When I die (or, rather, a little before I die, if I have time to be contemplative about my death) I plan on reflecting back on my life.
I expect that my peace with life will be based not on how much I’ve worked, or how much money I’ve made, but will be based on a mix of my relationships and experiences as informed by my theology.
- Relationships I
- Relationships II
- Work I
- Work II
- Books and Wisdom
My theology is simple. I ascribe to the Westminster Catechism (full disclosure, I couldn’t spell catechism if it were not for spellcheck) and believe that about 2000 years ago, a man named Jesus lived, said things of enormous significance, died, and then rose again.
You, too, have a theology. Statistically, it’s probably I don’t care if there is/isn’t a “god”, but I wish people were not so terrible to each other.
This is totally fine with me. I’m not writing about theology; I value when others lay out their assumptions about the world, because that invariably impacts their thoughts on the world.
I, too must outline my assumptions about the world, so you can evaluate them, weigh them, glean any possible value from them, then discard the rest.
Here’s my stab at a personal mission statement (though I’m only partially sold that I should have one):
Learn and apply as much as I can in all domains, embracing any failure as a learning opportunity, and humbly share my experiences with others to inspire them to do the same. I will expose myself to difficulty and risk in a wise fashion, knowing that this exposure is one of the best ways to learn and grow.
My relationships are simple. I’m married, and it’s the coolest thing. I don’t know how to best sum it up, but far and away the best thing I’ve got going for me is Kristi.
The significance and importance of my marriage far outweighs other topics that I write about, like money, travel, work, jobs, side projects, programming, climbing, etc.
I don’t know much about marriage, or relationships, but please fight fair.
I feel like the luckiest guy to have a strong web of good friends and family around me. I can have a question about anything, and probably know someone that can provide an excellent answer, or if not, can help me get that answer.
This web of relationships provides incalculable support and peace of mind, and gives me room to take larger risks in other domains of life.
I used to believe that personal relationships were of little value. I was a fool. I now view them to be one of the most important parts of my life.
I care about my tools and believe that good questions lead to understanding, not just answers.
I put work way down here because I aspire for it to belong way down here. I want it (and related side-projects) to not be the thing that provides my primary sense of meaning and satisfaction. I fail hard at this.
Most recently, I worked at Litmus on the Customer Success team. Litmus is a tool for email marketers, and I spent my days making sure all of our customers are getting as much value from the tool as possible. It is in some ways much more complicated than that, in others exactly that simple.
My job done well means our customers stay with us for a long time, and are really happy to be with us. Litmus’ success as a company is directly tied to the success of our customers.
Remote and asynchronous
My entire time at Litmus, I worked remotely, I saw most of my coworkers ~2x/year, and lived in the same time zone as almost none of them.
I was once interviewed on working remotely, and believe that in the right context, the constraints imposed by remote work can improve the quality of your work. (I’m in the habit of writing everything down and summarize and itemize everything. See the top of this post, and that index? It’s habit, made by working remotely. You cannot over-communicate in a remote environment.)
Remote work is great when you live in one place, but also opens the door to cool travel opportunities
My primary side-project is The Climber’s Guide, which currently has made, to date, $59.97, or “several pennies per hour of effort I’ve expended”.
The process of building it out, talking to climbers, etc, has been extremely educational.
This project pulls together a few different skill sets, only two of which I’ve had before starting. (I know how to climb and how to teach. Building a product and curriculum and marketing and an email list and a business is a whole different skill set indeed.)
Books and Wisdom
My own thinking is severely limited, and the best way to learn to think better is to learn from those who think clearly.
Wise men and women pour themselves into writing a good book, which you can consume for mostly-free, and a few hours of your time. Books are doors into other people’s heads and hearts, or into entirely new worlds. I cannot state concisely all the reasons that I think you should read, but here’s a good starting point.
Oh, and I use a Kindle. I think you should too, but whatever it takes to help you read is fine with me.
The human body is amazing, and adaptable. If you could push a button and easily go through life with perfect physical health, you would. Statistically, most people are not in perfect physical health, so they deal with a huge range of maladies.
exercise is 25% of the “fitness equation”
There are people out there who love exercise for the sake of exercise. While sometimes I feel like I can relate, usually I cannot.
Anytime I think about exercise, I think about the time requirements compared to the benefit. Distance running immediately fails this evaluation. It’s appeal is precisely because it is miserable and difficult. The reason some people like running is because it’s miserable and difficult, and I wish the sport as a whole would admit this.
I love to be miserable and do difficult things, but on my own terms. (My “suffering of choice” is almost entirely focused on rock climbing. I write about it on climbersguide.co. Join me.)
There’s no magic bullet, but there’s a convenient way to get amazing exercise in just a few minutes, in the comfort of your own home. And body-weight anything doesn’t cut it, unless it’s related to pull-ups. Allow me to introduce Russian Kettlebell Swings.
If you were to do no other exercise for the rest of your life, but swing heavy kettle bells, you’d be in better shape than almost everyone you know, for only a modest time investment of 5-10 minutes, every other day.
Food is the other 75% of the “fitness equation”
They say “bodies are built in the kitchen”, and they’re right.
I don’t know much about food, but I sure do have some opinions. The FDA’s food pyramid is complete crap, and you should probably be eating more fatty stuff and butter. Stop drinking sugar.
Intermittent fasting is pretty cool, and speeds up the mornings nicely. Been doing this since late 2015, have had nothing but a positive experience
Writing here is purely an exercise to improve my own thinking. It’ll be ugly. I’m OK with this.
Comments/questions/criticisms? I’m thompsonjoshd at google’s popular email service.
I’m other places, too: