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
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
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
Emotional Work

Day 487 and Grocery Stores

I love settling into a new home by going grocery shopping. I’ve had the opportunity to be in a new city for an extended period twice now this year. And each time the joy I’ve taken in going to pick up groceries is palpable. Going shopping for food is my happy place.

I’m in Bozeman with dear friends and one of them noticed just how excited I was for the grocery run. We had a mostly empty fridge and I made a beeline to the nicest grocery store in town. It was a hybrid fancy yuppie grocery wrapped inside a big box grocery store. It’s a chain local to the pacific and mountain west called Rosaurs. I highly recommend it.

A grocery store is a powerful space. I’ve written before about my love for the American grocery store. I think it’s unique in its position as a functional and emotional retail space. It needs enough structure and repeatable patterns that anyone can shop a store and have an intuitive sense of where the basics are merchandised. But grocery relies on novelty and newness as much as any other retail store for driving order size and additional Martin.

The presentation of new brands and new products is fraught. The need to display something new competes against the need for repeatability and ease of locating core items in grocery. Grocery can be seen as human nature reflecting core tensions as it balances desire and safety. We yearn to feel nurtured by food but also crave to be stimulated by new tastes.

I spent an hour and a half wandering the aisles filling out my grocery list. I had done meal planning and had specific needs for the weeks meals. But I am also an inveterate shopper looking to feel excited by what was on the shelves.

To this day that I can look at any item in the store and buy it remains a surprise to me. It’s a luxury that never fails to delight me. If I want to get something I can. There is no budget or restriction on me like I remember as a small child. And yet I still couldn’t bring myself to buy a full size Turmeric spice jar. Reflecting back childhood emotions I didn’t even realize I had. A small reminder of how much seemingly mundane acts like grocery shopping can reflect much bigger things.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 485 and Reality Shows

I’ve been watching Netflix’s reality dating shows this past week. I’m absolutely obsessed with the Nick and Vanessa Lachey properties in which twenty and thirty somethings do preposterous social experiments because they want to be married that badly. I’ve now watched Love is Blind and the Ultimatum.

I’m not typically a reality show person. I’m a yuppie startup bro living in the golden age of prestige tv. I like expensive scripted dramas and the media has provided me with ample options. But I’ve often wondered how much I’m missing out on popular culture by avoiding reality television.

I’ve got girlfriends who are obsessed with the Bachelor but I’ll be honest I’ve never been able to focus on unscripted tv. I admire the hell out of the product empire the Kardashians have built but I’ve never actually watched their anchor television show. There is clearly a deep cultural cross current that reality television has in America and I’ve largely let it pass me by. Well except for having to live through the Trump administration.

I’m particularly interested in how these reality shows reflect our cultural desires. I wrote this week about how the vibe shift is showing an emerging camp of right wing counter culture. The single minded obsession with marriage and traditional family structures in both Love is Blind and the Ultimatum make me think they both reflect the cultural power of traditionalism. Twenty five year olds offering ultimatums to their partners that they must get married now is a bit wild to me as a geriatric millennial. It was considered a bit retro to be married before 30 during the Girlboss new left Obama years. That’s clearly changed.

I’m curious what else is changing culturally that will be reflected in reality television. Love is the most universal so perhaps I’m projecting a bit on the medium. Maybe marriage is easier to transpose onto unscripted television. But I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of other traditionalist vibe camps that will arise on America’s favorite entertainment genre.

Categories
Aesthetics Emotional Work

Day 481 and The Mood

There is a scene in Dune where heir apparent Paul Atreides is dismissing the danger he is in from the Harkonnens. He tells his instructor he is “not in the mood” to train.

It proceeds to be a standard issue coming of age issue. Paul realized being responsible means finding the mood if the need arises. The circle of manhood. You’ve read Joseph Campbell too so you can fill in the hero’s journey.

But I’ve recently noticed an uptick of people not being in the mood. This isn’t for lack of desire to build and and will manifest. People are exhausted by the increasing chaos. The entropy pulling on all of our lives is weighing on us. People have let big life decisions go by as the uncertainty plays out. We want to stop to attend to those problems. We’ve got health issues we’ve not checked out. We’ve got family members who are struggling. We’ve put off buying homes and making trips and investing in things b

But we cannot let the pace and uncertainty of the now prevent us from setting the foundations for our future. We may not be in the mood. We may be tired and scared and overwhelmed. But the occasions that require action do not care for our moods.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 471 and Masculinity

Much as I cannot stand Tucker Carlson, the man has a gift for getting attention. I came across a truly marvelous advertisement for a new special he produced called “the end of men.” Which, sure, well trod territory if you are extremely online but probably new to his older Fox News audience. The ad is being mercilessly mocked on social media for being homoerotic.

I spent probably an hour this morning discussing the semiotics of this video. It’s just a fascinating cultural artifact of based extremely online masculinity. It claims to be about the decline of testosterone. But what it’s really selling me is an aesthetic about what makes a man.

