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
Emotional Work Startups

Day 402 and The Most Me

I am coming slowly into 2022 in its fullness. Perhaps I am living in seasonal time this year. I am feeling the wholeness of what the moment brings and January is about becoming. So it wasn’t surprisingly that clarity of purpose has been sharpening for me. I am ready to commit to self acceptance as the theme of my year.

I felt somehow today that the only thing that really mattered for my success in the world was radically altering any perception I had of myself as negative. That I was here to love even the parts of myself that cause me shame and fear. The only thing that will take me where I want to go is loving myself. That self love was actually the key to all troubles personal and professional.

“You know, loving awareness—even if you haven’t heard the phrase before, you know what it is. Those moments of spacious, calm, thorough, tranquil connection with whatever portion of existence you’re currently exposed to, where nothing is being challenged or conceptualized, but rather is just allowed to appear, in radiant suchness, without resistance or fear.

How I Attained Persistent Self Love

I’ve discussed the emotional work I do on the blog at length. The Family Systems Therapy and it’s exploration of the inner child. The shadow work and integrating of the whole of oneself. But I do often reject the crucial step of feeling like I am fundamentally alright. I am ok. I am enough.

I’ve committed to “a bit” where I lavish myself with self improvement and luxuriate in needing to make every measurement better. I’m obsessed with finding metrics to improve. And so I give myself little problems to fix. Maybe I’ll eat poorly so I can feel bad about my body composition. When instead I could just eat what I like and accept that maybe I’ve made other priorities than my figure. I don’t need to agonize over trivial shit.

But equally I don’t need to agonize over big shit. So I’m not a perfectly credentialed super star. I’m more of an eccentric. I don’t live like other people so I see other things. My existence is the selling point. If what I bring to the table is what you want then I am the right partner for you. If am I not then well tautologically I’m not for you. Partnerships are accepting what everyone brings.

So through the end of this year I am going to bring self love and acceptance to my writing here. In letting myself be seen I can more fully bring myself to my partners. Being a startup investor that means I must be present for my founders, their teams, and my own LPs and stakeholders. I’m bringing the full depth of my being because that’s also going to bring the best returns. Because being ok. Accepting the moment and it’s inhabitants? That brings us the creative potential to solve whatever is in front of us without judgement.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 388 and Washing My Hair

When I was a sophomore in high school I lived in France. As part of an exchange program I attended a private Catholic school in Evreux which is a a town midway into Normandy. The family I lived with was almost quintessentially French. The patriarch of the family Didier was a perfumer that worked in fragrances for Chanel. And this is where American bourgeois and French bourgeois diverge. In our washing up.

I was accustomed to showering every single day. I was a horseback rider, as was the daughter in the family with whom I lived. I thought it perfectly reasonable to rinse off the barn smells on a regular basis. This was not a view shared by the family. While they were immaculately groomed, their routines involved wash cloths and eau de toilette. Washing one’s hair was a once a week affair.

I was slow to pick up on this cultural norm. They would politely point out that I showered a lot. I was gifted a number of Chanel cosmetics and fragrance products. Did I perhaps prefer Allure to Number 5? They kept coaxing me. I kept not getting the hint. Finally I was told point blank I was running up the water bill and I needed to knock it off.

Lucky for me the habit stuck. That old joke where a woman tells her suitor she can’t go on a date because she’s washing her hair? That’s me now. Well, sort of. Every Sunday afternoon I set aside an hour for the full scrub down routine. I like to go into the week with freshly styled hair. If you catch me on Wednesday or Thursday you can see my hair slowly getting less coiffed. I’ll typically do a rinse and condition on Thursday but thanks to my French family Sunday remains the only full hair washing day. And I still kind of dislike perfume. But don’t tell Didier.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 382 and Your Truth

I’ve always hated when people say shit like “well that’s my truth” as it gives credence to all kinds of elaborate personal fantasies that make living in civilization almost impossible. But also perception is reality. So while it gets frustrating when people insist on their own set of facts, I can’t really blame anyone for relying on their personal feelings.

I’ve often been afraid to share my personal truths. I’m afraid I’ll be judged for my feelings. I’ve got a number of feelings that are easy to dismiss if you happen to be a fan of many traditional systems of morality.

