Vibe Check

Savage Kitty and her rainbow skis

At the end of the last year, I marked my calendar for a vibe check on February 14th.

As we rolled into Feb, the mess of The Other Guy’s administration was still playing out. So I pushed things to March 1st.

How you doing?

I’m really proud of my family. Lots of personal growth for us.

Current best guess is I’ll get my first shot of the vaccine before Easter. Our governor shuffled the eligibility and, as a 50+, I’m going to get green lighted before they declare open season to the entire population.

That’s one year after we battened down the hatches. We’ve scheduled a COVID birthday party for March 13th. Cake will be served.

American life-science tech is absolutely amazing. Getting back to a somewhat normal life this summer will be a payoff for relocating myself to the USA.

Take time to notice good judgement.

Who were the least reliable sources of information over the last year?

I’m always fine-dining my filters. Now would be a good time to dial some folks down, and others up.

Our bad sources of information are obvious. Let them go.

What generates feelings of gratitude?

This surprised me.

I get more benefit from good science fiction than the legacy media.

Over the pandemic I read Dune (1-8), Three-Body Problem (1-3) and Foundation (1-7). Science fiction generates feeling of gratitude in me – gratitude for my routine life, gratitude for my wonderful marriage and gratitude for the opportunity to educate my kids.

An unexpected bonus, from venturing outside my typical reading genres.

What areas of your life uncovered blindspots?

I do a little public service work in our local community.

It can be frustrating because I’m not very good at interacting with groups of live people! Zoom was a blessing – especially as my default is submitting written comments, in the chat.

I stick with it because people respect tell me I’m helpful, despite my limitations.

Get involved.

If you don’t step up then someone else will, and they might be clueless.

You can see this effect in the major US cities where a large chunk of the smartest parents have opted out of the public school system, and their school boards appear to be losing their minds.

Second, and third, order effects.

What’s on your must-keep list?

I’m reading No Rules Rules about Netflix’s corporate culture. I’m reinterpreting for ideas about leading multigenerational families.

One of their rules for employees is you need to be on the must-keep list to stick around. Good enough is not good enough.

  • What habits are holding me back from excellence? Still anger management.
  • What’s on my pandemic must-keep list? Pick one thing. I’ll go with “challenging strength training 2x per week.” It’s the one thing, where its absence, will make a big difference when I’m 60.
  • What are you doing when you feel serene? Spending time with my wife – she has a heavenly vibe that calms my soul.

1,000 days from now, the pandemic will have faded from collective memory.

If you feel like you lost a year then be sure to keep the lessons.

Enjoy 2021.

A Conversation Worth Having

Iñaki shared Andy’s longform post on getting older. I thought I’d add an additional case study.

Andy’s conversation is worth having with yourself, usually as part of your annual review.

  • What am I doing?
  • Why am I doing it?
  • Where is “what I am doing” likely to take me?

Two things about aging:

  • I know very little about what the future holds
  • Without thought, and effort, I will default to the recent past

These points are an essential part of the typical aging process, and human decision making!

What is the typical aging process?

Aging athletes keep defaulting to the approach of their younger selves and get caught in a cycle of injury.

Performance follows a step-down process => material downward shifts happen as a result of injury.

This is easier to see as a coach than an athlete. I have your data!

The way it will feel inside an athlete is “I can’t train as hard anymore.” True, but what’s really happening is your consistency is shot, and you’re losing strength, every_single_time you get hurt.

Only the most successful, and fortunate, athletes are able to watch their performance trickle away gradually.

There is a lot of gain from chucking away the habits, and choices, that can lead to a sudden downward shifts.

At 52, I can still do plenty of training.

The best middle-aged athletes might not be racing…


Personal thoughts…

While I don’t know what the future holds, I do know I deeply enjoyed being a camp counsellor and coach. I also know I can have a profoundly positive impact on my kids, and my community.

I also know my drive for external validation, and the chase for relative performance, started to wane in my mid-40s. That made it easier to see, that training like I was 28-35, was likely to take me somewhere I didn’t want to go.

Combine all of the above…

Continual pre-habilitation so I can do cool stuff for as long as possible.

Our youngest turns 16 around the time I hit 60 – the transition to being an empty-nester will be another journey.

For now, I’ll keep tossing plate and enjoying the outdoors with them.

The pursuit of being a better version of myself has no sell-by date.

Successful aging is a continual process of pre-habilitation for an injury you hope to never have.