I Forget

When I started writing again I had all of these ideas that I wanted to get down but I only sit to write once a day so I needed to remember everything else. Historically speaking I have not had the best memory so I’ve implemented a whole slew of ways of reminding myself. I have digitally to-do list apps, notebooks strewn al over the place and even an entire wall of my office that is a chalk board.

Do you know what all of those things have in common? I rarely utilize them to remember things.

For me it’s less about remembering what I wanted to do and more about remember to put the processes in place that will enable me to be the most efficient. Self-awareness is a great thing but you still need to act upon things for there to be change.

So this post is another gentle reminder to myself to create the process, actually utilize the process, modify the process if necessary and then trust that the process will work.

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Without A Net

I recently lost my job at a company that I worked at for 27 years (and three days). I’m not upset about it as I really wasn’t happy there. It started as summer help when I was in between jobs and turned into multiple careers. Mine was a great mobility story and the type of story that most companies promote but not mine.

You may be asking “if you were unhappy why did you stay?” And the answer to that would be fear and conditioning. I was brought up in a lower middle class family and working is what we did. I got my first job when I was 13 and there hasn’t been much time in the 36 years since that I haven’t worked. Even now I’m working (more on that later). I’ve always have had this need for stability and security which has kept me from taking any sort of risk when money was involved.

I stayed with the devil I knew because I had fairly good job security and that was better than potential happiness and the unknown.

Now that devil is gone and though I am in a good place financially there are still moments of panic. I know I don’t have to but it’s there and it’s different and a little scary and I am prone to running a negative narrative through my head.

Breathe

It’s all fine. Working without a safety net shows you’re confident in what you are doing and also not afraid of the consequences of failing. That’s not entirely true for me right now but it’s getting there.

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Small Medium Large

I’ve been thinking about the world and compartmentalizing everything in regards to the overall impact on people. There are three significant points in my life and I’m breaking them down to small, medium and large. Let’s go in the reverse order.

Large: COVID-19 is a global pandemic. It’s touched the entire planet and yet in the grand scheme of things my life (besides life in quarantine) has not been greatly impacted. I know a few people that have passed but no one that I was really close to or that was an immediate family member. It’s almost easy to believe that it doesn’t really exist (I know it does) because I have been so far removed from it. Besides being cautious if I decide to go out I don’t really think that much about it anymore which means the largest thing has the smallet effect on me which I’m very greateful for.

Medium: The protest that have started after the killing of George Floyd are pretty significant but mostly in my home country of the United States which is why I put it at medium. There’s a lot to unpack here and this post is not the time for it. I will say that I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I do not however live in a major city where the violent outbursts have taken place so it’s not always on my mind but moreso than Coronavirus these days making the medium item as having a medium effect.

Small: I lost my job a week ago and you might be thinking; that’s small? In the grand scheme of things it is because it impacts very few people besides myself. This has been occupying a lot of my thoughts (rightfully so I believe) as I try to navigate where I am and where I am going. That means the smallest item has the largest effect.

What does all this mean? Probably not a lot to you because they are my thoughts and my life. It does show that events that seem inconsequential to you may be much larger to someone else and vice versa.

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Confusion

It’s been a while since I wrote last and at that time I using life in quarantine as a preview for the future. Then life changes.

There’s so much going on in the world that I haven’t really been able to process a lot of it in any sort of coherent manner. Thoughts have flown through my head and then right back out before I even have a chance to process them into anything.

As much as I enjoy stream of consciousness writing I still am an over thinker and prefer to have a general outline in my head before I start typing. Usually that outline has ben written and re-written several times before I even sit down at the keyboard.

That may have to change.

There’s just too much going on and spending too much time on one thought ends up being at the sake of several others that never get written down.

I need to make some sense of the confusion in my head and I find that writing it all down helps regardless if anyone (besides you, my faithful followers) reads it or not.

I won’t apologize for any rants because that’s all this world (to me) lately. A series of talking points and frustrations and misunderstandings that we all have to live with.

Does any of this make sense? Perhaps not or perhaps you’re right there with me. Hopefully as I get things out of my head more frequently it will.

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Retirement Plan

I’ve been thinking about this living in quarantine a couple of different ways and the latest incarnation is as a preview to retirement.

I always wonder what I’ll do when I finally am able to retire. I know myself and probably many others would like to travel but if we’re being realistic you’ll most likely still spend more time at home than you will travelling.

I have lots of things I want to do such as paint, play music, read, cook, etc. But I wonder if that would be enough to fill out my days and leave me with enough sense of fulfillment.

While I’m still working, albeit it from home, this is not a bad preview. I am both keeping myself occupied and not keeping as much done as I would like. I would imagine without a job I would have more free time to find a harmonious balance.

So if you happen to be sitting at home going a bit cabin fever-ish during all of this try thinking about what you want your later years to look like. What are you interested in? What did you always want to learn how to do? The work you put in now will pay off.

