Saturday, January 19, 2019

January 19

What was supposed to be a rain/snow/ice cluster fuck looks to be a mostly-rain/maybe some of it ices over situation. Hooray. The vagaries of the atmosphere and the movement of storms 50 or 100 miles one way or another can spell the difference between potentially life-threatening conditions and minor discomfort - I am retiring to Arizona, just as soon as I can afford to do so.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Friday, January 18, 2019

January 18

Yesterday, I rebalanced my retirement account portfolio. It was a very capital-A adult thing to do. I also increased my pre-tax contribution. Taking retirement more seriously was a new year's resolution for me, so this is a small step in the right direction. At my age, this is what passes for excitement. Doing small things you hope will pay off if/when you are lucky enough to not have to work anymore. I think I liked it better when my dreams were more prurient, but here we are.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

January 17

Last night, I had a great work out at the gym. One thing I try to do is workout with people who are younger and in better shape than me. It forces me to push myself harder to keep up (I am super competitive) and it also motivates me when I am able to do things people who are ten, fifteen, twenty, even twenty-five years younger than me cannot do. 

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January 16

The other day, Axios published an article, Life Brightens, Sourness Surges. The basic premise was that life has never been better, but a lot of people have not benefitted. With large chunks of the federal government shut down, all of the sudden, stories are being told of people with good government jobs who cannot make ends meet. Who live paycheck-to-paycheck. Who, if you take away a single paycheck, are suddenly in financial peril. 

It seems like a disconnect. All you read about is a booming stock market and low unemployment, but when you scratch an inch below the surface, you find that the majority of stock gains are (shocker) concentrated in a small percentage of people and that while unemployment is low, many of the jobs available are low wage, retail or service sector jobs. And so, the idea that people with stable employment struggle to pay the bills comes as a surprise to the serious people who write about our world.

I am more fortunate. I have some savings. If worst came to worst, I could scratch by for a few months without a paycheck. But I am not that much better off than the people who are being profiled. Who are selling things on eBay or Craigslist. Who have picked up part-time work while they wait for government to reopen. Income insecurity reaches further up the economic ladder than you might think.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

January 15

One of my Monday rituals is reading The Cut's Sex Diaries column. The premise is simple - one person, typically a New Yorker, records a week-long diary that combines the mundane, day-to-day with whatever is going on in their lives sexually. The range of diarists is broad but it gets me thinking about how boring mine would be. I rarely have sex. I had sex once last year and about five times in 2017. It use to bother me, but now I do not even notice it that much. After a while, you just sort of come to terms with the fact you are just one of those people who does not have intimate relationships with people and you focus your attention elsewhere.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

January 14

It is the beginning of another work week. There is not much to look forward to. I walk a lot at work. My office is in a big building with ample hallways, lots of stairs and usually once in the morning and once in the afternoon I will take a walk. I think about things, or nothing at all; I get lost in my own little world for ten or fifteen minutes. It helps. 

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 13

A light snow is falling on Central New Jersey today. I have made the executive decision that I will not be venturing out, even though we are getting (at best) an inch or two. Ever since my car accident last year, I have erred on the side of caution - if I can avoid it, I stay in. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I want to avoid the risk of another accident. Not only can I not afford to have another accident, from a financial standpoint, but one of the things that I still dwell on about the accident I had last year is how easily it could have been much worse - like, I could have been seriously injured. And that's the other reason, obviously, I want to avoid serious injury, but I also have two little ones that I am responsible for. It would be hard to take care of Pumpkin and Ghost if I was on crutches or had my arm in a sling. 

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

January 12

I have a theory that you can determine how complicated a person's life is by the number of keys they own. Me? I own three - one for the front door to my house, one for the side door through the garage, and a car key. That's it. That's the list. Although she will probably be the last person I ever feel romantic love toward,  Special Lady Friend had a key ring that would put Schneider from One Day At A Time to shame. Her life was super complicated, mine was as simple as it comes. I guess it never stood a chance of working out between us.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

January 11

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article that talked about how the oceans are warming much faster than expected. The implications for the planet are not good. There are few things good about getting older, but one of them is knowing you will not be around for the worst effects of climate change. 

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

January 10

Today is someone's birthday who is very special to me. She is the person who made me realize I needed to get out of my marriage and for that I will be forever grateful. Of course, one of my specialties is pushing people away who care about me, so we are not in touch right now, but it does not mean I am not thinking of her and how profound an effect she had on my life. 

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

January 9

There was a big dustup on the internet the other day. A 50-year-old French writer penned an essay about how he does not find women his age attractive and only dates younger women. The uproar was predictable. I grant you, an older guy writing about how he likes younger (and, presumably better looking) women is not exactly atom-splitting material, but having been single for some time now and read hundreds of dating profiles, women can be just as arbitrary - no one under six feet tall, no one over six feet tall, no one who owns cats, or does not own cats, or owns dogs, or does not own dogs, or has kids, or does not have kids, or wants kids or does not want kids, or is bald, or is not bald, or has blonde hair, or does not have blonde hair, and on and on and on. A lot of people think that stuff matters (I happen to think they are much less important when it comes to a successful match), so why are we dragging some pervy old man and not everyone else?

