Birthday

Today marks the 37th year of my life.  I’m sitting in a clean beige and white Scandanavian designed living room, watching heavy rain assault the streets outside, while sipping an excellent flat white (thanks to Pascal Cafe for allowing me to bring Califia Barista Blend almond milk so I don’t have to drink the tasty yet gluten-laced oat milk that is so popular). 

 

It’s getting pretty hard to keep track of my age these days.  Several people this past weekend asked me how old I am, and every time I had to stop and think for a few moments.  I’m not sure if it’s due to some dementia already, or being in a numerically insignificant age range.  40 is still a full three years away, so I have another year or two before that reality sinks in.  I surprised myself though yesterday with some strong self-reflection and personal analysis brought on by my impending birthday.

 

One thing that has really taken me by surprise lately is my own reactions, interests, and passion towards various aspects of my life.  In the past I’m not sure if I was more unconscious and just going off typical media-induced behaviors, but something has been changing.  If you would have surveyed me even a few months ago and asked how likely it was that I’d be waking up now energized and excited to do difficult Machine Learning research, I would have guessed very unlikely.  If I felt like I needed to do something that would make a quick buck I’d do it, but there wasn’t any motivation to go beyond that.  For a long time I viewed money-making work as something that I should do to support something “more important”, which recently was writing fiction.  I like writing my blog, but the pull to write outside of it isn’t there for me now.  Conversely, the thought of scaling up my trading operation to greater heights just for the fun of it is exciting enough to get me out of bed early (not that early of course, but it’s better than previously sleeping in the maximum until I’m forced to pee).

 

I’ve also been drifting from drinking.  Not that I’ve ever had a problem with it, but it’s been one of those social activities that felt non-negotiable.  I don’t plan to quit completely (I did have a few drinks at my birthday party Saturday where it felt overly weird to not partake), but I am a lot better hanging out and not drinking, even if everyone else is.  I just don’t get much out of it any more besides feeling tired, and it goes against all of my other interests in life (except for being social with friends/family).

 

Another one is travel, even though ironically I still have a bit more ahead of me this summer.  I used to want to see and experience everything, with an insatiable desire.  I still enjoy going to see friends and short trips, but other than that I prefer to be settled.  My feeling of settled is quite fluid though, and I’m at ease being in Bali/Stockholm/Bangkok/San Juan/etc for months at a time.  These are all places that I know and can have a routine life within a few days, so it’s a lot different than having to navigate everything from scratch like I used to do.   

 

Those are just a few of the things that have surprised me lately how my gut intuition and interests have changed.  Sometimes I just wake up and realize I don’t care that much about something that used to be very important to me, and that feeling persists.  Most of the things I do are pretty ingrained in my habits, and friends/family have this identity of me too reinforcing it, so it does take some effort to change.  The same goes for new things that I like.  I enjoy having prepared healthy food at home instead of eating out, I like taking walks, I like meditating.  I don’t do these things automatically, but they are always good for me, and they are part of the “new me” that even I forget about.  

 

I guess what a lot of this comes down to is being comfortable with a flowing identity, especially when that identity isn’t as “cool” as previous ones.  It was a lot easier when I worked at a trading company, owned gyms, played poker pretty seriously, etc. Now I’m 25% finance-bro, 75% computer-geek, and slowly shifting further towards full-nerd status as my work and interests progress.  As I continue to push away the things I’m not into anymore and do more of the things that I currently like, life is more fun.  I’m going to keep sticking with that path.

 

Leaving you with a pic of me and Nelly, my companion whenever I’m hanging around the apartment here in Stockholm.  It’s a little embarrassing when a cat knows three languages and you barely have a few sentences outside of English, but she’s a good influence.

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