For instance, I don’t think marriage needs to be about nuclear families. I’m perfectly fine with it being for political or financial power. I think people should start dynasties by combining resources. Which if you go back to really traditional systems of human civilization this take wouldn’t be super shocking. But it certainly sounds shocking to my family and friends that I’m all for multiple spouses. Do I think this works for most people? No, I think paired coupled monogamy is probably right for most normies. But I’m all for people trying shit that isn’t normal if it meets their life goals. Go start your empire king!

Now I’m not saying I’m living this way. Obviously I am a married white woman from the upper class. But I’d be lying if I said my marriage was all about the romance. I do want to build something with my husband!But I think it’s perfectly fine to say different people can live in truthful ways that are different from me. I’m not remotely trad. I’ve got different values than people who marry their high school sweetheart and raise kids. But explaining that makes it sounds like I’m so terminally online normies can’t ever relate. I’m conservative but not trad. Which if that is legible to you I’m glad we are friends. If it’s not then whatever. I hope it’s ok that my truths might be different than yours. Don’t worry I’m a libertarian so I won’t impose it on anyone but myself.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 347 and Self Acceptance

Because a huge chunk of this writing exercise has been tagged under “emotional work” I’ve had the good fortune of chronicling much of my emotional growth this year. A huge theme? Learning to love myself. I know, it’s pretty core stuff. You are probably working on the same thing as me. Just because it’s fundamental doesn’t mean it’s easy!

My favorite coping mechanism is working harder. Didn’t get what I wanted? It’s my fault. Maybe if I’d put in make work I would have! I’ve got a whole circle of abuse I pour on myself. It’s always my responsibility if something didn’t work out. Not happy? Time for self improvement. It’s rarely occurs to me that I should simply accept myself and that sometimes things simply don’t go my way. I don’t seek out self improvement for the joy of it. I do it to punish myself.

I’m terrified of letting go of my coping mechanisms. If I was good enough I would have felt loved as a child. This is a horrible inner child logic that I’m applying to myself. As if an infant deserves love because of its efforts. We love our children just for existing. And yet I struggle to express love for my own inner child.

If I stop using hard work as a coping mechanism I am afraid I’ll never be accepted again. If I let it loop even further I am afraid I will die. Because I fear I only overcame my health issues because I throw so much effort into recovery. I am afraid it is only through effort, punishment and improvement that I deserve to be in this world. Any wonder I find Calvinism appealing as a faith?

I tell myself these are rational coping mechanisms. The world does reward me for hard work and continual efforts towards improvement. I pay my bills through hard work. And sure if I don’t pursue basic healthy habits and fitness then yes I probably won’t feel as well. But these arguments are just an excuse to keep myself from accepting that I’m worthy as a human independent of my work or my health. And because I have a hard time hearing this for myself I want you to know you are worthy just for being you too. Our humanity is enough.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 329 and Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I don’t have a lot of poetic thoughts on it, though I have written extensively about my feelings on some of the bigger moments of the year. So click those if you want essays as this is going to be mostly a list.

I’m grateful to have recovered my health in 2021. I’m equally grateful I had the money, support and willpower to achieve it.

I’m grateful I have a husband who understands me and gives me the love, support and freedom to be me.

I’m grateful for having a space to share my thoughts daily, and rather than be punished for speaking my mind, I am rewarded for it. That includes WordPress, Twitter and all the people who made the internet possible.

I’m grateful I can live in Colorado and still do the same work I previously thought I would only do in New York or San Francisco.

I’m grateful my mother sent me to Waldorf school. I’m grateful I have a father who supported my development as a full human being.

I’m grateful I can afford to buy whatever dumb shit I like for my hobbies which range from expensive skincare to preparedness.

I’m grateful I can consider buying a home that will have the capacity to provide safety even as the world around me has risks.

I’m grateful to have business partners who share my vision for investing and founders and entrepreneurs who allow me to help them.

I’m grateful I never have to worry if there is enough money in the bank to buy a book.

I’m grateful that the supply chains have held so that I have an apple pie that I ordered online the day before the biggest holiday of the year which I picked up in my car that I was able to buy even as global trade was strained and our currency was inflated.

I’m grateful for the time to pursue emotional capacity and the money to pay for it.

I’m grateful for chemistry and the wide variety of pharmaceuticals and supplements that I take every day.

I’m grateful for my iPhone, it’s applications and games I use daily on it that have connected me to a world of people virtually that I love as truly as the people I interact with physically.

I’m grateful for shitposting.

