Birth Rate Decline

World Population as compared to Birth Rate
World life expectancy

The graphs generally align to start/end dates, hence their use. Many other ways to look at the data.

They say the only sure thing in life is death and taxes. Everyone will pass eventually, so that the global population, on a very long scale, is based on birth rate. For population to be “stable” it needs to be about 2.1 children, in order to account for early deaths (i.e. low life expectancy). For a multitude of reasons, the birth rate was such that the overall population growth tended to be around the 0.5% rate per year. Things grow at any rate over 0%, though slowly. The baby boomers are super evident, but also some absolutely massive advances in health care/education that increased life expectancy. People may be anti-vaccine, but the numbers don’t lie – the eradication of polio and wide use of anti-biotics added 20 years to the average life expectancy.

This is an important fact, as when the industrial revolution started the average life span was only 35 globally – 45 in the Americas. Unions and pensions came about just after the baby boom, where life expectancy was closer to 55/65. If you retired at 60, you took a 5 year pension. Geriatric care didn’t really exist as we know it today… there weren’t enough people for it. When the baby boomers “came into power” in the mid-80s there was approximately half the amount of people on the planet, and nearly everyone was their age or younger. This pragmatic statement… non-productive members of society are by definition a drain on society. I am not debating that elders should be rewarded for their years of productivity. It’s a math thing though… you can’t withdraw more than you put in. The “you” in this case is generalized to society.

Today, the birth rate is declining. There are many reasons, most of them tied to the level of education of the population, which is itself tied to infant mortality rates. As people become more educated, they have access to better health care, and have less children. That is a massive simplification.

So we now have a declining birth rate, meaning less people being born and an increasing life expectancy, meaning more non-productive members of society. This will last until the “baby boomer bubble” exceed the life expectancy. In North America, with an expectancy of ~80yrs, that means this will last until 2026-2044. Back to the comment about not withdrawing more than you put in… if baby boomers retiring now think that they are going to get the same “benefits” as their parents, someone is in for a bad time.

The overall global population itself won’t decline as long as there are more people being born than those leaving. Perhaps there’s an interesting bit here where life expectancy in some areas (particularly the US) is actually in decline.

And of course, all of this ignores the upcoming global famine caused 1) supply chain issues (ideally resolved in the next 12 months), 2) the war in Ukraine (people don’t fully realize how BIG a supplier they are) and 3) global warming (this one will kill us because of inaction). But that cheery topic is for another time.

Return to Worksite

Without going into too much detail, I am involved in this particular topic at a rather large scale. For the past (now that I really think about it) 11 years, I’ve been trying to find a way to remove barriers to working remotely. This stemmed from a work stoppage incident when I was younger, where there was a picket line we could not cross and a rather substantial emergency that needed to be addressed. I got through the line, but lost so much time it was dumb. I figured if I could be a webmaster for a bunch of websites across North America, why couldn’t I do the same thing with my “real” job?

Security is the first, second, and third answer to that question. That issue has gotten worse over the years, and you all see it on smart phones that start showing you ads for things you’re talking about, clearly listening to you. But a Fort Knox defense can’t mean 10minutes of hoops to get access, it needs to find the right balance of user experience and on-going monitoring, with privacy controls. They need to securely connect with ease, and I need to make sure that it’s really them and that the connection itself “is clean”. Heck of a dance.

Fourth is scale. Remote access solutions are just like a security checkpoint at an airport. They need to let a TON of people through a key points of the day, and then have less use in other times. Peak load starts at 8AM and tapers off near 3PM, time zone specific. While there are plenty of solutions on the planet, few of them can operate at the scale I need and the security criteria as well.

Fifth is performance. This one is complicated because of “old stuff”. In the older “on-site” model, you were inside the perimeter and could generally move about with ease. If you wanted to get a box of paper from one office to your desk, not too bad. In a remote world, you’re trying to get that same box of paper from the same office, to your home desk. It needs to pass the security gates and then ship. What was a 2 minute job may take an hour now. And you can’t use any paper but that. For remote work to be useful, the boxes of paper need to be as close to the door as possible, to make it as fast as possible. Now imagine there are millions of offices with boxes. Hah!