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

January 8

I am lonely. It is one of the unexpected effects of divorce. When I first got divorced, I knew it would take some time to get over it, to become accustomed to the new reality, to figure out what it was I wanted out of the next phase of my life. I was 40. I thought I had time. Now, I worry the window closed. 

I do date from time to time, but nothing ever seems to last. Most of the time, it feels more like an awkward job interview that does not result in an offer. It can be insidious too - the more things do not work, the more I want to chase finding something (and someone) who will, the more they do not work, and on and on. 

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Monday, January 7, 2019

January 7

Is there a statute of limitations on how long you are allowed to keep your Christmas lights up after Christmas? I have neighbors who have still not taken theirs down. I guess I understand it on some level - once the lights come down and the memories of Christmas and New Year's fade, all that is is left is eight weeks (give or take) of capital W winter. Just day after day of cold weather, limited daylight, and the persistent threat of snow, sleet, and ice. Why would you not want to be festive as long as you can?

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

January 6

Today, I am having lunch with an old friend of mine. The list of people who know both sides of my life - the "IRL" me and the social media me is vanishingly small. I have always subscribed to the idea that we have three lives - our public lives, our personal lives, and our secret lives. It is a relief when you can drop the mask and just be you around someone who accepts (and knows you) in whole, or at least as close as you are comfortable being.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

January 5

The Huffington Post recently re-upped an article about lifestyle changes for people with anxiety. The article listed 17 techniques of which, it turns out, I already do 10 (making my bed everyday, keeping my phone on silent, using cognitive behavior therapy techniques, writing down my schedule/to-do list, working out, cutting toxic people/things out of my life, establishing a bedtime routine, journaling, doing something with my hands (photography), and preparing in the morning). 

A couple I just don't believe in (if I hear someone utter the word "mindfulness" around me, I get stabby, limiting social media or caffeine? Uh, no (although I only drink one cup of coffee and never drink soda or alcohol), practicing "gratitude?" (see "mindfulness")) and the others are hard for me to do - opening up to others, practicing acceptance, and saying "no." 

If anything, I feel like I bend over backwards to gain the acceptance of others (a product of heavily withholding parents and an ex-wife who constantly moved the goalposts on what would make her happy, resulting in a never-ending chase to try and give that to her) and, to be honest, at this point - at 48 - how much juice would I get out of those particular squeezes? There is something to be said for being set in your ways and maybe that is a form of acceptance that I am coming around to.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Friday, January 4, 2019

January 4

I do not have a lot to say this morning. I did send out a tweet last night that got some decent traction, so there is that. I was in bed before 9 pm and slept through until 5 am or so when Pumpkin and Ghost decided it was time to get up. I encourage their early morning shenanigans if only because it seems like that is the most exercise they get during the day. Otherwise, they just sleep a lot and bug me to feed them (which I indulge to the point where I worry that they are both too fat). 

Three-day work weeks are a concept I could get behind. 

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

January 3

I think a lot about retirement, or more specifically, whether or not I will be able to do so. You know those ads they show on TV asking people how much they think they will need for retirement and invariably it is way more than they think? That's me. I am 48, I tried to save, I really did, but a combination of bad luck and bad timing really set me back. To wit, I was diligently withholding 10 percent of my salary and putting it in a retirement account right up until I got divorced, when, (joke is on me!) my ex-wife got half of it. To add insult to injury, this all happened in 2010 - a *great* time to invest at precisely the time I also had to start paying alimony (truly, the gift that keeps on giving). 

So, I missed out on investing during one of the great bull markets in history. Now that alimony is done and I've recouped some of my losses, the market is running out of steam. Why do we expect something that is basically lightly regulated gambling to fund for our retirement? Anyway, I once had dreams of retiring before I was 60, now I am not so sure. I do not want to be like my parents - my dad worked until the day he died (literally, he stroked out at 53) and my mom worked well into her 70s. I saw how miserable they were, how little planning they had done (neither one was "good with money") and always said to myself, "that will not be me." Now, I am not so sure.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January 2

300 hours (give or take). That is how long I was on vacation. It seems like an enormous amount of time when it starts, but it goes too quickly. The first day back at work is different than it used to be. Thanks to technology, we can all check our emails even while we are away, so I already know (most) of how my first day back will be. But hey, at least it is only a three-day week.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

January 1

The thing about getting older is you greet each new year with less excitement and more trepidation. When you're young, you rarely pause to consider having made it to the beginning of a new year, but when you're older, you start wondering how many more you will make, how quickly time seems to pass, and how much you want it to slow down. 

I am not one for resolutions, the most meaningful one I made was now almost 20 (!) years ago, when I decided to quit smoking and get healthy. That one worked out well, but this year, I am going to try and write more. It seems like a reasonable goal and one I might enjoy reaching.

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy