I wasn’t sure how long my holiday blogging hiatus would be, but it seems like a good time to get back to it. Hope everyone had a great holiday season, although here in Puerto Rico we’ve just started. Tomorrow is Three Kings Day, which for many people here is bigger than Christmas and New Years. Johanna and I are going to a friend’s family party, and looking forward to experiencing a proper Puerto Rican Three Kings celebration. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m guessing it will involve lots of food, homemade alcohol, and (Spanish) dance music. I can’t speak Spanish or dance Salsa yet, and both are pretty key skills to have in PR.
I had a very nice time in Michigan for Christmas. Mostly sitting around drinking coffee/hanging out with my family (plus my childhood-adulthood friend Paul), but I also got a little taste of nostalgia visiting Ann Arbor. I’ve hardly been back to Ann Arbor since I graduated from the University of Michigan long ago. I’ve paraphrased this next part several times before on my blog, but it came to me yet again. I spend very little time looking back and enjoying past memories, but my college years in Ann Arbor when I was broke, constantly studying, and without a clue of what the future would hold, was one of the best periods of life in my hazy memory. I think it was the combination of an extremely challenging but attainable simple mission (strive for all A’s every semester… I maintained an A- average until the very last semester when I had already secured a post-college job, and wanted to have fun the last month of my college career), and a positive outlook on the future. Although I didn’t know what job/career/city I would fall into after college, I felt confident it would turn out well.
I re-read the book “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel on the plane ride to/from Michigan in which he explains indefinite optimism: the future will be better, but we don’t know how exactly. That helped me understand my college cheerfulness better, and it probably describes most of my mentality after college as well. “Zero to One” is one of those books that makes you realize there are people out there thinking levels beyond yourself, and it’s a bit intimidating when you come across someone who can articulate so many advanced/insightful ideas in so few words. I kept wondering how Peter Thiel has found so many hours outside of managing his billion-dollar investment empire to think about everything in that book? The only knock I would say against the book is that he’s almost too smart, and I wonder if he’s 100% convinced of what he wrote. There are some great ideas that make sense, but there’s also some random opinions that are represented as indisputable facts as well. With that said it was still a great kick in the butt call to get motivated, and thought-provoking.
After a heavy diet of non-fiction and trading books the past few weeks, I’m going in the opposite direction. Work is going very well (it’s weird as I write this because it’s all theoretical research and development — it will take a year for me to realize the benefits of the current work), and the rest of my life is pretty straight forward right now. I cook healthy food, workout properly 3 days a week (and do some mobility/light stuff on the off-days), do trading research and development during the day until my juice is gone, and recharge at night. At this exact snapshot of my life I find that I’m getting more insights into life and human nature from beautifully written fiction, rather than non-fiction books cited with studies and research. It’s weird because I abandoned fiction for many years as I didn’t see the value outside of entertainment. The current exception is biographies, which I’ve embraced as my go-to for audiobooks when I commute to the office and back. Why just live your current life when you can live vicariously through some of the most interesting people who’ve ever lived?
I’m leaving you with a pic from my evening beach walk on New Year’s Eve. I was awake until midnight (I was laying in bed with my earplugs, but my neighborhood fireworks allowed me to make until midnight), and then crashed looking forward to a new indefinitely optimistic year to begin.