Age: The One and Only

The one and only thing we cannot change: our age.

A simple question at work inspires me to address the topic here of age in life, a sensitive subject, serious in its implications for being so singular a number.

Chronological time is the only aspect of our existence in permanence.

We can change our work, diet, hobbies, friends, pets, place, entertainment, clothes, citizenship, even family…

But not our age.

We can change our height, weight, sex, gender, hair length, nail color, eyes, skin tone, fitness, organs, our very genes…

But not when we were born.

We can change our education, religion, mind, character, knowledge, our very soul…

But not time, outdoer of all.

This post comes as a caution: sometimes, choice ignorance of inapplicable information is a boon. So from my personal, social, and professional anecdotal experience, let us talk about age.

This Makes for a Sensitive Subject

We cannot help it.

We draw correlations and suppositions over any information provided. From first glance to millionth minute shared, we as humans are information-gathering machines, pattern-matching fiends.

We cannot help it.

When age enters the conversation, it spawns judgements, biases, and deductions. And once we know, we cannot unknow (lest ignorance strike us).

We cannot help it.

Who would volunteer to be judged by peers? To flip the double-edged coin of bias for or against one’s favor? To be reduced to an impression? To unleash something uncontrollable, unchangeable, yet capable of controlling another’s reactions, changing another’s behavior?

But Why So Serious?

While we shouldn’t pass snap decisions upon each other, impressions matter. They matter so much, the US has to legislate against it (but only starting at age 40+).

Regardless, years alive means a lot in society. Tropes from the “vitality of youth” to “baby-faced” to “like wine, better with age” to “with age comes wisdom.” With youth comes forgiveness, with age comes expectation. Naivety at young ages, mentorship at old. Laws are made for those with fewer years by those with more. We celebrate birthdays as we ought and look to the stars to divine fortunes and falls in each other’s futures.

Age matters. It sends folks to war and unbars the door for a seat in the White House and dictates insurance rates. Our living anniversaries influence so, so much of consequence.

Speaking personally, discovery of age has carried severe results. A snapshot:

  • Deferred professional advancement;
  • Use to discount opinion and experience;
  • Excluded participation in social activity;
  • Negatively impacted health outcomes;
  • Praise for acting above or having appearance below a given age group;
  • Ending with others crying.

For most of all that, none of it needed age to matter.

It comes down to correlation vs. causation. Chronic disease is correlated by age, not caused by it (i.e. there is always a chance for sickness, increasing as time goes on). Wisdom is correlated by years of experience, but plenty of fools are geriatric as well as youthful. Cultural and societal and personal achievement are correlated with having more times at bat to accomplish, yet there is no cause to this other than hitting an arbitrary milestone of some “the big X-0” or gaining a new right through law.

To be flippant or carefree about age would seem to be either the choicest ignorance or a flaunting privilege. Like a threat, rashly uttering age is serious business.

The One and Only

Age is the one and only subject that through virtually all contexts I would advise against discussing. Unless there is a medical (e.g. with a doctor) or moral (e.g. minors, grooming, imbalance of authority) imposition, it takes a more creative person than I to imagine well-earned benefit for the disclosure.

All this said, I would beg you to share with me some oversight I have made here, some insight you have discovered in your years regarding your years where talking about them has been a benefit without caveat. The topic of time has been a sensitive one for me, one of the few. My principles and convictions and policies to not talk but in the strictest confidences make up a hill I will die one – one I would like removed. You would save me from the alertness I felt at work when a question of years came up.

So please! Do help. Share your own experiences from “coming of age,” however that has meant to you, to prove a sanity check. For now, take care through your end-of-May – cheers ~

No Easy Choices

Hey. Can you keep a secret?


I have made what has been the toughest decision of my professional career. No easy choices, but the setup for an easy (-ier) life?

  1. The Setup
  2. But Wait! There’s More!
  3. What to Do?
  4. Why I Did What I Did
  5. So It Goes

The Setup

Set the scene: A job offer came in from a prestigious company.

  • Great interviews (really, some of the best)
  • Higher title than expected
  • Alright pay
  • Household name
  • Virtually no competition
  • Secure and exciting future
  • Cool work
  • Some of the smartest people to ever work with
  • Stellar perks
  • Fine equity
  • Placed uniquely in the world with a huge business moat/niche
  • Team believed in me

Sky’s the limit here.

But Wait! There’s More!

Air the laundry:

  • Equity comp could be better per industry reports
  • Hard work
  • Associated to some difficult conversations
  • In-office
  • Requires me to uproot what I have built in my town since 2016:
    • Friends
    • Family
    • Familiar routines and places
    • Growing new social groups, routines, and other relationships
  • Requires giving up on a 3-6 month world-travel plan in 2023 what was a WIP
  • State taxes
  • City traffic!

What to Do?

I negotiated, I researched, I quizzed oracles, I asked friends, I followed my mentors’ and my own advice… Everything swayed.

I could go to bed with a decision in my head, only to change it in the morning after journaling. Then, talking to a friend, change it by lunch. Come an article or two read through, the choice flips again – what to do!?

Why I Did What I Did

I said “no” to this decision twice. TWICE.

Then came the nightmares.

I dreamt of the work, of the opportunity, of making change. I am not one for distressed rest, yet still I lost sleep.

So I sat with someone whose brain processes things the same way mine does – first off, they called me out for indecision. I usually am swift because something is obviously right or highly weighted in a correct direction – such wishy-washy-ness is so… unbecoming 😭

Pouring the pebbles of info into this person’s ear, they came to a decision… Then changed it.

This second stance they affirmed. And for me, that was the answer I needed. Perhaps permission, perhaps a sanity check, perhaps an alleviation from the heavy thoughts… I made calls the next day, and signed the docs that week following the denial. Oof.

So It Goes

Regardless, here we are! The work has begun in a tornado. For three weeks now I have been going out every day, nearly every hour to say “goodbye” to friends, places, and attend parties in my honor.

I have fantastic friends. Humbled to the nth degree.