Concerns

I’ve had an uphill battle against a culture that was adamant that people would not work without direct supervision, or that face to face meetings was the only way to manage people. While this may seem like it’s a challenge for the team under a manager, it’s actually the manager who is the problem. If that manager is spending their day looking over people’s shoulders, then the company is paying them to babysit.

Don’t get me wrong, there are people who need the daily human contact in the office to stay sane. I’ve met more than a few that need to have those 3 coffees a day break in order to be productive. There are people who simply cannot work remotely for physical reasons (like a tiny apartment, bad internet, noise, or the actual work is physical). Then there’s the serendipitous aspect of work, where conversations in the elevator/hall can trigger something new (the nature of this aspect makes it random).

Are teams more or less productive in or out of the office? The entire pandemic proved that the world can be extremely productive, if given the appropriate toolset.

Costs

Directly, it costs much less to have a remote workforce than an on-site one. The real property costs for office space are numbers you don’t want to imagine. You could give every employee $5,000 a year and it still would be a drop in the bucket.

And yet, there are costs to the company, especially if they own the building. Apple’s new HQ cost $5 billion dollars. That’s a lot, until you realize Apple profits per quarter are like $20 billion (they paid it off in 3 weeks). Corporate needs to be accountable, and the math on bad real property investments has not been sorted out yet.

Then there are the indirect costs to the community. Coffee and lunch shops all but closed up completely on my city’s downtown core. More of them opened in the suburbs where people now work. The people that were working in those locations now can’t, and need to travel to a new one. And tax revenues are higher in a downtown core, so the municipality is actually losing money. Heating/cooling/power/water costs are shifted as well, where peak demand is now spread to a larger area. We’ve still got a ways to go to figure this all out.

Benefits

All that to get here. Remote work has multiple benefits.

  • Working from anywhere at anytime means flexibility for the employee. Dentist appointment? Much easier to do that in the middle of the day and still get work done. Want to work from a patio, or next to a pool? Be in a scent-full zone? Avoid nosy cubicle neighbours? All of it works.
  • Ability to hire a more diverse workforce. I could hire folks only in my city, or I could hire people across the country/globe. Why have someone work til 8pm here when I can have someone work til 5pm on the West Coast and cover the same time? Assuming the person has a viable internet connection (not guaranteed for all, certainly), they are a candidate
  • It forces adoption of digital tools. I still remember my boss asking me to print out a wiki, and 2 weeks before the pandemic hit, someone was hired to print daily binders. The idea of HR taking a piece of paper in the mail and shipping it around for 3 months is dead. They get a digital signature and can process within a few minutes. Digital tools simply remove “wait times”. Those folks sitting in a chair 8 hours but doing 15 minutes of work are all but gone.
  • It doesn’t prevent people from meeting face to face or socializing, if they are geographically close. They can have a big team planning meeting and then head out to lunch.
  • It is a tool to attract talent. I’ll be super up front on this, the best talent doesn’t need to be sitting in a desk in an office building. The brightest folks are “on” 24/7 inside their head and giving them the tools to be creative is fundamental. They are in high demand, and while pay is a primary incentive, flexibility is the next one. Apple lost their AI exec because of this, and he found a job the next day. It’s an employee’s market… anyone who thinks otherwise is going to go out of business.

We’re in a cultural shift, which makes a lot of people uncomfortable as we’ve been in a “worksite” mindset for nearly 100 years. But it’s the future.

When the Parents Leave the Room

Not gaming related, at all.

I love my kids, truly. They can drive me crazy at times, and I am more impressed than much else when that happens. Both are wildly curious and get an absolute joy of testing boundaries. Frankly, I wouldn’t expect less from them if they want to have a “successful” life – folks aren’t just going to hand them things after all. Their reaction to those boundaries is certainly different, in that one will find the sneakiest way around them, while the other will try to brute force their way through. As parents, we need to apply a different response to both approaches, which can be quite exhausting. But ultimately fulfilling (that’s the plan at least!)

