m741's ERE Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
jacob
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by jacob »

Confucius said: "At fifteen my heart was set on learning(*); at thirty I stood firm(**); at forty I had no more doubts(***); at fifty I knew the will of heaven(****); at sixty my ear was obedient(*****); at seventy I could follow my heart's desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right(******)."

(*) Conscious intellectual incompetence.
(**) Conscious intellectual competence.
(***) Unconscious intellectual competence (& unconscious moral incompetence).
(****) Conscious moral incompetence.
(*****) Conscious moral competence.
(******) Unconscious moral competence.

Add: Read intellectual as what has to do with thinking (T) and moral as what has to do with feeling (F).

Smashter
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Smashter »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:48 am
I think this type of realization, ie I probably wont change the world, or be the next [insert hero here], is a normal transition in late 20's.
Same. It definitely hasn't been easy for me, as anyone who read the dark ramblings in my journal can attest. I'm slowly doing better with it all, though.

Also, I love that Dante quote, I'm surprised I've never heard it before.

suomalainen
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by suomalainen »

Same. Mid 30s for me. I was a special snowflake until I got hit by a car. Surprise, the world didn't stop. No one (but a very select few) gave a shit whether I lived or died.

anesde
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by anesde »

First off, just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed your journal. I blasted through it about a year ago when you were preparing to leave work and embark on your journey.

I gather we’re around the same age (I’m 30) and I can attest to your “realization”. I suppose you can go the pure nihilist way (a la brute) and decide that nothing really matters. However, I personally don’t find that to be very beneficial. After all, even if you won’t change the world, or leave your mark in some significant way you still have many more years left on this planet.

Personally I reframed my view such that whilst I may not be a “genius”, I am quite competent and confident that I can achieve whatever I want. Perhaps not as great as others, perhaps not to a level that’s “life changing”, but “enough” for me.

Combine that with FI and you get the freedom to chase whatever it is you want to. You may never be Jimmy Hendricks but publishing an album or even just playing good music for family and friends is “enough”. You worked hard for it and can share the fruits of your labor with those that you love.

For example - I know I’ll never be the fastest or strongest guy but I still get up at 6am to work out. Not to win a competition but because it makes me feel better and pushes me closer to the man I perceive (aspire?) myself to be.

No one will remember your name 50-70 years after you’re dead. That can scare you or you can realize that you’ll be dead anyway so what does it matter? What I think matters is how did you live your life while you were alive? Did you live up to what you aspired to be? Note I don’t mean that your aspirations should be based on external validations (like if your name is in the history books) but rather your own internal drive.

DutchGirl
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by DutchGirl »

jacob wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:20 pm
Confucius said: "At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the will of heaven
Confucius was quite the braggart, wasn't he?

As for the Spanish learning... would it help to find someone local to practise your Spanish with? In return you could perhaps help them with English.

jacob
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by jacob »

While it sounds arrogant, I don't think it's conceited.

Jason
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Jason »

Personally, I think Confucius was full of shit, but I admire his firmness of belief.

suomalainen
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by suomalainen »

@jace Dunning-Kruger, etc

Jason
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Jason »

Yeah, I know. Everyone tells me I have it.

m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

February 2018

A big month for me - I returned to work two weeks ago, after about 10 months off. I also traveled to Chicago (for a wedding) and to San Jose (for work).

Work

I started working again on the 19th. It started with some training in California, and I've been working in earnest for about a week now. It's been a bit strange - returning to the same company, it feels so familiar, but I'm also quite detached. The team I'm on has an interesting mandate and there's lots of opportunities to learn - and I think more opportunities than I expected to lead. It feels like a fairly soft team within a stronger organization, but that's just my impression after a week. Right now I'm just trying to be productive and there's an awful lot of background to pick up on.

My biggest problem is that I'm unsure what direction I want to go. It may be waaay to early to speculate, but I feel like there's an opportunity to be a leader, or to specialize in a more technical role. I'll have a clearer picture in a month, but I do wish I had stronger feelings about what I wanted to learn (leadership vs technical). Maybe it's a false dichotomy and I can pick up on both.

