Categories
Internet Culture

Day 536 and Keeping Tabs

I sometimes forget that other people read what I write. That makes me pretty comfortable just saying whatever I like in public. It’s not like anyone cares right? As someone skilled in the dark arts of marketing, I know getting anyone to pay attention to anything is a shit ton of work. Surely I am speaking into the void.

As I don’t actively promote my writing in any commercial way, my assumption is that the one Tweet I send daily with a link isn’t garnering a large audience. I know that I have a big presence on social media but I’m not a celebrity so I’ve never felt particularly scrutinized. No one is keeping tabs on me.

So I’m often surprised when someone has read what I’ve said. Not because it is a secret but because I know just how hard it is to get attention for anything in this world. And yet people do pay attention.

And since my husband loves to joke that I’m incapable of lying, I worry that I’ll get myself in trouble by saying so much of my truth online. If I’ve done something in my life the chances are good I’ll immediately discuss it. Which is a recipe for being main charactered.

Dissembling is not one of my talents. This isn’t to say that I’m not capable of crafting a narrative. I think facts exist in a context and I’ve got no problem articulating my worldview based on my own specific context. But telling an outright lie? There is a reason I don’t play poker. So I guess I might be stuck with saying my truth online as I’ve got neither the skills nor the talent to hide it. But if you are reading you are more than welcome to comment, email, @ Tweet me or find online.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 535 and Daddy’s Girl

I hate Father’s Day. I find myself debating if I can get away with a text or an email marking the occasion. I do this as I’d like to make it through the day without crying. I almost never can. Sometimes I just ignore it entirely.

I’ll reach out to my brother and ask how he is doing. He’s the only one that seems to have a better grip on the “our father” feelings. They are complex for me and untangling them is always painful.

I am a Daddy’s Girl. Everything that’s good (and some of what is bad) about me is a refraction of my father’s ambitions, interests, desires and personality.

I got my love of technology from him. I got my career in startups from him. I learned to socialize and leave a good impression from him. I got my optimism from him. I also got my need for distance from him. My preference for keeping my loved ones a little further away is from him. My struggles with intimacy and emotional availability are his too. I am my father’s daughter. I suspect I’ve also acted as a proxy for what he wanted in a son as well.

Even after years of therapy, unpacking how I feel about my father has not made the tender feelings any less acute when I touch them. I merely understand that my trauma is my father’s trauma and his trauma is his father’s and so on stretching back to who knows when. We carry our heritage.

I tell my father I’ve forgiven him for his mistakes. That I understand he did his best. I don’t think he believes me. I hope he does one day. He done what he could.

I am the absolute best of my father’s good traits. I am also the absolute worst of them too. Most of the good I have is because of him and most of the bad too.

Which makes me so angry. The steam rising up that my mother did all of the emotional work, gave me all of the love, and yet here I am a reflection of him and not her.

I’ll never understand how divorced parents can live with that kind of betrayal. To have done all the emotional work of parenting and yet see their child as a reflection of the other one. Anger is usually just hurt. And I do hurt. Not on my mother’s behalf. She is fine. I hurt because I wanted my father to be there too.

My father tried so hard to be a good father. My dad paid the bills. My dad was funny and well liked by everyone but his immediate family. My brother and I love him, but for a long time I don’t think we liked him. Maybe I’m wrong as my brother has been working through his feelings longer than me. Maybe he always liked him. I know we always loved him. I still love him.

I like my dad now. I can see him as a human as I get more distance from my childhood. He can be an old man now and not the father figure that let me down. Which is a relief when I can hold that thought. I see all his good and how he passed it on to me. And I can see how even the bad, perhaps especially the bad, what made me into the woman I am.

He is smart and loves technology. He has never missed a Comdex or eventually a CES. He always has the newest gadgets. His enthusiasm for new things has never waned.

Like other Boomers, his belief in the future and in youth, let him retain a kind of enthusiasm for what’s next even in hard times. And that inspired my entire life’s trajectory.

There will never be a time in my life when I don’t seek his approval. He loves the future and I want to create the future for him. The new and the next will always be for him as much as it is for me.

Which is impressive as the “new” hasn’t always been kind to him. He suffered for his optimism. I have no fear going into this recession because I saw him be broken by one and come out the other side. He is still the same enthusiast he was before the markets crashed and bankruptcy hollowed out his American dream. He got it all back and more. And that belief that we can build back always stuck with me. I’ve never been afraid of hard times because of him.

I’m moving to Montana soon. He moved there first. He’s like that. Always seeing one step ahead. I fought against the idea of Montana for a bit as I wasn’t sure I could make the same decisions he did. Even though I often do.

But I do believe he is right about the last best place on earth. And true to our preferences for distance he will be a comfortable five or six hour drive away. Neighbors in the end but with plenty of space.

Fathers and daughters have it tough these days. Sexism and expectations for how to live are in flux. My father did his absolute best to never let me see myself as anything less than equal. Which isn’t always an unqualified good but I’m still grateful for all of it.

