Hard reset

by Jon Sullivan - 2023-01-30 - Jonism

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I'm feeling better about life. I needed to get to a hard reset. Now that's happened. And we start over.

One of my major personality flaws is making really bad choices. Which seems odd to me, since another flaw is that I also tend to over plan and over prepare. Moving to Oregon should have been one of those major life changes where I over planned, but instead it turned out to be completely reactionary. I just put my stuff in a van, made sure I had a place to live, and started driving north. When I arrived I started spending money lavishly. As if old fat LAMP stack programmers never got laid off and had trouble finding new jobs. As if I never intended to retire. As if I was a child and had no perspective beyond what I WANTED. As if joy on tap, and best life, and New Jon was a real plan rather than whimsy. As if instinct was a plan. As if happy now = happy always. As if I was a wizard and could magically invent enough extra time for all the new post hermit stuff.

I fell apart immediately when I got laid off. I'd built a house of cards here. It was like I suddenly got caught doing something stupid and wrong, and now I was going to be punished by God and life and capitalism. I had lied to the world and now the truth was revealed. I was an idiot. I had fucked up my life. Things had been great in San Diego and I had traded it all in for a spoiled and juvenile indulgence. In San Diego I literally had a huge cash nest egg set aside for when I'd get laid off, and I spent it all and more on moving and toys. So I got laid off and had no cash at all. I had to call my investment advisor, tell him I'd been a wasteful stupid child and ask him for money. I'd acted like a child and I felt like crying as one.

One of the biggest and most important things I fixed in my hobbit hole in San Diego was all the shame and self loathing I'd carried with me every day for 50 years. I fixed it. But now it was back. There was no best life, just shame. There was no New Jon, just contempt for my decisions. There was no rational Stoic, just a child caught doing something stupid.

Trying to steer things back on course didn't work. I knew I'd be fine. I wasn't going to be homeless. But that was overshadowed by one of the old patterns I apparently hadn't fixed in my hobbit hole - making 100% bad choices.

Last weekend I was able to reset it. I tried turning it off and on again. A hard power cycle. A reboot. That worked. I remember standing on a bridge at 6am in sub freezing temps with a stiff breeze in my face. The goal was sunrise photos. I was shivering, and no proper sunrise even happened. But I'd had the hard reset. Sure, I fucked up, but I could move on, and learn and grow. So it was wonderful again. Then I drove to the coast and saw a flock of hundreds of geese. And it was wonderful again. And then I had some great food from a truck parked in the ally. And it was wonderful again. And then I stood on a cliff and watched heavy weather roll across the valley. And it was wonderful again. And then a strange creepy person just walked right up to me uninvited, and we chatted and laughed. And it was wonderful again. And then I went to a concert where the band basically attacked the audience with crazy innovation. And it was wonderful again. Not new Jon, not best life, not joy on tap. Just a good life full of things to be grateful for.

I am grateful. I am thankful for my blessings, and they are many. Maybe I was an idiot. Maybe I screwed up. Maybe I bit off more than I could handle. Maybe I failed at virtue here and there. No..... not maybe.... I did and I'm sorry. But I hope I see those mistakes now. I'm sorry. And I hope people will let me know if I missed any. I have met so many wonderful people here. I hope they will accept me as a man with many faults and failures. I hope they will help me learn and grow. I WILL learn and grow, again and again if that's what it takes. In 2023 I see us as angry and divided and quick to pick sides. Enough with the sides. Stop letting "us vs them" define our existence. As we may all be broken in our own way, I hope we can all find our own way to respond to the broken around us with love and compassion and encouragement. We don't have to break shit as the first option. We are not hermits. We are Groot. We are us. We do this life together, whether we like it or not. We are all broken. Together we can do a hard reset on the anger and righteous indignation. But only together. Both sides must learn and grow, or we are forever apart.

Last night I had one of those (new to me) Oregon moments where a creepy looking stranger walked up to me and insisted I shake his hand while he lectured me about the importance of unity and love. Even if I agreed with everything he said, he was going about it wrong. He was creepy. He was broken. But so was I. So I hard reset and we were us. We had a good conversation. We were broken together. We fixed shit rather than break shit. I'm sure some of "them" are too broken to learn and grow. But not many. The vast majority of us/them are pretty smart. We can all hard reset.

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