Motto for 2019: Just be.
“To study the self is to forget the self” – Dogen 道元禅師
As I wrapped up my post for this morning (below) I wanted to get my motto and saying in this post and up top so I’m easily reminded. I really enjoy my Zen meditation, especially whilst sitting on a mountain top or in a bamboo forest in my Meditation VR app. Just be is of course a play on Nike’s “Just Do it.” People are always so busy doing things they forget to appreciate what is right in front of them. They race to buy that new thing, attend the next event, complete that next task. They forget to enjoy the magic and beauty of everyday life and they forget to live. “Just Do It” is a perfect motto for America, its capitalism, its never being satisfied and the underlying unhappiness that is satiated for a short time by consuming things. Better to “Just be,” and I think in even a tumultuous environment one can be happy and at peace.
It is 6:07 AM on Friday January 4th, 2019. I usually like to write a summary at the end of the year and/or a post on the first but things have been busy.
When I think of the Christmas and New Year holidays I have in my mind that it is a time to relax. It is a time to read books, catch up with old friends, invite over the neighbors, make hot chocolate and so on. What it actually is however is a crush of activities: decorating, buying last minute presents, holiday school plays, perhaps a trip, sending out Christmas cards and presents, and then since the kids are home playing or doing activities with them pretty much constantly.
So instead of being relaxing it is downright stressful! But, I like the holidays and I love playing and doing activities with my kids. I’m keenly aware that they are growing quickly and I will miss it terribly when they grow up and stop asking me to play. The problem is that there is no break. If we don’t have some sort of activity my youngest will want to play and I’m happy to do so for a while but Papa needs a break now and then.
A lot of great memories were made but the reality is that the break was not relaxing at all and I’m not as sad as I used to be that the holidays are over. The first day back to work was a little depressing to be sure but my stress levels actually went down when I got back into that work rhythm and took care of the things that had piled up over the vacation.
It does help that things are still a bit slow these first few days back as many people are still on holiday. I’m feeling accomplished as I had the motivation to accomplish to main things I’d been putting off for a while. The first was rolling over two 401K accounts. I had attempted once before but the company sponsored plan sent me about 20 pages of forms to be filled out and I gave up after the second page. After speaking with a few buddies I’ve decided to roll them over to my own Schwab account and do the investing myself. I still contribute to the company plan and max the match but I’ll use the money from the old plans to diversify a bit and it looks like 2019 is shaping up to be a good year for buying. Hopefully the whole ship doesn’t crash under our idiot in chief Trump since a receding tide sinks all boats and I’ve got sales goals to hit.
The second was figuring out how to use VR on a Galaxy S4 and along with the Merge googles for my kids. I learned that although I couldn’t use Samsung Gear or Oculus, I could use Google Cardboard! It runs beautifully on the S4!!! But not all apps do since it is an old phone and so it is a bit tricky especially when you throw in the Merge Cube. So now I just need to figure out which apps run well and without too much fuss so my son can use VR, Cardboard and Merge by himself.
As for 2018 it was a momentous year of change. A great opportunity came my way and I switched jobs. I was comfortable in my previous job but the opportunities for advancement looked slim, it wasn’t something I was too terribly passionate about and I had already accomplished just about everything I could in cornering the market. So when I got a call from an old buddy about this position, with a great company, and to help an entirely new corporate sales department, I had to take it. Any change in job is risky but I would have regretted not taking the chance if I had declined. It was this change in jobs that pretty much defined 2018
So to summarize the highlights of 2018:
Jamaica – Montego Bay
We took another nice trip to Jamaica and I got to see my buddy Mike of Mike’s Transportation. Montego Bay is beautiful but two trips is enough. If I were to go a third time I’d want to visit the Appleton Rum Estate (since we’ve seen pretty much everything else).
Ohio and North Carolina
With the family in Japan for the summer I like to take a trip or two and it usually involves going back to Ohio to see my family and friends. I like to ride a bicycle around Grandview, have a coffee at Stauf’s Cafe, go to the Grandview Pool, play golf on Raymond and Wilson golf courses and of course have beers with friends. Going back is like re-reading a previous chapter in my life and I love every minute of it.
North Carolina – Asheville
This year I combined my Ohio trip with another one to Asheville, North Carolina. It was my Uncle Bob’s 70th birthday party and my cousin was trying to get the entire family together for it. A 70th birthday party is one that should never be missed! One convenient thing about it is that now that I work for an airline I fly free (standby) and so could easily choose when and where I wanted to fly back to SFO on the fly (pun intended). No need to rehash the trip, I wrote a post about it here:
Now as for the job, the start was a bit shaky because I had not only the Ohio and North Carolina vacations but also my Japan trip right after I was hired. I was hired on June 4th, had the orientations and then took off on vacation! I had informed the company I was taking these vacations before I was hired but it was still a little nerve-wracking. I’m the new person, am trying to get used to everything and still must check the work e-mails. I had a few weeks of work after Ohio and North Carolina and then I took off to Japan. Here are my Japan posts:
After Japan it was down to business and boy did I have to get down to business quickly. A few months later and I’m comfortable in the role and have gotten off to a great start. I never like being the new person on the job, having to learn how everything works, not knowing what to do in certain cases in so on. It was made easier this time since the job is basically the same type of work I was doing before but the product and internal processes are different. In learning all of this and going to Dallas two or three times the months have flown by and here I am in 2019.
I’d like to write a “check-in at 41” post here shortly but the time is now 6:51 and I need to start prepping for the day. Today should be pretty slow since many are still out and being a sales person I certainly don’t want to bother people while they’re still in holiday mode! So that just leaves putting out any fires, preparing for the week ahead and perhaps some general housekeeping before things really start rolling next week.
My other tasks for today are:
1. Enroll in the company stock purchase program (while I’m motivated on the financial side of things)
2. Ensure Mint is accurate and reflecting all accounts appropriately.
3. Scan the Christmas cards we received. Perhaps this activity is part of my OCD/Data horder tendencies but it also goes along perfectly with my “own life archaeology” and archiving projects. As it is now, I’m the only one who has all his old pictures from grade school and so on both in physical and electronic format. I’m the only one! Everyone seems to forget (or want to forget) the past. Not me, my life is a fantastic book and I like to re-read the old chapters. That is when having everything in digital format really helps. I imagine myself as an old man with my computer generated hologram workstation in front of me and I’m pulling up these old Christmas cards. I’m sure 30 years from now I’ll be the only one who has them just as I’m the only one today with my old grade school sports pictures.
4. Update the family blog with: Ren’s holiday show, Kai learning how to ski (In one day!!) and the Tahoe trip and Christmas.
5. Continue exploring Merge, Cardboard and what actually works on an S4 and with Merge Cube.
And with that, 2019 has begun.