn't raise me to be self-sufficient and to understand that I could do hard things. I thought she was a gigantic asshole then, got off the phone and called a different person for the support I wanted. But she was right. I didn't know that I could work hard, I didn't have that sense of myself as someone who could deal with difficult situations and get through just fine. I know these things now. I have a partner who knows how to work hard, can make things, is willing to change how we live and be a full partner through this. I know I can do a dozen different things for money. I am starting to learn how to live more frugally and I see great examples of other people who have figured this out with families to boot.

I don't have a date for quitting, it will depend on how living in the school bus goes and how low we can get our expenses where ever we live. But I have a clear direction. Bring on the comments and suggestions, I appreciate it all!

bigato
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Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by bigato »

I didn’t mean to imply anything regarding your responsibilities. It’s only that the way you first wrote, it seemed like you were taking that huge decision on an impulse after reading sad letters, which to me sounded pretty much like the emotional equivalent of going shopping while you’re hungry; not exactly wise. Now in this last post you seem to be describing a much more pondered approach, which sounds reasonable. I’m sure you can do it.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@bigato, Ha, that does seem like an easy way to understand that previous post, sorta dramatic when I reread it now. Oh well, I can always get better at communicating, that's for sure.

I'm sure I can do it too, thanks.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 1257
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

mooretrees wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:37 am
I've been middle class, on food stamps poor and we're slowly working our way down to a lower cost of living now. I think the living middle class lifestyle has been the most stressful for me.
Agreed!
When I was in banking, I had a really good mentor (for banking anyway). I remember having my best sales quarter ever, I was super stressed out with all the work, etc. I sat down with my mentor for a little advice, and he was helpful, as always. What I remember most though, was saying something like "I can't wait till this stuff closes, because I'm gonna take it easy for a few months afterward". He looked at me like I was crazy, I was making it in the biz and I wanted to slow down. He gave me some advice about how not making enough money was way more stressful and that I should keep plugg'in away. He was wrong. I basically took the next quarter off, didn't try to generate more business, and didn't start again until my boss had "the talk" with me about low sales. I never felt better than that summer I took it easy, even though I barely generated enough income to pay the middle class bills. It was a stepping stone for me quitting completely a year or so later.

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:44 am
I agree that we often make erroneous conclusions from our emotions, but that’s “just” a matter of emotional intelligence. Emotions can’t be wrong in the same way we can make a math error. But our interpretations of those always-true emotions certainly can. The answer isn’t to disregard our emotions with distrust, but to develop a nuanced, fine tuned ability to understand what it is our emotions are guiding us towards, and integrate that understanding with our “higher” faculties to make sure we don’t do something we’ll regret later.
This is an interesting outlook. Where did you come across these ideas? Can you point me in the right direction for a "noob" to gain a little insight into this thinking?

AxelHeyst
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

@c_L, I might not be able to but I’ll have a go at it. I’d be interested if anyone who considers themselves highly emotionally attuned thinks I’m way off base here. But, my thoughts come from these interrelated sources:

Observations from my childhood. My father was emotionally obtuse, and would ‘randomly’ lash out. He thought being Rational about everything was the best way, but he was wrong - this led him to be blind to his emotional reality and suffer for it. My survival/coping mechanism involved becoming more attuned to his emotions than he was (not difficult), but also becoming attuned to mine, and people around me, so I could figure out the pattern and avoid the lashings.

Reading Non-fiction books about emotional intelligence. The book, Emotional Intelligence, isn’t a bad place to start.

Reading non fiction books about male/female or masculine/feminine intimate relationships. There’s a lot of trash out there, but some of it is gold, and I learned a lot about how differently people can experience the world, and about my own emotional structures. The Way of the Superior Man By David Deida comes to mind.

Mindfulness books and practice (meditation). Lots of Buddhist stuff but also non specific stuff. The practice of meditation and yoga led me to understand the nature of my own emotions better, as I was better able to impartially observe them as they happened, rather than immediately identify with them. ”I am experiencing anger right now” rather than “I *am* angry right now”.

Literature, in particular anything Maria Popova has ever recommended, including her book Figuring. Her website and newsletter is brainpickings.com

Thousands (and thousands) of hours of hashing shit out with girlfriends.

