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 ~ ❤

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!

A Lawyer’s Guide to Keep Relationships Alive

No secret that I have written about what seems to be true about relationships and crowdsourced success stories. While these perspectives are valid in their own way, why not listen to someone on the front line of relationships?

Why not listen to a divorce lawyer?

On my third read-through in as many weeks, James J. Sexton’s book If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late is a gold mine of insight on the land mines to look out for in relationships.

James proclaims there are a bajillion ways to have a happy relationship while the same couple of catastrophes pop up again and again. I want to share with you some of the new, the novel, and the never-grows-old advice I picked up (if you want the James’s nuance and details on relationship infidelity/sex, go the book!).

A short list:

  1. TLDR; Do These Things
  2. Epic Fail: It Takes Two
  3. Give a S***
  4. “Hit Send Now”
  5. Die on Fewer Hills
  6. Change or Die
  7. Forgive but Never Excuse Yourself

TLDR; Do These Things

There will be more, yet failing on any of these is dangerous:

  • Enforce radical communication and open honesty “early and often, often and early.” E.g.
    • Needs, wants, core values, overarching goals
    • History, current feelings, future hopes
    • Exit plans (what would an end / break look like?)
    • The physical relationship
  • Know your own needs and share them explicitly.
  • Give a s*** about your partner, bettering the relationship, and being a better person.
  • Act now on your affections, appreciations, apprehensions, and apologies.
  • Making it work > being right (don’t let the cost of ‘winning’ make losers of you both).
  • Forgive yourself for who you are, but never use who you are as an excuse to be less than excellent to yourself, your partner, society, and the world.

Lots of these have come up in my own experience as they have been shared with you, but let’s explore how any partnership takes two:

Epic Fail: It Takes Two

Relationships dissolve almost always in James’s observation because of two reasons:

  1. Not knowing what you want.
  2. Not appropriately expressing what you want.

Yet, if you feel to know what you want and are being heard, it still falls on you to go find out what the other person wants. Really, you need to:

Give a S***

Simple. Be curious, be observant, be attentive. Do both the big and small things. Do things with and without your partner, solo and social.

Make yourself better and more interesting. Support your partner in how they go about improving. Abhor stagnation (more on that below) and foster growth.

James puts forward many, many ways to do this, yet here is one to remember right now:

Get space from your partner to do your own awesome things. Come back to your partner to share your experiences. Encourage (“insist” might be a bit too strong) others to get away, have their own thing, share the uniqueness of their renewed perspective.

“Hit Send Now”

James goes over how the cancer of resentment kills, how simmering on apprehension is a miasma. His suggestion to overcome this failure?

Hit ‘send’ now.

On the email, on the text, on the call – express the thing that is bothering you (i.e. your problem) right away in “I” and “feel” terms. Get the dirt out in the open between you and another pronto so it can be addressed instead of mold in the dark where your problem becomes a problem for everyone.

Act now on these other alliterations:

  • Affection – do not wait to give and get affection, especially in cases of dedicated partnerships. James points out that when a person’s needs for affection are left to fallow, that person will look to other pastures.
  • Appreciation – do not wait to appreciate the choices another makes. They have chosen to be involved in your life, to have you in theirs, and hopefully are taking the action to make it all better. “Don’t take for granted” and all that!
  • Apprehension – do not wait to air out bad gut feels and needs for clarity. If things might be wrong, say so. Do not be the person who fails to question if there is a fire when they smell smoke.
  • Apologies – do not wait to apologize. Back to “it takes two,” there will always be something you could have done better, even if the ’cause’ of whatever the issue is might objectively be with the other. So apologize for your part, appreciate the other’s understanding and raising of their apprehensions, and remind them of your mutual affections.

Die on Fewer Hills

Jumping off the “apologies” above, being “right” or always getting a win is a lose-lose game. If you are wrong, you are a loser for being stubborn; if you are right, you are now in a relationship with a loser. How is this OK?

James suggests a novel approach: Compromise. Chill. Give fewer s***s about fewer things. Put more work into making the relationship work than flexing your own ego.

Focusing on the few allows you to put your energy into where it really matters: Your partner, your needs, and your fundamental values (pizza-vs-cheeseburger does not count).

So understand which hills are worth fighting for and which few you are ready to die on, and in the process, kill the relationship.