On a more psychological front, I realized that I missed the flow of programming (particularly today, when I finally settled into a good IDE and had some sense of the tools available). I'm rusty but I'm not as out-of-practice as I feared. There's also a definite comfort in having employer health insurance, and all the core financial perks for tax optimization and savings (401k, HSA, etc).

It's only a week but I'm also happy with the details around work. It's as reasonable as I'd hoped to run to/from work, there are showers at work, and I'm currently working from about 7:45 through 5:30. The Seattle weather has been cool but pretty. I can run along the water and either run or walk through some appealing, hip areas of the city. Of course it's still the honeymoon phase after a week, but I'm happy right now.

Finances

Because of the biweekly pay cycle, I was not paid in February. Meaning that March should be quite good, as I'll also get a relocation bonus (something I wasn't expecting when I accepted the job but which I'm treating like a starting bonus). In spite of the lack of pay, I saw my savings rise because of the stock market recovery. I'm also looking more into my savings in combination with the gf, whose finances are in pretty bad shape (horrendous student loans). I'm looking to help pitch in with her on this as I think it will yield a lot of dividends in the future.

I also tracked expenses through the month; they were about $4,050. Of that, rent is $2,250. There were a large number of unusual expenses this month (domain name renewal, VPN renewal, attending a wedding and booking future weddings), so I expect expenses to be down next month, but I want to establish a baseline for a few months.

I've also been listening to a lot of podcasts. I had a few episodes of Mad Fientist to catch up on, and there's a pretty decent podcast called "Financial Freedom with Grant Sabatier". Nothing too groundbreaking on either, but Mad Fientist in particular has a similar career trajectory as I do, and has grappled with similar concerns.

Goals

It's been tougher on the goal front. Of course part of that is adjusting to work, but I was traveling for a week and a half of the month, during which I couldn't practice guitar, etc. Here's what my progress looks like relative to my targets:

https://imgur.com/a/zmUmvOD

I'm obviously running much more regularly, guitar progress has been steady, and I'm more regular with pushups (but still lagging). Spanish has plateaued a bit, but in part it's simply that I set much more aggressive goals there. Here's where I stand in February.

* I've spent 40 hours practicing guitar; my target was 36. I slowed down because of some joint pain and had to take a break while traveling.
* I've spent 53 hours studying Spanish, right in line with my goal, but I haven't studied as much as I hoped to recently.
* I've run 60 miles so far this year, but my goal was 72. I expect to cross my target this week while commuting to/from work. At the end of this upcoming week I'm going to start doing some interval training while commuting.
* I've only only done 1000 pushups out of a goal of 5500. I just find it awkward and a little embarrassing to do pushups so it's like a "when I remember, in secret" kind of thing. I need to get over that.
* My weight has been all over the place. I'm probably healthier than I was at the beginning of the month, but somehow I gained 5 pounds in the middle of the month. I don't know how it happened, my eating pattern didn't change; it almost feels like a scale glitch. Two days ago I had the chance to do a formal body composition test, which measured me at 29% bodyfat (and also with stronger/heavier bones than 95% of the population). I'm glad I did this as it provides a good baseline with my return to work, but it's also a wakeup call.
* I've read 8 graphic novels my target was 4.5. I finished Transmetropolitan (good, but got tiring), Fun Home (eye-opening), and I'm reading The Sandman, Saga and Hellboy.
* I saw 7 movies; my target was 10. This month I watched Free Solo (amazing) and City Lights (Chaplin, good).
* I've completed 4 video games; my target was 2.7. I decided to count Age of Empires II campaigns as "games" in my accounting. I'm fine adding more games to the set of options, even without raising my goals. AoE2 is my favorite game but I always just played random maps, I had never completed a campaign. There's a ton of campaigns, each with 6-10 hours of gameplay. I completed Attila the Hun and I'm working on El Cid.
* I'm ahead of my goal target on Kiva loans.

So all-in-all I'm in pretty good shape, but I cannot get complacent. In March, I will focus on weight (I've just started doing some calorie tracking), pushups, and Spanish. I expect running to take care of itself, and I think I'll be fine with guitar as well.

