They say time flies when you are having fun. Some internal sick sadness combined with external geopolitical confusion, during what I’ve come to call “my sick years,” were in hindsight timeless years.
I am now past the worst of it. Time had no meaning when I was struggling to get diagnosed and treated during those years. Then we collectively ran headlong into the pandemic. Time had been a flat circle for a while and I wasn’t coming or going. My time was out of reach.
But those days of sad, static immobile time have given way to vim, vigor, verve (and fuck it, why not) even vivaciousness. I must be having fun again, as now time is absolutely flying.
I still carry my health challenges with me (ankylosis spondylitis like all inflammatory conditions comes and goes with the reliability of the fey), and the world is just as fucked up as ever.
And yet on the other side of many hard fights, I am happy again. The miseries are my choices and worth the fight. It’s many pleasures are fleeting, often, and luxurious beyond what my former self thought I deserved.
I hope time keeps on slipping like this for a while. The joy of my struggles now makes me eager to take care of myself. I take every day as slow as I can and still they go by so quickly.
When I was a university student at Chicago we went through a two year core cannon which was mostly meant as a Great Books exercise. I’ve still got a dozen rainbow colored books dubbed the “Western Civilization” readers. I treasure them.
My professor was a scholar named Katy Weintraub. She was the better half of the beloved Professor Karl Weintraub. The classes were famous for good reason. I’ll forever be grateful for having been taught the western cannon by someone as capable as her.
One lesson that has stuck with me is the dangers inherent in the human urge for newness. She brought up the insidious, cumulative effects of novelty nearly every lesson.
History was driven by “newness” and its consequences. Each new historical moment was an opportunity to be reminded how fraught with the peril novel ideas and changing cultural mores could be. Death, war, famine, and conquest lurked behind an original idea.
Every rebellion, reformation, and new republic started with some asshole sharing a bright idea. And it tended to get you killed, even if your particular form of novelty got widely adopted down the road. See Christianity, various flavors of democracy, the printing press, and the Enlightenment to name a few.
The “best” part of modernity appears to be that everyone from yours truly to Donald Trump can constantly float novelty trial balloons from the comfort of their own toilet. Best and worst are doing a Janus double duty of meaning here.
Professor Weintraub might remind us that all forms of novelty are dangerous. New ideas represent change. And change is destabilizing even if we later recognize those changes as positive.
I’m certainly feeling the destabilizing effects of having to be alive during living history these days. I bet you are too. Turns out we don’t live outside of history at all. Maybe I finally understand why novelty represented such a danger in Professor Weintraub’s mind. Change has been, historically speaking, pretty hard on those living through it.
I didn’t get a good night sleep last night. Or the night before. Or the night before. I guess I must be jet lagged.
I am always convinced I’ve managed to avoid jet lag and it’s never actually true. I love to lie to myself about my capacity for recovery in the face of travel but I know deep down that once the adrenaline wears off, it’s all about establishing a consistent sleep routine.
I’d rather maintain East Coast Time while I’m in Europe but my body has a tendency to sync to the circadian rhythms of the sun rise and sun set even when I do my best to stay awake till midnight I’ll rise with the sun. I was awake at 6am in Frankfurt as even with an eye mask on I knew it was finally morning.
I was up very late last night as I had an evening commitment on Eastern Standard Time while I myself am on European Central Time. I finished at 6pm in New York but it was 2am for me. It was stimulating I was unable to fall asleep till well past 3am.
I didn’t successfully sleep in as much as I would have liked, so I found myself running on a bit less sleep than I would have preferred even though my Whoop suggested I was in the green with a reasonably high HRV score. When my biometrics are all in the green, even if I’ve had perceptually poor sleep, I try to let my data guide me.
I thought I was doing ok as I went about my routines and workload. I showered, meditated, did some work and even got a power nap in.
Still I found myself getting overwhelmed by basic sensory inputs. The sound of the cars on the road felt loud. I took a walk and found myself ordering an Uber to get home as I was tired and has gone too far. Alas, in the car, I found myself covering my ears and closing my eyes as the pop music and car incense overwhelmed two senses at once.
It’s been a beautiful week in the Gallatin Valley. Every single morning on my daily constitutional walk I notice new growth. Very suddenly we went from of melting & assessing snow damage to bright and sunny spring green.