All that said, I am also one to mitigate. A big move carries risk – here are a few sandbags shoring up my position:

  • Airbnb – Why sign a lease when with 30-days notice I can leave? Why move and carry around furniture and material excess when I can type my blog from a kitchen table provided by another in a private apartment? (Pretty meta here…)
  • Below MeansLive as I have before. While I am not traveling to low-cost areas as I have before, income outweighs my expenses a hefty bit. Remaining frugal (not a poverty-practice, though I know I can – perhaps a post on this topic later), shoving excess gains into investments and savings, I will continue to grow more of a YOLO safety net should things hit fans 💩
  • Better Communication – Stay in touch with folks. Take less for granted. Tough so far with how much of my time is suddenly taken, but hey – I’m trying. Sounds like this will influence June’s goals…
  • No Need – I don’t need the job. So I am here because I want to give it my all for 6-12 months at least. I can endure any social construct for 6-ish months.
  • World as Oyster – Things go badly? I leave. I know I can car camp across the country, head back to Las Vegas, or wander the world as before. Passport in hand, pack on back, health and heart, I am capable.
  • Adventure – Learn new things, meet fascinating people, enjoy summer months in 2023 on beaches and in cafes and exploring one of the largest metros in the world? Be only a few hours from friends while establishing new social groups? This is already exciting – the rest must be a blast ❤

So ya! I have moved around. Taking on some tough work. Cannot talk more about it. If you know, you know 👀 No easy choices. Might make for some easier lives to come.

Wish me well in this. I value your support. In kind, what are you getting after? May I pass the help I received forward, lending you an ear?

Hit me up – I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers to you and I ~

The Best of This Modern Relationship Guide: Keep Alive

Logan Ury’s “How Not to Die Alone” is gold.

Hitting like a freight train, chock full of superb advice, Logan brings their years of learning (Harvard), behavior science (Google), industry know-how (coach and director at dating-app Hinge), and personal relationship-building (and deconstructing) experience without hesitancy. The book is a firehose backed with findings from the likes of psychotherapist Esther Perel and the renowned Gottman Institute.

Having read it multiple times, I now come up for air to share with you the last half of the best I’ve gleamed from this most modern and thorough relationship guide.

  1. Wanna Know What Came Before?
  2. F the Spark
  3. Having “The Talk”
  4. Trouble >_>
  5. Breaking Up
  6. Post Break
  7. Do We Commit?
  8. Bond Better
  9. Bonus: Having Those Tough Convos

Wanna Know What Came Before?

Of course you do. Check out last week’s post on making relationships begin to happen.

So now you have your criteria, your goals set forth, and a few dates lined up. Read on for maintaining what you’ve made:

F the Spark

More colorful language is used in the book 😅

“Spark” is largely useless. The honeymoon infatuation / lust has terrible correlation of what leads to long-term relationships.

Worse yet: contextual anxiety (this situation or person is not OK), i.e. stomach butterflies, can be confused with affection.

Case in point: Recall Juliet and Romeo? Their spark got ’em dead 😐 What would have happened if they had taken some time to get to know each other?

Go for the slow burn contentedness instead. Remember: loyalty, kindness, interested, decently interesting, your own gut feels after the date.

Having “The Talk”

Define the relationship, DTR. Early and often. Often and early.

(Callout again to James Sexton mentioning the same from his divorce practice.)

The infamous “Talk” is the business of relationships: knowing what you want and being explicit in expressing it. Though while The Talk ought be a conversation over a negotiation, it can be awkward because The Talk actively deconstructs fantasies to reveal if there is a foundation to the relationship, which may very well end the relationship along the way.

So it goes.

The author Logan stresses to decide, not slide into the various states of relationships, e.g.

  • Are we still open dating, or are we making this exclusive?
  • What does exclusivity mean to you? For I?
  • How should I introduce you to other people in relation to myself? (Partner, bf/gf, good friend, etc.)
  • What are your values?
  • What are your red flags and musts in relationships?
  • What are your goals for a relationship? Long term, short term, something casual?
  • What does long term look like for you? Why?
  • Should we move in together? What does this mean for us and where we are headed?
  • Where are your fears for us? About yourself? About myself?
  • et. al

Everyone in a relationship has the responsibility to initiate, to be candid, and to assume nothing, but trust that the other person will follow through on what has been explicitly laid down.

Things will evolve, contexts will change. “Talk” early and often, often and early. You have so much to gain by being straightforward, and put so much at risk not respecting your own or your partner’s answers and perspectives.

Trouble >_>

Things have slid into a bad place for the relationship. How this trouble came about might be from your way of handling smaller troubles:

  • Hitching – A person with this tendency sticks around in relationships long after it has already failed. Whether from misaligned trajectories, enduring toxic outcomes, or excusing poor behavior, yesterday came and went and the bad relationship still remains.
    • Growth, The Wardrobe Test: Compare your partner to your wardrobe: quality, comfort, fit. What piece are they? A garment for rain and shine, cold and hot, or something itchy, holey, or not to wear around the parents? “Clothes make the man [sic]” so it might be time to clean out the closet.
    • Growth, Sunk Costs and Loss Aversion: You have spent so much time, energy, and resource into this person; are you afraid to admit it is time to cut off the flow? A feeling of loss is 2-to-7 times more harsh than any gain; are you sticking it out because you feel you lack a support structure or strength to handle the heartache? A yes to anything means you must act now, even if that means asking for help.
      • Growth, Opportunity: Would you date today if you met a stranger who acted like your partner does with you? If “no”, stop wasting time – every moment spent in stagnation is an opportunity to meet better folks, AKA getting those reps in!
      • Ditching – Folks here leave before there is growth in the relationship from conflict. Maximizers (something could be better “out there”) and Romancers (fantasies are unfulfilled) make up a lot of Ditching. There is a danger of attempting to optimize at the beginning dating stages – while this can lead to meeting many folks very quickly, it fails to gain experience maintaining relationships and understanding what healthy long term relationships operate as.
      • Growth, Falling Vs Being: “Falling” into Love is a big thrill; this happens with each new partner. “Being” can seem too chill; the slump after a hot beginning. To keep a relationship alive – of “Being” in Love – focus more on strengths vs. the imaginary or mathematical perceived failings of the partner.
      • Growth, Startup Costs: Remember that every new relationship must be built from the ground-up. Ditching a relationship negates that work, leaving no momentum, no leftover energy, no intimate knowledge that would help sustain the newer partnership.