I'm deprioritizing the 'consumption' stuff a bit more, since on the whole I think it's more likely to take care of itself. I'm not sure how I want to adjust graphic novels; I may bump my target goal, while including books in a broader category. On my runs audiobooks and podcasts are perfect and it's easy to check out digital audiobooks from the library. We'll see.

I plan to continue tracking finances in March. I'll be double-checking my HSA, 401k, etc to make sure I'm taking full advantage of each. As I mentioned, I previously closed my lending club account, converted an inherited IRA, and now consolidated an estate account. I'm in the process of closing the converted inherited IRA by transferring funds to other savings/brokerage accounts. I'm also going through all the usual tax stuff you'd expect at this time of year. I'm going to begin doing some volunteering as well - helping out elderly/disabled people in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, there's some training I need to do, but I'm signed up to complete that in March.

theanimal
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by theanimal »

I used to/still occasionally find it awkward to do push ups/burpees/whatever in front of others. No need to feel ashamed I've done my fair share in hiding. But usually there are other people interested in doing it once you start or if you challenge them to do it. There might be some puzzlement and a few laughs but if you are confident and get to it people don't care. Maybe not so much in an office environment but I imagine there's at least one person who'd join. Eventually you become known as the guy who will bust out pushups or burpees whenever and it no longer comes as a surprise to others. In my experience, there comes a point where others actually initiate and look for me to do them as well.

Glad to hear the progression on the rest of your goals and the transition into work have gone well!

m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

March 2019

Work

I'm back at work and now it's been about a month of real non-training work. I'm enjoying it.

My team is very laid-back, more than I am. I was worried it would be a team of super-geniuses (given the area of software development), but I feel I have a lot of opportunities to contribute something of value. There are a few opportunities to learn some really cool stuff. I was a little hesitant to push forward on that but over the next few weeks will be making the case why I am the right person to work on these things.

I didn't realize how much I missed the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day - even when what I'd accomplished was somewhat arbitrary. Of course, I don't want to go overboard: it's the first month and although I think i'm being rational it could also be the honeymoon phase. I think a lot will depend on how recalcitrant teammates are and how fast I can execute on what I want to.

Finances

Finances are steadily improving. I got my relocation bonus and some standard paychecks. It's nice to be contributing to my accounts again. In particular it's nice to start working towards maxing out tax-advantaged accounts. If we look at the past year, from 4/1/2018 (raght after I quit my job and collected my last paycheck) through starting again but before I got a paycheck (3/1/2019), it was actually almost exactly flat (I was up $4k). That's including a trip for two around the world, buying a van, moving and living in Seattle for ~4 months.

In the past month I'm up 3.6% in net worth, about 60% of that is from income/bonus and 40% from the market. I'm still down a bit from my peak at the beginning of October.

My expenses were down $500 to $3500 for the month; that includes donations. It's very difficult to get accurate numbers here since the gf and I have a relatively arbitrary split of finances (in her favor), so if she happens to purchase plane tickets (or I do) the numbers can vary a noticeable amount. I need to think about the best way to proceed.

The good news is that in the next few months I have a few things that will finally knock 100-$200 off my recurring expenses (on the other hand, my rent will increase).

Goals
Overall progress charts: https://imgur.com/a/zxeretJ
* I've spent 54 hours practicing guitar; my target was 54. My joint pain has disappeared but I spent a week without practicing due to travel and post-travel fatigue.
* I've spent 74 hours studying Spanish, but my target was 80. Again, I feel lazy when sitting on a plane: I should be studying flash cards.
* I've run 115 miles so far this year, my goal was 106. I am ahead due to regular running to and from work. If I run both ways (one is seriously uphill), then I do 5 miles per day. Currently I have some lower back pain, probably from poor posture and so much sitting at work. I think the tipping point was running with slightly too much weight in my backpack. I'm taking it easy for a few days. I ran a 10k in late March and hit a time of 51:25, which I was super-proud of. That's ahead of schedule, but I've eaten poorly since; once I feel comfortable running and focus on weight I think I will make further progress. I have a race at least every 2-3 months; my next target will be <50:00.
* I have not done any further pushups. :( Sorry, theanimal.
* My weight has been all over the place. I was doing well and then BAM travel and birthday stuff really blew it out.
* I've read 12 graphic novels; my target was 7. I finished 100 Bullets (good but a little confusing), and Superman: Red Son (good but not as good as its premise). I'm still reading The Sandman, Saga and Hellboy. I'll probably finish Sandman this month.
* I did not watch any more movies from my list.
* I've completed 5 video games; my target was 4. I finished the El Cid campaign on AoE2.
* I'm ahead of my goal target on Kiva loans. I think I will actually hit my target without additional contributions (just diligent reinvestment), but I think I want to take a step back and not bump my target, since I've heard that microfinance is not actually as effective as initial reports suggested.
* I've started calorie-counting and doing some basic logging of sleep quality and mood (and weight). I've been inconsistent, but it's helpful. I'd like to at least get that right.

I will be reformulating my goals this month. There are a few I intend to drop and a few tweaks I want to make to be more focused. I'll recap that in April's updates.

m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

April 2019

Work/Life

It's been a busy month, with a week of travel and assorted other stuff. I'm still pretty happy at work, and I think I'm in a good position to really focus on some cool areas of program I've long been interested in (but never looked at).

One thing that's been surprisingly nice is that I only a week ago picked up the free unlimited transit pass offered through work. It's apparently a very common perk here in Seattle and having all public transit open on an unlimited basis is something I've never experienced before (except a week in Vienna). When I was in the NYC metro area, I was living in Jersey City and there was no trans-Hudson unlimited transit pass. My commute is maybe 30 minutes with the transit pass and it's easy to get downtown as well.

Finances

A very productive month. I saw net worth increase by ~2%; it's now at an all-time high for me. I also maxed out my HSA for the year. There's something that feels great about hitting the max for retirement accounts that's so rewarding. I also contribute very heavily to my 401k. Besides that, I made a number of long over-due changes (something that I will continue to work on through May):

* Donated about $6k in individual stocks to my personal Donor Advised Fund (tax-free donation of equity gains). This is part of a long-term goal to get rid of individual equities.
* Purchased additional gold ETFs.
* Emptied the last inherited IRA (it was closed in December but I still had all the funds sitting in Fidelity, which is OK, rather than Vanguard, which is best-in-class).
* Set up backdoor Roth 401k. This is something Vanguard plans with my employer offer: automatic conversion of post-tax contributions to Roth. I think they made it easier since I last worked. I want to max out the post-tax contributions this year.
* Moved substantial amount of cash-like holdings around. I had a lot of Vanguard money sitting in settlement funds, which have like .4% lower annual returns than the best Vanguard money market funds. I had cash also sitting around in other accounts, which I've mostly moved into the appropriate vanguard funds.
* Switched to a Vanguard admiral fund. I think Vanguard lowered capital requirements for admiral funds, so I converted one holding over.

In May/June, I want to figure out the best way of visualizing my holdings by asset class across tax-advantaged and non-tax-advantaged funds, then figure out what ratio I want to average into. Something like the "Golden Butterfly" seems like a nice setup, but I'm pretty far from that right now.

Goals

My progress on goals this month has been... bad. I haven't focused and lagged in a number of areas. I have a busy May and June ahead so this will require a lot of discipline, but I'm ready to crack down and try to catch up.

classical_Liberal
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Yeah, Vanguard lowered admiral to 3K for a whole slew of their funds recently. I converted a couple of smaller, niche funds myself. Can't complain about lower expenses.

Don't be too hard on yourself wrt to goals. Starting work again is a big life-change that takes some getting used to. I really envy the way you've set up your life since through this journal. You take long periods off when you need them, travel when it suits you, and pick up challenging work when you want it. You are very much one of the ERE success stories I hope to emulate in the coming years.

anesde
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by anesde »

One positive I’ve found with Fidelity is their Cash Management account. I believe you need to be a customer already to open it.

They reimburse you for all ATM fees all over the world - no questions asked. I live abroad and travel quite a bit internationally and find this really useful.

I also find them to be much more friendly towards expats vs Vanguard. Much easier to access accounts, etc.

Something to keep in mind if you ever decide to live abroad.

m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

@classical_Liberal: Yes, I'm not being too serious, but I do not want to start slacking off on the goals that matter to me. I realized with regret ~2 years ago that I could have developed some useful skills with just 1 hour a day of practice, because the benefits compound; when I skip days I miss out on that opportunity. The last thing I want is to look back in 3 months and realize that I missed out on 3 months of learning stuff.

