Friday, February 2, 2024

About Me

Happy Birthday to Me


People who know me know that I'm not big on birthdays, but today I've turned the big four zero. At 40, I'm now in mid-life. The first half of my life is over and so THIS is mid-life. 

They say by this age, you start to feel a creeping sensation that evolves into an all consuming crisis. Then you go out and make unwise decisions that often irrevocably damage your quality-of-life in the second half.

If we don't like how we feel by the time our 40th birthday rolls around, our society and the markets expect us to go out and make big purchases, get work done through surgeries, start seeing people much younger -- take drastic measures to counterbalance our internal sense of doom. 

  

In addition to my birthday, Feb. 2nd is also Groundhog Day, a holiday [celebrated in North America] which reveals some season information about the length of a given year's winter. Plus, Ground Hog Day is the name of a movie where a man, (played by Bill Murry) wakes up every morning on Feb. 2nd. He goes to bed on the evening of Feb. 2nd, and wakes up, again and again, on the morning of Feb. 2nd. Stuck in this time loop, he relives the events of that day, unable to move into Feb. 3rd. (Was this Bill Murray's character's mid-life crisis? Feel free to let me know your thoughts.)   


Each morning I wake up, I make sure to do the same thing: feed my animals. This morning, on Feb. 2nd, Groundhog Day of 2024, I did what I do every morning: feed the ducks and goats. The temperature was mild in the mid 40 F. The ducks went swimming early and the goats -- not yet fully awake -- were well behaved. 

Doing the same thing every day can be very challenging for some of us. I've tried to use different things in the past to try to establish a morning routine, such as morning prayer: in Islam, the morning prayer has to be done before sunrise. 

Praying is a spectacular discipline, which I've maintained, yet it's not a direct solution: I fall back asleep immediately afterwards which kills my morning schedule. Going back to sleep after morning prayer is discouraged by Islam, and understandably so.

I've tried to use a 9-5 working schedule to establish a morning routine. For the years that I've tried this, the only time it worked (for a little while, maybe half a year, tops) was when I made watching an episode of Nathan For You an integral part of my mourning routine. Nathan Fielder stopped making new episodes, I dried up on reruns, and the mourning routine fell apart. 

I tried having a kid. I thought, Having a baby is SURE to wake me up early every morning! I had a son in 2021, who was born too soon, and passed away just five days later. I preferred being asleep for most of that process, and for at least a year afterwards. 

Then one day, about a year and a half ago, my Uncle Max bought us a couple of goats. Having animals that live outside and need to be fed and protected was the start of nailing down a steady morning routine.    

 

Without a steady morning or daily routine, how did I manage? My answer: the weekly routine. To give you a general idea: I pick an activity that I do multiple times throughout the week (such as exercising), and schedule those events onto my calendar. Then I organize the rest of my task (actions and whereabouts) around those events. 

Some people have the superhuman power of dedicating every hour of every day to predetermined activities. (I believe Thomas Jefferson was one of these people: he squeezed value out of every waking minute of his existence. Talk about discipline!)  If I had that level of control over my movements, I would be a lot more successful, perhaps a lot more accomplished, than I am today. A lot more people would be reading this article. 

The daily routine and the weekly routine yield such different results, it feels wrong to be comparing them. (The reasons it's possible right now is because I wasn't eating a breakfast or brushing my teeth or showering in the mornings. Even those activities depended on when I was going to the gym.) It's important everyone to remember that the things we do in our day-to-day are the fundamental building blocks of our future. 


I asked AI for the top three questions people ask themselves when turning 40. AI's first answer was "Have I accomplished enough?" I find this answer peculiar. As someone who's been asking myself this question everyday for the last 20+ years, I feel like this is not a question having to do with mid-life. At the same time, I know that AI is not exactly wrong

Why would this be true? Why do people tend to ask themselves this question when they reach mid-life?

 

What is the biochemical nature of mid-life? I haven't (yet) looked into the regulatory shifts that take place in the human metabolic system to qualify this phase we call "mid-life", but I do know that a mid-life crisis is not a holiday with a bed and breakfast. It brings with it a disturbance that increases the chaos in one's life, with deleterious effects. It's a bad thing that effects many people by the time they live half way through their lifespan. Maybe it has something to do with the question, "Have I accomplished enough?" 

Why does this happen? Who does this happen to? What have you been doing every day? Have you been monitoring your performance and checking its trajectory over time? 

Living in a human body is a challenging and often painful experience. At the same time, I marvel at its design at every level of abstraction. The level of organization inside a cell, to the tissue lines, to the organs which group together to create the subsystems that communicate through the network that moves the blood -- I find this level of organization to be spooky prodigious. (Especially when we start looking closely at human chromosomes.) 

Through science, I've always seen God, by looking at things that ring an alarm in my head that screams, "This does NOT happen by accident!" As human engineers, we don't make anything as complex and yet as seamless, as this.

If we're designed so great, then why do we tend to spin out by the time we reach the mid-life phase? 

 

How Humans Breaks


When the internet existed in the 1990s, I'm not sure there was very much interest in the topic of narcissism. Social media wasn't in our hands until at least the 2010s, which made self promotion more prevalent. As individuals we become more self-centered at the expense of our abilities to maintain relationships. We become islands onto ourselves.

I'm under the impression that this is linked to the rise of network traffic to the content topic of narcissism. This is an example of how a human being breaks. Like this, I contend that the mid-life crisis is another example. We are talking about the regular human being, without any disease or infection, without disabilities and impairments that require special attention, these are examples of how the regular human being breaks. 

I opened this blog when I started to learn about the nature of trauma -- another example of how a human being breaks. My original plans where to write about trauma. If you peruse through my titles, you'll notice I haven't written much at all about the topic of trauma. With each post I wrote, I was managing a part of my own condition. It's possible that my inability to maintain routine cycles is glaringly evident from the erratic frequency of my posts.  

Managing my own condition has been the dominating theme of the first half of my life. Now that I'm 40, where is the crisis? My answer: Palestine. 


The number of children killed in Gaza over the last few months is nothing less than staggering. Our naval-gazing society makes for an ever more dangerous world for children. The numbers of children victim to human trafficking is only rising. They are the victims of billionaires like Jeffrey Epstein. They are victims of SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse). Children are the targets of large and reputable institutions, such as the the Catholic Church, as well as corrupt systems of government funded "child protective" services and foster care systems.    

As a strong proponent of home schooling, I feel inclined to say that children are also the victims of the public education system, but this is where I step into the gray area of what it means to be a victim. After all, I attended public schools and I don't consider myself a victim. 

The gray area is where we see victim-hood in action, being used as an organizing principle. People try to undercut each other by proving who is more of a victim - competitive victim-hood! These are people who have no sensory disabilities, or mental or intellectual deficits. They seem to be normal on the surface, but they're broken.  

What am I doing here? How did I get here? What did I do to deserve this?  These are some examples of questions I see people asking, on their way to finding someone to blame for their internal turmoil. These are the actors in the gray space who are filling the airwaves with a noise that is blocking the rest of us from being able to identify the real victims of this world. Children. 

Because of this reality, I'm starting out the second half of my life, on a project dedicated to improving the lives of children. This will be the focus of the next battery of posts on this domain.

Thank you for reading.