That may not be enough. Further analysis or a sanity check from a second opinion can help. Check these things about the relationship:

  • Wardrobe Test – Again, check the quality, comfort, and fit of the partner. Is this an all-weather person or only a fair-weather opportunity? Raggedy? Outgrown?
  • Stress – Is the trouble new, seemingly from a temporary stressor? Jobs, medical situations, family, and other contexts can be extreme and take us to the brink – if you can see the light at the end of this tunnel, the relationship may merely need more patience or an ounce of grace.
  • Tried It – If you have been open and honest on where things could improve, have been ready to give positive feedback, yet things are not growing (or, daresay, even getting worse!), you have done your due diligence. It is time to move on.
  • Missed Long-Term Expectations – Make sure the trouble isn’t from a personal pet peeve or surface-level (read: shallow) preference. Being less picky, are long term cues being missed, such as kindness and dedication?
  • Defaults – Have you made sure you haven’t fallen into the negative aspects of your default styles? Ditching too early, pulling away as an avoidant, hesitating to commit?
  • Ask Others – People are unlikely to offer unsolicited advice, so you must be proactive here. Ask those who are unbiased and who you trust their perspectives on the relationship as they see it. Ask if they like who you are when around or with the partner in question. Whatever the advice (which does not need to be acted on), be thankful for it, never begrudging.
  • Best Self – Are you doing 100% of your work to be the most you can be in this relationship? Are you actively showing up? What have you done lately to show your work explicitly to your partner? How can you be kinder? Do you have grace?

And of course, some of the obvious: Do you have resentment? Do they? Have either of you learned something new about yourselves that cannot be accommodated for? Has anyone just given up? The End Times (for the relationship) are upon you!

But of course, if trust is broken, the relationship is broken. Black Lies, deceit, manipulation, a pattern of dropping the ball (whether incompetence or unreliability) – while ending things is the first response, a new relationship might be forged from the ashes of the old. (Shoutout to James Sexton.)

“End it or mend it” – Logan is clear that counseling can help, yet we know it may already be too late if started after trouble brews. Be interesting and interested. Get your space and give it. Be explicit and put in the g-dang work.

Failing any or all of that, it is time to act on breaking up.

Side-additions from my own experience: Warning signs of trouble come from a person not knowing what they want, avoiding speaking candidly about relationship topics or pasts, not making things “Facebook Official” or otherwise public, no pictures or shared posts together, and dramatic changes in communication style.

Breaking Up

The time has come. The grit of it:

  • Plan – Make a plan to execute. When (~2 weeks max) and where (private is optimal; though public is a safe second option). Share your intentions with a friend. Write a letter to yourself if you are going to wait with your reasons of why this is needed now. Have a commitment afterward to get space away.
  • DO IT – Have the talk, make the call, send the text. Delay within reason should things come up. This is not a feedback session – refuse explanations, i.e. answer, “I respect you and do not want to waste your time,” and recall that you ought to have been giving explicit feedback up to this point. 60-90 minutes max before you have to leave for another commitment; later convos are OK, as are breaks during the breakup conversation, yet again they must not detract from the message you are giving.

Be mindful: If the context is wrong (e.g. their parent just died, they have a project due over the weekend, you both have plans for a child’s concert that night), delay. But if the schedule does not have a convenient time, pick the most convenient inconvenient time for you in ~2 weeks.

Regarding shared assets: Marriage, children, and mutual property make this process a whole lot messier. Take care to do what you must to handle this part of the breakup.

How: Dating over months or had the exclusivity talk? Give them the respect of an in-person convo if the reasons of breaking up are safe ones, i.e. no violence involved. Only a few dates? A simple call or text will suffice, such as:

I enjoyed <whatever time, activity, or relationship> with you. I feel we are going in different romantic directions. <Optionally: Can we maintain our friendship?> Giving you my best as you keep accomplishing so much in life.

Whatever or however you do it, be kinder. Be grace.

That said, I say do not burn and balm – you are breaking up with them, do not also be their rescue from or the “nice” support system after the harsh situation you have engendered. Live with what you have done.

Certainly, no breakup sex/intimacy; seek selfcare with others instead! (This can be that get-away commitment planned for before.)

Post Break

Time for recovery:

A huge step for you will be to reframe into a new mental model the situation.

Understanding how much you (and the other person) gain from a breakup helps balm the loss (which will be hitting 2-7 times harder than you might think it ought). An optimistic focus (even about foul events) improves oneself with gratitude and opportunity mindfulness, all great traits to have as a person regardless if in a breakup.

Next, self care. A general life reminder: Schedule in your own self care. No one ought be a bigger advocate of you than you.

Finally, get dating again soon (after you up your flirting skills). Going back out to meet folks with romantic intention is the only way to understand if you are emotionally prepared to continue making strides in this part of your life.

Do We Commit?

Survived some trouble? Like who you are with? See a future together? As always, be explicit, even with yourself by writing the answers to these 11 questions that require a bit of meditation:

  1. Are they are Prom Date or a Partner?
  2. What is their Wardrobe Test result?
  3. How will you grow with them?
  4. Do you admire them?
  5. What side of you do they bring out?
  6. Are they one of the first people you want to share good news with?
  7. Am I OK talking-out and -through my hardships with them? (i.e. they are non-judgmental, compassionate, and can think critically)
  8. Do I value their advice?
  9. What do you look towards or envision as milestones in a life together?
  10. Can you both make tough decisions together?
  11. Do they communicate well and fight productively?

Now read the answers above as you would for the relationship a friend is in. (Heck, put a quality friend’s name at the top of the page.) Sit with these feels and answer: does this feel like the relationship is good with these folks together?

If you are feeling good, be happy and confident in the answers. You are in a good place. You can stay where you are too – evolving commitments is no race (again, going for the “slow burn”).

The numbers are in: those that date for 1-2 years have a 20% higher stick-together rate than those that long-term commit (i.e. marriage) after less than a year of dating. Get at least 3 years together, the stick-around rate jumps to 39%!

So how does a couple continue to bond over that time?

Bond Better

In addition to all the communication tips above, another tool for the box is a frequent trifecta of “us” conversations to have with the partner.

Before each conversation, do some joint, connected, romantic activity beforehand and clear your day’s calendar for after.

For the actual Qs, I direct you to a site summarizing Logan Ury’s take on this subject. The resource goes in-depth on ways to talk about the past, present, and future “us.” (I must say that get-to-know-you activities like this are =superb= bonding tools.)