The more northern latitudes get a shorter growing season (in fact we will get more snow) but the season is one of magnified intensity as our evenings stretch towards 10pm before the light is gone. And so on this first weekend of May we’ve begun taking action on spring. Hobby farmers spring into action.
My husband and I have no idea what we are doing but with the true spirit of fuck around and find out we began anyway. Our running joke is that Alex is a #ManofAction as there is just simply so much more practically to do when you live on land for which you are ultimately responsible. It’s a lot of fun and very grounding.
And as you might guess the most liberating feeling in the world is being held accountable for yourself and your choices. So even knowing full well you are basically that dog typing on a computer subtitled “I’ve got no ideal what I’m doing” you carry on anyway.
While I did a few laps around the pasture and helped with a bit of the lighter work my role was mostly to capture the fun and excitement of trying something new. We picked two apple, two plum and one cherry from Starks Brothers to add in after a fall planting of a number of apple trees. We’ve got no idea if any of this is going to take. We’ve read some books but that barely counts.
Meanwhile inside the homestead I’ve been doing some spring cleaning. I’ve been appropriately assigned gender formative roles as I actually enjoy keeping things attractive and beautiful. The closests need turning over from the wool and layering over to tee-shirts, sundresses, and linens. Alex mostly goes from button downs to tee shirts. Jeans are swapped for cargo shorts. Being a man is simpler.
Winter boots need to be put away and flats, sneakers and sandals brought to the front. Alex had more work gear and footwear as he does more of the outdoors work than I do so shoes are more Alex than me.
Heavy winter oil and moisture rich cosmetics will give way to lighter water creams and ceramides. I don’t change retinols but I may add in more C and lactic acid for turnover in the heat. Alex meanwhile gets away with a basic vitamin C moisturizer and SPF.
I alas have not dealt with getting my hair trimmed in sometime but the reminder that it’s time to cut off dead ends is ultimately a spring time ambition. Hopefully you had the good sense to prune in the winter. My husband is lucky enough to simply buzz his head. Happy spring everyone and may your rituals enjoyable to you.
For long involved reasons, I am an Arlo Guthrie fan. The involved reasons are my parents are hippies and my godfather had the good fortune and bad sense to be his touring agent. So I was lucky to see Arlo perform Alice’s Restaurant in my own hometown of Boulder Colorado.
Anyways, I’m not sure if my favorite line was from Arlo’s anniversary show or if it was part of a rendition of Alice’s Restaurant. It’s stuck with me my entire life and I’ll paraphrase it here.
There are two kinds of people in this world. People that give a damn and people that don’t. And sometimes you find you’ve got a lot in common with people you thought you would hate.
Maybe Arlo Guthrie as recalled by young teenage Julie Fredrickson
I’ve had the good fortune to meet a lot of people that give a damn over my life. And as the quotation suggests, occasionally I was quite sure I’d hate them.
I know commies and fascists, and so long as they aren’t absolute fucking morons enthralled by ideology (rare admittedly), I can probably find a common ground. Politics doesn’t have to be existential if you can be a human and empathize. We only find our boundaries by collectively working together to find cultural consensus.
Lots of folks love various coercive ideologies and will give all kinds of rationale for why their side is good. But in reality the only good side is actually giving a damn about the problems in front of you that you are solving with other people. The rest is details.
If you believe yourself to be a person who gives a damn and wants to work on investing your resources into weirdos who give a damn I’d love to have you as a limited partner in my pre-seed venture fund. Click here to learn more. We mostly have high net worth individuals that have earned their money starting, running and investing in startups. And we mostly fund weirdos taking really early stage high risk high reward bets.
If you want to build a better future find the people that give a damn and enable them by letting market forces work. Markets are muses for people that give a damn. They will hack and build and change things to better fit what they believe should exist. And there is no better time to find those long haul builders than when everyone else is freaking out. So yeah if you are a qualified investor I think you should come do it with me.
I’m currently sucking at a bunch of stuff in my life. Because I’m learning new skills and expanding my horizons. I am just sucking big hairy balls as I go about the process of embarrassing myself becoming competent through failure.
Thankfully I am surrounded by a family who loves me and wants me to improve. They don’t mind if I suck because sucking is the first step in success. If I don’t suck at something I’m probably not pushing myself to learn. And just because I’m afraid of sucking is no excuse. Everyone sucks sometimes.
And I get it. It sucks to suck. I hate how uncomfortable it makes me feel to fuck up. I am regularly failing at lots of shit on what feels like a daily basis.
