Categories
Startups

Day 761 and Calls

Yesterday ended up being a big day for me. A couple projects that have been in the works for months for final confirmations. That meant I spent a lot of time on phone calls yesterday.

I hadn’t planned for Monday to be so busy. I have therapy in the late afternoons so I tend to back my mornings but I still leave enough breaks to come down from the energy and excitement of a big call. I find synchronized communications to be a little overstimulating so I like to meditate and do Wim Hoff breathing to break down my cortisol levels.

But I couldn’t make it happen yesterday. It was too much back to back. I went from an hour long fact checking media call right into my two hour group therapy session. I’d had a few other smaller calls before it as well.

My earbuds were the first to note the issue. With about fifteen minutes left in my two hour Zoom I got the 10% battery left warning from my AirPods. My technology realized it was time to recharge before I did.

And boy was the decay quick. The AirPods went bwoooop and went dead. I could feel myself getting a little dazed myself. As soon as I was off the call I checked my HRV using Welltory and found all my systems were drained. Too many calls has called on too few resources.

Categories
Biohacking Emotional Work

Day 754 and Smooth is Fast

I like to move quickly. With my enthusiasm for generating momentum, I can easily get myself myself into trouble. I’d bet you can remember a time when you accidentally slowed yourself down by trying to go too quickly.

The phrase “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” originates from the SEAL teams but the purpose behind it can be applied to all situations. There are many situations when we want to react quickly and start moving, but in your efforts to move so quickly, you end up slowing down the operation

Chris Fussel, McChrystal Group

I was rewatching William Gibson’s Peripheral and happened to hear the SEAL slogan from one of the main characters Burton. As his sister Flynne scrambles he reminds her that slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

I am taking that to heart today as I’m itching to get a bunch done. But I am still a little jet lagged from being on Europe time and I woke up a little bit sniffly and a low recovery score on my Whoop.

As tempting as it is to beat myself up about feeling behind on work or scold myself for deliberately slowing myself, I am reminded that there is a reason high performance teams like the SEALS believe slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 753 and Strong Routines

It feels good to be back in Montana after a long journey home. I’m relieved I won’t be going anywhere for a while. I spent yesterday resting which felt appropriate on Sunday. But today I needed to get myself back into my typical routines. I was up at 6am and immediately began searching for my rhythm.

I am often frustrated by how much energy I put into maintaining a steady restorative routine. I like to live and work hard, but as I get older the best way to maintain productivity seems to be putting good habits at the forefront of my life. I have to fuel myself to go the distance.

I’ve got a number of deals I’m working on this quarter and I’ve got fundraising to do, so I’ve got to make sure I’m on my game.

I dutifully took all my supplements. I worked out. I meditated. I did hot and cold work. I ate a nutritious lunch. I did chores like my laundry and unpacking. I cleaned out my email inbox. I got my schedule in order. I set my goals for the week.

Having had a productive working Monday, it’s now time for Monday evening emotional work. I stack my personal therapy and group therapy back to back on Monday. I usually write afterwards but I thought I’d get down some basics before as I am still just jet lagged enough I might prefer just going to bed afterwards.

Categories
Travel

Day 752 and 24 Hours

I cannot remember the last time I pulled an all nighter. Probably something related to Black Friday sales. But in order to travel back from Prague to Montana I was awake for 24 hours straight across three flights and four separate airports.

I hadn’t really intended to be awake for the entire trip but because one has to pad timing around flights these days, every leg of the trip involved three or four hours between flights or an extended delay that has me running.

I was awake at 5:30am in Prague for a 7am flight that boarded at 7am. I arrived in London at 10am GMT after delays. My Heathrow to Denver flight was meant to department at 1pm. That 9 hour flight was the most pleasant part of the journey but I didn’t want to nap during it as I was concerned it would make my jet lag significantly worse.