Aside from conversations, labeling is a big deal in building character and appreciation in relationships. Want someone to be strong? Explicitly call out their actions and give them titles of strength. Want to highlight traits that someone feels they have or want to be seen as? Name ’em. Humans will change in response to identity labels and remember titles, even if it is you for yourself.

I am a dater. I am confident. I am X. I want Y.

Contracts: You don’t need to be married or in business to have a contract. Pull something together informally – a shared computer doc, a paper pad, notecards, a kitchen whiteboard, whatever. Envision together what the relationship is and strives to be. List what folks want. Define, define, define, and be explicit. Revisit on occasion to explore expectations together.

Bonus: Having Those Tough Convos

General to all conversations, Logan offers a preemptive planning guide to figuring out what needs to be said and how to say it in those tough convos:

  1. What is the desired goal / outcome / consequence here?
  2. What is the core 1-2 sentence message?
  3. Tone to use? To avoid?
  4. What is the opener to remove guardedness and encourage listening?
  5. What needs to be said no matter what?
  6. What are possible reactions? My concerns over the worst?
  7. What will be the response to the worst reactions?
    • Example: “I understand I have hurt you and you want to hurt me. I want this to be as minimally painful as possible. Please don’t attack me.”
  8. How will the conversation close?

Despite more than 5000 words later, I cannot say enough good things about Logan Ury’s work in “How Not to Die Alone.”

From making to breaking relationships, this book has earned a dedicated spot on my shelf alongside the likes of “If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late,” “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” “Red Queen,” and “The State of Affairs.”

Tell me what else I should be reading. I adore hearing what things stood out to you in this summary blog post – let me know! For now, cheers to you growing and finding your way through your own modern relationships ❤

The Best of This Modern Relationship Guide: Make It Happen

The title in question: Logan Ury’s “How Not to Die Alone.”

Hitting like a freight train chock full of superb advice, Logan brings their years of learning (Harvard), behavior science (Google), industry know-how (coach and director at dating-app Hinge), and personal relationship-building (and deconstructing) experience without hesitancy. The book is a firehose of info backed with findings from the likes of psychotherapist Esther Perel and the renowned Gottman Institute.

Having read it multiple times, I finally come up for air. Now I want to share with you part 1 of the best I’ve gleamed from this modern relationship guide.

  1. You Date 3 Ways
  2. 3 Ways to Attach
  3. Partners Are Better Than Prom Dates
  4. Who Are Your OSOs?
  5. To Date a Stranger IRL
  6. Ask Friends!
  7. Ask Friends IRL ~
  8. For Every Date IRL
  9. How to Keep a Relationship Alive?

You Date 3 Ways

3 tendencies make up how people seek out others in their life:

  • The Romancer – Thinking there is “The One” and only “The One” and “The One” will fall into your lap (sometimes literally in the person’s imagination). The “Disney Romance” fantasy. Preconceived notions of who and how relationships will go, leading to passivity and unfounded bias in life.
    • Growth: Be aggressive and proactive in finding your “One.” Loosen up the dating criteria. Come to terms that “happily ever after” is a lie – the prince/princess will have blemishes, perhaps catastrophic bumps in the road, and ultimately you both are only human.
  • The Maximizer – Knows the optimal, seeking perfection exclusively. The crusade ultimately makes the mathematically perfect (yet imaginary) partner the enemy of the great and real. Things could always be better, so when they are not, quick to ditch or seek to change others.
    • Growth: Become a Sufficer. I (a Maximizer) use this self-created advice in my life which has helped others end and start relationships: “Don’t settle but suffice.” Also helpful:
      • The Secretary Problem: Not the actual name of the mathematical optimal proof, but used in the book. A tool to determine if the “sufficient” and “optimized” choice has been made when you don’t know what options are available and a denial-to-commit cannot be undone. Grants great safety against doubts of “did I settle?”

        Figure out the sample size for dating (say, start dating at age 20, hope to be settled down by 40; 20 years). Figure out what 37% is of that (20 years = 7.4).

        Date as many people and as much as possible in the first 37% of the sample (ages 20~27), making sure not to permanently commit (e.g. marriage, children, houses, face tattoos, etc.) to anyone during that time.

        Explore, discover, and improve. When 37% is past, determine who the best person was who was dated in that time (subjective criteria of positive feels, partnership, similar goals and values, etc.).

        Then keep dating (ages 28~40) – once you find someone who is as quality or greater than the one met in the first 37%, commit and put in the work to make it work.
  • The Hesitater – “I’ll be ready when …” Based in fear, responsibility for action is sidelined in favor of side projects and goalpost moving, meaning relationships do not happen for (ultimately) meager excuses.
    • Growth: START DATING! Make friends! Get out! Now! Begin getting the numbers and experiences in, the reps and xp. Set deadlines and leverage 3rd party accountability (e.g. a friend expects a 15 minute progress report every week, etc.).

3 Ways to Attach

It is understood folks have styles of attachment to other people that come in 3 flavors (though a super-minority fourth – the Fearful – exists that needs a lot more care than a book or blog post can provide):

  • Secure – Confident and competent on their own or with others. Can set boundaries and communicate clearly. Seems nice and put together, but at the chance of seeming boring. About ~50% of the population yet scarce in the dating pool – is readily capable of making relationships (even with other styles) work, so are likely already committed.
  • Avoidant – Pulls back when things get too close. Needs independent space (even if only occasionally) and often takes it without communicating what they are doing. May pretend aloofness.
  • Anxious – Draws close. At times over-communicative, desiring feedback. Seeks care and intimacy at cost. Classically “needy.”

Secure style can bond with any other style and make it work. Avoidant and Anxious folks, however, especially since they are the majority of the dating pool, try to bond (Avoidant+Anxious) only to fall into a cycle of getting close then rubber-banding apart (Avoidant tries to meet Anxious close-space needs, eventually taking space away only to be pursued/chased by the Anxious – a vicious loop).

Attachment styles can change over time (the book says after about 4 years of personal growth or trauma). In my own experience, any style can be learned (though only Secure is worth striving to become), yet acting in it day in and out, the good times and the bad, will be many years of work – e.g. a learned-Secure person may regress to their Anxious or Avoidant tendencies given enough stress.

