SunnyD; nostalgia is weird (day 113)

There was a bottle of SunnyD at the grocery store for a dollar; crazy cheap compared to the other beverages I was considering.

I hadn’t had SunnyD for well over a decade, and I vividly remember not liking it whenever I had had it previously (not often).

However, I still bought it, and despite it being a negative association, there were positive feelings associated with recognizing it from my past.

It was roughly as bad/off-flavored orange drink as I remembered. I still feel happy I bought it and tried it again.

Brains and emotions are *really weird*.

Cascading failure (day 112)

Most bad things aren’t caused by a single mishap, misunderstanding, negligent action, or other sub-optimal or risky action; rather a combination of things come together.

Driving while distracted doesn’t ensure an accident, it simply means you’re awareness, perception, and reaction time are hampered. If that happens to align with another event, like an unexpected road condition, a driver unexpectedly entering your lane or merging into you, a slowdown, a deer, or simply a curve, its far more likely you won’t be able to react in time to prevent an accident, or reduce and control its severity.

Life is full of calculated risks, and fortunately, we’ve minimized the risk of a great many dangerous activities.

This gets unfortunate as we frequently don’t have immediate negative reinforcement for unacceptably risky activities…you know, like every time someone doesn’t get in an accident while texting while driving. Just have to consciously reaffirm to yourself (and others, if polite and effective) that even though there were no negative consequences this time, there might be later.

And when there are negative consequences, hold onto them and use them as emotional reminders for other behaviors.

Rights are man-made (day 111)

There are no “natural rights”, they’re all just concepts humans have created. And they take effort and resources to establish and maintain.

A falling tree doesn’t care about your right to bodily integrity. Corn and chickens don’t noblily sacrifice themselves on the altar to your right to food security. Hurricanes are notoriously indifferent to your property and privacy rights.

So when defining something as a right, you’re demanding society create a space where that thing or idea exists.

Establishing more rights are usually noble goals, but it’s important to be wary of the “someone else should fix this for me” problem, and instead approach it from a “how do i get other people to also want to do this thing that makes our lives better” direction.

Cookies are great (day 110)

Cookies have a built in portion allocation that’s well designed, they’re delicious, customizable to dietary restrictions and taste preferences, don’t require silverware or napkins (usually).

They’re also fairly durable, stack well and not hard to package, and last a good amount of time without preservatives or refrigeration.

In short, cookies are awesome, and have many specific qualities that make them excellent!

And appreciating them today made me happy.

Green is nature’s most worthless color (day 109)

Green (~510nm) is the only color of visible light not used in photosynthesis. It’s why plants are (mostly) green: the rest of the colors of visible light are being used to produce more plant, while green just gets tossed off.

It also why dead plants turn (usually) brown: they’re no longer absorbing and using the other colors, so all of them get sent back.

This idea felt very counter-intuitive at first, as so many things are green.

But its the wal-mart greeter of colors: very visible, always letting you know it’s there, but not actually making anything work.

25 hour fairness (day 108)

If I run on a 25 hour schedule, “once a day” being based on conventional, 24 hour solar days is unfair, to the tune of extorting ~14 extra “days” out of me every year.

A friend brought this up tonight, but it’s something I’ve pondered on before.

“Life isn’t fair” it’s the accurate but lazy way to address it.

I think the simplest answer is this is one of the last few things anchoring me to conventional time, and I’m a bit terrified to let go completely.

Aside from the obvious work, activities, and interacting with normal people while they’re awake issues, *everything* in life is structured, directly and indirectly, around a 24 hour day.

I frequently feel disconnected, but still participating in the real world, like a kid jumping in and out of a revolving door, getting a variety of looks when i don’t mesh perfectly with everyone.

Letting go completely of anything is hard, especially when I’m not even sure what I’m grabbing onto instead.

Can it be nothing, just float and work by my own clock, sun be damned? I dunno.

Priorities (day 107)

Two objects can’t occupy the same space. You and your friend can’t both eat the same piece of cake (baby birding doesn’t count, you weirdos). You can’t go to a movie and your kid’s dance recital at the same time.

At some point people, things, and ideas get ranked, because you have to choose one over the other.

It sucks, but is reality.

Which means coming to terms with ranking things, with making tough choices and sacrifices is an important part of being a real human being. And learning to deal with other people ranking you and things you care about differently, in ways that might not align with what you want.

I prioritized a friend today over my writing streak. Not fully intentionally, things ran later than expected. Despite feeling sad about it when i realized, I’m relatively okay with it: the streak was a tool for myself, an arbitrary goal to accomplish something I care about.

But I didn’t lose anything real, or hurt anyone by being “2 hours late”, and the time was very well spent. I would do it again (although if it did matter, I would’ve found a better way to manage it, so I could do both).

Make that List! (day 106)

Make that list!  Write it down!  Ya, you might remember it, but you might not.  Life enjoys throwing curveballs at you, but all you have to do is remember to check a strategically placed piece of paper, tiny slickboard, or your favorite list app, instead of everything else.  And that piece of paper doesn’t stress out about forgetting to buy pasta, or forget the 3 things you needed because you locked your keys in your car, are running late, or a family member had something bad happen to them.

The cost of writing it down is low.  The cost of hauling a scrap of paper and a pen, or just your phone around is low as well.  The emotional cost of forgetting something is medium to high, the practical cost somewhere between low and moderately high.

Plus, when you do it consistently, you’ll recover more time and emotional energy, because you’ll spend less of both trying to remember whatever you need to remember!  And you can spend those things on other stuff you care about more than the pasta you forgot to buy from the store (which is the *reason* you went to the store in the first place).

I know i’ve written this one before, but humans generally take lots of iterations to learn and remember things; I certainly do. And despite *knowing* I should write things down, I *still* frequently just brush it off.  Especially silly because I have a couple different things which negatively affect my short term memory and attention, but *still* haven’t mastered this particular skill.

So this one is especially for me, although I’m sure everyone who read the first “write it down” might not be executing as perfectly as they’d like either.  Also notable to coming to terms with “never ever repeat yourself” that has been plaguing me; being repetitive is something I want to avoid, but being *useful* is something I want to do, and that can easily involve touching on important things multiple times.

Little things (day 106)

Do little things to make yourself (and people you care about) happier.  Don’t demand of yourself everything be monumental, don’t dismiss the effort as meaningless because they’re small or simple.

Its impressive how much a handwritten name and number from a week ago, or a tiny glass figurine you like feeling the different textures of; a picture, a helpful gesture, or any of a million other tiny things can make a big improvement on your happiness.

You’re worth it.

Ask (day 105)

If you want something, ask! People are not mind readers, have lots going on in their lives, or simply not thinking about whatever specific thing you might want.

Obviously there are exceptions, but very seldom will a polite request end up being negative.

Had a wonderful dinner with a couple good friends I don’t get to see very much tonight.