If you’ve ever felt let down by your father even as you know he’s buoyed you up your entire life, then this post might make perfect sense. If not then it may seem offensive to codify the complexities of a familial relationship in public. How could she write something like this? To which I say sometimes the only way to love someone is to say your truth out loud.

Happy Father’s Day Dad. I love you. And I know that to be true because love is having someone betray you, utterly let you down, or even do the unforgivable, and yet you still love them all the same. I forgive you. I am still Daddy’s Girl.

Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 533 and On My Own

It’s funny how marriage shapes your routines. Before the pandemic, and before my health struggles, my husband and I were apart regularly. We traveled and socialized on our own often.

Now it’s quite rare for us to be apart. With work from home and our new adventures awaiting us in Montana, our lives will remain close. We even tend to speak at the same conferences. Our work travel since the pandemic has coincided almost entirely. It’s a good thing we really like each other’s company as we’ve very much opted into a life together. It’s good advice to marry your best friend.

We have to deliberately take time apart. I even took a trip to Europe in March so we could remember what it was like to have a bit more space. We can’t let ourselves give in to little habits that encourage codependency. A little independence goes a long way. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Whatever aphorism you prefer really.

The only downside the our attempts to regain a little space is that it’s easy to forget how much the other person does in your life. I will neglect entirely to to eat lunch without Alex. I have been known to mix a bunch of protein powder and supplements into a glass of water. By the time dinner rolls in I’ll be starving and not entirely lucid. It turns out it takes a bit of remembering to bring back ones old skills and capacity. Marriage allows you find new independence and competence together. But it’s nice to remember you were whole and capable on your own before as well.

Categories
Emotional Work Preparedness

Day 532 and Mortgage

I signed the mortgage paperwork for my first house today. We are moving to Montana. I don’t know how I made it well into my thirties without every owning real estate but I’m going to guess it involves the Great Recession.

Hell if you go further back it probably involves the bankruptcy my parents endured when Web 1.0 crashed. Point is that millennials haven’t had the best hand when it comes to home ownership. We were either totally broke or housing was so expensive it was comical to consider purchasing anything.

I was quite opposed to it for a long time. Why would you tie up your precious capital? Why would you lock yourself into one place? Why would you cut off optionality? And then the crumbles began. The pandemic hit and we were no longer constrained by geography. We could actually assess long term priorities and ambitions for how we’d live our life.

Which ironically made it even harder to decide. Do we want to live in a city? Do we want a suburb? What states will we consider? How does climate change factor into a purchase. How about resilience issues related to power and water? What about sociopolitical risks? We invested nearly two years into working through these questions.

Montana ended up topping the list even though we considered Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York and Connecticut. Our goal was a colder climate with a bit of remove from the world with minimal invasive politics. We also wanted some yuppie amenities like decent grocery stores and a good airport. My husband doesn’t like New England and I don’t like heat. But we do love mountains. Montana just kept coming up to the top of the list.

I feel relieved that after all of this effort we were finally able to buy a house. Would I prefer buying without the almost certain knowledge the house will be under water during a recession? Maybe. It’s not optimal. I don’t love the idea of having a mortgage at all.

But the idea of having a home I can rely on for years to come fills me with relief. I’ve quite literally never experienced it. But I think it’s going to be good. My body sure seems happy about it. I felt like I could actually plan. The second we were done with the notary I felt a weight lift. My mind cleared. I felt optimistic. I wanted to plan. I wanted to build.

Categories
Biohacking Medical

Day 522 and Tracker Jacker

I started an experiment with one of my tracking apps called Gyroscope at the beginning of the year. I took pictures of every single meal. For $150 they analyzed all of my meals assigned me a virtual coach to help me improve my total health scores across all categories including food, exercise, sleep and mood. A few days ago my husband physically took my phone away from me and canceled it. The experiment was a failure and it was it Gyroscope’s fault.

Personalized healthcare is a bit of a noble lie. They do give you advice that is somewhat personalized to you as long as your body is within the baseline of what we recognize as healthy. If you are within one standard deviation of the mean then it works great. These tools improve your health. Just remember most of our baseline data is from healthy, young, white, men. This isn’t a woke thing. That’s just the population with the most data.

It’s hard to give someone like me health advice. The basics are designed for otherwise healthy people that need to improve their activity, weight, sleep, and basic nutrition so they don’t become sick in the future. Maybe their biggest issue is being a bit overweight and sedentary. Most people do in fact need to move more and eat less and go to sleep on time. Chronically ill people, or those coping with an acute viral infection, still need to eat good nutrition but beyond the basics it gets more complex what we should recommend.

The coaches at any health app I’ve ever used have kept trying to give perfectly sensible guidance about activity and nutrition quality and lowering stress levels. I am sadly an extremely weird edge case so shit like walk more can actually be bad for me sometimes. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is actually what someone with my medical history needs. And tracker apps have a tendency to go berserk when I need two or three weeks of bed rest. They go full red alert trying to make me get some exercise when my doctors are tell me any exertion is bad.