As another tidbit, I have seen attachment styles in other mammals too. Fascinating stuff.

Partners Are Better Than Prom Dates

“Partners” are the long-term folks who are stable, loyal, caring, and kind. Ride-or-dies through the highs and the lows. Have their s*** together with long-term (6-8 year) timelines minimum.

“Prom Dates” are the short-term folks who optimize for fun now-vs-later, good-vibes-only, go-with-the-flow, and impulsive. Enablers. Live in fantasy, thinking of at most the next few months if not just the next few days. Spicy.

Partners can be observed by their emotional stability, unconditional kindness (think, no uncalled for suffering), dedication (e.g. keeping healthy long-term relationships of any kind), growth, knows how to and does fight well, and repairs damages. They express affection, appreciation, apprehensions, and apologies right away without hesitation.

Prom Dates share important interests or hobbies and will introduce novel and “fun” things to do. They can be identified by great times out, perhaps some intense memories. Ready to go and high-burning.

While many folks say they want a long-term Partner, they almost always in the beginning look for the traits of the Prom Date: Does a potential interest share the same interests in music / movies / food? Have they been to as many countries as I have? What is their job and income? Do they cook or clean or own a home? Not watch daytime TV? Are X height and Y weight?

These are aesthetic wants and pet peeves, not what a long term relationship needs. Again: Kindness, caring, long-term timelines, emotionally stable, dedicated, growing, fights well, repairs, generally has s*** together.

While having things to do together can be important, it is not the end-all be-all of a long-term relationship. Tastes change, bodies age, priorities shift, time is finite.

Rather, focus on where more time is spent in relationships: Domestic tasks, minimal wealth thresholds (can they support themselves independently), quality of friends, respect for you and your own activities. Anything occasional could be classified as a want or a self-care/-soothing responsibility.

Tldr; Save the needs, kill the pet peeves. Fix your filters to find yourself a long-term Partner vs. the Prom Dates you have been getting.

Who Are Your OSOs?

No person should have all their wants and needs fulfilled only by a single person – that is a tragedy. Logan suggests an alternative: Other Significant Others (OSOs).

An OSO is a person important things can be shared with. Want to go rock climbing but the Partner has bad knees? Call up the OSO gym buddy. A lifelong gardener but the Partner has really bad allergies? Volunteer or start a community garden. Want to do something but the Partner doesn’t care for it? For incidentals and hobbies, it is OK to seek like-minded friends outside the 1:1 relationship.

To Date a Stranger IRL

This is going to sound a lot like the “Flirtology” post. Go there for more depth on how to meet in-real-life ~

Final chime in here: I remind you that dating is serious business. It ought be treated like a job if you aim and choose to have someone in your life for whatever reason. Be proactive, be consistent, be knowledgeable enough to know what your wants and needs are and capable enough to express them. Put in the time to grow yourself and beat the dating odds since they are in no-one’s favor.

Get off hit-and-miss apps that are designed to keep you guessing and get out IRL.

Go to public events alone (or with a great wing person not looking to hook up themselves) where you 1) enjoy the activity for its own sake, and 2) will be forced to interact with other people. Everything else is a skip in terms of where to spend your seek-a-date time.

Approach who you are interested in: Introduction (“I” statement), comment (about a context or the other person), ask (open-ended opinion question). Or, focus on props, be playful, ensure a follow-up post convo if the feels are there.

Not sure the other is interested? While you ought be gradual in finding this out, you can be upfront in asking “Are you in Love?” (Pauses here might mean they are in open dating or tentatively exclusive, yet have doubts on commitment with who they are with.) Something more casual: “I liked our conversation here and I want to talk it over with you more – how can we follow up after this?”

Still stuck on where to meet people? Get into a line 🙂

Ask Friends!

Simple: Ask your friends to set you up on dates with their friends. What have they done for you recently anyway?

Keep in mind: You must follow up on the date – respond to texts promptly, arrive on time and clean if you get to in-person. Do not let your friend (and theirs) down. Deliver feedback gently through your mutual friend.

Having trouble getting friends to cough up connections? Offer up a bounty – say, a reward for an IRL date (of course, get texting introductions out of the way first), another for 6 dates with the same person, etc. Incentives matter 💯

Ask Friends IRL ~

Maybe the answer to meeting people lies with those you have already met. Sometimes we cannot see the quality trees next to us for the vastness of the forest of possibilities.

After you read this paragraph, stop for a moment to think: Who do you know nearby that you enjoy spending time with? Trust? Can admit is attractive in mind and body to you? Is or may be open to new romantic relationships?

Thought about it? You now may have someone(s) in mind you have already built a relationship with that could be built out in other ways. It could be time to go on a friend-date and have a decidedly fateful conversation.

BEWARE: You have a level of trust with whoever your friend is. You may have shared social groups and routines that will be put at risk in escalating things. So mitigate:

You must act delicately in response to your thoughts and feelings. They are your responsibility, not your friend’s. Should the friend give indirect answers, a change of subject, or outright rejection, you must move on and avoid bringing it up again. Do not make this weird, do not betray your friend this way.

That said, you will only know if you ask something in person something such as:

Have you ever considered us as more?

So what if they say “yes?” Fantastic! Now you can get down to business in defining the relationship (more on this in another section). Something else to add should you have overlapping activities or social groups: How can the romance gracefully end if either party chooses to discontinue to preserve the joys you can still have as platonic friends and with your groups?

Anyway, a quip I often recall: Life is better with friends.

For Every Date IRL

Skipping here the online dating suggestions. Most of it is what you have likely heard before – good photos, thorough bios, initiating, meeting fast, etc. Read the book for more!