I landed in Denver at 3:30pm Mountain time which is 7 hours minus GMT and 8 hours behind Prague so it was 10:30pm for me. I was dragging as that was a long day in and of itself. And frankly I’m used to living off a hub like Denver so a final leg of the journey was a new experience for me.

It was snowing in Denver which had created a significant backlog for takeoffs as everyone needed de-icing. I made a made dash for the 1:30pm Bozeman flight that was delayed to 4pm. I sprinted through Global Entry and back through security but the doors had already closed. I had to wait for my originally schedule 7:30pm flight.

Miraculously that flight was only delayed to 8pm because of the weather but I still found myself sitting in Terminal B for hours as my energy flagged and my spine started to hurt. My body clearly knew it was time for me to be in bed but here I was under florescent lights, eating a Caesar salad at a chain restaurant, waiting for one last flight.

When we boarded at 8pm it was 4am for my internal body clock. Thankfully the 700 mile flight from Denver to Bozeman is only a little over an hour. We touched down at 930pm. By the time I got to Alex waiting for me outside I had been up for exactly 24 hours.

I crossed a contingent, the English Channel, flew over the arctic circle and through another continent, which is an impressive territory to cover in a single day. But what a long day it was.

I slept from 11pm to 10am MTN to make up my sleep debt for the all nighter and I am still pretty tired. That was the equivalent of sleeping till 5pm. It all felt very collegiate to sleep through “the entire day” even though I am now settled back into my original time zone.

My Whoop recovery score was a 24% so I was pretty into the red from the whole experience. But I should be ready to spend the week on the proper time zone so I suppose it was all worth it.

Categories
Biohacking

Day 742 and Careful Balance

I don’t think I’ll be getting my best writing out today. I’m plugging through my work while balancing out my personal chemistry against my obligations.

I am a bit scared to find myself balancing a delicate body chemistry in a foreign country. I don’t care much for taking a steroid like prednisone but when it’s a choice between hives and yellow weeping eyes or a modicum of comfort, you pick comfort.

It’s of course not without its side effects. Steroids make you feel great till they make you feel a bit crazy. They are very good at tamping down every reaction your body has which can ironically give you some autonomic issues. For me it can feel like I’m in fight or flight.

I left my Airbnb as the more I tapered the steroid dose the worse my symptoms got. I’m a little concerned about fighting Airbnb for a refund but better to lose a few hundred dollars than need steroids. I did find a very nice and crucially clean hotel that will do the trick for now.

Categories
Biohacking Travel

Day 741 and Physical Safety

The last four days have been a bit messy for me. I flew to Prague for yet another failed effort to secure a visa for a family friend. My second time in a year to have failed to make any progress with our state department. I am not used to losing.

I very much want to give up on fighting this behemoth. Frankly my body has gotten the memo and decided to force a breather. As soon as it was clear my mission has failed, my body felt safe enough to get on with the business of its rhythms and routines.

My period has been a bit late but it’s here with a vengeance today. I appreciated it if I’m honest. Today I am wrecked with cramps and bloating. I had already caved to a emergency dose of steroids for an allergic reaction over the weekend. So why not add cranks to the experience.

Bodies are pretty smart about figuring out when you can afford a physical issue. They keep you safe through hormone boosts like cortisol and adrenaline. But they are not permanent states you can maintain forever. And now that I’ve been through the gauntlet of the embassy and failed there is no point is holding it all together.

I’ll rest and work today. Any ambition I had to see Prague is probably gone for the time being. I’d hoped to do some tourism before the American work hours in the late afternoon and evening. But I’ll be on my laptop in the Airbnb working and taking Midol instead. My body wants physical safety so I’ll give it to her.

Categories
Biohacking Travel

Day 737 and Jet Lag

Like most people I’ve got my delusions. I am convinced I handled jet lag well. But when I look at my writing history and I’ve written about having jet lag six times

I had an absolutely chaotic travel day yesterday with delayed flights, United canceling my downstream flights when I was forced to buy a new ticket for the first leg of my trip, and an astonishing array of clearly sick individuals. Despite all of that I arrived six hours ahead of schedule. I was alas a complete mess from all the running around and stress.

