I work a lot, and by spending less time on the drudgery of brick-and-mortar shopping, I have more time to spend on the things that matter to me. Including socializing.
Yeah, maybe I leave the house less, but are those trips to the store really "quality time?" Making a run to Wal-Mart or the supermarket to buy toilet paper is time better spent than playing with my dog or reading a book?
We're missing out on some potential fun times, sure. I have made friends, bumped into existing friends, and had some good conversations while shopping. But those experiences were and far between. One positive social experience out of one or two hundred trips to the stores, maybe.
Retail shopping is usually freaking depressing - the employees and customers are often rude, and you're bombarded from all angles with sights and sounds designed to entice (or scare) you into buying things you don't need. No thank you.
Lately my wife and I subscribed to a service that sends you 3 ready-to-prepare meals (for two or four people) per week. These aren't frozen heat-and-eat meals; they ship you fresh ingredients and easy to follow recipes. Are we shut-ins? Because cooking these meals together is generally a lot more fun (and healthier) than dining out for us.
That's not about retail, that's about urban life. I live in a town of less than 2,000 people. There's one grocery store, and when you go there you recognize at least half the people inside (if you didn't already recognize their vehicle in the parking lot). In 2015, there is less need than ever for us to all live in the same few places. Remote work can offer you offer the benefits of small-town life without the loss of economic opportunities that used to go along with it.
That's an interesting perspective. I've heard (and believe) the exact opposite. In 2015, there's no need to incur the (well-studied) economic, environmental, and cultural costs of low population density. Not to mention it's kind of bizarre to assume that it's clearly _better_ that having a population of only 2,000 people from which to meet people and make friends.
Your environment is what you make of it. I used to live in a smaller town and now that I live in a dense metropolis, I meet people and make new friends CONSTANTLY (not even joking, just this week I've (platonically) gotten 2 people's numbers based on meeting, finding mutual interests, and both of us wanting to hang out).
Alternatively, maybe different people genuinely prefer different environments. You appear to be an extreme extrovert, so it's no great surprise that you enjoy living in a metropolis. Other people aren't, and don't.
I think the small-talk-with-everyone-you-meet thing is a characteristic of very small towns and villages. I've lived in medium-sized places that didn't have it. The introvert ideal of a blissful hermitage miles from anywhere is probably impractical, for many reasons, but I still have some faint hope of finding a liveable middle ground someday.
I fully agree. My comment was in response to the fact that the person I was responding to was casting a smaller town ad unequivocally better from a social perspective (ie saying that the economic benefits of big city life have been removed so now everyone is free to enjoy the social superiority of a small town).
> You appear to be an extreme extrovert
That's a fair assumption but believe it or not I consider myself quite far from extroverted. I just kinds go through moods where I feel more social and other times enjoy being alone more. The nice thing about the city is that it offers more freedom in both directions. For those days where I don't feel like socializing, I can still go wherever I want without recognizing anyone or bumping into anyone (for the most part) if that's what I choose to do.
But... Lots of other people don't use that time well. They 'save' lots of time by having things brought to them, and spend that time watching TV or browsing the net despite not really enjoying those things. They're exchanging money for time to do passive activities they don't like and don't make them feel good. That is not a benefit. People apparently forget that saving time is a two-fold activity. There is the act of doing something to save the time, but there is also the act of using the time you saved to do something that doesn't make you feel awful. Unless you can do both things spending money to save time actually makes your situation worse.
> They're exchanging money for time to do passive activities
> they don't like and don't make them feel good. That is not
> a benefit.
> passive activities they don't like and don't make them feel good.
But here's the key question: what's the causal relationship here? It's very easy for me to believe that a depressed person would want to avoid shopping trips; it's much less clear to me that avoiding shopping trips could possibly cause depression.
Sounds like the problem is people being depressed, not people avoiding shopping trips.
I would agree with you here - often I have to push myself to do something more worthwhile with my spare time. Why do we do these "passive activities"? Is it because it requires little effort, despite little reward? Is it a mild form of addiction? It almost seems like procrastination, except it happens during dedicated spare time.
I moved out of the big city to a smaller one and was instantly fascinated by people who would say, "Hi," as I passed by. At first it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. They would even stop and ask how I was doing and make a banal, funny comment about the weather. The culture of the city I just came from was different. People would assume you wanted something if you opened your mouth or looked at anything but the ground a few meters in front of you. For more than a decade I lived in a place where people weren't nice to you unless they were selling something.
I even tried Facebook for a while because my friends had all stopped using the phone. That was a disaster. You would think that going to an "event," with all of your "friends," would be great. But people only showed up with their cliques and there was nothing very friendly about it. I stopped using Facebook and deleted my profile. I stopped going to events where nobody would talk to me and ended up seeing precisely the same people I would hang out with anyway so no loss there. I think the "social network," thing is some kind of inside joke I don't understand.
