A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Where are you and where are you going?
fingeek
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by fingeek »

Nice! :)

Aspirant
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Aspirant »

Around age 14 I became a diehard Rush fan. One thing that has sort of surprised me is that more diehard Rush fans didn't find their way here given their universe of fans scooped up a lot of introverted, kindhearted, misfits (like me).
Just listened Rush for the past 2 days while staring at excels. The Garden lyrics were resonating heavily when Neil passed. The band has been with my journeys for about 25 years.

Also thanks for the recaps. The wisdom list seemed like a collection of crystallized ideas I am slowly converging towards.

EdithKeeler
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by EdithKeeler »

Congratulations!!!

Quadalupe
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Quadalupe »

Congratulations Dave!

Campitor
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Campitor »

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Congrats on giving your verbal notice.

EdithKeeler
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by EdithKeeler »

Just listened Rush for the past 2 days while staring at excels.
Small anecdote: My 70 YO boyfriend was running an errand and stopped by a little shop in his hometown. He had to ring the bell--the proprietor was in the back.

Guy comes out, about DBF's age, with a ponytail--and says "So sorry! I was in the back listening to Rush."

Mike is excited, thinking "hey, this is a cool guy, with a ponytail even, about my age, good taste in tunes--we can maybe be friends." So Mike says "Yeah, I really like Rush, haven't listened to them in a while."

Guy looks a little puzzled and says "Oh, I listen to Rush Limbaugh every day. He's really got his finger on the pulse."

Cue sad trombone sound.... :-)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

Thanks,everyone, for the good wishes and kind words.

7Wb5: Still working out the exact date. I told her (my boss) approximately the end of June unless something urgent arises back home, which would make it sooner. I really want to finish the task I am on now, else I'd just say screw it and give my 2 weeks this coming Monday. Phat stash is making me bold!

Married2aSwabian: In my youth I saw them in ~1984 at Rosemont Horizon and 1981 at Alpine Valley, WI. The latter remains the #1 concert experience of my life. Our seats were not great for seeing, but it was a spot where the sound was nearly perfect. Drums and bass were thunderous but crisp and Lerxst cut through perfectly. Got first row in 82 in Champaign for Signals tour. Those are the only ones in the general vicinity of Chicago (and Champaign is pretty far).

EdithK, that's sort of funny. Back in the early days of the interwebs I'd go searching for news about Rush (band) and all the hits would be for Limbaugh. One of the bigger fan sites out there named themselves "Rush is a Band" because of that.

Married2aSwabian
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Married2aSwabian »

Yeah, Alpine Valley was pretty sweet back in the day...$10 lawn seats in the early 80s! Saw everyone from Eric Clapton to the Grateful Dead there. From what I’m told, we had a good time. :)

I’m interested if you can share your plans for the dreaded health insurance for those of us who are “old”, yet not old enough for Medicare. ACA Bronze Plan??

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

ACA was the plan for a long time until I discovered last year that I'd misunderstood the eligibility requirements for my employer's retiree medical insurance plan. It costs a little more per month than an ACA Bronze Plan would cost me but has better out-of-network benefits and a lower OOP max. It's actually the same plan I have now except with an older risk pool.

For the first 18 months I'll continue my current insurance under COBRA, which will cost me a little under $500/month. Then I'll switch to the retiree plan which This year costs a little over $800/month for all the same coverages/limits. Both are HSA-eligible so have some tax avoidance advantages which may be even more important in the near future.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

Minor update but one thing that's been asked about a few times I can now be more specific about:

As soon as it arrives I'll start completing/submitting paperwork to change my status effective 8/1. The going in plan will be to take the month of July off as vacation, at least July 2-29. In that setup I'll have flexibility to work some or all of July if desired (unused leave would just get paid out).

Although it's about as un-ere as it gets, I've got a decorating consultant coming over in a couple weeks. She's got a relatively unique niche in that she started out working for a local realtor who has an "instant offer" program (and a small empire of single family rentals) and she would be the one who would go in and essentially honcho the flipping process. She's branched out to work directly with sellers in the pre-listing phase. She'll assess the home, the local (neighborhood-level) market, make recommendations from which we'll work out a plan and budget. She'll then manage all the contracting and when she's/we're satisfied with the work I write a check. Three main reasons I'm opting to try this route: a) the recent work I've contracted out reminded me just how much I despise dealing with most contractors, b) I almost equally hate making decorative/cosmetic/style choices, and c) the elephant in the room is that the kitchen needs nontrivial updating.