I'm glad you like my journal, but I suspect that my life looks better written out than it feels in person. Not that I'm unhappy, it just feels "normal" to me... and very conventional when compared to C40 or Jacob or others. The wildest thing I've done so far is travel for 3 and 7 months.

@anesde: I don't mind Fidelity, but the returns are better on Vanguard. Free ATM withdrawals is great, but I *also* have a Schwab account whose debit card gives me that benefit - also no foreign exchange fees (too many accounts is why I wanted to drop Fidelity). I don't intend to live outside the US anytime soon but will keep Fidelity in mind if I do.

m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

May 2019

Work/Life

A generally quiet month - I was gone for the first week on work and attending a wedding, and then did some local travel for a weekend. It was mostly routine, but overall I wasn't so productive. In this case it was more in a "good" way, taking a step back and relaxing a bit more. The beautiful Seattle weather helped a lot - it's been comfortable and sunny during the day and cool at night. In my experience, it would already be a little too warm in NYC for me at this point. So I'm outside a lot in the backyard or on the porch, even if it's just to read.

I've had some mixed feelings about work. It's clear to me that my team is in a bit of a weird spot. I think I'm more productive than average, but it' not directed to the most effective things. I have a chance to work on some very cool stuff, but logistically it's a bit complicated (geographically dispersed teams with different goals). As a result, I feel like I'm not super-useful, and also that there's not enough work on my plate. Having enough work to stay busy and active but not too much to handle is an important balancing act and I don't think I've gotten good at it in the new role. I was feeling quite depressed this past friday until I figured out a good project I can work on next week.

Overall my work-life balance is pretty good, generally working from 8 or 8:30-5pm. I always leave at 5 unless I actually want to work or have something to attend after work. I'm hoping - depending on how I feel and how important I think I am to my team - to see in 1-2 years about going to 4 days/week. It's a possibility, my salary would be pro-rated. It's a big request and I'd like to have a good track record before doing so, but if I can then I'd be in a very nice position with a good balance between work and personal life.

Finally, it's now been 6 months since we moved to Seattle, and they've flown by. So far (it's a bit of an unusual year), I love the climate and opportunities here and I'm very happy we moved. I do still miss NYC at times; it was a big part of my life. But just about everything here is better suited to my personality/tastes.

Finances

It was not a good month in the markets and this caused my to see a net worth drop of 2.9%. It's tough knowing that you're working and making good money and still seeing backwards progress. Definitely a weird feeling. I didn't really do much financially besides finish transferring some money around.

Goals

It's all been very mixed here. My three core goals are to study Spanish and learn guitar, and to get healthier. I'm spending a lot of energy on those and certainly making progress, but sometimes not at the rate I'd hoped.

My target for guitar was to have practiced for 87 hours so far this year, and right now I've practiced for 73. In guitar, just like running, a major problem has been health issues. For guitar I can feel some tendon strain, so I take some time off but eventually it comes back as I start practicing again. I'm not practicing crazy amounts, my busiest day has been about 2 hours, but a typical day of practice would be 45 minutes or so. There are times when I'd love to play for 3 hours, because I really enjoy guitar. I bought a classical guitar, though it hasn't arrived. I've found these to be a bit easier to work with than my electric.

I guess the good thing - once I work through whatever health issues I've got - is that I really love playing guitar. It's exactly how I thought it would be - a good thing to do with my fingers/hands in the read world, and a good hobby. I played a little bit a few years back, but I'm left-handed and was playing right handed. Now I'm playing left-handed and it's way easier and more satisfying. I'm also learning music theory; even just seeing how scale patterns fit together demystifies a lot about how music works.

For Spanish, I'm not as dedicated. I have a 60 minute conversation - mostly me talking - like clockwork once a week. I do flash cards 1-4 times a week, though it should be daily. I generally read or watch videos 30-45 minutes a day, but I miss days when I do something after work. I also don't have a lot of direction. I don't know that it's a bad thing - there's just so many theories of language learning, some of which just suggest lots of contact with the language. I can generally understand any moderate-speed spoken Spanish, about most subjects, and read most books with few problems. Right now I'm in the middle of the third Harry Potter book and rarely need to refer to a dictionary.

