As The Pressure Comes Off

It’s the time of year for Rocky Mountain Supercells

In the news this week, Pfizer might be authorized for kids 12+ next week. Another positive development to get our schools back to normal.

A paradox! As the pressure comes off, we see a return of mental health issues.

Not just mass shootings. I’ve felt it in myself, and noticed little bits of “slacking” at the edges of my life. When I was on a pandemic footing, I didn’t give myself the opportunity to back off. Survival is a worthy purpose!

This new observation is the flip side of “the pandemic didn’t hurt as much as expected.”

The recovery didn’t help as much as expected, initially at least.

Same guy rolling along – some better habits, though.

Training => throughout the pandemic, I asked myself what would happen if I rolled 12+ months of base training.

Well… my strength, range of motion, health, mood and sub-max performance are all at 5+ year bests. Fun when I’m training but not much impact in my non-athletic life.

I have to admit, I expected outstanding fitness to make more of a difference. Oh well, not the first time achieving a goal turned out differently than expected.

Creating Space for Surprises – my wife is leading the way here. Coming out of the pandemic she’s making an effort to get out of the routine of pandemic life. Hiphop dance, new strength routines, backpacking, there’s even been discussion of a surf vacation with a friend.

New skills, new energy… good volatility!

Taxes are in the news. The changes have been exceptionally pitched.

First, send a cheque to 160+ million households. Then do it again. Then do it again. Then tweak the tax code to get the main beneficiaries of global monetary policy to contribute more.

I hope the changes slow the rapid asset inflation we have been seeing. My zip code is up 10% in the last 60 days and my tenants are sending unsolicited bids to buy. With 0% rates, this won’t end well.

Before moving to save money on taxes, three things I’ve learned:

  1. Beware of the costs of moving away from friends and family.
  2. While remembering #1, live close to natural beauty.
  3. Surround myself with people who are living a life I wish to lead.

A good way to look at the true cost of taxation is “total tax bill” as a percentage of net assets. I track this at a personal and “family system” level. Get this number down and tax policy has very little impact on your life.

When it comes to taxation, the arguments that resonate most are incentives and winners.

Government is lousy at picking winners => a program that comes to mind is student loan debt – a well-intended program that rapidly inflated the cost of education, reduced the productivity of colleges and created multiple generations of wage-serfs. Great idea, didn’t work and now we’re considering forgiving the least deserving borrowers.

Incentives => government has zero incentive to spend wisely. The whole system is operating on an expense account. All organizations have a bias towards self-preservation and incremental increase in power via budget inflation.

In the private sector, bad ideas blow up, eventually (even with 0% interest rates). In the public sector, they live on. On balance, I liked sequestration, it gave a real world incentive to government (productivity) and a justification for removing the worst ideas/people in the system.

Another “T” => technology. My email adjustment has gone well.

The main change is removing pressure to respond quickly. This lets a thread work itself out before I offer input which, in turn, improves the quality of my input. Scheduled Send in gmail has been a boon (my mean “reply” is 72 hours).

Still haven’t figured out trimming my addiction to news headlines – I think the only way to limit will be to turn my phone off. Once the summer hiking season starts, I’ll have more days out of cellphone reach.

Two more Ts => Trauma and Time

Here’s one to watch. It applies to everything in my life – not just kids.

My experience is different than their experience.

Sounds obvious, yes?

It isn’t.

When my children argue, bicker and fight… afterwards, there is nothing between them. They revert to a clean slate with each other. They are like water.

Me, on the other hand… watching people argue, I (re)experience all kinds of trauma. Memories of my life return, but not as memories. They return first as anger – but that’s just what my brain calls “warming with pain’.

As the experience goes deeper, what’s happening is nausea, headaches and sadness. It’s like watching a sad child form – a good night’s sleep usually sends him on his way. Sometimes, two nights are required.

Exercise helps, move the energy around. As does acknowledging, release the experience.

How does one deal with trauma?

It helps to remember that time will free me.

Everything will sort itself out in time. The kids will grow up and my traumas will be released.

One way or another.