The pressure of feeling like 'm trying to juggle more than my ability would dictate as prudent is mounting. I try to keep a vision of my gloriously blissful future at hand, but the wall of things that need attention is getting opaque.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

This entry is an outgrowth of some other threads. I’m not 100% certain I want to document the follow-through on this site simply because I think it might be too orthogonal to ere and mistaken as an attempt to assert a competing ideation. For now, it’s just a thought experiment. Going in I expect it to have little or no practical value.

I’ll reiterate my biases. My academic credentials are in the field of electrical engineering. As an undergrad my interested was in power systems. In graduate school I specialized in control systems and was particularly interested in adaptive control systems (along with adaptive filtering and prediction—all close cousins).

I’ve mostly forgotten all of that stuff.

My professional credentials over the last 20+ years are as a “systems engineer” of various ranks. My role in it was primarily in the modeling/simulation and analysis realm.

Systems engineering in industry can mean two things. First, it can mean the collaborative multi-disciplined engineering of complex systems. Simple example: to design an airplane you need aeronautical, electrical, mechanical, human factors, and software designers. Systems engineering weaves all those together. This is what systems engineering was when I became a systems engineer. You could call this the engineering of systems.

The second meaning of systems engineering is developing/implementing a system of engineering: tools and processes that are supposed to guide the engineering process to better results. This came along later. We all hated it. But it stuck and is here to stay.

Despite some credentials that include the word system, I am no expert. I mention them because when I hear things like systems theory or systems thinking, well, they are loaded terms. I learned systems engineering IRL, in a limited universe of application. So, I don’t know all the abstract stuff. The density of the jargon is confusing and off-putting. I’m too old and cranky to go there.

Point of the preamble is that most of where I’m going with this is probably wrongheaded.

What I’m going to do is put on my control-systems-guy-turned-systems-engineer hat and examine some aspects of my future life. I usually find it better to start from the simpleminded and work outward. I also use analogy a lot. Some of this won’t be far from some of my thought processes during the heart of my accumulation years.

I came at retirement from the old school standard approach: work four decades, save a little money, then get a pension and SS and play shuffleboard. The course correction to FIRE came a couple decades into it, and ere came later still. The net result of where I started is money became the cornerstone.

The thought experiment is to look at my overall financial picture as a system and see what it tells me. I’ll call it my financial management system (FMS). It’s a subsystem of my resource management system (RMS) which in turn is a subsystem of iDave Phase III project (iDP3), which we’ll consider our objective system-of-systems (SoS). An illustration might help, but I don’t know how to do that in this format.

At this point an overarching purpose and objective are needed. To keep it simple I’ll say the iDP3 project has two objectives:

1. Attain a contented leisure lifestyle (CLL)
2. Preclude becoming a burden on others/society as much as possible.

If I keep at this endeavor, the list will be refined and grow.

My view of money is that it is a useful resource (required in some regards) and insofar as I can use it without damaging the supply, I don’t mind doing so. Money can be a contributor to achieving both iDP3 objectives.

As much by happenstance as design the FMS I’ll start with has the following components.

1. Two external inflow sources (one time delayed).
2. Cash on deposit
3. Invested assets (stocks and bonds, aka the stash)
4. Very small income stream from property rental.

Item 4 touches on a gray area between FMS and RMS. I consider real estate a part of RMS separate from FMS, but an amount of interaction/interdependence exists between them. Item 4 is also small enough to be negligible.

In the older part of this journal I’ve established that objective 1 can be achieved with modest spending, and that the stash is appropriately sized. Objective 2 requires that at minimum the stash does not deplete, and more reasonably that a significant residual remains well into the out years.
I visualize money as similar to electric power, and more specifically I think of the overall setup as having parallels with a UPS/power conditioner.

Basic day-to-day needs are handled by the inflow (wall plug). When spending (load) transients instantaneously exceed inflow, or inflow is temporarily interrupted, funds can be drawn from the cash deposits (battery backup). When spending is below the inflow, excess inflow recharges the battery. The analogy gets a little stretched at this point, but the pool of invested assets acts as a backup to the backup. If cash deposits are drawn down too far/too fast for inflow to replenish them, the stash can be used to replenish it, hopefully with growth its generated over time. Hence I think of it as somewhat analogous to a backup generator.