The straw that broke the camels back on the $150 a month experiment was getting influenza in May. It completely imploded all of my metrics. As a serious viral infection tends to do. I couldn’t get in any steps as I was basically bedridden. My food intake got weird as I was in Montana with friends and house hunting when I got sick. I had one perfect week of high protein and vegetables and then as I got sicker and sicker it was anything I could be coaxed into eating. There were two meals of milkshakes from Five Guys and that was considered a lucky break. Coughing and exhaustion sometimes means sipping a high calorie frozen dairy product through a straw is as good as it’s going to get.

As my metrics got worse from the flu and tracking food become a pointless exercise, I gave up on even trying to walk my very nice coach through it. There was nothing to be done on assigning me any health activities for weeks. I couldn’t exercise. Meditation did nothing to improve core metrics because I was fighting a massive infection. My sleep was shit because again fighting an infection. My nutrition was hit or miss as my throat hurt and my stomach struggled with new medications.

The renewal snuck up on me. I had wanted to say good bye to the coach. To let her know she tried. To reassure the Gyroscope teammates that my failures didn’t say much about them and how they coached people into healthier behaviors.

I’m a woman with overlapping chronic conditions that got an acute infection and there was no real way to come back from it in a short period of time. But I was still so exhausted and couldn’t bring asking Gyroscope for a pause (a sick break for fitness apps would be a killer functionality though). But my husband remembered the auto-renew date. So he just canceled the entire thing. Boom gone. Fuck off.

I opened the app for the first time in weeks today to at least turn back on the basic tracking so I didn’t lose any data history.

I like how the app does data visualization. I have no clue if I can track nutrition on the base level of product on Gyroscope. Whoever does their pricing tiers has changed it so much I’ve lost track. In the past I found it impossible to input nutrition into their tracker. It was amazing to have the app do it automatically. I relied on their team doing the macros not because I can’t do it myself but because I couldn’t figure out how to physically input it into the app. So I’m a little sad about that. But not sad enough to pay $150.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 518 and Liminal Housing

The appraisal walkthrough for our Montana homestead was yesterday. We’ve never bought a house before so the process still has a lot of new twists and turns that seem to stretch our forever. Every time I think we are closer to having the deal be actually done there seems to be another step to consider. The next two months are going to be liminal housing space for Alex and I.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling being in between homes. Our townhouse in Boulder will be rented out once we’ve confirmed we have purchased the Montana homestead. The Boulder rent is going up quite a bit which figures. But we can’t move into the Montana house until August. Instead we’ve got this two month period where our old home isn’t really home any longer but our new home isn’t ready for us to move in either.

I don’t exactly know how I’ll spend my time during those two months. Alex has some travel and I’m considering doing some of my own. I’ve got Europe on my mind. The Mediterranean seems popular during the summer months.

I’d like to be preparing for when we arrive in Montana so we can hit the ground running but there isn’t that much to do here as the packing can’t be done too much ahead of time. Couple that with finance being in a messy panicky and I doubt I’ll get much actual work done.

Many LPs aren’t allocating, startups are holding back from fundraising if they don’t have to, and even my own plans for how I structure our investment vehicle looks a bit up for debate until certain things get wrapped up. Ironically I’ve been told they need about six to eight weeks.

So maybe my best move is to just get in an airplane and go. Take the summer. Enjoy the in between and simply stop worrying so damn much.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 506 and Walking The Talk

I had a spectacular two weeks of writing from the deepest places in my soul. We made significant and long lasting decisions for the family and the direction we want to take our lives and our investments. And yes I do mean that my husband and I are moving to Montana. One day I’ll be so proud to have captured that moment in our lives on paper.

So of course this past week I’ve done nothing but worry and fret and write about that worry as my physical body decided it was safe to be a bit sick now that we’ve done that hard work on making a big life decision. Even that mess of feverish writing ended up delivering some amusing written insights.

I’ve had to remind myself basically hourly that I’m alright. That all the uncertainty of the world is something I can live with. Indeed, it’s something I’ve planned for over the course of years. When I jokingly insisted we should name our family office chaotic.capital it seemed like an amusing and edgy piece of branding. Now I’m caught up in the reality of just how fast the thesis is playing out.

Frankly I am scared. I am scared because I can see just how hard things will be. Some days I feel like I’m beyond excited to actually be right. But then I remember the chaotic thesis sucks to live through even with the best resources and preparation. And all I can really do is walk the talk. Nothing is as terrifying as being prepared for hard times and then simply having to live all the shit you said would happen.

Because of course all of the macro big picture things that I’m planning to invest against are things that make my life harder too. I’m disabled with a chronic health condition that is annoying to manage in good times. My personal wealth is subject to the same market forces as yours. I have had to deal with the overheated housing market as a non-homeowner. I still have to act in the same face of the fears as everyone else. Am I modestly protected and buffered by privilege? Yes I’ve been sprinting to acquire it for year to get it. But here we all are and now is the time when a steady hand with a prepared mind can thrive.

Categories
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.

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.