Holidays Journal

The Beginning of 2019

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).

Jamaica – Montego Bay – 2018

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.

Ohio – 6.28.2018

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:

Asheville North Carolina Trip

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:

Tokyo Trip 2018

Tokyo Trip 2018 – Second Post

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.

San Francisco

12.28.2012 – Nijiya

Nijiya preparing for the New Year’s rush


Journal San Francisco

Adieu to 2009

As the year comes to a close I find myself reflecting on 2009 and considering what the beginning of 2010 means. I’ve been reading my friends updates on FB and most seem to be very glad to have this year come to an end and are looking forward to what the new year will being.

For me, 2009 has been a rather uneventful year even though the media is calling it the worst year of the decade. The economy did not do so well which forced changes in the lives of many. However, my life has changed pretty dramatically throughout the decade so I really do not find 2009 much different from 2008 or even 2007 for that matter.

In reading the news, the main question seems to be “What will 2010 bring?” I much rather prefer to think of it in terms of what I will do and wish to accomplish in the new year much rather than how outside forces will affect me. In other words, I will not let 2010 push me around but instead prefer to have plans in place so I can react as I wish instead of simply accepting what is handed to me.

So what are my plans for 2010? Well, for the first part at least I will simply continue doing what I did in 2009. We’ll still be in San Francisco and I’ll still be working to drive revenue while assisting my customers with their goals and initiatives. If the economy continues to worsen and cuts at the company were to come I still find myself extremely mobile and able to depart. In this case we would most likely head back to Japan where the economy is no better but I am not afraid of rolling the dice one more time to see what comes of it. Further, I would be much more inclined to settle down there (buy a house) than I would be in extremely expensive San Francisco.

Yet, the probability of this at the moment is very small so the real plan is to just wait and see what cards are dealt and how things progress. In some ways, it is very advantageous to keep mobile but on the other hand I keep getting older and apartment life cannot last forever. For the moment however, it will suffice and we will continue enjoying SF and making new discoveries.

I often wonder about those that really want to forget 2009 and think the change of the year will bring anything different. Sure, 2009 was terrible and the economy affected so many. Yet, it is times like this that the book “Who Moved My Cheese,” really becomes important. The trouble seems to be that the cheese is scarce around the country and is no longer just a matter of being able to relocate as it is simply finding the cheese. For many, they really do not want to adapt and prefer to stay in the same place and keep the same lifestyle. I feel lucky that I have experience in disrupting set habits / routines for completely new ones and have no fear of change. I feel that if one is not able to adapt and change their habits then a simple change of year really changes nothing and it is a change in attitude and behaviors that would make one year really different from the next.

It may be that it is simply human behavior to want security and to establish routines. In doing so we know what to expect and do not have to deal with the unknown. I even find myself sometimes fearing a major change and it is in times like these that I know I have to readjust my thinking. One of the main problems is the simulator we use in our heads that is most often never correct. In imagining what a change in location/career might bring, our minds try to play out the scenario and if it would be a good move or not. Yet, I have found that these simulations are almost never correct.

Therefore, when I make a big change I simply have to remind myself to stop thinking about it and just do it. No amount of mental simulation will make the experience better or worse, it will simply unfold as it is supposed to be. Then I find that keeping the right attitude will make the experience positive and positive experiences will automatically manifest themselves. There is really something to be said for mentally determining how we want an experience to be. If we are always thinking negatively then the experience will be negative and the opposite of being positive will actually make the experience positive.

I guess it really gets a bit philosophical in that some experiences can seem really bad but isn’t the real determinate in the mind? Would ti be better to control one’s own mind instead of letting outside events set the agenda for our own mental state? For me, this is my logic when living in another country and the experience being so profound I really do find that I must make the experience instead of it making me.

So, with 2010 coming in just a few hours I really do not see it as a new time frame that will determine what will happen to me, but instead how I will shape this year according to what I want to achieve instead of the other way around.

At this point I wish I had some profound plan of action but it would seem I do not. The first part of the year is “wait and see,” remain mobile, and react to the hand dealt to me.
So, tonight we’ll probably just go out to a close corner bar and I’ll use my Iphone “Pocket Cocktails” to randomly select a drink or two. We’ll say hello to the usual bar fellows and then most likely return home to open up a bottle of St. Francis and watch Netflix while listening to all the drunk people outside.

Goodbye 2009, you were uneventful but stable. 2010, I start dealing with you around the beginning of April once I know your temperament.