If we are not present, then they have a sort of lord of the flies approach to getting things done, which effectively spirals down to baser instincts and emotional outbursts. It’s a bit like a game of one-upmanship, where one crazy stunt enables the next one to be a little bit crazier. It always ends poorly, and then we adults pick up the pieces. It’s arguably better now, as they’ve gotten older and have more tools available to them, but neither are teens yet, so there’s truckloads of maturity to go.

Why does this matter? Well, there’s a need of enablement for childish behaviour. We’ve all been at a restaurant with a kid acting up to a crazy degree. Normally we just brush it off, part of the age bit. There are times where you might speak up, either trying to help the (likely exhausted) parent, or just to set some additional boundaries. It’s ok to act out, it’s an emotional reaction to something. The response to that event is the important part, so that there’s some learning afterwards.

Where the wheels of the bus fall off is when adults are doing this, and the adults in charge encourage that behavior. In no sane place on this planet would people storming the capital, breaking doors, be considered “normal”. It shouldn’t be acceptable to scream obscenities at someone like Westboro Baptist Church does. Or to threaten/bomb/kill people. There are “rules” to ensure society works and we respect each other. That only works if everyone agrees and supports those rules. If a group decides those rules only apply to others and not themselves, then thankfully society has a term for that.

In the more moderate spaces, those folk get shipped into corners and ignored or excluded. That is a challenge with 24/7 propaganda news channels, and near impossible with our current iterations of social media. This can happen to the most sane person too, if you brainwash / gaslight them enough. We’ve all got enough stories of people stuck in some sort of conspiracy theory rabbit hole.

The US is likely to revert a 50 year old decision to enable support for abortions at the national level, and instead move it to the state level. (I have my views.) Some people don’t agree with this and have opted to protest outside the judges’ homes. In an orderly society this would be seen poorly and folks would be admonished and told to return home. But not in the US, where even killing people you disagree with is somehow acceptable if you can prove (now this is an interesting word) you feel threatened (to the broadest sense). It’s really quite spectacular from the outside, as there are certainly ripple effects across the globe. The US prime export is culture after all.

It’s a sad space, where even those trying to apply some level of sanity to events are simply shouted down. Further when folks are elected solely on their ability to make a scene. I get the frustration and the boiling point. Things are objectively worse for my kids generation than they are for my parents – across nearly every single imaginable metric. I’m not following how having more yelling somehow accomplishes anything to fix that problem, other than inciting more yelling and worse.

Perhaps there’s a chance that the adults have not all left the room and that there are people that actually want to help others. It’ll be an interesting ride until the adults come back into the room.

Crypto is a Scam – Full Stop

Post is mostly a result of the recent Gabe Newell interview where he talked about a bunch of things – Steam Deck which appears to actually be the real deal, and how Steam’s toe into the crypto market had a 50% rate of scammers.

First, I want to differentiate the concept of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Blockchain is a different approach to chain of custody, where information is decentralized. Like if you bought a car, the government would have the record of that purchase. In a blockchain, that transaction would be a in a publicly accessible ledger that is shared, and through *internet magics*, difficult to tamper. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is dependent on blockchain to determine who has ownership of said currency. It has nothing to do with the inherent value of the currency, which is part of the problem.

Second, this adage is core to the concept. An item only has value (in the monetary sense) to the buyer. A pair of Air Jordans cost a couple dollars to make, but are worth hundreds because buyers believe they are worth that amount.

Boiler Room does a really great job on explaining the pump and dump schemes of the stock market, arguably a better lens than Wolf of Wall Street (which is more a biopic on the effects of greed). The idea here is a simple one:

  • Find something with no inherent value (like a rock)
  • Collect many of these things, which has limited if no cost
  • Apply lipstick to say thing (let’s call it a pet)
  • Convince one person that this thing has value <– the first person is the hard part
  • Convince another person that this thing has more value because someone else thought it had value <– this is peer pressure/herd mentality
  • Continue selling this item until either
    • there is no more inventory to sell OR
    • people catch on

The interesting portion on crypto is that inventory is limited and that creation of said inventory is decentralized. It’s called mining, as it’s conceptually the same as normal mining – companies invest to collect resources, and efforts to collect more are exponentially more expensive. Crypto is created through solving complex mathematical problems, typically with video cards as they have the best processing power.

