How are you?

by Jon Sullivan - 2023-02-06 - Status

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Regrouping on the new reality. Falling back to retirement as a life focus. Doubling down on what works, binning what doesn't.

The career situation is still in flux. The first choice is about current goals. One path leads to just finding a job, any job, to keep benefits and income flowing. The other path is to work on online learning and certifications to try and ride out the waves of IT layoffs. I lie awake at night debating both choices, failing to get enough sleep, and wishing things were different. I know second guessing choices made long ago is pointless and counterproductive. But I'm human, so I wish for things to have been different. Having someone to share all this with, both the burden and the rewards, would be wonderful. But it isn't so. Having spent less to move would have been more responsible. But it's spent. Building skills I actually want to practice for a living would have been smart. Oh well. Being younger and thinner and taller and less bald and...... All the things that aren't.

The adventures are still there. But they cost a lot because gas. The Stoic virtues are still a great guide. But they don't pay the rent. Oregon is still magically beautiful. But I need to be heads down at my desk working on job skills for the foreseeable future. So we get more practical and less materialistic. We get more work driven and less adventure driven.

I hate it. I hate being 60 and needing to stress over money. I hate coming here to Oregon and loving all of it so much, just to have it pulled away. I hate having to be responsible again. I hate having to dive back into planning for retirement. I hate putting it on hold.

And then I feel like shit for being spoiled. So many people are living on the margins and have zero chance to retire. Here I am complaining about having to wait a couple more years. People around me are living in tents as the temps go below zero. I'm complaining about buying gas for indulgent 500 mile photo adventures. It's cold hearted for me to complain. Or... has all that joy on tap made me soft? For today at least it doesn't matter. Without a job I'm not going to be donating to homeless support groups. For now they'll have to make due with compassion.

So...... new plan. Build up resume, save money, get out now and then, stop keeping score via joy, start working hard and focusing on adult shit. Less about want, more about need. More saving, less spending. More Costco, less Whole Foods. More cheap hobbies (fermenting more stuff, local photography, fishing), and less new camera gear. I'm already working on fermenting kombucha and yogurt. Could be fun.

I am grateful. I am thankful for my blessings, and they are many. I live in a world full of wonderful people. Irregardless of the bomb that has gone off in my life/finances/happy place, I am happy. I pay little mind to the political divide. The shitty version of capitalism in the US isn't a thing I can fix, so I take note and move on. So I'm sort of self-contained. I'm sort of in a "hybrid hermit" state. Alone, in a tidy hobbit hole, but yearning for people and outdoors and adventure. Balanced.

We haven't had much of a winter in Eugene this year. More like a slightly chilly autumn. I sit out on the balcony sipping my coffee in the morning. Folks walk by with strollers or dogs. I think about how good my life is, even if it's not as good as I'd hoped. It's enough.

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