For first or thirty-first dates, a few bits of unordered mindful advice:

  1. Go on a “3rd object” (as Jean Smith puts it, a “prop”) date.
  2. See your date interact with others – service folks, randoms on the street, your friends, their friends, attractive people of all sexes and genders and races, etc.
  3. Work together at some point on the date. Collaboration is bond building. Play is a great choice!
  4. Silliness and messiness on a date can be great – it opens up conversation, shows a vulnerable side, and defuses what could otherwise be a tense meetup. While you ought be the initiator on this, go slowly to not go overboard.
  5. Dim the lights. Queue the gentle/upbeat/happy music.
  6. Show the effort being put in. Share the thought you put into choosing the place, making accommodations for the other, work done to make things happen. Effort from the person equates to value in the person.
  7. Go deep. As James Sexton put it, “get to heartbreak faster,” most easily done by acting and asking and telling like you and your date are in the middle of a romantic relationship already. Authenticity is too rare, fantasy kept alive too long.
  8. Listen. LISTEN. Listen to understand.
  9. Make sure you are telling/revealing about yourself, but be comfortable with silence and know when to ask after the other person (i.e. when to shut up when not answering a Q thoroughly yet concisely).
  10. No phones. Not in hand, not on the table, not making sound (vibration can be OK if using discretion). Ignore all texts and non-emergency calls.
  11. End on a high note (a laugh is great for this). Having a semi-flexible deadline to leave (e.g. bedtime, an alarm for 3 hours in, etc.) is a great cue and excuse for looking for that high-point departure.
  12. My additional advice based on psychology: wear red. Red is attractive, winning, and a first among otherwise equal choices.

After the date, Logan suggests taking “The Post-Date Eight” feels review (here @loganury).

How to Keep a Relationship Alive?

Addressing chemistry (i.e. “the spark”), having “the talk,” navigating trouble, recovering from breakups, super-serious committing, and bonding – read now how to do this and more in the last-half of this review.

Now you (hopefully) have a date. To take the relationship to the next step and beyond, I needed to split up >5000 words into two parts (second part here).

I have been constantly recommending “How Not to Die Alone” since it landed on my library loan shelf. I recommend it to you – while I tried to be comprehensive, there is no way, no way to communicate the same impact and influence Logan brings to the page (or audiobook, in my case).

So get started. Go figure yourself out – where you have been, where you are, where you are going, where you want to be. You have the tools, you have the ability, you can make the time.

I am still glad you are here and I want to see you back next week for the final part. Cheers to your personal growth and relationship progress in the meanwhile ~ ❤

April May Goal Review

I knew April would be a tentative venture when I wrote the last review post, but I didn’t know it would go this far 👀

April Goal Review

  1. Taxes
    • Won! Really had no choice here 😅
  2. Code
    • Won! Won in a way that the spirit of the task was met in a big way that goes on to affect May. (I did not touch Java as I ought to have this month – no bonus here.)
  3. No-Do Daydream Day
    • Won! Barely. Took a few task-list-less days off. Still recorded what I did, yet only when I did them. These days always turned into some sort of productivity, yet going to count it! (Bonus completion of games or novel drafts did not make it – are computer games done for me?)
  4. 10 Blogs
    • Failed. 7/10. 10 blogs is a lot. I think I need to make these goals slightly less aggressive – say, 6? Thoughts for another day.
  5. Summer Plans
    • Won! Plans are already in motion. May cometh like a comet. Keep reading for more.
  6. Private (Personal)
    • Failed. Mainly for the summer plans, I am counting this one a failure as nothing is for free and my decisions have consequences 😶

Lastly, no bonus for the journaling audits. They will be undertaken with haste in May:

May Goal Proposal

Formally: Nada, nothing, zip.

Informally: I have a big location move and a new opportunity to ramp up on mid-May. Every and all resource is bent to the effort.

This outcome dictates how I will spend my summer, autumn, and even the winter and 2024. I may write more on it, I may not.

For now, take it that I am occupied, though aim to bring back a goals report in June 🙂

April was definitely “meh” in the numbers. This outcome came because multiple pivots needed to happen very quickly.

May is going to be risky. It is a big change. I welcome the challenge of capping downsides, accelerating upsides, and the chance to make new friends and quite possibly global impacts ❤

You doing all right? Wish I wrote less-vague posts? How is your May? I want to know – cheers to anything and everything you get after ~

The Best of Jean Smith’s “Flirtology”

Psychology is great.

Jean Smith’s “Flirtology” gives some of the best advice on the psychology of flirting and romantic relationship building.

While the book is chockfull of tidbits, here are the parts that ought draw a lot of attention:

  1. Prop Task: I Ask.
  2. No-Gos
  3. Go on the Second Date
  4. Act ASAP
  5. You Too Can Initiate
  6. HOT APE(S)

Prop Task: I Ask.

A reminder for myself of key points in flirting:

  • Prop – Give regard to some 3rd thing. Waiting in line*, a painting, the concert, etc.
  • Task – Don’t flirt or break the ice with others for yourself; do it because it is on your to-do list! So make the approach – it is on your to-do list ~
  • I – Make an observation from your perspective, whether about the prop or your own, positive feelings.
  • Ask – End the opener with an open-ended question (what, how) or inquisitive statement (e.g. “Tell me about …”).

*Lines are great for giving lines – everyone is in a shared activity (the line, waiting), likely bored, and going to be hanging around for a bit. However, people have no escape-routes from lines. This in mind, make a statement about the line to gauge receptivity – only in positive responses might you escalate to introductions and asks! Always be mindful of safety before comfort before joy ~


The book suggests identifying 5 no-gos to get out in the open from low-key texting or the first two dates. (It is OK if you pick between 4 and 7 – that is how most minds work.)

In those no-gos, kill pet peeves, shared activities, and aesthetic pettiness. Height ranges, job type or quality (past being able to support themselves independently), needing to like all the music you do, or enjoy your same sportsball micro-league team will mean little in the long term.

These can be positives (e.g. “the person is kind”) or negatives (e.g. “they aren’t of X political party”) – what matters are the things that will bolster or strain the day-to-day relationship, not the thing that might matter just a few hours a month or such.

But once these few things are found out, go on the first date! Then:

Go on the Second Date

By default, go on the second date.

Unless the person lied, fell out of acceptable No-Gos, or was a generally lousy human being, choose to see them again.

It is too easy for a sense of performance or work or a night’s sleep or yesterday’s lunch to impact how a person acts on the first date. The second gets more data, so save the judgements until then if they are already nifty enough to meet in person. Speaking of:


The second date can’t happen without the first. The first likely won’t happen if you wait too long.

Texting is great for finding out if the person is a poorly-masked psychopath and setting the logistics of the date. However, text is too easy to fall into – comfy, convenient, and a terrible way to get to know someone.

So stop texting frivolously. Give a “how do you do” and get a date on the calendar ASAP. Within 2 weeks of first contact should a date be down in the books or you both move on.