And I do often want to crawl into a hole and stop doing new things so I can enjoy the feelings of power and competence at things I am already successful in.
And yet I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone. Even though I am intimately familiar with how much it sucks to suck. I hate the feeling of having not tried even more. I’d rather shoulder the risk of the fuck ups than live with the crushing anxiety of not shooting my shot.
Because more than it sucks to suck, it really fucking sucks to not even try. It eats away at your soul. You wonder if your life could be better. And I am here to tell you yes it can be. My life is fucking awesome right now. And it’s awesome because I tried. I spent a lot of time being embarrassed.
I didn’t get everything I wanted. But like those damned boomers said, you might find that you get what you need. So go ahead and suck. The path to happiness is on the other side of it. Don’t give up just because it sucks to suck.
Now sure we live in a pretty special weirdo valley with Gallatin. I’m a child of a weirdo mountain town valley. Boulder and Bozeman remain very fundamentally similar attitudes on life even if in Montana you’ve got way more space. People are friendly and people are weird. The tolerance and acceptance is what you’d expect from a high trust culture.
I’ve got trips to big cities ahead of me. I’ll be in New York City in the coming weeks. It only took a half dozen texts to block my calendar for a full 72 hours in Manhattan. There is surprisingly little room for chill hangs. Honestly I was impressed so many people wanted to spend time with me. But also booking out that time is how New York works. The days are scheduled.
I’d prefer a world where it’s simple to say just come on over. We can do that in Montana. Friends come over. We always have house guests. But in a city I can’t afford to just rent out a whole bar or event space so it’s not like I can have a big gathering unless the weather is good enough for the park. So perhaps that’s just the nature of higher competition venues.
But I will say it’s awfully nice to just have amazing people just hang out and be normal with you. Maybe you go for a meal. Maybe you have folks over for a beer. Sometimes people bring their dogs. And it’s just a real nice way to live. Lots of space to be private and plenty of joy to be found in occasionally being a social animal.
Everyone probably remembers a moment during the pandemic when time lost all meaning for them. Maybe you regained your sense of time as schedules solidified back into the real virtual hybrid we’ve agreed to keep for some of us.
I don’t recall ever getting back my sense of time. It started earlier than the pandemic for me. I slipped the time train tracks sometime after Trump was elected, before the pandemic hit, but definitely during the course of rebuilding my health.
I’ll be dimly aware that it’s a weekday or a weekend if I’ve got someone who needs my attention or if I’m producing a specific outcome on a timeline. But otherwise I’m basically the the grand dame in Downton Abbey. “What is a weekend?”
It is in fact coming up on a weekend. A weekend where I don’t appear to have any houseguests or events planned or much necessary to be handled. I only have temporal obligations for physical care of my body. So maybe I’ll be able to slip further out in time or maybe I’ll align back to standard American work week. I mostly want to sleep.
A bunch of stuff that has been in the works for me for a while all got papered in the last couple of days. If you read any of my zen poasting (misspelled for internet reasons) you’ve probably gleaned that I’ve had a lot going on. Stuff got resolved on time horizons as long as lifetimes and as short as a narrative cycle.
I’d like to celebrate some of the papering (two deals I worked particularly hard for over a long time horizon) and I’m sure I will do so at some point but everything is going by fast and I’m just so drained from the dance. I suppose it’s how you really know if you are living. It’s a lot to live through everyone’s ego death drives and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a huge toll on me. I don’t yet know how to pay these costs in anyway but energy yet but I’m learning. If I put hard costs on it motherfuckers wouldn’t like the bill.
I’m modestly less sympathetic to everyone else’s bullshit as someone in my extended family passed away (not getting into it as it’s not my loss) and that invariably makes every other problem look inconsequential. Who care about your feelings and your ego and your petty obsessions in the face of death. But also maybe you should care about them even more? Not my call to be honest.
I’m not really able to mourn with them directly but I feel the energy of the loss reverberating for my loved one. And I wish I didn’t want to discuss it at all but I do. Somehow death is the lowest drama aspect of my week. Actual death.
So if everyone else can tone the energy down a little I’d appreciate it. I will absolutely make sure shit is inked, wired, soothed, smoothed and otherwise handled. It will all get papered. Whether it gets celebrated or mourned is a matter of personal discretion and I’m all out of fucks as to what you chose. Just gimme a beat or two to breath. This isn’t what you’d call a nine to five job.