I woke up far too early for my time zone this morning. I waited for coffee shops to open at 7am. But despite the caffeine I found myself falling back asleep from 10am to noon. I worry I’ve destroyed any chance I have at resetting my circadian rhythm to local time.

I’ve got plans to work East Coast hours while I’m in Europe. I like having the entire morning to myself before everyone wakes up. The hours can be a little lonely on Twitter but that’s probably for the best.

Hopefully by Monday I’ll have settled in and adjusted but right now I’m groggy, itchy (unclear if that’s the jet lag or the pervasive use of scented detergents and the fact that Europeans still smoke) and generally fucked up. My eyes are so red I look like I’ve been smoking weed nonstop. Which ironically might improve the situation.

Categories
Travel

Day 736 and Liminal Civilization

It must have been somewhere in the late nineties or early aughts that I first learned about the concept of liminal spaces. I’m fairly certain I got it from William Gibson. I’ve associated it with travel and the in-between spaces like corridors, escalators to nowhere and empty lounges. But it really means any in-between space that is not clearly claimed as one type of space or another. The rules of the space are unclear as it doesn’t have an identity.

After my most recent flight to Germany last night, I am wondering if manners and social contracts can be liminal too. Between the spaces where rules and social probity apply, and where we believe we can we can engage in bad behavior, is liminal civilization.

You are not quite bounded by the rules of your friends and countrymen nor are you fully bound by agreed upon civilizational manners when traveling. And nowhere is this truer than traveling when sick.

On the first leg of my flight a white twenty something gentleman sat next to me. He had an awful cough. He would sniffle, hack and then snurg up a ball of snot and swallow it down on repeat. I hadn’t put on a mask as the airport was mostly empty and so was the flight.

But I was next to a gentleman who was clearly in the grips of some type of viral infection. I put on a KN95 and didn’t remove it. He stated daggers at me. Like I was the rude one. But frankly I had no intention of getting his cold.

On my second flight I encountered a couple even further removed from decent manners and leaning full into liminal incivility. United had a huge fuck up on my flight which had them scrambling to reseat me after they gave away my seat when their own flight didn’t make it to Denver. I had bought another ticket on another flight and checked in at the lounge and has my husband call to confirm but alas I almost didn’t make it onto my flight. After pleading, I was reseated next to these two chumps.

I noticed the wife coughing first. A polite hem hem cough sniffle sniffle. She asked the flight attendant for a tissue. But her companion was far sicker. He coughed every 8-10 seconds while he was awake. A wracking hacking wet cough. And neither one of them had masks. A passenger with a baby asked if they would consider one. I said I had masks still in their wraps and NyQuil if it might help.

Whatever liminal edge of society in which they live, it is clearly one where the politics of masking has taken them so far beyond the bounds of basic decency, no one on the flight could convince them to cover up. Not even while the flight circulator was off during take-off, landing and taxi. These were visibly sick people. It wasn’t Covid paranoia. It was simply please keep your germs contained.

The gentleman thought it was so rude. Unless someone has cancer or another immune disease it was ridiculous for anyone to wear a mask. He explained has anti-bodies so it was clear he couldn’t get any of us sick. That’s how antibodies worked he explained. We stated incredulously. His argument was because he has had“it” before his immune system was fine. He couldn’t get us sick. In fact he wasn’t even sick really, just showing symptoms right? Needless to say this isn’t how infection works.

Furthermore, if he could get any of us sick from these coughing fits, it was because we were weak. I told him I took immune suppressants for a spinal condition and an infant was one seat away from him. The parents of the child and I both wanted to avoid a cold or flu if possible. He just laughed and said we were idiots.