A key consideration is managing my spending rate, which is a partially a function of other iDP3 processes. In simpleminded sense that one of the FMS’s roles is to be a regulator, the standard engineering playbook would use feedback to adjust parameter(s) when undesirable conditions emerge. My feedback/control mechanism will be human-in-the-loop because the decision process is complex. For the most part the “knob” will be to reduce spending. Just to have it captured somewhere, my general spending rule-of-thumb is all things being equal, lower spending is better.

Anyone who persisted this far should have concluded I just put lipstick and a silk gown on a fresh-from-the-wallow pig. And that might be the extent of it. But the goal was to take a relatively simple iDP3 subsystem and draw parallels with an everyday physical system to view the dynamics in a different light and let my subconscious think about potential modeling approaches.

Next up if I pursue this thought experiment is to look at the RMS, which I view as a nontrivial undertaking. The first thing I’ll have to do is come up with a decent definition of “resource” to keep things bounded.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

Philosophical question of the day: can a person achieve ereWL 7 or higher if their property taxes plus medical insurance premiums combined exceed $15K?

Resource Management System (RMS), Part I

Prior to this I looked up “resource” in an online dictionary. Interestingly there was an alternate definition, labeled as “dated”, where resource means a leisure occupation.

So far I have a sketch of my FMS (financial management system), which as mentioned in a prior segment is part of the RMS. It’s a fun way for me to think about it because of my background. It’s still not obvious if there is any utility to it. It’s just an alternative expression of a bucket system if you think about it.

I’m going to think of resources in two broad categories: passive and active. [note: I’m not real happy with the terms, hopefully better ones will occur at some time]

Passive resources are those that can be thought of as “on tap” or “on hand”. They include:

1. My FMS
2. Household stores of consumable items
3. Tools and related
4. “Low fruit” natural resources (e.g., an asparagus patch in the yard)
5. Dwelling and related

The main characteristic is they are available with token effort, although frequently they would exist as the fruit of prior labor or purchases (purchasing is an indirect application of prior labor).

Active resources are those that require action/effort to realize (i.e., convert to passive resources) as well as the knowledge and skill required to convert potential resources (often external) into passive resources. In other words, knowledge and skills that contribute to resourcefulness. Examples of active resources:

1. Owning a patch of ground suitable for gardening
2. Gardening expertise
3. Owning a 40-acre tract of undeveloped land (timber, game)
4. Fishing expertise
5. Woodworking expertise
6. Cooking skills

There is another sense of the word resource. Cribbing from some random online dictionary, resource can be an action or strategy which may be adopted in adverse circumstances. Some of the items listed as examples of active resources could fit this meaning.

iDP3 will have a Panic Button system (PBS) which will be discussed later. As a starting point, items will be considered active resources (or passive resources for that matter) if they have some role in ongoing hobbies/lifestyle. Anything procured, built, or developed solely for the purpose of navigating moderate-to-severe SHTF scenarios will fall in the domain of the PBS. It occurs to me while writing this that the PBS might be best modeled as a subsystem of RMS.

Substantial interconnection/interdependence withing the RMS domain clearly exists.

The discussion has been descriptive so far. I’ll close this segment with spitballing of potential management policy guidelines for the RMS.

1. In industry the general practice is to minimize passive resources. In the other extreme preppers tend to maximize them. I’m neither so my intent is to adopt a little of both. For normal day-to-day lifestyle operations I want to operate lean, but in the region surrounding activation of the PBS I want some buffer—lessons learned from living through a massive tornado outbreak (5 days without reliable phone service, 7 days without power) and living through the first year of covid provide a basis for planning.
2. Obviously acquiring and maintaining active resource knowledge and skills is something for which ongoing expansion is desired.
3. Reducing reliance on financial resources is desired, subject to maintaining a healthy frugality/contentedness balance.
4. Keep in mind resource management is not the system I want defining my iDP3 life. I want to minimize the time sunk into maintaining the system (while acknowledging that forethought will allow a lot of knowledge and skill development to be bucketed as hobby/recreation so not be entirely billable to RMS).
5. This is one of the front lines in the battle with consumerism, at minimum don't yield significant ground.

Qazwer
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by Qazwer »

Some economists talk about a general ‘health stock’ One way potential way to think about ‘active’ vs ‘passive resources’ is which ones can you access at different levels of health stock as you age with both physical and mental changes. Cooking might be more passive depending on whether you mean that of preparing a Michelin star feast vs day to day eating.Thus would occur along a continuum of health stock and types of activities.