Climbing. This kind of fits under mindfulness practice, but when you start doing traditional climbing (as opposed to sport or bouldering), you get realllly attuned to the relationship between emotions and decisions. For example: when you’re 40ft above your last piece of pro, and it was maybe questionable, and you’re not 100% sure you’re on-route, and your 8 pitches up, and the sun is setting... you’ve got emotions. Fear, anger, etc. They’re not wrong: they just are. You have to use your higher faculties to deal with them. They’re telling you “Jesus dude, we could literally die right now. Wtf are we doing up here?” Your options are freeze, go up, go down, go sideways for the ledge. There’s no right answer, because you don’t have enough information to know with certainty what the right move is. The next 10’ looks kinda blank and then you can’t tell but there might be a place to sink a #3. But if you’re wrong, you’re looking at a 100’ whipper on a piece of protection that Might or might not hold. There’s a ledge down there that might kill you. But if you decide to bail, that means you’ve got to rap 8 pitches in the dark, which is where a ton of lethal accidents happen. Your level of fear is indicative of how our of your depth you are. If you don’t listen well to it, you’ll get yourself killed.

Point is, climbing trains you to have a really close and functional relationship with some pretty intense emotions, and a lot of my thinking and understanding of emotional reality and decision making comes from it.



That’s as best I can do I think. I feel pretty strongly that modern society is infantile when it comes to emotions. Were either encouraged to be ruled by them at a very gross level, like Idiocracy, or encouraged to distrust and depress them because “Be Rational”. I think that our logical brains are mostly a device that rationalizes the decisions we make at an emotional level (this seems to be backed up by neuroscience) no matter how much we like the idea that we’re all Mr Spock. And, if we understand this and work with it, neither pushing it away nor refusing to Do the Hard Work with our emotions (some people impulsively do whatever they think their emotions are telling them to do, which is irresponsible), we’re going to have far richer experiences in our lives.

I think one reason we’re distrustful of our emotions is because most of us suck at listening to them and accurately discerning what they’re saying, where they’re coming from, where they’re nudging us to go. And we wrongly blame the emotions themselves, rather than our inability to deal with and understand them.

This is why I had to chime in to Bigatos original remark: it seemed to me that mooretrees had had one of these beautiful experiences of being given an intense emotional response to an idea about her world, the good (feeling of rightness and peace) and the challenging (fear, doubt), and was going to have a rich time sorting through what it all meant and what to actually do about it... and I felt bigatos comment was condescendingly dismissive of this whole experience, encouraging her to ditch the emotions. I doubt that’s how he intended it, but I can be overprotective of even other people’s genuine emotional experiences. Because it seems to me our culture has been at war with the ability to even *have* rich complicated emotional experiences, spotting one in the wild feels like spotting a Snow Leopard or some other nearly-extinct species.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I'm rereading Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. I highly recommend it and am getting quite a bit out of it the second time around. As we get closer to getting super weird with the school bus, I'm steeling myself to deal with other people's opinions. I'm not immune to friends/families opinions. But, de Botton has some great strategies for dealing with status anxiety. His five main solutions are: philosophy, art, religion, politics and bohemia.

I would say that ERE (the book and Dear Leader Jacob) deal with being different through philosophy (rational thinking) while Escape Everything author Wingham uses bohemia. From the amount of f-bombs (and forum handle) that @Gin+Juice drops I would say he is a combination of art (music) and bohemia.

Given the above thread debate between bigato and AH, I found it amusing to read this passage from Status Anxiety shortly after they wrote their posts: "Left to their own devices, our emotions are just as apt to push us towards indulgence, uncontrolled anger and self-destruction as they are towards health and virtue....philosophers have counselled us to use our reasoning faculties to guide them to appropriate ends, asking ourselves whether what we want is really what we need and whether what we fear is truly what there is to fear."

I'm leaning towards bohemia as my 'solution' and the school bus is pretty odd, even if it is enjoying sorta an 'in' moment.

