Categories
Emotional Work

Day 499 and Maturity

I don’t get FOMO. “The fear of missing out”hasn’t ever plagued me. Maybe because I had good years where I was a cool kid and I lived at the tip of the cultural spear and at the top of the class food chain. And no I don’t feel cool typing that, it’s actually kind of embarrassing. But now I find myself getting further in touch with exactly who I want to be and where I want to do it. This has been a year of becoming myself. I’m maturing into the adult I plan to be. I went all in on being middle aged. The Boomers never got old but their millennial kids hit middle aged in record time

As I’ve shared the decision making process of moving our family Montana I’ve been so moved to see so many of our friends and extended community members support us. Alex and I both talked through this decision in real time across our social media and in our daily in-real-life lives. And people have been here for us. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to people. I honestly had no idea this many people wanted good things for Alex and myself. It makes me feel so loved. If you think I’m talking about you trust me yes I am. This is a subtweet about how much you helped.

One of my husbands good friends is a general contractor and he came up to Montana to do a walk through on the property with us. Thanks to his insights we are much more confident in our decision to buy. And as I mentioned earlier in the week two of our good friends came up with us to Montana. Their emotional insight and support helped us make this massive investment. This support has enabled Alex and I to confidently make one of the biggest decisions of our lives.

When you are younger you play an optionality game. You seek to maximize your choices so you can pursue the biggest life possible. You have the totally rational viewpoint that your whole life is ahead of you. You shouldn’t limit yourself. And then suddenly you find yourself wanting to put down roots. You want to find your people. You want to find your family. Maybe it doesn’t look like everyone else’s family but that’s ok because eventually you have the maturity to accept the consequences of the life you want. And then you have to take action on making that the life you life. And it’s actually quite hard to have the maturity to do exactly what you want. Nothing is free and everything has a price.

So am I absolutely terrified that I’m in over my head by deciding to move to Montana? Actually no I’m not. I’m supposed to tell you of course I’m scared. The right emotional play is to talk about my uncertainties. But I am not uncertain. I’ve seen the data points that I need to make a choice about my life. Maybe I’m willing to make the bet earlier than most. I probably am. My girlfriend called me a cultivator. I am here for the journey and I’m not afraid to commit before anyone else. I don’t mind if you think I’m crazy.

I’m actually so glad that I’ve had this experience during a time when I’m chronicling my life. Having decided to write every single day I’ve opted into a certain amount of transparency but also responsibility for my own thoughts. I’ve had to own a lot in the moment. That actually was a little scary at first. But at some point the benefit I derive from being this present is worth the risk. And I’m absolutely confident that this has been worth the investment.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 498 and Safety

The reality is sinking in that my husband and I are actually moving to Montana. And it’s unleashing all kinds of powerful emotions and realizations.

Alex told me he’s much more willing to honestly look at unpleasant political realities in America. He’d been ignoring the news for fear it would distract him. But even if Trump wins another term, the populist wing of the GOP sweeps and Roe is overturned, at least we are safely in the demilitarized zone of the inter-mountain west. Want to fuck with us? You are armed. We are armed. Let’s keep it polite. Our libertarian preferences might still have a chance out here and if not it’s awfully hard to subdue gun toting mountain people.

That libertarian zone means business gets done. The important work of capitalism doesn’t stop because of conflict or silly culture wars. The companies that will do the best will be the ones that can get away with ignoring culture wars and focus on making stuff people need to keep their lives afloat.

We also feel safer about our personal resilience. We will be less reliant on failing electrical grids with backup power from both solar and fuel generators. Considering the warnings being issued for this summer’s black outs and I suspect we will be glad to be less dependent on the grid. I’ll be glad to be somewhere cool where my air conditioner won’t be going out. And in the winter I’ll have a wood burning stove. I’m excited for having a stream on the property along with a pond and a well that does 25 gallons a minute. I look forward to making it a home that has backups for any emergency.

I’m also a big believer in traditional skills. Having a close relationship to the land benefits our bodies and souls. Putting time into the natural rhythms of the planet keeps us healthier. I want my circadian cycle to be nurtured. And if I am ever so lucky to grow some of my own food not only is that good preparedness but it’s certainly next level wellness shit. I want that kind of power for me.