Change or Die

Figuratively, of course. (Really on the morbid topics today 💀 James the divorce lawyer suggests we blame the feels on him.)

If you are holding out on fewer hills, you can remain flexible. Relationships require some flexibility as no relationship remains the same (I have a few posts on how stagnation is death).

As such, “treading water” is a lot of words for “drowning.” James suggests exercising your own tolerance for change, being open to changes offered by and in your partner, and bringing new and novel ideas to the table on your own.

Forgive but Never Excuse Yourself

After hundreds of pages, James reminds us: You are only human. Fallible. Inconsistent. Sometimes tired. Capable of great compassion and great pettiness.

Forgive yourself. If you are putting in the personal- and relationship-labor to keep the partnership alive, cutting yourself slack for a slip or mistake can be tough (though will be made easier by making immediate amends).

But never, ever let “you are only human” be your excuse. You are better than your weaknesses, your base nature.

Get competent and confident. Then get more competent and more humble. Later lend a hand to your partner and others so they may be better sooner too.

As James puts forward, do these things, and you may just keep you relationships alive.

Happy Valentine’s Week!

If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late is going on my bookshelf along with the likes of State of Affairs and the classic Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. (Maybe someday a blogpost of what is on my shelves…)

I hope James J. Sexton’s advice and my own commentary has been a help to you today. As said, I’m on my third but very much not final read of this work and this blog posts covers but a smidgen of the lessons profound.

Always open for more, I very much would like to hear your own suggestions for books, podcasts, and experiences that have taught you a thing or two.

Send an email or comment below – regardless, cheers to all your relationships, big and small!

It Has Worked for Others: Relationship Success

Known as “the frontpage of the internet,” Reddit has millions of users, many being purely readers of the articles, news, and editorials written.

I count myself as one of the lurkers, gleaning the insights and inspiration I can from choice forums.

One that caught my eye is from user (u/) u/Mela_Min: Married Men, what are the unspoken rules for successful marriage? [sic]

Turns out I had only the merest idea of how to make long-lasting relationships, well, long-lasting.

Out of 4.3K comments at the time of writing, I present to you both some of the highest rated comments and those mentions that really… spoke to me? Anyway, some tools for your own toolbox (bolded, paraphrased, and commented on).

Note: This article will use “relationship” in the form of a bond between two persons. Reminder I nor the folks paraphrased here are licensed or otherwise credentialed to give any mental, relationship, finance, legal, or other actionable advice.

Keeping and Growing Long-Lasting Relationships

Share values. Starting out on the right foot in a relationship is step number 0 upon which all else will be decided. Questions of domestic roles, how money enters and exits the partnership, lifestyle choices, children, family, political and religious commitments, sex, conflict resolution techniques, stress tolerances, and more all =deeply= matter to a relationship before it even begins.

Show your partner they matter. This speaks to a quote close to my own heart: “There’s no such thing as love; only proof [acts] of love.” – Jean Cocteau

Expect more of yourself than your partner. Extreme responsibility and high standards start with you. I cannot find the attribution: Relationships are always at least 60%/40% give-and-receive; the best relationships are when the partners both aim to be the harder worker, it being 100%/100% effort.

Do for yourself when you can. If you can / should do it, do it. Your partner is there for encouragement and to catch you when you fall, not carry your work.

Do it now – later is never. Following from the above, do not delay. Chores, questions, addressing conflict, giving affection – relationships are one resentful thought or a skipped stoplight away from no going back. “Tomorrow is the busiest day of the week.” – Proverb

Set roles of responsibility and hierarchies of value. Which career is more important? Who both likes doing a thing X more and is better at X? How will binary decisions in and out of the home get resolved? Decisions and tasks involving two in a relationship are not all equal, nor are the consequences. That said, revisit these hierarchies on occassion – priorities will and do change (more on that later).

Be explicit. No guessing, no games, no assumptions. Never be passive (especially passive aggressive!). What you say matters – what is bothering you, what you need, the wants you hold. Your Word is bond to the other’s expectations and to your actions. To say is to do, to do is to love.

Practice extreme Trust. A follow-up on being explicit, keep Trust. Believe what the other says until proven otherwise. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This point might ought be first, given “Trust is like a string. You cut it once and you join it later, but the knot – it remains forever.” – Anuradha Kamath

Get sleep and separate recharge time. Sleep is the foundation to physical, mental, and relationship health. So is rest and recuperation, but doing so separately (at least part of the time) keeps a person aware that they are still an individual that happens to be in a partnership.

