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Emotional Work Startups

Day 505 and Deadlines

I’m trying to stave off a cortisol spike that my body simply does not need. I’ve got a talk coming up for Consensus in June and I owe an editorial with my main thesis along with any visuals I may need for the talk due next week.

I know the area I plan to speak about quite well. It is titled the InDAOstrial Revolution and I plan to cover some far future possibilities for what the new organizational structure can bring. And I do mean far as I’ll talk about some radical ideas like data collectives for rare diseases and networked nation states. I’m really excited as I think decentralized autonomous organizations offer us a new path for how we can pool different kinds of resources. I think DAOs give humans a chance to build better bigger weirder things on totally radical timelines just like the advent of the corporation did before in the industrial revolution.

I’ve been watching Gilded Age as I’m a sucker for set pieces but also because I love stories of wealth and power and cultural mores being pushed. I think DAOs have the chance to do that for society and the family in a way that is just as unsettling and ultimately wealth creating as anything we saw in the Gilded Age. And the changes we see to cultural norms will be every bit as revolutionary as the ones we see with inventions or investments. When times change, we push all of the ideas we have about how to properly organize individuals and citizens with it.

What I’m saying is I’m obviously passionate about the topic and even when I’m home with the flu I’m thinking about ways to knit together different worlds and metaphors. I might not be the best expert on DAOs nor am I remotely close to being one of the earlier people to get into them, but I’m absolutely an informed and enthusiastic professional with the training to think about this holistically. So I’d listen to me if I had the chance.

Nevertheless I’m worried I’ll botch the talk. My mind wants to worry I’ve run out of time to do a good job (I obviously haven’t) and that even if I put in a lot of hours it could have been more. I could have started sooner.

But honestly I’ve got to let that self defeating talk go. What I bring will be enough. And a deadline looming even with a sickness is no reason to worry when you know and love a topic well. So I’ll trust myself to bring you something good.

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Emotional Work

Day 504 and Write Down

I woke up coughing so hard I couldn’t catch a breath. I’ve forgotten how exhausting being sick feels. I legitimately completely forgot how it felt to be tired and in pain. And what a fucking luxury that is to realize.

I was in a miserable mood this morning. Why was I losing an entire week when I’ve been functional and dare I say normal since the new year? I haven’t had any issues since I got Covid over Christmas break with the exception of a couple nasty migraines and a few modestly shitty days. But today was Thursday and I haven’t felt even modestly human since Monday. It looks like I just have to accept in having a bad streak.

My husband very sensibly pointed out that I didn’t need to act like this was a catastrophe. I’m always looking over my shoulder in fear that I’ll have a relapse and be reminded of he limits of chronic disease. And truth be told I will have them. But I’ve been making the choices that shorten those bad days. I’ll be living a life in the country in support of keeping a strong body. It’s almost comical to type that as it feels a bit like tuberculosis and moving to the west. But then again I’ve always been a mountain woman at heart. It was only a matter of time till I returned to the terrain of my family. Maybe I’m a bit of a traditionalist after all.

Nevertheless this week is a write down. It won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’ve made the good long term choices. I’ve accepted that the fight is long and the odds aren’t great but this is America so you’ve got to fight like you might be one of the lucky few that win. I can only hope I am treading a path that gives me the chance to make a better life. And that I’m being reasonable clever and reasonably hard working and that’s often enough.

It’s actually quite hard to trust the math. You want to give in to all sorts of silly biases. Like that every second counts. When no it’s mostly just how your habits add up over time. The mind really strains against basic math like compounding. But I’ll try not to get my fear get in the way and trust that the figures probably add up and I’ve generally done the homework to trust my inputs.

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Emotional Work

Day 500 and Halfway There

Five hundreds posts is a nice even number. In my heart I find myself fantasizing that I am halfway there. Halfway where? The emotion of a midway point is somehow powerful to me. That I could have known when I started that I’d make it even 100 days let alone 500 seems preposterous. And yet now that I am here I have the quiet confidence to say that yes I will make it to one thousand. That is what I’ve learned from writing every single day. I’ve learned I can do what I set out to achieve.

Writing every single day has transformed my life. I say this without guile or metaphor. I just drove back from Montana to Colorado today. I left Bozeman with the expectation that I’d be returning to spend my next decade in Montana. When I set off on this experiment to write something every single day I didn’t expect tangible impacts. I did it because I thought the exercise would be good for my thinking and my writing. And instead I found that the daily discipline pushed me to life my life more honestly.

It’s been good for my emotions. To have to bring some part of myself to every day and genuinely be present has quietly and slowly grown capacity to be present in the world. I’ve learned more about who I am as a person. I’ve learned more about my needs and wants and boundaries. I learned about how I love and who I love. By ruthlessly prioritizing one activity, I came to see what my actual priorities could be with some investment. Writing is the discipline that gave me the framework to become myself.

And so here I am picking a place to spend the next decade. It will be a huge transition. We are going to be rural people after decades of city living. Because finally we can.

I can’t tell you that all of this emotion about moving is about the pandemic and how much I’ve experienced it as profound sense of displacement. It’s all true. But also I’d been unsettled by illness and medical leave long before lockdown. I have felt like my life was unanchored for sometime. Previously I’d been a Manhattan woman through and through. And then an escape presented itself and I found myself longing to go through to see what else I could find.

We didn’t commit to rural living at first. We went to the Hudson Valley. The first foray out of the city after a decade didn’t stray too far afield. We’d seen friends of ours find farm houses nearby. But it wasn’t enough. It didn’t have the mountains we longed to see.

As our first summer wore down, we after an intense two weeks, decided on a townhouse sight unseen in Boulder. We’d discussed a move to Colorado for almost two years prior to that. We’d run scenarios on how we could pull it off. But it seemed like a fantasy. But then the pandemic made work remote possible. Plus telemedicine meant I could leave my doctors beyond a days drive. I was finally free to do what I wanted without it being a huge risk to my health.

And this is why I say the writing was so crucial. Doing it every day slowly focused my mind.

I’ve had five hundred careful days of assessing the life I was living. I had five hundred days where I thought about what I valued and what I wanted to invest in. And it paid off. Suddenly the things that I’d never quite seen clearly were manifesting themselves in our lives perfectly formed. And it was clear that we needed to make the leap to take these dreams and make them real.

After five hundred days of writing, I have a new sense of clarity on my desires. I am shedding the weak and thin desires. And I am honing in on where I want to build and with whom. And yes much of it centers on being in Montana and living a life of resilience.

I’m totally serious about the chaotic.capital thesis. I am preparing for a more volatile world and I plan to be as present and grounded as possible in it. I’m an American and I’m proud of what that used to mean. I’ll be building out there with everyone else who makes the choice to live a real life and make real things. It’s not going to be easy but I’m not going to live life on anyone’s terms but mine.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.