The kind of safety and sense of security we are accessing with a homestead will help us access our deep talents. There are no excuses anymore to ignore the instabilities in our dusky lives. The crumbles have arrived. And I’m so deeply relieved we are finally taking the right steps to live with them.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 497 and Collapse

You ever find yourself so stressed by a big decision or important event that you become sick as soon as it’s end is in sight? Adrenaline and cortisol take a strained body pretty far, but eventually your central nervous system is like no. I’m not at all surprised by how poorly I feel now that we’ve resolved our dilemmas on housing. In fact, the offer on the house was accepted today. If all goes well, we will move to Bozeman Montana in August. Prayers and chaos magic sigils.

I went to the urgent care center to get tested for Influenza A this morning as my husband had it last week. My Covid test was negative as was my influenza test. But I am coughing so hard it’s a challenge to get a breath in if I so much as talk. I got handed codeine cough syrup and Tamiflu and told to get back in bed. My body knows it can let go. We’ve got the house.

I want to be excited. I want to feel the joy and relief that I know is underneath the exhaustion and sickness. I want to feel the security from knowing my my job is done. We’ve been working towards buying a homestead for years. My husband and I have been doing our homework and working through preferences on the ideal land for what seems like our entire marriage.

But with the pandemic, we finally set about finding a home that could house us for decades. We’d been freed from dreaming about rural living while being stuck in cities and could now go about doing something with our desire to live in the mountains. Work from home changed the game for us completely. We could finally live where we wanted.

I want a homestead because I think we are in for hard times. Abundant opportunity exists to be sure but only for those that are prepared. My husband is skeptical on how extreme any event will be but trusts me to care for our family. Look at me doing the ultimate feminine act and standing for the home and hearth.

And I simply want harder times to be easier for my family. I don’t want my people to suffer because the world is changing too fast for them to adapt. I want to set up my tribe to succeed and thrive in a new chaotic world. Preparation takes work and making strange even crazy sounding bets before anyone else thinks it’s sane. I don’t mind being seen as crazy so long as me and mine are safe. I am a woman. You should fear this primal energy. It’s strong.

Close over the horizon we’ve got a new world of uncertainty coalescing into possibility that is emergent. Chaos will reign. How? Who can guess. Our simian minds can barely grasp the first order effects of our current landscape. Of course, we haven’t figured out second or third order issues from war and pestilence just yet. We just aren’t that smart. How could we ever predict the future? We are struggling to make sense of the present.

We are just now seeing the supply chain issues and commodity shortages from the pandemic collide with our globalized economies. This is just the start of the complexity era. Just wait till fertilizer shortages in global farmlands intersects with the war in Ukraine and the super hot and super dry summers brought by climate change. That doesn’t scar you enough? It should.

Wealth has bifurcated and American cultures are at war. It is literally a culture war playing out as fifty years of consensus in reproductive rights collapses. I don’t kid myself on it stopping there. Our sex lives are about to be the governments business and some folks feel good about it. Some fuckers are celebrating it. We are about to face some weird times and I want to face them on my own land with my own guns.

I am preparing myself for much harder times ahead. Because hard times create wealth. I am putting myself somewhere remote with a cold climate to mitigate climate disruption. But until it’s an emergency I’ve got a top notch airport with daily flights to any city where finance or technology does business.

I’m still on good supply lines but I’m also in a community that can do a lot of trade on the basics of food, water and services. I picked a state that has abstained from the culture wars. I pray it remains a libertarian “live and let place” as I fear for the theocracy that is coming for southern states.

Equally I’m disinterested in liberal states that want to decide how to best allocate my resources. I’ll build my own communities and see to them if I can. Bozeman was a very deliberate choice that came from literally thousands of variables. It’s my last stand where I think I can battle the future and win.

People talk a good game about their vision for the future. They talk up their investments and their bags and their confidence in a whole new world and yet they live in precarious cities and lifestyles a single crisis could derail. I’m telling you that I see chaos and it will not ruffle my feathers. It won’t disrupt my breakfast. And I intend to set myself up to be able to ride it out in as much comfort as possible with as little disruption as possible.

Because I want to win this churn. I want to make money. If chaos is a ladder I will climb. And I’d suggest you consider what you are willing to do to win the next decade. It might not be the collapse. But even the crumbles will require you to change. And if your answer is nothing. I cannot guarantee your comfort in the future.

Categories
Emotional Work Medical

Day 496 and Pardon the Interruption

I’ve been on quite a streak of processing as I’ve written through the emotional rollercoaster of a potential move to Montana. We found a house that seemed absolutely perfect but had to work through our feelings on the matter. We put an offer on the house and as of tonight we are the leading offer and negotiating the legal deal points.