Bitcoin, one of the most recognizable names, has been mined 18.4 million times in 10 years. There are 2.6 million bitcoins left to mine, and that will take ~120 years to complete, in line with the exponential difficulty. So what to do? Well, you create a new crypto currency and mine the crap out of that, hoping that you can make a profit. Nearly every single cryptocurrency out there is predicated on a limited source controlled by a small group, them hyping it so that others believe there is value and buying said crypto, the seller skipping town, and the buyers eventually realizing it was all hype while the value crashes.

Did I mention that the wide majority of crypto currency cannot be exchanged against anything but other currency yet? You can’t buy an orange with it. If you had 1 Ethereum, you would have to convert it to local currency, and then use that to purchase something. This means that you need brokers to convert the currencies, which are using both blockchain (for the crypto) and standard ledgers to track the purchases. Again, in the wide majority of cases, these brokers actually don’t maintain standard ledgers, which make them a great haven for criminals looking to launder. This is why many brokers operate in tax havens, or areas where there are no extradition treaties.

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are not crypto, but they do operate using blockchain. What is completely hilarious here is that you don’t actually own anything but the token. It’s like you owning the key to a mansion, but not the actual mansion. Public NFT (like say a unique GIF) are hosted in the public domain, with a key that is simply a URL. There is absolutely nothing preventing anyone from simply going to that URL and downloading the item. Private NFT (like say a unique skin in a game) are hosted on private domains, where the token is a unique entry that grants you access to the item. Of course, that item has absolutely no use outside of that private domain, and only exists for as long as that domain does. So it only has value for people in that ecosystem. Similar to crypto, there is a broker in this mix who takes a cut from the transactions. Can NFT make sense for a game like Battlefield? Is there more money to be made from reselling a single skin to single individuals, or the microtransactions of selling the same skin to thousands of people?

And I haven’t even gotten into the ecological costs of crypto and blockchain. It takes a ton of electricity to run the compute necessary for these items. Farms need to be strategically located next to easily accessible, and extremely cheap power sources.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that China banned all crypto mining and currencies last fall. The absolute dominance of the criminal market was a major driver, but the larger matter of the government wanting to clamp down on all currency exchanges was the fundamental bit.

This isn’t the creation of wealth, it’s the redistribution of wealth. People are investing in this with the hope that there’s an even larger sucker on the other end willing to pay more. And there always is.

Now for the real kicker. While there is a traditional war underway in Ukraine, there is an even larger financial war underway with Russia. Traditional banking is being blocked, which is causing runs on the ruble. People are withdrawing their money to another currency, with the hope that it maintains value. Crypto is an unregulated market with no central ability to manage. It is impossible for crypto to be sanctioned at the global level. It will be interesting to see how long that fact remains true.

Belated New Year

I’m still around. We’ve been in lockdown for some weeks now, expect a few more before the curve starts dropping again. In my city, they check wastewater which gives a sort of 1 week or so window into what’s coming. Right now, we’re on the downslope. We had 3x the cases (while they were still measuring) but only half of the hospitalizations, which is really quite good. This version was less severe, both in the virus itself and the fact that over 90% of the city is vaccinated. The province though… that’s another story. The hospitalizatio – curve is still going up, and it’s already double the April/May peak. So clearly my city is doing a hell of a lot better than others. That said, if this is becomes endemic (like the winter flu), there’s no way for our hospitals to take anything close to this load. Something’s gotta give. Our joint mental health kinda depends on it.

FF14

So apparently they are going to start selling the game again later this month, which is an odd thing given that queues are still around. Last week I was still seeing 2,000 person queues on Cactuar. Last night it was 700, which was a very odd thing… perhaps due to the server reset on Tuesday. It’s better, certainly, but I can’t see any new player wanting to spend an hour+ per day just trying to login. And new NA servers won’t be around until August. I guess we’ll see.

At last pass I had completed the MSQ with my WHM. Since then I’ve leveled all my gatherers to 90, and my retainers just hit 80. Hopefully that will work itself out. I’ve also leveled my crafters…which let me tell you is a very expensive undertaking.