Finally, health. I'm eating way healthier than in the past, though still far from cleanly. I track all my calories on weekdays and take weekends off. I've seen some little weight progress. I'm also doing a lot of logging - tracking sleep amount+quality, any alcohol consumption, mood, etc. I haven't run much because my back consistently gets tired or feels pain during the day. This and the wrist/finger pain I feel during guitar are really obnoxious. I'm hopefully talking to a coach soon, as well as a doctor, to see what my options are. I'm sure there's some combination of stretches/diet/etc that will make things better, unless these types of problems are inevitable at 31 years old. At work I do try to stand at my desk for at least 90 minutes/day (I have a desk that can be raised to standing position). I think this helps. Likewise I sometimes stand when playing guitar.

Grouping my consumption goals into one category, I saw no movies of interest this month. I'm reading a lot of graphic novels (Akira, Sandman, one-offs, etc). I haven't played many video games until this past week, when Bioshock finally "clicked" for me. I think I'm about a third of the way through the game now and will probably finish it in June.

Overall, for goals I'm making consistent progress, a bit slower than I'd like, and hampered by physical problems.

m741
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Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by m741 »

June 2019

Work/Life

Frankly, June was stressful to me. We traveled in the beginning of the month to the GF's friend's wedding in LA. This marked our fifth wedding since November. We have either 3 or 4 left until November. Of these 8-9 weddings only one is in a city where where we reside. They are basically all of our personal travel this year, except for a trip to visit family for the holidays.

Then the GF's mother visited for a week. She's older than our peer's mothers are, so has some mobility issues. In general I like her, but she has some annoying habits I won't get into that make it frustrating to spend time with her; we also just don't have a lot in common. I was sleeping on the couch in our common room (we only have space for one bed which the GF and her mother shared). Finally I did a bunch of driving (I'm the only one with a license + insurance on our van), which is something I don't really enjoy, much less with others in the car and in urban areas. In all I found this extremely stressful and still ~3 weeks later feel tired.

We also had two concerts (one in early July in Vancouver, the other the day after the GF's mother left). Both required driving (2 and 5 hours roundtrip). I enjoyed both, but they were mostly for the benefit of the GF. We have busy weekends until the 27th, as well.

In all, this was busy and stressful month and we have a busy July and August coming up, though thankfully without travel or long-term visitors until the end of August (for another wedding...). Possibly as a result, I've felt really blue, maybe depressed, for the past few weeks, though I feel a bit better now.

I think I've been more introspective and honest with myself in the past few weeks and I think I have to admit that I'm not happy. There's really no "problem" (good work hours, relatively interesting work, reasonable amounts of free time, wonderful weather), besides being a bit busy, and I felt similar when I hadn't started the new job (even less stressors). I will be talking to a "stress coach" available through work and am modestly optimistic about that (though I suspect most of the advice would be along the lines of "sleep more," etc). I'm planning on working out at work, which does boost my mood, and to keep trying to clean up my diet. I'm probably also going to do a sleep study, because I'm always tired; I already had bloodwork done which mostly came back clean.

That said, I think some of my mental processes/mindsets/biases are problematic, but there's also the possibility that I'm clinically depressed. It does run in the family. I think I'll learn more in the next month or two.

Work, however, has been interesting and I'm both learning a lot and working on an interesting, rewarding problem. I'm mostly able to work and cut out obnoxious meetings, and I've achieved a sort of zen detachment from career striving or glad-handing bullshit. Mostly I want to get learn, stuff done, and make more money. I think part of it is that I'm not close with anyone on my team (for the first time in my career). There's nobody I'd want to get a drink with after work. It's a bit of a bummer, but I also feel fine checking out at 5:00, which used to make me feel guilty.