I can’t really fathom living this far out of basic civilizational norms. It used to be impolite to cough in people’s faces. You were encouraged not to travel when ill. Other cultures introduced masks so the ill wouldn’t infect the rest of us. But since COVID’s disastrously overdone masking policies, we’ve now lost a basic tool of hygiene and human decency to keep those infected from harming others.

One reason I identify as a doomer is because of how often I see people like these three travelers completely ignore the needs, wants, desires and safety of others. It’s like they have their own bubble and fuck any of us with our needs and boundaries my desire to not get sick is just my opinion man. And it’s rude of me to ask.

I ended up masking till the air circulators came on. I slept without one. I hope the baby managed. If I were their parents I’d be furious some asshole decided his right to engage in society when sick was so much more important than theirs. Travel might be full of liminal cultural spaces where the rules of civilization no longer matter. Covid broke everyone’s brains.

Categories
Biohacking

Day 734 and Personal Maintenance

The culture of planned obsolescence in Silicon Valley is a pernicious mentality.

A policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of nondurable materials

If you’ve ever bought an Apple product you are familiar with the term. Show me someone who hasn’t cursed an Apple charger change and I’ll show you someone who has accepted the lower standards of American consumer goods. And this includes almost all of us. I’m packing for a trip which requires a laptop charger, an Apple Watch charger, and an iPad charger so it’s in my mind.

I would much prefer we engage in a culture of maintenance and repair. If you aren’t familiar with the right to repair movement I’d encourage you to do so. We may never fully return to an era of simple machines and regular repairs but it’s worth a shot.

My bigger fear is that we’ve come to accept planned obsolescence for our own bodies. If you are older than thirty, I bet you’ve been told by a doctor “that’s just aging” about minor complaints from fatigue to aches. It feels incredibly dismissive and also potentially downright stupid in the age of post-viral illness.

But what if we didn’t have to accept inevitable breakdown? It might not be as simple as a pill and a ten minute appointment to fix some of your more typical bodily degradation, but it’s not impossible either.

I try to incorporate as much personal maintenance into a given day as is feasible. I took a battery of supplements today. I went outside for a leisurely forty five minute walk in the sunshine with my husband. We multi-tasked and ran through our to-do list. I stretched and used a Theragun to work out tension aches. I meditated. I used two devices I’ve got that are kinda woo-woo but the academic literature is promising. I did cold therapy.

Doing personal maintenance every day on your body is how you avoid having a doctor tell you that your issues are planned obsolescence. Don’t accept a lower standards of living. We may age and diseases will continue to ravage us but you can promote better health with simple habits.

And if you want to make an excuse for how time consuming it is, ask yourself how time consuming is it to have a health crisis. How time consuming is a chronic disease manifesting after years of neglect. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. So go drink a full glass of water and stretch before you move onto your next activity.

Categories
Biohacking Emotional Work

Day 733 and Rollercoasters

I felt amazing last night coming out of my weekly therapy block. I was emotionally present. I was kind to myself. I felt like I was making progress. What a way to kick off the New Year I said to myself. I was riding a high.

I went to bed at my usual time feeling relaxed. I definitely thought I was doing the moisturized, thriving, in my lane meme perfectly. But then I woke up at 1am completely alert. Fuck.

I usually have more trouble falling asleep than staying asleep. Coming down from an emotional high like therapy can often take me a few hours. But every once in a while, I will wake up in the middle of the night and find myself unable to fall back asleep.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I was up then I was down and then I was up again. I was energized and completely awake for three hours in the middle of the night.

The sleep hygiene folks tell you it’s best to get up and do some sort of activity if you find yourself awake during your normal circadian sleep cycle. I decided to read a book.

I’m in the middle of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. It has been recommended on numerous “best of” lists. I am enjoying it quite a bit as it’s about friendship, a gaming startup, disability and creativity.

Eventually I felt myself getting drowsy around 4am. According to my sleep tracker I was in and out of light sleep until around 6am when I finally transitioned into deep sleep. The rollercoaster had ended its ride.