I am however really sick. Alex tested positive for Influenza A last week and while I briefly felt under the weather, I thought my hyperactive immune system had beaten it. Alas the data suggests I very much have the flu and I’ve done my famous “double dip.” This happens to me fairly regularly where it looks like I’ve beaten something abnormally quickly but if I am stressed or not well rested the latent infection doesn’t quite clear and a week later it roars back full force.

Welltory reading showing high stress, los energy and my health at risk
Whoop reading showing a dangerously low blood oxygen count and an elevated respiratory rate this morning

Given my current status I am going to take a bunch of NyQuil and stay in bed and send my apologies to anyone who might need me tonight as I’m clearly a bit addled in the head.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 495 and Drained

I’m so exhausted from the emotional processing I’ve done with husband about moving to Montana from Colorado. I finally understand why HGTV is so popular as trying to buy a home is an extremely intense experience. It brings up all of your core fears and needs and damn if that doesn’t make for good drama. But today we put an offer on a farmhouse in the Hyalite area of Bozeman Montana.

We’ve already lost two houses after we’ve put in offers (including one that was accepted). We don’t trust that anything will weird. fully expect that the offer won’t be accepted and that we will get outbid. And even if we do win we’ve likely bought at the top of the market. I have all the worst case scenarios mapped in my head.

We expect the house to be under water for a few years as it’s possible we are buying at the top of the market, but that ultimately this is an investment in a forever home that we will be in for a decade, or God willing, many decades. If the recession of the next few years dings us we will make the most of it.

It’s been a journey as my husband and I have very different risk profiles. It’s actually the primary reason we are married. He sees to the downside protection and I look to the long term upside. I am a long term investor and someone who enjoys cultivating. I like to nurture people, plants, animals and the land over time. My husband is much more of a clear roadmap type. He likes to know exactly what he is getting and what inputs yield what outputs. I’m a bit of the chaos magic and he is a bit of the ritual right hand path type.

We also just have very different taste. I don’t mind a bit of a mess and a bit of a diamond in the rough. My husband loves luxury finishes and beautiful decor. Aligning my needs for a piece of property that leans towards resilience with his desire for a beautiful home meant we found it to be a bit more expensive than if we just optimized for my needs. Yes for once the wife is the cheaper lower maintenance one.

But after 18 months of researching and searching and trying to figure out the balance of all our needs I’m just so damn tired. We are a bit battle scarred from the years of researching where we want to put down roots. We did a full country search mapped against weather, geography, water, fire, earthquakes, political instability, proximity to cultural we value and about a dozen other factors.

We quickly said no to the South as I dislike heat and neither of us are willing to live in a Bible Belt state. New England was considered and ultimately discarded as my husband doesn’t like forests. California never made it on the last. Oregon got axed for instability and fires. Wyoming is too much badlands. Idaho got nixed because of the Nazis. Washington was too raining and wet. Michigan didn’t make it because the good land is so remote and Ann Arbor is a political capital. When I say we considered everything I mean it. Montana came out on top again and again.

If you are inclined to prayer I could use them. I am hoping our offer is accepted and we can begin this next chapter in our life. I’ve got no idea if this will work out or not but the only way to find out is to do it.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 494 and A Place to Stand

It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea of investing in a home. I’ve moved 38 times over the course of my life. The constant instability in my childhood gave me the capacity to tolerate a lot of uncertainty. It’s an incredible piece of leverage for living life. But it’s a super power born out of trauma.

Give me a place to stand, a lever long enough and a fulcrum and I can move the Earth

Archimedes

When your normal is starting over again and again, eventually you become comfortable living in chaos. I can achieve a lot things fall apart and life starts anew. It’s why I work with early stage startups. The current market and the volatility inherent in the chaos makes me feel safe.

But there are limits to chaos. I can’t live in it perpetually and make gains without some kind of safe harbor. Otherwise it’s just a repeat of my childhood and I’ll constantly be starting from zero. What I really want is a safe home so I can take advantage of the chaos around me. I want a place to stand so I can move the world. While everyone else is out surviving the chaos I want to have a firm ground under my feet.

The world is going through massive changes and constant upheaval. That’s an opportunity of a lifetime. All of those moves I made prepared me to shine during this moment. But if I cannot have some about of safety, the land on which to stand, then I’ll merely be surviving yet another move. And I’m over that. This time the world moves for me.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 493 and Processing

I don’t particularly feel like writing today. I’ve been processing a lot of emotions being up on Montana. Where do I want to live? Who do I want with me? What am I willing to spend? How do all of my preferences and goals intersect with my husband’s goals and preferences? How do we integrate those? How do we make Montana home?

