May

It’s getting a lot more difficult to think creatively as I get older. There isn’t much idle time for me anymore, and if I get some, I’m usually spending it consuming media in some sense.

Most of my non-idle time is spent learning about things, watching “edu-tatinment” Youtube videos, or just playing video games. I spend another huge chunk of my time doing things I’m committed to, like church. There’s a huge list of things I do in the post before this one.

So suffice it to say: I don’t know what to write here. I’m mostly writing as a formality, and I even missed the day I was supposed to post.

Sorry, April. You were kind and unkind to me.

This year has just flown by.

Eld

They say a few things happen when you get older.

First, you lose your creativity.

Second, you stop appreciating the little things in life.

Third, you lose all the time you have for yourself and the things that you love.

It’s all happening.

It’s true that I haven’t been stopping to smell the roses as often, and many attribute this change to the increase of activity that takes up mental space. But I feel as if I’ve smelled the roses so much that I’m just tired of them. There’s a rose around every corner, and I appreciate them all–it just takes a spectacular one to impress me.

My creativity is waning because I’m at a loss of where to use it. Creativity is one of those skills that is much harder to develop than to lose. You have to keep working at it to keep it sharp–sit idly and it’s gone.

Now, I spend a lot of my time learning about things I love, practicing them, executing everything. It’s fulfilling, to a certain extent. Sometimes I just want to do something else, and other times I wonder if there’s anything more. Some ennui is beginning to come over me, and I’m not even working. I hope this isn’t early-onset depression from a lack of direction in life.

But this is what I wanted. I don’t want to be hinged on some salary. The last few months I wrote about how I never want to return to the rat race, and I don’t think I’m going to change my mind about that soon.

I can’t help but notice how much and how quickly my attitude toward money has changed in the last few months. Several months ago, I would have balked at the idea of thinking so much about money, about thinking of ways to minimize cost.

Now, however, I’m constantly brainstorming ideas of how I can make my penny stretch further, and where I can put my money so it makes me some more.

Many of the most successful people in the world have, at one point, lost everything they have.

I hope it doesn’t happen to me, but maybe I should.

What am I learning?

The secret’s out: nine months later and I’m still unemployed. But it’s by choice, I swear!

I’m currently trying to find employment, though. The hard part is convincing an interviewer that I’ve been productive despite my absence at work.

You see, the mentality I’ve developed is that there’s more to life than sitting in an office. This mentality is not a new one; I’ve made the choice to try to remove myself from the rat race last June when I really hated my job. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting around playing games for eight months. Maybe just the first two or three.

Investments and Side Profits

The one thing I’ve probably given the most attention in the past year is investments. I spend quite a bit of time doing research on different types of investments, terms, mindsets. I read books and articles and watch videos. It’s pretty interesting what people have come up with to make themselves more money.

Opening a stock market account was one of the first steps: three months and -40% later, I decided to open up a few different investment accounts with different brokerages and firms where I wouldn’t be responsible for my own bankruptcy.

They are: Robinhood, Fundrise, Lending Club, Prosper, Kiva, and Betterment. I moved my Roth IRA to TD Ameritrade so I could keep better track of it.

I can talk or write more about any of these things if people want. Don’t invest in anything you haven’t researched.

You also may have noticed the ads in the blog. Sorry, but it’s an almost-guaranteed way of making pennies! There are a lot of them, though. I’ll see what I can do to fix it.

The long-term plan is to buy real estate.

Church

Teaching youth students music is both rewarding and fun. We’ve hit a point where we’ve plateaued and I’m trying to find ways of moving us along.

Leading / singing while playing keyboard is another new thing, too. There’s a lot more to it than I thought; it’ll probably be the same case with singing while playing guitar. Gotta get back into practicing that.

Emerald City Voices

In August I joined a chorus (I briefly wrote about in my last post) and it’s keeping me busy. We’re participating in our first competition next Saturday, and people in our group are optimistic that we can win regionals and make it to the finals.

I’m a little less sure: we’ve got lots of imperfections that we can’t seem to handle, and there’s always the competition politics that prevent a brand-new group from winning first place. Regardless, all of us have been working hard to make everything come together. Hope it goes well.

I’m also using this time with the chorus to learn how to arrange for SATB. I’ve done two or three full pieces, working on two more, and arranged snippets of things for fun. Trying to keep my wits sharp and all that. Of course, learning how to sing good is a benefit on its own.

Video Game Development

One way I’ve been keeping sharp with my development skills is by working on this game. It’s somewhere between chess and a tactics game like Fire Emblem, but with our own mechanics.

It’s coming along well, but so many things have been pulling me around that I’m not too sure when it’ll be completed. This will definitely stay near the top of my priorities list, though.

Dungeons and Dragons

DMing D&D takes so much freakin’ time, dude. It’s fun, though. Running Storm King’s Thunder with some high school friends and will be starting Curse of Strahd with some high-school-aged kids from church. Lots to read, lots to prepare. I hope to carry this hobby with me until I die.


Other things I’m learning are cooking and building charisma. Self-confidence takes you super far, and I get my self-confidence from knowing that I made a great steak the night before.

I didn’t think I had this much on my plate, but seeing it all written out has me reeling.

Why have I been gone?

A few reasons. It started with a trip to Korea that left me unable to update my QOTD on a daily basis, then an error with my browser and reCAPTCHA that kept me from logging in after I got back.

I switched browsers. Everything’s fine now.

The last two months have been far from uneventful. The Korea trip was full of a ridiculous amount of delicious food, but I actually lost weight from walking around so much. I saw PC Cafes, from cheap to luxurious, and got to see some of the Korean-war-era American-influenced history in the form of memorials and statues.

Korea’s a weird place. There’s no middle class, and the line between the rich and poor is vast. It’s definitely going through the growing pains of being a country that’s recently come across a huge amount of wealth and still doesn’t really know how to use it effectively.

In November, the church blew up. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Not much else happened.

December was full of gigs with ECV (eight, to be exact), that had us traveling all over Washington. It was a time of my own fulfillment, where I could brag that I learned 26 songs in three months and had 98% of the notes down. I tried to keep a lid on it, though. No sense in leaving a bad impression on your newest best friends.

All the while, I’ve been watching the stock market and investing into other places. My goal is to never enter the rat race again.

As cheap as a recap post is, I kinda need it in lieu of my missing QOTD months. The time away has been refreshing, no doubt, but I’ll be back next month with the regularly-scheduled post full of pessimism and introspection.

I hope you’re excited for it. I sure am!

Questo รจ tutto?

A lot has been on my mind lately, and I’ve had a hard time choosing just one thing to write about. Here’s one of many topics:

Is this it?

Have we worked so hard in our society to develop technology just to make junk? Did all these historical societies have to be destroyed so people can spend the better part of their days staring at luminescent rectangles in their hands?

There is no doubt in my mind that laypeople in history have wasted time doing nothing, but we’re in a place now where we don’t have to do that much laborious work in a single day. The time spent in between work and sleep: commuting, eating, and spending time with others… could be filled with just time staring at your phone.

The only social media platform I use is Facebook, and I’m thinking I’ll deactivate it soon. I’d rather be spending time learning about something interesting to me–which is something I use my phone to do a lot (I know a lot of random trivia now). Facebook, Instagram, whatever. They’re a waste of time. They’re the modern iteration of reality TV.

If you know me, you probably know that in certain areas of my life, I’m a perfectionist. Music is one of them. Grammar / punctuation is another. Mediocrity is another pet peeve of mine. If you choose a passion or career path, why not put 110% effort into it? Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.