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
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.

Categories
Politics

Day 478 and Extremists

Over the past twenty four hours I have spent time in two communities known for attracting extremist viewpoints; immigration reform and education. And I feel a bit demoralized by the level of discourse that I’m having in person.

I attended an event on Friday for an organization I’m excited about as I wrap my head around why the American immigration system is so broken. I wrongly labored under the assumption that our system was flawed and inefficient, but still had the occasional success story. Now I realize it’s a hopelessly broken set of incentives wrapped inside heavy emotional baggage.

I don’t think the average American can conceive of how bad it is until dealing with it personally. And it’s crushing our competitiveness as a country. In twenty years when our population continues to age we will regret not fixing it. It’s actually an existential problem for our country’s future.

But somehow the entire debate centers around comical battleground partisan issues where they argue for the least relatable shit. We will never find common ground if we leave it to the extremes on either side. We are letting a crucial issue get sidelined.

I experienced something similar on the education front as well. Families are arguing over truly crazy shit that you cannot imagine any same adult bringing to a classroom of children. But this manifests in small ways too. We fixate on the purist forms of educational pedagogy instead of being pragmatists about protecting our children’s sense of self.

I only bring this up because sometimes I assume that real life must be better than whatever discourse is happening online. That social media must be reflecting some unnatural tendencies we only see thanks to access. But alas I’m seeing these fights happen in person. In communities that know each other. But we are adopting some of the tenor and habits of “the discourse” with our neighbors. And that worries me a little.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 477 and Extreme Risk

It’s been hot, dry and windy today on the front range of the Rocky Mountains. A rare “extreme” fire danger warning was issued for much of the state of Colorado. One hasn’t sent been issued for over a decade even though clearly we’ve seen massive conflagrations just in the last four months.

As is typical for a day where I know a storm or natural disaster is looming I felt anxious. My whole body felt achy and inflamed. It was enough of a challenge I didn’t even try to do my usual shower and clean routine. I made an attempt at doing some food inventory as that seemed brain dead but I barely finished one drawer before I had to stop and rest.

I have been considering packing a more extensive go bag as the risk of evacuation seems to have heightened. If this kind of evacuation is a regular occurrence I’d rather have nice clothing and good skincare in my bag bag when I flee to a hotel or a friend’s place. Right now I’ve got boots, Mylar wraps and other traditional emergency gear. But if I’m going to have to maintain a normal life while the world crumbles I guess I’ll need mascara & little back dress just as much as water purification tablets.

I wish this was just paranoia. In just the past 48 hours we’ve seen two evacuation notices in Boulder. One evacuation was around a trailhead by a neighborhood where I lived in fifth and sixth grade and another one on the north side of town where I used to board my horse.

I cannot tell you how jumpy it makes me to see regular fire evacuation notices in your hometown. Our town sub-Reddit is filled with folks who are still recovering from the Marshall Fire and are rightfully concerned to be facing the possibility of another fire. I personally hate it. It makes me long to flee to somewhere with less existential climate change risk. Of course, those places are getting harder and harder to find.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 465 and One Step Closer

I often start solving my problems by posting them on Twitter. If I need to understand a subject I’ll just ask. If I am trying to get to someone I think I’m only a degree or two removed from I’ll just ask Twitter. There is some powerful magic in asking the group mind to come together for you.

I am an avid participant in this practice of using social media to get one step closer to your goals. When I see people asking questions I try to answer if it’s in my particular expertise. I have an almost reflexive need to check my Rolodex for people. If I think I’ve got a hookup with someone where a little social capital goes a long way I will absolutely ask for favors for other people.

I just think it’s the golden rule. Do unto others. And if you take that seriously (and as a Christian I do) then it’s your obligation to try to pitch in on the global game of making life reflect our values. I do genuinely think this is how luck gets made. If karma exists it’s part of the great game of seeing the human in each other. Empathy is the only true super power. Everything else is grasping to hold a fraction of its catalytic energy. Sometimes a little effort on your part can completely transform someone else’s life.

Categories
Travel

Day 459 and Humiliated

I am inviting a friend with a “bad visa” to spend a vacation with my family over the summer. We’ve got a road trip to national parks as well as a family reunion with full on Boston lobster boating as options for a great trip. It’s a big to do and a pretty quintessential American summer vacation. After the pandemic those kind of tourist dollars are clearly much needed.

However the American government doesn’t seem as keen as I am to show off the majesty of our nation. It’s really hard to get a tourist visa granted if you are not from a desirable nation like Sweden or the United Kingdom. Basically as the American if you invite someone who requires a tourist visa it involves something called a Form I-134. And it is extremely noisy. The goal of the form is to show the Feds your guest won’t become a ward of the state.

They want to know the balance of all my savings and checking accounts, the value of my personal property, my annual income, a list of stocks and bonds, my life insurance policy and it’s cash surrender policy, and any mortgage or real estate. The immigration lawyer said they look for about 10K in assets as a safety net in case something happens so maybe this is easier for people with normal jobs and salaries. I haven’t taken a salary in quite sometime.

But no joke they make you swear on perjury you have these assets and put in a number of scary paragraphs about how the Feds will garnish your wages if your guest applies for any kind of benefit program like food stamps or Medicare. I find it a little comical as it’s practically impossible to qualify for anything but sure guys let’s scare people into reconsidering inviting tourists to spend money here.

It all has the effect of being a bit humiliating. I’m ashamed I can’t figure out the paperwork without hep. The federal bureaucracy has easily felled better minds than mine but also shit I’m pretty smart. How does an average person manage? I feel ashamed that American is so unwelcoming. I’m ashamed my friend is being treated like some kind of potential mooching criminal.

If America is to even pretend it’s making an effort at being a shining city on a hill, we should start by being more welcoming. Treating guests as welcome seems like a good first step.

Categories
Internet Culture Media

Day 431 and 9 Lonely Hours

I was excited for the time difference working in Frankfurt. It’s GMT + 1 which makes it six hours ahead of New York and a whooping nine hours ahead of San Francisco. I had this idea that I would enjoy getting in a full day before any of my American collaborators. Imagine the productivity gains!

But I’ve actually found it lonely. The silence of my social media has felt anything but, well, social. I adjusted immediately to the time difference without any jet lag. I woke up at 7am with the sun on my first day. And then I realized my California compatriots wouldn’t be awake till 4pm my time. Shit.

It’s not as if I have no one to talk to during these hours. I have founders in Europe and collaborators that are in these central time zones. But Twitter and my media news diet is strangely quiet in the early hours. It’s almost eerie. There is something disquieting about waking up before the news roundups hit my inbox. Like the world isn’t awake yet. Except obviously in Europe everything has stashed already.

I had no idea just how much my information environment depended on American filtering. It’s not that I was unaware that I was consuming a heavy diet of American media, but most of my news diet enters my feed through the East Coast media centers and is propagated through the lens of Silicon Valley. The Twitter friends I spent the most time with were clearly mostly American.

This is clearly an opportunity for me to branch out my information diet and my social circle. I’m grateful for the reminder. But I can’t help being a little sad that for a month I’ll be so offset from what I know and love. But it’s also exciting.