I followed this guide to do so and the total cost from 1-80 was about 5m gil. That’s with server hoping to get better prices elsewhere, which probably saved me close to 2m gil. The good news is that a significant portion of this time is spent in the Firmament, where crafting gives you lottery tickets. Some of the items you can win are worth 100k to 500k each, which kept me going for some time. Still, it’s very expensive.

The journey from 80-90 is pretty simple and figuring out what items sells for which craft is a hell of a dance. I would need to juggle some crazy spreadsheets to sort it all out. Some things that were worth a lot last week have nosedived to 10% of their value. It’s still a fun mini-game.

Also have spent some time leveling a Reaper. This is how melee classes should behave in a game full of AE attacks. Mobility as a melee has always been a pain in my butt, and this class just shines at it. Now, the downside of leveling any job in FF14 is that you’re going to see a lot of the same content, and dungeon queues past 80 are not pleasant for DPS. Bozja still gives a stupid amount of exp, but prevents from queuing in other content. I’ll figure something out.

Winter Game Sales

I didn’t pick up much else. Disco Elysium is still only a few hours in. Cyberpunk 2077 was ok. Wildermyth is a lot of fun on the story aspect, but the difficulty spikes aren’t super pleasant. Death’s Door is a pleasant surprise, great art and controls. The level design is hit or miss to my tastes but it is consistent. Risk of Rain 2 I picked up for like $2, which I may have overpaid for. I don’t mind rogue-likes, truly, but I need a progression system of something other than player skill. Hades has simply spoiled me.

Fitness

I hurt my arm/elbow last spring and it never seemed to get much better. It stopped me from lifting any serious weights, which in the middle of a pandemic with no physical activity, well that didn’t do well for the brainpan. I’ve started up again, trying to fit it in my lunch breaks. So far, so good. Hopefully hockey will open up again and I can get exercise some demons on the ice.

Blog

I should be back to some semblance of “normal” posting schedule. Let’s see how that goes about…

10 Year Project

In 2011 I underwent a rather significant career change – from a medium sized organization to one with a very large scope of work. I was somewhat bored at the time, having completed pretty much all I wanted to at the time, and was hunting for an interesting project. I had a couple names, called around, and ended up taking a very interesting project that allowed me to work remotely for 6 months. I still recall sitting in my car, along a remote highway, just being happy to have 1 bar on my tethered cell phone.

The success on that activity opened some doors to an even larger project, one that was both transformational and made more than enough turns in the national media. I went very deep into that project, taking some gambles that both burned me and turned out well. I suffered a burnout in that period, and learned where that proverbial line is. I spent nearly 6 years on that project, in a direct fashion, before making a pitch for a tangent project.

I tend to get antsy when things are operational, I need to have very hard challenges and love to build teams to get through it. This new project was wilder than the first one, a group had tried for 2 years prior on a technical issue and wasn’t able to get over the hump. My team was able to solve that in a few weeks after having scoured the globe for options. It’s hard to describe the feeling of launching a global-first service, and having done so twice by this point, it’s a rush is like a drug.

I remained a consult on the national project during this time, and was moved around the organization to take on similar ‘impossible’ tasks. I butted heads more than once, but with some people, process, and tool changes, was able to find some success on those challenges. At various points I was asked to come back to the project core, but for a pile of reasons I wanted to do something else. Eventually, I had reached a point where that particular project had to close out, a new one established to replace it, and then this whole pandemic hit us hard.

I guess the tangent here is that our organization supported virtual teams (I’ve clearly supported it for years), while also requiring that management be physically on site. The larger support group also required on site work, typically due to the ‘grey hair effect’, where the older generation didn’t see how it could work otherwise. When the pandemic hit, the organization needed to rapidly pivot to support a fully remote workforce, and that caused a bunch of fires.

Sure enough, I eventually land back into the main project fire to both close out and start something new. And now we’re in the final phases of the original close out – taking up the month of December. I am happy that we are moving to something more modern and sustainable… there are issues of course, the grass is never greener, but it’s where we need to be. Yet I am also finding it bittersweet to close out such a large chapter of my life. I’ve made most of my career off the shoulders of that particular project, met a ton of great people, and delivered what felt like miracles.