You Too Can Initiate

Any sex or gender, no regard to older or younger, no matter if you were the one to break the ice or came second to the party, you too can initiate getting the conversation or date going.

Better yet, you ought be initiating.

This is the 21st century. Get over your shyness, get over your fears of rejection, get over your grandparents’ idea that one must chase or be chased. This isn’t a circus; do not expect to jump or others to jump through imaginary hoops.

Speaking of rejection, one of my fave things to keep in mind for relationships: If one person is doing most/all of the asking/proposing, they are also taking on all the risk of rejection, and there is only so much rejection a person can take before they stop trying.

While secure relationships often end up 60/40 in contributions (vs. the classic 50/50 idea), both sides ought be striving to be that 60. So show up, initiate.


Humor – crack (appropriate) jokes (no matter how corny), laugh. Play, be silly.

Openness – body posture is the big one. I would stress being open about discussing relationship topics, histories, and fundamental human conditions too.

Touch – make contact. Light, innocuous locations (upper back, shoulders, arms – mind that getting closer to hands is getting closer to intimacy), and temporary (taps or brushes).

Attention – give the other person your full attention. Listen. Be there for them. Remember to also hold judgements for later except in the most dire (or boring) of cases!

Proximity – physical closeness. Don’t be in their face, yet don’t be out of arm’s reach either. Helps enable both Touch and Eye contact.

Eye contact – look at them. Just look. Eye contact does wonders for bonding two people. (Remember to blink.)

(Smile) – my addition. Could be part of humor, yet smiling is so important it demands its own recognition. Smile, folks 🙂

“Flirtology” was a quick read for me and will be for you too. Between “Prop Task: I Ask” and “HOT APE(S)”, I feel you will improve your interactions with people, whether hanging out with friends, building professional rapport, or setting up that first date.

What pet peeves or aesthetic nice-to-haves have you been keeping around? Looking forward to your own romantic criteria being cleaned up. Cheers to your self improvement!

KISS: F to C, Simple as Can Be

The United States still uses Fahrenheit to measure the weather. Rest of the world? Celsius (it is better!).

The US is not the same. That is pretty lame.

But we can deal, see? And get to where things need to be: converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and Celsius to Fahrenheit with the simplest of math for you and me.

(Yes, I know proper grammar – we are running with the rhymes not matter!)

  1. F to C
  2. C to F
  3. Feel Better Celsius
  4. What’s Left?

F to C

( F – 30 ) / 2 = C

e.g. ( 70F – 30 ) / 2 = 20C

Degrees in Fahrenheit, minus thirty, divided by two; that’s Celsius for you!

C to F

C * 2 + 30 = F

e.g. 20C * 2 + 30 = 70F

Double the degrees, add thirty right, you’ll get Fahrenheit!

Feel Better Celsius

Forget that simple math, for real? No worries! Use this that gives you Celsius’s feel:

30 is HOT 🔥

20 is Nice ~

10 is Cold 🥶

0 is Ice 😱

Celsius Limerick

What’s Left?

If you will be scientific, the equation needs to be specific:

F = C * 9 / 5 + 32

C = ( F – 32 ) * 5 / 9

Textbook F and C Conversions

5 by 9 is .56 and 9 by 5 is 1.8 – for mental calculations, these equations aren’t great 😑

So 5 by 9 is near to half, 1.8 two, using 30 by rounding gives good enough approximations for me and for you! We can show it’s true:

  • 100C ~ 230F (expected: 212F)
  • 30C ~ 90F (i.e. 86F)
  • 20C ~ 70F (68F)
  • 10C ~ 50F (50F)
  • 0C ~ 30F (32F)
  • -10C ~ 10F (14F)

That is it! That is all you need. Take these equations with you to do conversions at speed.

Until all the world uses Celsius we will live with the muss. At least this basic algebra removes a bit of the fuss.

Thank you for sitting through my rhymes – here is to you! Cheers to our next time.

A Trinity of RPG Classes

An update from the conversation happening over on LinkedIn: I am including the brainstorming down below, but an important preamble: The distance a class can impose effect (e.g. self, within melee reach, at range) is inconsequential to the archetypes proposed here. We dive into what can take hits, make hits, and augment the context hits happen in.

Post years of study, there are only three: a trinity of RPG classes that fall into any game.

See here:

The Tank

The fighter class. Physicality, brawling, hitting, crowd management.

This class is the heavy assault battleship in games. Hit hard and gets hit hard. Strength and endurance are the key attributes.


The fantasy ranger and modern assassin. The class is always much more intimate and delicate at getting to the right places and pressing just the right points. A key is focus: effect the right spot (e.g. sniping headshots) or the right individual (e.g. dump effects on a single target).

Gunslingers, drone operators (perhaps a Support overlap?), pilots, marksmen, and fast. Speed and precision are the key attributes.

The Support

As it says: Wizards, magicians, and those that do things through powers seemingly unknown. Whether through the arcane or advanced technology, these be a game’s healers, specialists, manipulators, and status controllers, a.k.a.:

Medics, sweet talkers, glass cannons (arguably a DPS overlap), hackers, and buffers. The smart and seemingly cunning or wise.

Take hits, make hits, affect hits.

That is all, folks! Every character, every role, every class in every RPG out there fits in these overarching categories.

Sure, there are combinations of the Tank, DPS, and Support (e.g. a sniper carrying a shotgun, heavy melee Darth Vader using Force magic), yet these are merely mixing the basic ingredients to everything a player might play as.

This trinity equally corresponds with the every-occasion Body/Strength, Mind/Speed, and Soul/Will set of game attributes seen in titles like Soulbound. In all, I view this clarifying of themes as an evolution of game design, but that is another post 🙂

Keep this in mind when designing your next game or selecting your next character to play! Cheers to it all!

