This recent(ish) Ribbonfarm article about banal ideas becoming loaded with meaning got to me. I immediately deleted an old draft I had left unpublished on a similar topic, one of a flurry of scribbled-out ideas from my post about Law of Unrecognized Novelty last year that I never picked up. The gist of it was that phrases or concepts can become imbued with incommunicable meaning over time, and seemingly banal phrases can mean much more than the unprepared listener can comprehend.
But anyway, it got me to return here.
This is a post about habits I’ve changed in the past year. In short, I now think accounting and nutrition are interesting, which 2009Me would find totally insufferable.
I’ve run this script before: I dip into an internet subculture out of curiosity and get sucked into a pocket for a while. This time, it was the Financial Independence space. As far as my subculture excursions go, this one is generally not considered abhorrent by outsiders, just odd. I stuck around a while.
I have always been
frugal prudent with my money, and income-wise I’m doing alright, but exposure to these groups demonstrated to me how much farther I could go. I built spreadsheets, projected earnings, learned trends in my own daily/weekly/monthly spending behavior, adjusted, and plotted. It was a great personal journey, but also one of those things that are only really exciting and interesting when they’re happening to you, and so makes pretty awful small talk.
Mind you, the whole Financial Independence thing is not just about saving money. Well, mainly it is, but it’s also about personal identity, discipline, self-awareness. The community is supportive and sometimes exhaustingly meticulous.
My hot-shit stock pick method of 2013, (which I knew intellectually was dumb but never got punished for- bull markets are bad teachers) has been replaced with something more in line with what a Boglehead might recognize: diversified, low-cost, and essentially autopilot. And now that the whole market is diving I’m glad I didn’t stick with 2013Me’s rickety plan.
This is an area that I didn’t expect to find interest in. No one ever really talked to me much about nutrition before, and I have never had much regard for dietary science as a body of knowledge, I guess.
My attitude now would disgust 2009Me, but they say that a person is the average of their five closest friends, and three of my most frequent acquaintances have pulled me into this space. Two of them, colleagues who have worked with me in the healthcare space, have become interested in nutrition and fitness as a neighboring concept to the healthcare problems we were exploring; my girlfriend has always been into nutrition (and ethical vegetarianism) and so any meals I shared with her tended to have certain properties. I have simply come to accept them.
Over time, I have actively tried to learn what it is that everyone is doing to my diet. I internalized a bit of it. I began running and pretending to take care of myself like an adult. In another year, if I announce that I’ve become a vegetarian, I should not be applauded. I am a sheep.