It’s making for a very interesting month, at least in the mental space. I opened a major chapter 10 years ago, and this is where the next one is going to begin. Looking back as to where I started, I never would have guessed I’d end up here. What a run.

Busy Busy

Blogging is a type of therapy for me. It organizes my ideas and provides some much needed clarity. When I don’t blog, things start getting mixed in my head, and I feel unbalanced. I haven’t had a post up in quite a few days, and I’m really feeling it.

Work

I’m at the tail end of a multi-year project, and we’ve had enough success that we’ve been able to shave off a few weeks from the schedule. Perhaps best framed like “we’ve removed all the contingency”. This weekend has an absolute massive milestone that’s been in the works for nearly 10 years, and then some weeks of soak to make sure everything lines up. There’s high confidence but still some significant anxiety that it goes through.

It’s been an absolutely chaotic run since the pandemic hit, and this will be a major capstone to that period. There are high odds that my body just crumbles once this crosses the finish line as the stress won’t be there to keep it together. Fingers crossed I’m able to deflect that enough prior.

Coaching

Had an out of town tourney with both kids, and that meant 8 hockey games in 2 days – coaching one of them too. I had a blast, as the groups are really quite fun to be with and the girls really came together for some team bonding. Doesn’t stop the schedule though with regular hockey still taking up 4-6 time slots a week, and some rather significant administrative challenges to boot. I’m also mentoring some new coaches in this process, and making some efforts to build a package for new coaches in the future. A sort of “pay it forward” mindset.

I have been more than fortunate to have an amazing support team through my development – not everyone is in that situation. It takes an army of volunteers to make anything like this look easy, so the more folks we can get involved, the better for everyone.

Family

The “return to normal” for school and hockey has been great for my kids’ metal health. A year to me is like most others. A year to them is a lifetime. We’ve gone to some great lengths to try and replicate the face-to-face experience while doing things remotely… but nothing replaces kids playing with kids. Wife’s mental health is not to be ignore either – she’s a major social butterfly and the outlets now are a HUGE positive.

If anything the pandemic has allowed us to sort of reset on what’s important. There’s less fluff, and more creativity. Less filling time and more filling experience. Hope others have had a similar way.

Games

Pretty much only FF14 for the past while. I’ve got every battle class up to at least 15 now (allowing for easier leveling in PotD). WHM/GNB are at 80, DNC is in the mid-60s. All the harvesters are at 80. Haven’t bothered with any crafters as I expect that Endwalker is going to have some rather major ripple effects on that space.

I did learn to do maps the other weekend. What a surreal experience that’s more in line with an ARPG like Path of Exile or D3. As with many FF14 things, the in-game explanation isn’t super clear. And yet, I am continually amazed at how this game continues to find ways to make you spend time in a group without this massive time pressure to get stuff done.

I also have enough tokens (100) to get that jacket from the Moogle event. I don’t think I would have been able to if not for the 2 week delay.

I will say that this is one of the first expansions I’ll be going through where I have little interest in just plowing through to the end-game. I have months of not years of content that I can get through before the Endwalker stuff is pressing. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly looking forward for the journey, but compared to most MMO’s, I am not so much chasing the destination of hitting level 80.

There’s not much else on the gaming radar otherwise. The Steam winter sale will come along shortly, I’ll likely clear up my wishlist then. And there are certainly enough dumpster fires in the AAA space to fill up blogs-a-plenty in time. I’m curious about Horizon Forbidden West, but not like “let’s buy a PS5” level of curious. Monster Hunter Rise is already on my Switch (you should get it on PC if you don’t have a Switch). Elden Ring means nothing to me. Maybe give Outriders another go, as it announced a DLC coming out. Dyson Sphere Program will get another run through after the holidays.

Misc

I did pick up my first Gundam a few weeks ago. It was about 20 hours to put together, with my eldest daughter. I’ll have a post on that soon enough. It’s like LEGO for adults, and I am still amazed at the engineering required to produce a sprue with 2 different types of plastic.