March April Goal Review

I have been doing everything, everywhere, all at once (super fun movie, BTW). However, this timeline missed a few things:

March Goal Review

  1. Travel!
    • Won! And such travel. I spare you the details – suffice that it was quite nice despite that I paid much time in price 😅
  2. Code
    • Won! No bonuses this time, yet got my study in. (I really like this as a goal – perhaps we slate it as a regular thing? Will be sticking around for April!)
  3. 10 Hours Java
    • Failed. I did most of the learning, but not all. Yet, Java is so similar to C#, I started coding problems early. Count it as a win to learn Java, yet we stick by the letter of the law for this one.
  4. 10 Blogs
  5. Private (Professional)
    • Won! In a big way too. I might have more information to share as early as the first or second week of April!
  6. Private (Personal)
    • Won! Also in a big way. I am happy to be alive in this time of the world, content with who I have become and work with wonder at who I will be ❤

April Goal Proposal

  1. Taxes
    • TMI? Anyway, I am preparing for new tax concerns this year, so allocating not insignificant time to get this handled properly.
  2. Code
    • Copy/paste from last month: Back at it. Code for an hour for a week’s worth of days.
    • Bonus: Take on 3 easy and a medium problems in Java.
    • Bonus: Take a certification assessment.
  3. No-Do Daydream Day
    • Take Sundays as a no-TODO list day. Game or play or do something unproductive for the broader world.
    • Bonus: Complete a game or novel outline on these dreamy days.
  4. 10 Blogs
    • Trying again this month. I have the list from March, so will drive towards 3 blogs a week to come in on schedule.
  5. Summer Plans
    • Doing some talking, there are weddings, people, and countries to see. With the professional news that comes after this post, I can settle in on what my maneuverings will be in June, July, August, and on. Plans, folks!
  6. Private (Personal)
    • Another continuation from April. Now is not the time to pull such an investment of efforts.
  7. Bonus: Finish Journaling Audits
    • I journal. I keep track of things in other ways. Should my own time and productivity be so kind, I would like to do an audit to see what has been and where I am at! (Usually records some useful blog ideas, too!)

A humbling 67% on target. Now, it tracks with my historic 60-80% efficiency rate when doing work, so this may mean my goals are appropriate to push me, yet not so daunting as to be my undoing.

What do you think? Feel I didn’t do enough in March? Am I challenging myself thoroughly in April?

Give me your take. Regardless, may all you take on in April yield the best of the best dividends! Cheers to it~

Who Goes First? RPG Initiatives in Brief

Initiative – i.e. who goes first – in roleplaying games is a no-size-fits-all situation.

I have given it my shot to find a one-size solution. The result: Pick whatever feels convenient in the game and the context 🤷‍♂️

Through my research, I have come across many options to determine who goes first. This post is a brief reference – completely unexhaustive – for your own gaming inspiration, yet inspiration it may remain 🎲🎲 In no specific order:

  1. Roll (+Stat): Individual
  2. Roll (+Stat): Group
  3. Stat Only
  4. Lower Effects Go First
  5. Time to Do
  6. Action Points & Betting
  7. Popcorn
  8. Table Order
  9. All Declare, All Act
  10. When to Roll?
  11. When to Act?
  12. Surprise Gets a Free Turn

Roll (+Stat): Individual

The classic of D&D, each player rolls a die and (optionally) adds a stat for it. Better results go first!

Roll (+Stat): Group

Same as the individual, but it goes down to “us” (the players) vs. “them” (game moderator or non-player characters).

Stat Only

Whoever has the highest stats for initiative/speed/movement goes first.

Lower Effects Go First

We see this in games like the Dr. Who RPG – actions that do the least amount of effect go sooner in turn order. Example:

Talk > Move > Environment (e.g. flip a switch) > Help > Coerce Physically > Harm (w/ higher damage going later)

Time to Do

Particular to “move-and-do” combat-style games where moving is always a free action along with talking, the least time-required actions go sooner. Example:

Ranged Attacks (a flick of a finger)
Melee Attacks (a step, a move of an arm, a twist)
Heavy/Magic Actions (big and heaved devices, aiming, a few motions)
Other (complex actions with steps needing a few seconds)

Action Points & Betting

Characters have a limited resource – some “time” or “action” or “stamina” component to the game. These get spent on actions (bigger action effects cost more) or get auctioned, where higher bets go first, but risk being unable to act while others do.

The resource gets restocked automatically or the game may have mechanics that a special “recoup” or “rest” action brings them back.


A popular option, a simple die roll decides who goes first. Once done, that person picks the next person to go. The second person then picks and so on, until everyone has gone.

Elegant (one roll, no math), Popcorn leads to a gamble: do players only pick players, hoping to overwhelm their foes? If so and they fail, the enemy gets to go, then select themselves to go the next turn (since they would not have acted in the new turn), leading to a potential double whammy.

Table Order

The action order starts on the GM’s left (or determined by a roll) and proceeds clockwise.


All Declare, All Act

Everyone declares what their character(s) will do. Then the consequences are rolled for. Together, all at once.

Personally, a bit messy, but the speed of resolution and the unexpected carnage of melee can be really cool 😄

When to Roll?

When do these initiatives take effect?

If relying on pure positioning, static stat, or the type of action being taken, rolls never need happen for initiative.

Roll once at game start is another option. This keeps order steady and certain throughout a session of play.

Once every encounter is D&D‘s bread-and-butter. Only done when an interaction starts where order matters.

Lastly: roll repeatedly after everyone and everything has taken an action, e.g. at the start of every turn. (This is cumbersome and a drag – avoid it.)

When to Act?

You would expect only one character acts at a time. What happens when there are ties in determining order? Or that characters are in the same “phase” of action?

Ties can be resolved with a roll, but quality game design seeks to minimize repeat tosses of the dice.

Instead, everything that is tied or otherwise going at the same time goes at the same time! Actions are declared, actions are rolled for, and consequences are applied simultaneously. E.g. two folks can punch each other out in a brawl, or opponents can shout down or interrupt the speeches of their counterparts!

Surprise Gets a Free Turn

See just above. In virtually all cases, if an action is not detected or comes from no-where, it gets to go without consideration of what or when other characters act.

A universal in RPG design!

As I feel it, these are the most impactful initiative systems an RPG can have. While there are oodles of systems out there, these are used in many places (thereby tested), are relatively simple, rely on dice at most, and are ultimately RPG agnostic – the mechanics can work in any game (though may not always convey the same game “feel” – e.g. Dr. Who aims to minimize physical violence!).

What initiatives do you use? Have I left out a stellar example of speed and effect of play? Tell me more! I owe you one. Cheers!

P.S. This is my first post after doing my time audit – short, concise, stays high level. I will check back on how this and following posts have worked out, though I am =always= open to your feedback!