Industry wants to use resources that it can add value with and therefore increase company value more than passive investments. Preppers from what I can tell want to seek out resources that are not dependent on outside inputs. They may be willing to exchange personal active (things that facilitate that).

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Very interesting output from well organized mind. Since you asked the question about Level 7 = Systems, my only note would be that Stocks would likely be systems term for your Passive Resources and Flows might be systems term for some of your Active Resources. A mastered skill might be viewed as a Stock stored within the boundaries of Zone 00 your skin sac and Zone 000 your brain. (Note:I made up those zone names, permaculture only goes to Zone 0-the house/home boundary.)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

Qazwer wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:47 am
Some economists talk about a general ‘health stock’ One way potential way to think about ‘active’ vs ‘passive resources’ is which ones can you access at different levels of health stock as you age with both physical and mental changes.
That's an interesting way to look at it. My main purpose was to differentiate having a stack of firewood from having some trees and a chainsaw and axe. If nothing else, the latter has more possibilities associated with it. I would tend to have "health stock" (specifically changes in it) among the universe of perturbations the system can accommodate. But maybe that deserves a more prominent role in the system purpose.

Qazwer wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:47 am
Cooking might be more passive depending on whether you mean that of preparing a Michelin star feast vs day to day eating.Thus would occur along a continuum of health stock and types of activities.
Some people I know effectively cannot cook, and for the purposes of this exercise I'm talking about something beyond buying a frozen burrito and putting it in the microwave. :) Of course like all skills cooking exists on a continuum, off the top of my head I'd say anything beyond the ability prepare a reasonable breadth of whole foods in a way that doesn't disgust you to eat is just refining skill.

That's why I don't like the terms I picked to get the ball rolling. Active resource is meant to apply where some action is required to take a raw material to its final form for use/consumption. And in my own personal code driving (or even biking) to a restaurant doesn't count. :lol:

But that's the fun of these exercises. There's a number of considerations we all generally share in managing a life, but there's a lot of room for individualization in how we think of them and actually manage them.

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:21 am
Very interesting output from well organized mind. Since you asked the question about Level 7 = Systems, my only note would be that Stocks would likely be systems term for your Passive Resources and Flows might be systems term for some of your Active Resources. A mastered skill might be viewed as a Stock stored within the boundaries of Zone 00 your skin sac and Zone 000 your brain. (Note:I made up those zone names, permaculture only goes to Zone 0-the house/home boundary.)
Okay, noted, thanks. I think I'd have trouble with those terms too. Stocks and flows are both sort of loaded terms for me, especially stocks.

I'm gravitating towards realized and unrealized or something of that nature as substitutes for passive and active in my prior attempt. So a stack of firewood/lumber would be a realized resource (lumber only partially, I suppose), and a plot of timberland would be an unrealized resource as far as wood goes. The challenge with using 'flows' is that unrealized resources are often static in that they're only possibilities.

I was watching an interesting discussion between Bret Weinstein and I believe Jordan Peterson. The were talking about the reality that humans seem to have limited ability to adapt to different intellectual/societal environments. It occurred to me while listening that my Nth and final adaptation came some time in the past. So it is important to me to process as much of this in language I understand as possible even though it is somewhat vulgar.

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Noun/Verb might even do it timber->chopping->firewood. However, I do like realized/unrealized. For instance, my optimism informs me that I am never fat, I just am in possession of a currently unrealized good figure. Chop-chop!

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:41 am
Noun/Verb might even do it timber->chopping->firewood. However, I do like realized/unrealized. For instance, my optimism informs me that I am never fat, I just am in possession of a currently unrealized good figure. Chop-chop!
Ha, yeah, that reminds me of a time when I was being chided about the dangers of intermittent fasting. At that juncture I was able to say, accurately, "I am carrying around a 30-lb sack of groceries with me wherever I go!".

In a sense, the verb is missing in the whole RMS as it stands. It entails the ability to do the verb, what the verb is done to when it's within my control, and the result of verbs that have already been done. In other words, so far we only have the "R" tentatively described. Next will be outlining the "S", the form and purpose we want to put the "R" to. Last will be thinking about "M", the verbs. Admittedly, though, "Fire! Aim! Ready!" is often much more fun. ;)

IlliniDave
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by IlliniDave »

Oh, and I forgot to mention before, my final set of paperwork arrived yesterday. It's pretty much time to yield to the peristalsis or shut up and find a different seat.

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Journey of Mindfulness--the Remaking of Life in Midstream.

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

You could have gone more vulgar there.

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