It’s got the back to the land postlapsarian agrarianism. It’s got raw milk. It’s got meat. It’s got raw eggs being chugged. It’s got blacksmithing and lifting tires. There are ice baths. There are infrared saunas. There is infrared on dicks! Ok that last one was aesthetically out of left field, but it makes for a stunning Messiah image where a guy appears to be charging his dick. He is RISEN! Happy Easter folks.

All of these subculture callouts are speaking to specific niches of men online. There are men who promote raw egg. There are men who promote raw milk. There are the biohackers. There are the Stoics. There are the sun on balls advocates. Being based and pilled is actually an extremely complex signaling exercise.

Much of it in service to reclaiming and owning modern manhood in the face of a feminized world. Testosterone loss is it’s defining through line. I’m sure it could be argued that this obsession is part of the wider discourse on gender identity and the fight between it’s cultural and it’s sexual basis. I just don’t really care because men being pussies is kind of endemic and it’s not a partisan issue.

I myself am sympathetic to the based trad masculinity types. Their aesthetics often overlap in groups in which I’m an enthusiastic participant. The voice over in the ad is discussing hard times that are nearing, giving a little call out to doomer culture. I also believe traditional skills will be necessary in a more chaotic world. I think being prepared is a social good.

I am also a big fan of localism in food and am a drinker of raw milk and eater of pasture raised steak. I use cold therapy to manage my inflammation, which yes sometimes means ice baths. I schedule time in the sun to set my circadian rhythm. And yes I care about my own hormonal balance and rhythms.

I’m not a big fan of fascist curious fan boys like Tucker owning some of my spaces. It’s amusing that back to the land homesteaders have gone from being coded leftist hippies to now being coded as conservative and right wing. Rural living is now contested space. So is healthy living. And honestly that’s really fucked up. Health should be for everyone. But sure let’s laugh at how the video is gay.

Categories
Startups

Day 470 and Social Skills

Startups are just as much about social hacking as they are hacking something technical. We worship the archetypal “coding nerd” who is brilliant but awkward, but in reality building shit requires an awful lot of social finesse.

I meet with a pretty wide range of founders. A lot of them are clever but relatively normal people. But many founders are fucking beyond weird. I see a lot of neurodivergence. But it’s not all towards the awkwardly autistic. Plenty of founders, especially in web3, are almost supernaturally charismatic. No literally it’s magic.

And that magic is good for making something new. The ability to empathize and listen is hugely prized in leadership. Being present and able to socialize in any social context is key to bring diverse groups together. We are much more willing to throw in our resources behind a founder who can rally us together. And this is just objectively good for the startup. Of course investors want to back that kind of person.

I think some people are offended by this reality. We see endless pop culture depictions of narcissistic sociopaths raising shit tons of money and then destroying their companies. I’m honestly a little sick of it. It’s no secret that Silicon Valley, but capitalism on the whole, occasionally rewards charlatans. I don’t think it’s particularly indicative of anything but human nature. Like Fox Mulder I too want to believe.

Categories
Internet Culture Preparedness Travel

Day 464 and Miami

Miami is a real American city. You know those criticisms lobbed by conservatives against New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles? It’s not a real American city. It’s bullshit in plenty of ways as our urban populations define America as much as rural, but it’s also true. Places like Miami maintain an essence, a kind of “here-ness” that reveals a thriving ecosystem of all classes, backgrounds and beliefs living in the same place.

It’s a thriving cosmopolitan city with an extremely wealth ruling class. It has welcomed it’s new leadership in the form of startup expats from “fake cities” moving in. The irony is that those are fake places and no one lives there. It’s transient wealth moving in and out for opportunities. Which is exactly what they are doing to Miami. The churn comes for us all. Before it was tech it was drug money and mortgages. It’s a free enterprise kind of place.

But it’s a relief to see mix of people. To see the shitty neighborhoods and the anxiety about crime, reminds you we have to do better for each other. To see the luxury houses and the amenity industry pop up to service everyone rich from yuppie to billionaire. It’s a vibrancy of hustle that isn’t everywhere. It’s a positive thing. For me it smells like America. A belief in the future where things could be better. A sense that capitalism is working.

As I write this my Uber driver is complaining about the local cops. How unfair their targeting is of everyone going too fast. A real class solidarity moment against the fuzz. Lambo owners and ride share drivers. I feel like that doesn’t happen in striated societies where the top use the police to torture their plebeian neighbors.

I didn’t really enjoy my time here. It’s way too hot. It’s facing intense pressures from climate change so I’d like to come more often before it’s too late. It it’s already too late maybe.

There really are issues related to inequality and the challenges it manifests via societal issues. It’s got crime and infrastructure issues and intense political culture war currents.

If I’m honest I’d rather be in a colder less populated state where some of the existential risks of the future are better mitigated. But I admire the optimism of people who do. They are the optimistic people we need for a better future.