Categories
Chronic Disease Startups

Day 508 and Deficit

I woke up feeling reasonably ok today. I slept well but checking my trackers I learned my recovery scores were pretty low. My HRV was dipping into 30% recovery territory and I had a low blood oxygen count. I’ve been recovering from Influenza A so it’s not a surprise my lungs are struggling. But I tried not to let some bad data psyche me out. Maybe I was ok. I told myself I just needed to stick to my routine as I can’t let myself get into a physical deficit.

So I went about my morning routine with some optimism. I got some coffee and made breakfast. I took several rounds of supplements. I did some basic grooming. I felt basically human. I was all excited to dive into work from the second I woke up. I was so excited I’ve been dreaming about the presentation I’m giving at Consensus. I literally woke up with talking points.

And then at around 10am I realized I’d used up all my functional hours taking care of myself. Fucking figures. I am already in a physical deficit from this flu. It’s scary for me to be in a deficit as my favorite coping mechanism is to engage in workaholism. I over prepare and over work and I make demands of myself that only sabotage the end result. It’s entirely counter productive. It just looks socially acceptable because of the Protestant Work ethic.

So I need to calm the fuck down and accept where I am and that it will still be good enough. I know my shit. It’s worth it. And I’ll deliver on better than the average midwit. Honestly even acting like this is kind of midwit. The real galaxy brains would just be vibing it anyway. But it really is amazing how easy it is to fall into midwit fear based patterns. Believing in the bigger broader math of your own life is really hard because so much of our own ego is rooting for us to indulge in our worst impulses. So I’m going to calm down, not worry about my energy deficit and continue to do the work. It’s not glamorous work. It’s mostly making good decisions day in and day out. But then compounding kicks in.

Categories
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.

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
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.

Categories
Politics Travel

Day 491 and Uncanny Valley

If you’ve been following along this week you might have noticed I’m in Bozeman Montana with some friends. I’m hoping to find a homestead. My father loves to call Montana the last best place. He moved up to Whitefish a few years ago for retirement from Boulder Colorado. Our boomers know the score. He knows the last best places are dwindling as the frontier turns into subdivisions.

Growing up in Colorado was about as close to paradise as it gets. We had clean air, plenty of open space and a laid back uncrowded atmosphere. My brother was born there but my parents made a brief detour to Silicon Valley where I was born in the eighties. But Chief Niwot’s curse must have called to my family as we moved back to Colorado when I was still young. My dad thought Boulder was a better place to live than San Francisco or Palo Alto. No one who has been to Boulder escapes the curse.

People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.”

What is Chief Niwot’s curse?

I call myself a Boulder native even if it’s not technically true. If you count the sojourn in the Bay Area, I’m one of those Californians that ruined Colorado even if my family had arrived long before I did. But we certainly didn’t arrive before the Arapaho. Perhaps I wasn’t in the wave of Californians that turned Colorado, and Boulder Valley in particular, into a boom town in the aughts and teens, but I’m still part of the undoing of the beauty of this valley. Anyone who is descended from immigrants has contributed to the curse.

The reason I chuckle at my father calling Montana the last best place is because the state is following the path that Colorado took. Bozeman feels exactly like Boulder did during my childhood. It’s no surprise to me Colorado folks are moving here to recapture what we’ve lost. If you came of age in the mountain west before urban sprawl and yuppie gentrification you yearn for a return. Boulder Valley has been undone by those that loved it’s beauty. And so we seek new frontiers.

In twenty or thirty years will the Gallatin valley and Bozeman face a similar fate? Almost assuredly. If anything, it makes me confident in putting down roots here. Maybe then my kids can call themselves Bozeman natives the way I do with Boulder. Maybe they can complain about the high housing prices and the arrival of tech workers and tell tales about how their family got here in the roaring twenties before all the Coloradans ruined the place.

Categories
Politics

Day 488 and Life

I woke up today feeling betrayed. I’ve never been concerned that my reproductive health would be decided by anyone but me. It’s been a luxury not to fear my own body knowing I had a right to chose for myself. It was my belief my family would do it’s own planning.

And we did plan. We did fertility treatments and it went catastrophically badly. Four years later I’m just barely stabilized from the attempt to extract eggs and freeze eggs and embryos. The vast majority of people have to cope with our reproductive health in some capacity. Having a family is pretty standard issue. Mine just happened to be a little more dramatic than average. But I never had to worry if it was my life or my unborn child. Or who would get to chose. I never got that far and now I’m a bit afraid I never will. I’m afraid to be pregnant in a world where my health decisions are not my own.

In case you missed the news, last night someone decided to leak a draft opinion from Justice Alito (supported by the conservative justices but without any indication where Roberts stands) that would overturn Roe vs Wade. Abortion would no longer be a federal question but devolve to state authority if Roe is overturned. After 49 years it looks like a major reversal is possible. To be clear it is a draft and while Chief Justice Roberts confirmed it’s authenticity, he said it’s not final or representative of any current justices or the courts final authority.

But it didn’t fucking matter what anyone intended. Chaos has absolutely ensued as various parties look to assign blame for such a massive breach of judicial norms. Everyone is jockeying for position and speculation is rampant. A topic like when life begins is guaranteed to generate strong emotional response. Who gets to decide is a big question. But I’ve generally fallen onto the side that the woman has autonomy over her own body. A fuck ton of other people felt about the same as I did. I’ve seen social media erupt in fear and hurt.

I’ve got very complex feelings on abortion. I’m against it in principle (and I’m deeply grateful I’ve never been faced with that choice) but I am not convinced a fetus is a person. Lord knows if an embryo is a person I know I’d have a very different opinion. I’m not even sure I would have been comfortable doing IVF if I thought an embryo was a person.