I’m grateful William Gibson still writes. And I’m grateful that Twitter has let me interact with my favorite writers.

I’m grateful for West End BBQ and Spruce Confections.

I’m grateful for my raw milk dairy cooperative and it’s farmer Daphne.

I’m grateful for sunscreen and for apple cider vinegar.

I’m grateful for Costco.

I’m grateful for my parents making good decisions when I was younger that have compounded into incredible luck and prosperity for me.

I’m grateful to be American and I’d like that to remain a thing for which I am grateful.

I’m grateful for democracy, the enlightenment, free elections, a free press and liberalism.

Categories
Finance Preparedness Startups

Day 320 and Chaotic Families

I’m fundraising for a seed stage venture capital rolling fund chaotic.capital. Since this is a blog for my friends if you are an accredited investor I’d love for you wander on over to take a looksy. Or feel free to send me a DM on Twitter or slide into my email inbox which is julie AT chaotic dot capital. The TL:DR on the fund is that the world is getting exponentially more complex and that is making living life chaotic as fuck.

Humans don’t like chaotic. We like predictable. So we invest in seed stage technology startups that help individuals, families, organizations, and even whole communities, adapt to living with in a more chaotic world. I’m talking about all the areas we invest in on the blog. Yesterday I mused about chaotic labor markets and what kinds of companies are exciting to us there.

Today’s post is about about how families might adapt to a more chaotic world and who might capitalize on the future of adaptable families. Millenials aren’t having children. Maybe because they know our current systems aren’t set up to support working parents and their children they decided it wasn’t feasible. We need to fix this if we want to have a future.

Millennials lack the familial and community ties of previous generations and they dislike that they have been saddled with increased housing & education costs while having fewer resources to invest in having families and homes. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a resurgence of planned communities and kibbutz style housing. HomesteadDAO or KibbutzDAO could emerge as collaborative non-corporate structures for new planned communities. Or get wild and maybe we see baby DAOs with multiple parents legally bound to one child. For all you Expanse fans I would be open to raising a Jim Holden on a Montana homestead with you. Only kinda joking.

Practically though the only way we solve for a better future for families is by giving individuals the flexibility they need across all facets of their life so we can adapt families to the future.

We need to support families where they live, where they educate themselves & their children, where they source & prepare food, where they need medicine & healthcare, and even where they find partners. There is a lot more private industry and startups can to support families profitably. The more flexibility we can grant people in building their ideal family unit the better. If one variable changes then every variable changes. That’s where startups excel generally. Software can expand the set of services available to people.

Because we’ve got a social structure problem with capitalism right now. Families aren’t affordable. Maybe we see alternative housing and family structures become increasingly appealing as the nuclear family structure cannot not afford a family. We may see living arrangements that let multiple families come together to provide childcare, food, education communal support. Whatever solutions come up we need to consider them.

Or we find ways to let families come back together. Increasing rural broadband and support for remote work could allow kids to move back to their hometowns to be near parents and grandparent to give us a chance to knit back together communities and combat urban isolation. The more we can improve opportunities in rural towns where existing family lives the more opportunities we create. That means we will need to provide all the services we expect in a city but remotely. Software businesses to the rescue! Here is an incomplete and in no particular order list of startups I would consider funding.

Request for Startups.

  • School contract swaps for private schools to allow easy mid year transitions or voucher searches for public schools
  • Teacher & childcare marketplaces, swaps or even parent run DAOs (bounty for 7th grade science teacher for homesteadDAO anyone?)
  • Home care shares & swaps or marketplaces (elder & children)
  • Remote healthcare providers & their tech stack particular support for specialties, pharmacy & data products
  • Fractional housing, co housing & house shares or other communal living for families
  • HomesteadDAO, KibbutzDAO, TownDAOs, Mobile & Van Life DAOs
  • Rural broadband services
  • Direct to consumer farm access to enable food supply outside of supermarkets & hubs
  • Any & all remote work & collaboration SaaS products & training to move more jobs out of urban hubs.
  • Fertility or birthing DAOs and co-parenting legal constructs for multiple parents
Categories
Internet Culture Politics Preparedness

289 and Apocalyptic Aging

Millennials are aging, but that doesn’t seem to have kicked off the midlife crisis handwringing of popular culture yesteryears. The first millennial are edging towards 40 but it feels like no one is a day over thirty on social media. Maybe because it’s hard to feel like you’ve hit midlife when the traditional markers of stability like children and mortgages feel more like luxury status symbols.