I’ll have to force myself to blog for the next few days, to get back into the right mindspace. Let’s see what pops out.

Site Updates

Figured it was time for some house cleaning. I’ve updated the blogroll to clean out the deprecated blogs (except Isey, I hold out hope!!!) and some other bits and bobs that were no longer working. I should change my blog image header at some point, but it’s also bee the same for something like 12 years now. Like an old sweatshirt… it just feels comfortable.

I followed the Blaugust and read a pile of blogs there too. That’s the next logical step to update those. I’ve got a bunch in Feedly now, just need to take the time to curate it a bit more. The discord channel is super useful as a way to keep up to date as well.

RL has been ultra busy lately. I’m a head coach for one of my girls, helper for another, and it feels like I’m also a sort of guidance counsellor for new coaches/managers in the association. September has always (except last year) been a rock and roll month, and I am looking forward a bit to have a bit more wiggle room with my time. A week or so and things should be good.

Take care!

Break Time

A much deserved one if I do say so. Cottage time for a bit…and all the big reno work is done.

My little piece of paradise

Hope you all get some time away from it all as well. Been a hell of a ride. Cheers.

Age. It’s a Fact.

Age is an interesting thing. It’s inevitable, but manifests differently for us all.

My grand father was an active man until he passed this fall. Active in the sense of 2 hour daily walks, planting gardens, trimming trees… things that people half his age didn’t do. My father was an all-star athlete is his youth, but that didn’t stick around as he got older, and larger. It’s a weird topic to have with your dad. When my youngest was born, I do recall casually saying it would be nice for them to be able to grow up with him as I did with my grandfather. Since then, he’s pulled a near 180 in terms of overall health and activity.

My father-in-law was also an athlete and his career path was as a tinsmith, and to some degree, a handy man. He hunts, and loves to be outdoors. His self-worth is based on what he can do with his hands. Well, years of that has had a cost, and his back just can’t take it anymore. He’s had surgery. He still thinks he’s 40 years old, acts accordingly, and then his body more or less shuts down for a while. He doesn’t live alone, so that has an impact on the people around him. He’s just not able to accept that he can do less and still have a full life.

My birthday is coming up, and I’m certainly in what folks call middle age. I don’t feel old. There are some things I can’t do today that I was able to do when I was 20. Most of those things just don’t interest me anymore, so it sort of works out I guess. The things that I do enjoy, I can still do well. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step in any particular field, if anything I feel that things are easier because of experience. Don’t get me wrong, I am finding it painful not being able to play hockey due to the pandemic… as much for the physical aspect as the social. I’m quite antsy for that to come back!

As I’m watching my elders get older, and my kids grow up, I’m coming to terms with the concept of age. As much as I’m my dad’s son, I’m my kids’ father. The expectations are different for each role, yet I’m fortunate enough that my dad has been really good with that evolution. Sure, there’s some deference to him in a few areas, but it’s still adult level conversations and respect. I’m not indebted to him raising me, which I always find a fascinating space for some of my friends.

I’m coming to terms that at some point, I will be less than I was in areas where I take pride. I’m less worried about it on the physical side… or perhaps because it’s physical and we can see it everywhere, it isn’t so much a surprise. Yes, quality of life, but that’s a different topic than just not being able to lift a couch. The stuff that really gets me is the hidden part. My wife’s side has a fair amount of dementia. Seeing a fully able person lose their mind is a terrifying prospect! I’m overly fortunate that this is not something on my side of the family, so less of a concern I guess. And yet… my mind is what makes me, me. So I can’t mow the lawn, big deal. If I can’t read, or remember what happened yesterday, there isn’t someone else that can do that for me. It’s the most isolating of all things.

This is a really off topic post, but my thoughts of late are really focusing on my centre self, my purpose, goals, and fears. Changing jobs often triggers this reaction in me, because it’s such a LARGE impact. This blog gives me the ability to put words to ideas, to digest concepts, and to move forward. It’s an interesting concept…publicly writing personal thoughts. A sort of side appreciation to it all I suppose. A cathartic act. A much needed one at that.