It’s funny because you’d think we’d have this all worked out by now as we’ve been looking at buying a homestead for a while. We’ve already lost two houses in Colorado in our search to buy. But somehow all that work has to be done again but this time in Montana! As you’d expect, context and circumstances can change a lot even if all the basic facts remain the same.

I often feel like Alex and I cosplay being a normal married couple. We look like totally average white yuppies. But if you get down to how we actually feel about so much of the basics in life we are so far from normal it’s comical. And that affects how we approach something like buying a home.

I’m somewhat sanguine about making a decision right away. We found a house that has most of what I want but it’s more than we wanted to spend. But even when we look at more economical houses the realization that any kind of commitment in Montana feels different. Processing how we feel about a new town and a new state is just going to take the time that it takes.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 492 and Good on Paper

We saw a property today that was basically perfect. It’s a bit expensive but otherwise has everything we’ve said we’ve wanted. But somehow we weren’t in love with it. I found myself thinking of Sex and the City episode where “good on paper” just didn’t translate into a spark.

The property had a number of productive acres, running water that fed a pond, a layout that can accommodate an orchard, raised beds and a chicken coop, a two story workshop garage and a newly renovated farmhouse. It was a lovely home that is ideal for any discerning wealthy family looking to invest in Bozeman.

Of course, seeing what you think you want and not being immediately enthralled gives you a really opportunity for clarity. You have to assess what you are really prioritizing and why your mind isn’t aligning with your heart.

Categories
Politics Travel

Day 491 and Uncanny Valley

If you’ve been following along this week you might have noticed I’m in Bozeman Montana with some friends. I’m hoping to find a homestead. My father loves to call Montana the last best place. He moved up to Whitefish a few years ago for retirement from Boulder Colorado. Our boomers know the score. He knows the last best places are dwindling as the frontier turns into subdivisions.

Growing up in Colorado was about as close to paradise as it gets. We had clean air, plenty of open space and a laid back uncrowded atmosphere. My brother was born there but my parents made a brief detour to Silicon Valley where I was born in the eighties. But Chief Niwot’s curse must have called to my family as we moved back to Colorado when I was still young. My dad thought Boulder was a better place to live than San Francisco or Palo Alto. No one who has been to Boulder escapes the curse.

People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.”

What is Chief Niwot’s curse?

I call myself a Boulder native even if it’s not technically true. If you count the sojourn in the Bay Area, I’m one of those Californians that ruined Colorado even if my family had arrived long before I did. But we certainly didn’t arrive before the Arapaho. Perhaps I wasn’t in the wave of Californians that turned Colorado, and Boulder Valley in particular, into a boom town in the aughts and teens, but I’m still part of the undoing of the beauty of this valley. Anyone who is descended from immigrants has contributed to the curse.

The reason I chuckle at my father calling Montana the last best place is because the state is following the path that Colorado took. Bozeman feels exactly like Boulder did during my childhood. It’s no surprise to me Colorado folks are moving here to recapture what we’ve lost. If you came of age in the mountain west before urban sprawl and yuppie gentrification you yearn for a return. Boulder Valley has been undone by those that loved it’s beauty. And so we seek new frontiers.

In twenty or thirty years will the Gallatin valley and Bozeman face a similar fate? Almost assuredly. If anything, it makes me confident in putting down roots here. Maybe then my kids can call themselves Bozeman natives the way I do with Boulder. Maybe they can complain about the high housing prices and the arrival of tech workers and tell tales about how their family got here in the roaring twenties before all the Coloradans ruined the place.

Categories
Startups

Day 490 and Startup People

One of the more transformative experiences of my young life was attending a founders only conference in 2010. I’d never been around that many other people who did the same thing as me before. I felt so seen.

The most unexpected thing was how relaxing it was to be among other people who understand the context of my life and my work. All of the weird and idiosyncratic elements of being the CEO of an early stage company are hard to translate to someone who has never had to live it. Startups are lonely work and being the CEO is the loneliest job in the company.

Obviously the last twelve years of bull market have greatly expanded the pool of people who have worked in startups. It’s gone from a niche to the driving force of American industry. Everyone grew up. Some of us made money. We’ve professionalized. We’ve developed best practices. What was once a scrappy singular experience is now a repeatable innovation.

And like that conference it is transformative to be seen. don’t feel so alone anymore. There are more people who can share in the context and specifics. I’m in Montana this week with friends who have a similar life path to myself and my husband. Our friends completely understand the context of our lives and we understand their context. We are all founders and executive team members and angel investors and LPs. And yes it’s relaxing. I highly recommend it.