Up your game. Your partner already likes you for your strengths, yet you are linked together now. As always with “the weakest link,” your faults now stand to jeopardize your bonds. Improve yourself, don’t be lousy at things. Learn, improve, and demonstrate competence to your partner – if you are bad, ‘git gud.’

If you are not moving, you are dead. Maintaining a relationship is death to the relationship. Become interesting, engage in new things with and without your partner. Bring something unique to the table, making every day the first date, every week a honeymoon. Yet realize the need for change carries with it the chance the relationship dynamics will change – no relationship starts without the possibility of ending too, but it certainly will change what is first was.

The bad will outweigh the good. We can’t help it – humans overvalue loss and negatives over gains and positives (at least two-times as much). So overcorrect when ‘bad’ issues arise and aim to forgive those trespasses you feel have been done (i.e. never mention these events again).

Public praise, private discussion. Always have your partner’s back in public. =Never= do ill to them among others. Keep the dirty laundry for discussion between your god, private journal, therapist, and partner. That said, be as personal as possible in private – hold hands, cuddle, look in each other’s eyes, speak clearly, these things help bring oxytocin and comradery when important things need handling. (Of course, if your partner is letting out enough to do you, themselves, or others harm, do what you must to save things!)

Counseling comes before the honeymoon, not during the separation. Seek professional guidance together while the times are good. Waiting to get help when the bad-ball is already rolling is a disadvantaged battle.

Be death to getting ‘one-up.’ Never aim to ‘beat’ your partner in disagreements or, virtually, anything. At most, it is you both against the problem in the world, a synergy where 1 + 1 = 3. Admit wrongness. Pick the hills to defend – these hills that matter will be few. In a partnership, there are no winners when scores are kept – only ever two losers.

HALT. Hungry, angry, lonely, tired – be none of these when needing to engage on serious / relationship matters with the partner. You can ask to delay a conversation, but not too much later (reminder that true “later” is “never”) – less than 24 hours in the future should you have ‘got your s*** together’ to then personally re-initiate the conversation.

They come first. Your partner, the relationship. Before career and family and children, choose your partner to maintain the relationship. So much flows from improving long-term relationships, virtually all else will benefit by taking a back seat to working things out between one another. Yet, this isn’t “choose to spend and do all things with the partner” – sometimes the choice of relationship-first is to be graceful when time and attention need to be pulled away for awhile (e.g. emergencies, one-time call-up, sickness, passion projects). If needing to decide, the long-term option will outweigh short-term inconveniences.

ABC Big Picture Themes

Again and again, people report similar principles in relationships success. Those are:

  • Act. Doing – taking action quickly and frequently – is a stellar principle to make sure folks appreciate their relationships vs. resting on laurels. 100%/100% contributions.
  • Be Better. Yes, you coming as ‘you’ got you into the relationship. What is happening to grow it? Your weaknesses and stagnancy are the weakest links.
  • Choose Them. Come back to your partner and the relationship again and again. Praise publicly and work privately (and personally!) to improve everything about your roles.

Not all of the above will apply to you and that is OK. Check yourself, use what you can, and recognize that the more of this that does not appeal to you is like to be where your improvement ought start.

I know I have areas to better – how about you? What has worked in your relationships that ought be on the list? (Seriously, what to add?)

I can only wish you the best for all your partnerships – cheers to healthy and successful relationships!

What You Get Reading “Homo Deus”

Homo Deus – i.e. “Human God,” top-rated book by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, author of multiple other best-sellers – hit me like a brick when I read it.

I have covered butt-kicking, life-changing books before, so let this be another added to the list. Though, let me give you my personal spark notes – what little they are – for what to expect for what you get by reading Homo Deus:

Humans Are Dividual

We are of many minds in one body, hardly an “individual” by any reasonable expectation of what makes a human a human. Thought, action, and even memory all change based on context internal and external, and changes over time.

Another way to put it would be that people wear many masks for the parts we play in our own lives and the lives of others.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Humans try to assume something is known, attempt to take comfort in something certain.

Yet how might that be certain? All the puzzle pieces might seem to be in the box, but until the puzzle is put together, how can one be sure?