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Hierarchy of Needs

Recently I have been doing a look of reading and the interesting aspect of it has been a. Lot of information that pertains directly to either the current state of myself or of the world. One of those things which I was only recently introduced to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which was original proposed in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

In it he proposes that as each of the five needs are met (Physiological, Safety, Social Belonging, Esteem, Self-actualization) a person can move on to the next need. For the purpose of this discuss I am only going to talk about the first three and how it pertains to our current environment of sheltering-in-place.

Physiological we’ll define as food, water, shelter. When COVID-19 was announced and the though of being quarantined was proposed this is where everyone went first. They bought toilet paper. They bought canned food. They stocked up (hoarded) for fear of not having the basic things they needed. Once that was taken care of they could move on to the next need.

Safety we’ll define as health, personal security. Once we had a sufficient surplus of toilet paper and flour for baking then we moved on to worrying about our own health. This is when we went on a mad spree to find gloves and masks. We even learned how to make our own masks. Once we were convinced that we were safe from this virus then some of us were able to move on to the next need.

Social Belonging we’ll define as frienship, family, intimacy. I think there are a lot of people here now. They feel safe and taken care of and now they need that social interaction that staying at home cannot provide. This is why there are protests all over the country with chants of re-opening up the economy.

Unfortunately we are seeing hot-spots flare up in areas that didn’t have stay-at-home orders in place which means we’re really not safe yet. We are at that tipping point which makes this a dangerous time. As much as I love cooking I do enjoy a nice meal out at one of my favorite restaurants and I know I’ll get there at some point but now is not the time.

I’m not saying I have any good answers because I’m not a medical person or have a background in pandemics. I did really find this concept of a hierarchy of needs interesting though in watching human behavior during al of this.

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Happy Easter

This is going to be a difficult day for a lot of people. I myself am not a religious person but I do respect tradition and formality. Much like my Jewish friends who had to figure out Seder in a world of social distancing a few nights ago, so too will my Christian friends today.

Do the best that you can because that is all that we can do. Perhaps use this as an opportunity to eliminate a bit of commercialism from your holiday and return to the meaning.

Most importantly embrace and connect with your loved ones today.

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Emotional Intelligence

In the beginning of the year I read a book on Emotional Intelligence and took a survey to evaluate myself. Turns out I’m not great at reading a room nor am I good at putting other peoples feelings in the forefront when something needs to get done. I can be quite pragmatic and I’ve been called apathetic a time or two.

But this was something I was working on understanding behaviors of mine that needed to be addressed. But now with social distancing in place its not really a worthwhile trait to know how to read a room. That’ll change eventually.

Now I find I’m trying to be compassionate with those I interact with because what we are all going through is difficult for each of us in our own ways. So I’m being overly attentive to my interactions with people and trying to really listen and connect with them on a deeper level.

My fear is it will just wear off after a while. It’s like when couple say endearing things to one another for so long that they just become part of the routine. How long before me telling someone to “Be safe” becomes no different than saying “Have a nice day”?

This doesn’t come second nature to me, henceforth the reading of books. This is important to me as I start my path of being a health coach and working with people to help them be the best versions of themselves. I don’t want to be a drill sergeant.

I know I’m a work in progress and so every day I (try) to put in some effort. I think acknowledging all of this is a least a step in the right direction.

How are you? You can email me sean@ahistoryofstupidity.com if you want to let me know.

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“Don’t put off until tomorrow…”

what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin

So a while back I noticed that there was some water, not much, around the bottom of my hot water heater. I kept an eye on it knowing that we would have to replace it. It got progressively worse, albeit very slowly. I kept it in the back of my mind. A couple of weeks ago I even started looking up pricing for new ones.

I was going to get to it.

COVID-19 happened and I put it on hold. I knew it needed to be done but I figured I would ride this out before inviting a stranger in to do an installation. Installing hot water heaters is not in my set of skills. The leak seemed a bit worse but we can probably ride this out.

Yesterday morning I decided I was going to wash the sheets (remember that whole making the bed thing) and went down into the basement. Something didn’t sound right and there was a lot of water on the floor. I went over to the hot water heater and it was now visibly and significantly leaking. So I turned off the water.

Miraculously we were able to get a new one installed in less than 10 hours which was astonishing given everything that is going on. I knew it had to be replaced so I didn’t have a problem with the cost – I had been saving for that for a while. The biggest annoyance with the whole thing was really just the fact that I waited until it became an emergency when I knew it had to be done.

Maybe Mr. Franklin was correct. Maybe we should take care of the things we need to take care of right away. We never know what the future has in store for us.

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Update

So the other date I wrote about adding to the painting that I started and being apprehensive about it. Well today I painted it and it didn’t make much of a difference.

What I did, which is exactly what I wanted to do, ended up being so subtle that it’s really only noticeable if you get close to it to see the details.

I like the way it came out because I still have my original painting from a distance and a new one up close.

In the end the greatest part of it was just doing it. I don’t know if this one will become part of my art project and go out into the world – it may just hang on my own wall as a reminder until I no longer need reminding.

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