It is 4:05 AM on Tuesday November 11th, 2022. We’ve just returned from a Thanksgiving week in Ohio. This trip was spent almost entirely in either my parent’s or sisters residence with the kids playing games (sometimes Fortnite with adults), wine drinking and eating. The weather was partly due to the reason for staying in but primarily it was due to a rare gout attack in my foot. I believe this one was caused by too much food and wine over the past couple of months during trips. There was the trip to France and Spain, Ohio for my cousin’s funeral, parents in SF, another trip to Spain with Mom and wife, then the Ohio trip for Thanksgiving. I was about ten pounds heavier than I should be and I’m sure the wine didn’t help at all so I guess I had it coming.
Over the years, I’ve stopped gathering with old friends on my return trips and it is basically for two reasons. The first is as my parents age I prefer to spend as much time with them as possible. The second is due to the poison caused by Trump on social media which really damaged a few old friendships. Even if we did gather I can imagine they wouldn’t be able to resist talking politics. Just like half of the country they are suffering the same fever. Their allegiance to the con man becomes part of their identity and cannot be separated out from social visits. It remains a hard no for me and is such a shame.
The other day I did have a nice call with my old friend Kevin who is getting married in February. I’m very happy for him as he certainly deserves this great boost of joy in his life, especially due to all he has gone through. I’m looking forward to the event and it was great to catch up.
I’m glad I’ve finally found motivation to post again. I touched on most of the reasons why I haven’t in my previous post but thought I’d touch on a few of them here. The past two years haven’t been very good due to COVID, the direction the country has been taking, the stock market and changes at work. As for work I hadn’t been feeling very appreciated thinking they valued show over actual results. My results have been pretty good given a horrible pandemic but the culture is set more on show and I’m not good at show or asking for attention for accomplishments. However, this past week I did receive three letters of appreciation from the higher ups and that was gladly received, much more than I thought it would. I had even been perusing other jobs and entertaining a few of the recruiters but my company really is a great one and moving now in a down economy with all the layoffs wouldn’t be a smart move.
With all the reasons above I really haven’t had the greatest mindset, especially in 2022. Hopefully, this will begin to slowly change but it will take effort on my part through meditation, exercise and doing productive things. By this I mean doing activities which are rewarding and less scrolling through my phone or dwelling on the state of the world.
Speaking of productive activities, writing this post is one of them and I’ve also started reading more. I just finished “The Nakano Thrift Shop” which I noticed at the City Lights bookstore in SF. The story was OK but anything involving daily life in Japan (even fiction) is something I enjoy and it has been a long time (due to COVID) that I’ve been in Japan. I’m currently reading The End of the World is Just the Beginning. I’m only a few chapters in but love it.
The book is about how the golden age of international trade and prosperity are coming to an end. In the 90s, the main business book on this topic was “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman which detailed trade prosperity through an interconnected world and how America can revive it. Well, that model is crumbling due to increased nationalism, the war in Ukraine, and international security threats. Nations, especially the USA, are now looking inward and America no longer has the motivation to prop up this international commerce allegiance with money and military might. America is diminishing on the world stage which will cause much chaos in other countries although America itself should weather this storm pretty well due to its vast resources, security due to location of vast oceans and friendly neighbors. This book is right up my alley and I cannot put it down.
As for feeling connected to everyone as I did in 2019 I’ve become a hermit in comparison. Trump and social media really did poison the country and so I no longer use Facebook (except for the rare post). Instead I spend my time online in the crypto world and that is going through a firestorm with the collapse of FTX. Crypto itself however is not going to disappear and I still believe it has a bright future. I’ve seen my portfolio shrink at a breathtaking rate but I continue to accumulate and am certain it will go back up. But instead of months as I believed in 2020 the recovery could take five to ten years and I’m content staying on top of it and earning rewards through staking while the industry itself has a major correction shaking out companies that participate in terrible business practices.
It is almost December and two of the holidays are already passed. This time of year I like to pause, reflect and really soak in the atmosphere of the holidays but I’ve got a late start in doing so this year. Again, this is primarily due to a bad mindset from the things I’ve mentioned. They all pile up in my mind and cause me to simply want to withdraw from everyone. This is where the meditation and exercise really help.
Speaking of the holidays money always becomes a factor as the wife will get on me for a few gift purchases. This leads me to think that perhaps I should make more money. My mind tells me that perhaps I should just get a job that takes me away from my family more so I can fulfill her wish. That would lead to a grudge which would pop up in my head every morning I had to now leave for work, endure a commute and a much worse lifestyle for me. One comment leads to these thoughts and it can be hard to overcome and stay positive. The bad though is what if I just weren’t around anymore, gave her plenty of money, hated my life and then made poor choices? One comment about money can do this but the reality is women always complain about money and I make plenty to give us a good lifestyle, myself included. I have to shut down those thoughts but it can be a challenge whenever she makes a comment about money.
The good news is where in a fine position and will be in a good one once crypto and the stock market pick up. We’ve got most of the Christmas presents ordered and I’ve payed off the credit cards. Yet another year of overcoming the annual hurdle of bigger than usual bills. This is all made worthwhile when I see the smiles and excitement of my boys on Christmas day.
One of those gifts I’ve been wanting for a while and can be done with my boys. I had purchased a cheap metal detector a few years ago but it wasn’t as good as expected due the mineralized sand at the beach. The beach is the primary place I want to use the detector but that sand gave too many false readings. I asked the medal detecting community on Reddit if they had any recommendations and they came through for me. We now have an $800 detector which should yield some great finds on the beach and lead to a new hobby for me which I had aborted given the disappointment of the old detector.
In other news, it is very nice to simply be writing again. I’d really like to write a book and hopefully I’ll find the inspiration in 2023. As I mentioned I’ve been reading more and the bad thought comes in that perhaps I’m just not talented enough to be an author. I know that this isn’t true but I need to be inspired for that book within me that would be successful given my experiences and travels in life. What form would it take however? Would it be fiction or non-fiction? Could I even manage an interesting plot? Do I need to learn more about writing books? So many questions.
In any case, this is all that has been on my mind these last few months and I’m glad to get them down in my journal.