The Truth-seeking crusade of science, the firmest field of knowledge towards what might be real, hedges virtually all of its claims with “this may be wrong” and “there is more to know here.” In that way, we humans must always account for our own ignorance in literally every claim we make or piece of knowledge we take stake in, be it ourselves, others, or the world at large.

What Comes Makes All Before Obsolete

Human history took tens- or hundreds-of-millennia to accomplish pottery, baking, and basic plant domestication. Countless generations laid bricks in foundations and fortresses and footpaths for empires. It took one man a lifetime to learn just enough to make a decent shoe if he was gifted, passing that knowledge on to at least one or two sons before his death if lucky.

The works of this species in all recorded history were reproduced and exceeded in the last 100 years. Change and creation have only escalated – what took years, now months; months, now weeks; of weeks, a single tweet can wipe away a week’s efforts.

If change takes as long as a year, we are counted lucky, for everything that comes next makes everything that has come before obsolete.

Question Yourself

Is life just a set of algorithms, our existence only justified by being better data processors for the model?

Is intelligence the greatest benefit? Or does consciousness hold more value?

What is life when algorithms know us better than us?

These questions are vague intentionally, allowing answers for yourself or for considerations about society at large. Whatever the answers end up being to those with the means and opportunity at some future time will decide great changes to come.

Handling Humans

Democracy (a system of distributed power and processing) acts slower, yet is more thorough than other decision-making forms. It works well in high states of change, when idea surpasses implementation.

Autocracy (central processing; efficient, yet emphasizes systemic bias) works when implementation is more important than ideas. ‘Get it done no matter what’ has been the mainstay of all cultures up until the last spit of two centuries, and even yet has widespread adoption.

One or the other is only “good” or “bad” in if it is being used at the most optimal times. Holding onto one method when the other would really do causes unnecessary strife. All of this proves to be yet cyclical as intentions and executions change.

Durant agrees about the cyclical nature of our species. As a renown historian, Durant points out that decision-making in economies and governments repeats over and again as the waves of policy change. (Set aside the observations that autocracy has been the #1 driver for species advancement historically and that the merit of democracy in the last 300 years has yet to be proven more than a coincidence for the astronomical growth thereabouts.)

Not a lot, yet these are the things to keep in mind for what you get reading Homo Deus.

Highly recommend the book, as it humbles oneself towards what unknowable future comes!

Need to Decide? Read This

What to eat, what to wear, whether to get out of bed, or when to fall asleep. What jobs to take, tasks to do, or relationships to foster or let falter.

Decisions make our lives.

I have needed to make a multitude of decisions in my life, yet I have encountered something you are very likely familiar with: Indecision.

Analysis paralysis emerges from many causes: anxiety, fear or fear of missing out (FOMO), and more.

Whatever the cause, when you need to decide, read this collection that has helped me so very much in making life-changing decisions:


HALT before you make any large decision or have non-trivial discussions.

H – feed your hunger. Have something to eat, a cup of water to drink.

A – calm your anger. Hot feelings deliver burning, impulsive words that can scar.

L – accommodate your loneliness. Talk with a friend, search online for similar situations… it is dangerous to go alone, so take some company!

T – rest your tiredness. You are worse than drunk when tired, so at least nap if not getting a full night’s rest!

You good? Continue:

Ask the Right Questions

Whatever decision comes up most in these questions, do that immediately. When complete, repeat:

  • What makes all else easier or unnecessary?
  • What gives me the most satisfaction?
  • What creates more time?
  • What tangentially improves my skills? Relationships?

Tied or stuck? How about:

Hypothetical Feeling

You have two choices, X and Y.

Imagine and convince yourself you have decided to do X. How do you feel? Bad? Doubtful? Anxious?

If so, do Y and know you made the best decision!

High Quality > High Quantity

Being pickier when it comes to quality removes decisions that fail higher standards. Choosiness saves time and the need to make so many decisions.

Further, spending time on a few high-quality decisions is much more valuable than a lot of trivial nothings. Chores and daily habits come far distant second to keeping up relationships, investing finances, and deciding on employment and relocations.

Yet none of that matters if not executed on – if making a decision, do it ASAP. Even if the decision is imperfect, good now is virtually always preferred over great later.