The final thing is that (partly due to issues discussed above) I'm thinking more about ethics. "Misaligned behavior" or "cognitive dissonance" are certainly a big driver in my negative emotions. I might as well dive into that. I've noticed that I do a lot of small things which are wrong according to my moral framework, but which society doesn't really consider "bad:" they're bad according to my personal moral precepts. Because they're something society is neutral on, I can let them slide even though I feel bad. For example, I'm a vegetarian, mostly to prevent animal suffering (and climate change). But I eat eggs and dairy, which still cause a whole lot of suffering. Even simpler, I think trash and waste are bad, but I still used to drink ~3 cans of beverages at work each day. Sure, they'd be recycled, but I felt so shitty about it.

On a larger scale, I feel incredibly fortunate, but I haven't really been giving back. Sure, I'd donate ~$5k/year (which my company matches), lend via Kiva, etc, but these are like the bare minimum of what I can do.

My own personal opinion is that the US is a few unlucky coinflips from fascism, and that human life on the world is a few years away from being very seriously harmed by climate change. I'm pretty fatalistic about this; I don't know that there's much any average person can do to disrupt either process. But I admire people who are working (full-time) to prevent both. I think of myself as a "good person," but the reality is that I'm doing very little to address either threat! Worse, I'm actively doing things that may contribute (at least to the latter). Sure, I make small donations to ACLU, EFF, etc, drive less, etc, but not a lot. I had a personal epiphany though, in that, to me, whether I believe my personal actions will actually create an impact should not inform whether I do them. For example, even if I think that me personally driving less will not prevent climate change, what's truly immoral is if my actions do not align with my beliefs. Consequently, I should drive less. I should still try to be as efficient with my energy and resources as I can, but it's ok if the ultimate impact is out of my hands. That is, I highly value consistency of ethical beliefs, and between ethics and actions.

I've started compiling a big list of things that each cause me even just a little mental anguish or guilt: using Drano, eating eggs, running water continuously while I do the dishes, drinking 2 red bulls and wasting 2 cans rather than brewing tea with just a compostable bag or reusable strainer, and so on. And I'm working on resolving them. Mostly they're things where I can make a decision and after a week or two I'll have made a habit, or there's just something I need to scavenge/buy/clean and I'll be set to follow the new pattern.

Finances

The market is up and I saw a 5% increase in net worth. It's the highest it's ever been, but I've also been less-than-aggressive about investing to build up cash reserves. I haven't done much otherwise.

Goals

A mixed bag. I've fallen way behind in Spanish. I make consistent progress on all goals, but not at the rate I'd hoped; the travel/visitors/etc really doesn't help. I've developed a great love of playing guitar. It's very satisfying to understand music better and hear my improvements. I'll soon be back-on-track with my guitar playing.

I have had a more laissez-faire attitude towards the goals recently. I think it's probably healthier; I'd really tied a lot to hitting the goals and felt bad when I didn't, but lately I've felt more that simply not wasting time is fine.

I've also been feeling a bit healthier lately than a month ago, but still not great. Working on addressing that.

Well, that's it. Short update, huh?

Chris
Posts: 658
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:44 pm

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by Chris »

m741 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:06 pm
I've started compiling a big list of things that each cause me even just a little mental anguish or guilt: using Drano, eating eggs, running water continuously while I do the dishes, drinking 2 red bulls and wasting 2 cans rather than brewing tea with just a compostable bag or reusable strainer, and so on. And I'm working on resolving them.
The flip side of a little bit of anguish would be a little bit of joy when you resolve each one. Do you at least feel a boost when you make a change in the right direction?

Running the water while doing dishes is something that I do that irks me as well. I did come across this video recently which suggests a good fix (if you're up for a bit of a project).

CS
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Re: m741's ERE Journal

Post by CS »

The schedule you have is brutal. For me, even if it is all individually fun things I want to do, having every minute planned would throw me into depression.

I've just discovered this blog: https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/09/be-more-successful/
That particular page might be relevant to your current situation.

Disclaimer, I haven't read everything it. What I am loving about this blog is the article itself is the 'cliff notes', but there are links to get all sorts of things in depth (more satisfying to my personal taste).

Didn't you just move? You talk about not being close to your coworkers yet - and yes, that gives you more time, but might be costing you too much happiness.

"Turns out that social connection is the greatest predictor of happiness we have when I run them in my studies. When we run social support metrics, they trump everything else we do, every time." (from the page I linked to above)

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