This is all complicated by the fact that I don’t think any of society’s crucial issues should be legislated by courts. They enforce laws they don’t make them. We have a legislative body for a reason. Why won’t we try passing federal legislation for anything? Like honestly I’m sick of the courts having to be a backstop. I think most people are. I just don’t get it.

I don’t fully understand how we build out laws to enumerate natural rights but I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be an amendment. We have sucked at this amendment thing traditionally and I don’t really grasp why.

I failed Constitutional Law so my opinion maybe doesn’t count. In my defense, I took it with Will Baude as a fellow classmate as an undergraduate and well now he is is famously a world class constitutional scholar. He absolutely wrecked the curve for my class of twenty. But maybe I understand the issue marginally better than I imagine. Just not as well as say someone tapped to regularly review how the court operates. I don’t know! But at a certain point the contentious shit is going to be an amendment right?

I don’t have a tidy summary to any of this except to say I know this is hard for everyone. I wrote this post because I’m scared and hurting. I can now imagine a world where if I’m faced with crisis like an ectopic pregnancy it’s not clear that the choice to terminate to save the geriatric mother would be in my hands. And I don’t think that’s right.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 487 and Grocery Stores

I love settling into a new home by going grocery shopping. I’ve had the opportunity to be in a new city for an extended period twice now this year. And each time the joy I’ve taken in going to pick up groceries is palpable. Going shopping for food is my happy place.

I’m in Bozeman with dear friends and one of them noticed just how excited I was for the grocery run. We had a mostly empty fridge and I made a beeline to the nicest grocery store in town. It was a hybrid fancy yuppie grocery wrapped inside a big box grocery store. It’s a chain local to the pacific and mountain west called Rosaurs. I highly recommend it.

A grocery store is a powerful space. I’ve written before about my love for the American grocery store. I think it’s unique in its position as a functional and emotional retail space. It needs enough structure and repeatable patterns that anyone can shop a store and have an intuitive sense of where the basics are merchandised. But grocery relies on novelty and newness as much as any other retail store for driving order size and additional Martin.

The presentation of new brands and new products is fraught. The need to display something new competes against the need for repeatability and ease of locating core items in grocery. Grocery can be seen as human nature reflecting core tensions as it balances desire and safety. We yearn to feel nurtured by food but also crave to be stimulated by new tastes.

I spent an hour and a half wandering the aisles filling out my grocery list. I had done meal planning and had specific needs for the weeks meals. But I am also an inveterate shopper looking to feel excited by what was on the shelves.

To this day that I can look at any item in the store and buy it remains a surprise to me. It’s a luxury that never fails to delight me. If I want to get something I can. There is no budget or restriction on me like I remember as a small child. And yet I still couldn’t bring myself to buy a full size Turmeric spice jar. Reflecting back childhood emotions I didn’t even realize I had. A small reminder of how much seemingly mundane acts like grocery shopping can reflect much bigger things.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 477 and Extreme Risk

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Emotional Work Startups

Day 466 and A Painting Without Shadows

I take therapy really seriously. I’d put being emotionally capable of managing myself at the very top of my life priorities. Honestly it should be number one and if it isn’t I need to stop and ask myself why. Being an adult requires an intimate understand of one’s emotions and the capacity to share them with others.

To further this goal I do a weekly session as well as group work. It’s meaningful to me and I recommend to all my founders that they find a way to get into coaching as well as therapy. Taking care of your own inner child is the only way you are going to be able to lead a team. If you want to build a billion dollar company and manage thousands of people you better be able to manage yourself first.

Where I think people can go wrong is treating this process as if it’s one of optimization. Do I think founders who have taken the time to understand themselves do better? Absolutely. It’s pretty rare that someone’s coping mechanisms help them reach the heights of their talents. A chip on your shoulder is great but eventually you learn to transcend it.

I think this is because if you don’t understand yourself you are a painting without shadows. It’s flat. Boring. Doesn’t read as true or trustworthy. Maybe you are really good at showing emotions to get your way. Lots of people are but if they just off enough from genuine then it reads as the uncanny valley of empathy. People just know when you are hiding something. And hiding your dark side means hiding your shadows. Without them you are a flat human.

A painting without shadows wouldn’t be any good. You without your shadows wouldn’t be who you are. The best of you exists because of the worst of you. I really do hope more people are able to see that truth and love themselves.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 462 and Action is Not Power

Action equals power in America. But at the risk of repeating some basic definitional shit, action is action. Power is power. They are not the same thing. I have a bias towards action as the famous Amazon aphorism goes. I think action is often a beneficial force. But I am learning that sometimes I need to be still in my power without turning to action.

It’s a challenging concept for me. I have more power by allowing it to flow through me. But I prefer taking action to acquire it. I’m in an industry and country where no one is ever satisfied. The need to acquire more is a looming mimetic desire. And the clearest path we see to acquiring more? Take action! Do a thing. Make a move. Be a player.

But sometimes power is found in stillness. The slow places. The quiet places. The interiors of our lives. We meditate and contemplate. All these practices can help us access the power we already have inside us. The capacity that existed all along and simply needed to be honed.

I wanted to beat myself for not seizing more power recently. Why wasn’t I being more aggressive? And then I realized I already had everything I needed in me. I don’t mean this as some bullshit thought leadering either. I slept till 1pm today because I was out late last night. I needed the stillness and rest so my own power can through. I could have been up and seizing the day but that would have only resulted in action and not power.