Forgiveness and What Not

You are human with a finite amount of time and will to act in that time. So is everyone else. With that in mind, forgive yourself for making a decision not to do something (so long as it is a decision, and not laziness or avoidance).

Heck, enable yourself to decide not to do. “What not to do” lists – or better, “principles and policies” – can be more important than “To Do” decisions. So decide what not to do to clear the way for more important decisions to be made!

A final note to put fears and doubts aside: So long as it is not a catastrophic decision, you will be OK, as it is OK to fail (usually). So what counts as a “catastrophic decision?”

  • Anything that addicts or permanently changes for the worse your mind’s capabilities. (Certain drugs, brain damage, dogma, etc.)
  • Anything that hobbles or cripples your body. (Lost limbs, physical weakness, etc.)
  • Anything that brands you with a society’s Scarlett Letter. (Failing family, crime, overt perversions, etc.)

Set Yourself Up for Future Decision Success

By now you hopefully have made some decisions you can live with, that will not scar you catastrophically.

You can do better still. Start living by these pieces of advice to make you future decisions even easier:

  • Simplify. You are better for having less to be concerned about.
  • Long-term Yes/No. Relationships and activities are so important for your future need to strive to be of the highest quality.
  • Act now. It is the only thing you have to do – “JUST DO IT.”
  • Sleep adequately. It is the foundation of all health.
  • No added sugars. You are and will be worse for the simple carbs fogging your brain.
  • Meditate. Appreciate and reflect in the ways best suited for you.
  • Exercise. Even if it is a walk to meditate.
  • Zoom out, slow down. Chill. Busy-ness is poverty.
  • Journal. Take note of gratitude and record patterns. “Rubber Ducking” is a therapy all its own.
  • Fats and proteins. Brain and brawn. These will keep you young and vigorous.

Read more about the above in my 10 Themes from Tribe of Mentors.

Need to decide still? Read all this again. Bookmark it. Read again and again – this is a decision that will benefit you for a very long time as it has benefited me.

Cheers to all you are going to accomplish ~

What to Do?

What do you do when you’ve done the important things?

That’s not rhetorical, nor am I asking for a friend.

I’m asking for the person whose done the needful things and has a whole life ahead of them, the person with ambitions and skills and resources, the person who may need to learn to leverage any of it.

I ask you “what to do” for me.

The rest of this post may lack for any answers, any insights, but hey, why do this blog without benefit to the writer? If you go, OK – if you stay, thank you for exploring with me 🙂

Let’s begin:


I’ve mentioned “deathwalks” before (goals, full posts). These are the meditative exercises that work to reveal what’s important in life, the words and actions unsaid and undone, all that would consume the affairs of a last few months of life.

Many of the things uncovered on my first deathwalk years ago have been completed. I look at that list are secure for years to come! The skydiving, the letters written, the Last Will, the trips, the patterns explored

Yet, what does that leave a person, have they little left to prepare for when the time comes?

I can only liken it to a milestone on the horizon you walk towards for a long while. Once reached, though, the milestone is more petite than realized while the roads ahead are broad and many and long beyond sight. And nowhere seems the obvious convenience of a milestone showing “do this.”

So then, what is there left for a person to do if prepared for the final journey, the one hopefully decades or a century off? Where is the direction???


Perhaps if “dying” is done, “living” is the next logical step.

Meditating on what makes a person “feel alive” is lauded in many circles as being a necessary and invaluable thing. Remembering joy and excitement and triumph, might those be milestones to strive for? Or even to build for ourselves? A live worth living?

But it might be hard to accept we might deserve “the good life.” The world delights in chaotic news, our neighbors seethe, and year-by-year even bodies betray themselves and the minds inside.

There is so much suffering, what hubris is it to seek and make pleasure?

Such judgements come awfully quick. But lest it’s forgotten, the only Good that may be said to exist is the net reduction of suffering. Does an individual’s suffering of indecision or lack of aim not qualify here?

Maybe that’s the Ego making itself heard.

“My experience makes me exceptional. I am entitled to feel this way, to be this.”

Now aren’t such regards the real acts of hubris?

That’s all that I have to say on that, all that comes to mind at this time.

I’ve a little while more to settle on September’s goals. If you’ve suggestions for a person to pivot from ends to beginnings, the comment section is below 😉

Be well, friends. Cheers ~