Maybe no one is craving red sports cars and the open road because no one has the security of a home life from which to break free. A midlife crisis seems like an almost comically indulgent thing that our boomer parents did. Imagine having kids and a home and thinking that you wanted to go back to the insecurity of your twenties? And boomers have the balls to call millennials spoiled. You had to have have stability to throw it away first.

I’m an elder millennial and a reasonably comfortable even wealthy one at that. But I don’t have kids or own a house. I frozen my eggs when it seemed like having kids wasn’t financially feasible. My husband and I lived in Manhattan at the time and we both had early stage startups. It seemed like a wise idea to put off the decision at the time. And we never even considered buying an apartment. Tying up all that wealth into a one bedroom apartment was for trust funders not the professional class.

Now it’s clear we can afford children and a mortgage on a house, but it seems crazy to commit to either. No one has a clue what life is going to be like in ten years so why would you anchor yourself and innocent progeny? It almost feels immoral to consider.

I don’t really understand how one can age gracefully when so much of life feels casually apocalyptic. Maybe millennials aren’t acknowledging aging because we live in the stasis of the long now. If there is no future then we aren’t moving into it. Each passing year is just a lucky bonus when nothing builds towards stability.

Not being able to afford children and houses is a blessing if you don’t believe in the future will be better. We’ve rationalized that the basics of the American are luxuries only for the wealthy. The wealthy can afford to live with rising tides and six figure college tuitions. Everyone else is thrilled to have enough cash to buy prepper supplies and pay their health insurance deductible.

And in some horrifying sense it is rational. I don’t trust the political system in America. Which means I don’t trust we can solve pressing issues like climate change or rising debt. So when new and exciting issues like the pandemic destabilize life even further it makes committing to a future even less appealing. There is absolutely a part of me that stopped believing in the future sometime in 2016. Everything went Hobbesian. Millennials are aging but we aren’t growing into a future.

Categories
Chronic Disease Chronicle Politics

Day 36 and Responsibility For Yourself

As a libertarian, personal responsibility is a foundational philosophy. Owning your decisions and their impacts on others is crucial for freedom. It’s also an impossible standard at which we fail daily.

Humans are selfish and fallible creatures, prone to rationalization and justification. We tell ourselves stories about our innate goodness in order to shield ourselves from the pain of our sins. We believe our own lies first.

This has been particularly apparent to me, once again, during the pandemic, as I’ve watched family members make choices over and over again that show how much they need me to forgive their sins. As if I was their own personal Jesus and not their daughter or sister. Ready to tell them that leisure travel is fine because well they are probably being safe and oh sure winter is just so hard. Mental health is just such a struggle isn’t it?

I’m no messiah. I am not here to take your sins and wash them away. I’m just as much a sinner as you. And I’m certainly not the best person to ask forgiveness of when it comes to the health of others. I’m the personification of how your decisions actually affect real people.

You know our little stories about how “the sick and elderly should stay home and keep themselves safe because…list of rational reasons.” We’ve turned it into an entire political stance. We’ve built it into a moral edifice. When it’s just a lie we need to feel better about our sins to survive.

And so I stay at home. I don’t interact with other people. I see my husband and my doctors. Because I know I’m responsible for my own life and my own health and nobody else will be. I’m not asking others to be responsible for me that haven’t actively chosen this as their life path (with thanks to my husband and mother who did).

But I am asking my other family members be emotionally truthful with me. I’m asking them to admit to themselves and to me that their pleasures are more important to them my quality of life. That by taking a trip to a far away beach that they perceive as safe for them, they add to the aggregate set of decisions on a collective level that forces me to stay at home. That those decisions will keep me at home alone cut off from normal activities for longer. Basic life.

If you engage in those choices, admit the truth to yourself. And admit it to me. That your enjoyment of life is more important than me living mine safely. To not do so is to lie to yourself and to me. I can accept your choice. I cannot accept your lie.

I’m shouldering the sum total of all the bad decisions and little sins of everyone else who either can’t or won’t take responsibility for the impact that their own choices add up to at the societal level. It makes me angry, I’m a libertarian not an ubermenschen. I don’t want to carry responsibility for everyone else. If I was I’d probably have different politics. I’m only responsible for myself. So stop asking me to accept responsibility for yours.