To date our expenses will be higher than last month for several reasons. Our vacation was more spendy than I assumed it would be. We used going out to eat/beach to get time alone away from my parents and some activities we paid for that we wouldn't normally do at home. Also, some health bills for DH came due and we renewed his crossfit membership. Lastly, while we were gone our poor room mate dealt with the crazy floods in our town and our basement. He sorta freaked out and moved to a friends house because his room was wet. So we'll not have his rental income to offset our housing costs. Not sure if he's going to move back, he doesn't want to move again until he is on spring break. We pulled out the carpet from the basement and will finish the rest of the sheet rock next week? It's sorta nice to not have a room mate, but I do miss that income. Also, as I am wont to do, I lost my dumb phone. I can't keep things sometimes and so I'm going to try using an old iphone with a cheap mint mobile service for a few months and see how that feels. I'm not really interested in a smart phone for apps, but I do find it easier to text with than the dumb phone. I'll likely use it more to actually communicate than I did with the dumb phone, which is good I think.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Just a brain dump post about dreams. I have more research to do, but I might be able to apply for Italian citizenship as my great-grandfather was Italian. Then we could live in Italy and check off one of my bucket list items: live in another country. More research to follow, it is key to know when he naturalized as an American.

Semi-retirement is the goal for me for several reasons.
One, I'm skeptical I can save enough money. This is really only solvable with time and gaining confidence in our family as savers - which is happening.

Two, I feel unlikely to be able to put up with full-time work for five years. I feel we just got to the starting line for ERE with the last of our student loans gone and I'm starting year six at my job.

Three: young child. I think that the years to be really available for my son are now until about high school. I hear and observe, that as kids get closer to high school they start pulling away from wanting to be around parents, they turn more to their peer group. I would still be around and as available as he needs, but I assume that he'll be a normal kid and prefer his friends at a certain age. So, part time work during the early years would be nicer for my time as a parent.

Four: I am not a 'natural' career person and am more comfortable with risk-that is, I believe I can find work outside of this career. Over the years I've worked as a nanny, arborist, house cleaning, plant nursery worker, barista, library clerk and a few more. TBH, I don't know many people who are natural career types, so this is more I just don't think I have to stay in this one career.

I've been job less before and I didn't do a great job managing my time. Perhaps I would be able to do it better now as I am older, and perhaps not. I'm not sure I need to be better at managing my time, maybe that is really a fallacy associated with this full time work mentality. Currently, I feel a lot of urgency to be productive on my time off as it is so limited. Maybe that urgency would naturally fall away as work was reduced?

We're going to look at a city bus in a few days for a potential purchase. It's listed at 5k, which is too high so we'll see what the seller is willing to get for it. It is not a school bus, but a transit bus from a local town. The benefit of that is that it has much higher ceilings than a normal school bus. Might not be the best for highway driving....We'll see what we think. Also might have a location to park it with a coworker. They have a plumbing business and a big shop/yard and live on the outskirts of town-within biking distance for sure. I offered $300/month with expectation of access to water and limited electricity. She was interested....another we'll see situation.

mooretrees
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

We looked at a city bus today. Really interesting to walk through a bus, but ultimately it was too expensive and too small. Totally unrelated but there was also a dead goat there in this lady's yard. And lot's of live goats, I think she sells them for meat.

There's another lead for a bus in Montana, about 9 hours away from us. We got all fired up to go this weekend and see it. But, our heads cooled down and we're going to take another week to figure out: insurance to cover us when we drive it back and getting our driveway ready to have a bus in it. And any other tasks that will make getting the bus easier.

The MT bus is 32', a flat nose front engine DT466 with a newer Allison 545 transmission. The engine is DH's top choice and the transmission is decent, not the best. But we like the flat nose with the shorter wheel base for increased maneuverability. This bus has a 14' wheelbase (I think). It's $3200, which is about what we were hoping to pay. No salt on the roads in MT and this bus was only recently decommissioned from active work. We'll go there with cash in hand and see what we think.

I've gone through a bunch of emotions regarding the bus today. Fear, doubt, excitement, nervousness, elation! There aren't a lot of people in my life that have done anything like this. I called my one friend who lives in a tiny house for moral support. I know it's normal to be afraid at big changes and I'm not afraid that this is the wrong path, it's just a BIG change. But a really exciting and welcome change. With huge financial and lifestyle positive consequences! So, I'm hoping all you weirdos out here on this forum will be my support network as we do this big shift.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Sounds like you are taking a reasonable and rational approach, well done! I've never to travel far for a big purchase like that, I always thought it would be hard for me to say 'no' if the rig wasn't 100% the right fit after 9 hrs on the road, Sunk Cost Fallacy and all that. But I know a lot of people do long trips to find The One, it's better than settling for a not-as-good local find.

What year is the MT bus? Ahh I'm excited for you guys, nothing like having the blank slate of a new rig!!

classical_Liberal
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Can't wait to find out if you get it! keep us updated...

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