I hope to get to know my neighbors better. I shovel the snow the for lady on the corner. She lives alone with her dog. Her husband suffers from dementia and lives in a home. The neighbors one door up are a large family that mostly keeps to themselves. The grandmother is the only one who will acknowledge my existence when I say, "Hi," while I'm out in the garden or when we bump into one another at the corner store. It's weird, I think, to feel like I'm living in a fish bowl and that my community is just a place where we all keep our stuff and sleep.
It must be this pervasive culture of convenience and luxury that allows us to be entertained and socialized without having to interact with anyone else. Who knows what your neighbors are like and who needs them? Maybe that is a better quality of life. I just think it's a little strange... and when hard times do come I wonder if we'll all be able to rely on one another to get through it.
Honestly, I've heard this a lot, but I moved from a suburby area to one of the densest cities in the country and IME, people who feel this way are people who haven't really tried saying hello. I make eye contact with strangers and say hello pretty often, and I never really get anything but smiles and friendly replies in response. The same thing applies to chatting to people when waiting in line or whatever, etc. This isn't just a bubble thing, because I live in a pretty grubby area but also socialize in a lot of swankier areas, and I've found it to be pretty universally true.
TL;DR: You get out of a community what you put into it.
I didn't even notice it until I moved when people would actually make eye contact, talk, and be polite. You still pass people with their headphones in and eyes down... but they're not the majority in the smaller, less crowded city.
In the suburbs, neighbors are often (not always!) super friendly. My neighbors and I have watched each others' pets and helped each other in a lot of ways.
I think it's just the "buying" versus "renting" thing. In the city most people are renting. There's less incentive to make friends with your neighbors when in the medium-term future one or both of you will probably be somewhere else. Your rented property is truly often just a place to keep your stuff. I think rental neighbors should still try to be friends for a variety of reasons (why wouldn't you want to get along with and help your neighbors?) but this is a minority opinion.
On the other hand, when you and your neighbors are all in the midst of 30-year mortgages, people often put more effort into getting along and forging bonds. More of a "we're all in this together, let's try to get along" thing. One of our next-door neighbors is actually kind of unfriendly.
In my immediate area, there are folks who know me by face//habits//&c. The neighbours, the comic shop folks, the owner//operators of area restaurants, and so forth... I may not know them on a deep level, but we encounter each other on a semi-regular basis and have a measure of quality in our contact which we both enjoy.
Medium-for-its-purpose type of deal.
One blogger's perspective: http://annmah.net/2010/01/23/french-frozen/
I mean, heck, anybody who's ever cooked extra food and frozen it themselves has proved this... right? :)
What we like about the non-frozen meals, though, is that preparing the meals together is a lot of fun. Of course you could do this without a meal delivery service too (and we have) but we found that we didn't do it very often. The meal delivery service kind of "forces" (in the nicest possible way) us to do it.
Also, playing devil's advocate, but I don't see how the online shopping experience is any better - sure, there isn't human pressure, but there's targeted advertising and dark patterns. It's unlikely to be served an ad AFK that knows your browsing patterns, preferences, etc.
I grew up in an area where we were close to our neighbors but the nearest retail anything was a few miles away. Mostly chain franchises. After some years inbetween I now live someplace similar again.
So I had (and have) friends, family, and neighbors. To me brick and mortar shopping was just a really inefficient drudgery I'm glad to have mostly cut out. Those were not really social experiences for me.
There are exceptions. A good local comic or music store is priceless and those can be really social experiences.
AS AN ASIDE: I feel like retail shopping has gotten even less social. Since we usually pay with cards now, we make less eye contact with the cashier, since we're watching for the little screen to say "swipe now" or "enter PIN" or whatever.
> If you spend time anyway in the kitchen why bother with subscriptions.
I'm comparing Blue Apron specifically to a sit-down meal because for us the point of dining out was to relax and spend time together - something that cooking at least three meals a week together gets us to do. It also gets us to try ingredients we wouldn't normally consider.
That's just why it works for us, specifically! Definitely not for everybody. I don't work for them and the only stock I own is chicken stock. :)
EDIT: I think we are talking at cross purposes - I meant restaurant meals are usually plenty for two people.
Edit: I just realized that's your per-person figure. Mine is for two. That is quite expensive :(
$450 a month is definitely a lot by my standards, where/what do you tend to buy?
But comparing it to his $60/w, $240/m, isn't quite fair. His meal plan is for 6 meals at $10 a meal. Considering you'll want a meal everyday, that's $300 a month and that's just for dinner. If you add breakfast and lunch he's either paying as much or more than you.
$10 a meal is just crazy expensive for a cooked meal. If you look at recommended servings of say 100g of vegs, 100g of rice or potatoes, 100g of meat or fish, you're looking at about 30c, 10c and 60c. With seasoning, oils, onion, garlic etc, you're looking at a $1.50 meal. If you double the servings for example, and get more expensive ingredients, you'll be hard pressed to top $5. But again, a $2 meal is very doable, meaning you can do dinner for $100 a month ea-si-ly. Another $100 for breakfast (oatmeal with milk & a piece of fruit is a 0.5$ meal at most, or $15 a month) and lunch (make any sandwich, another piece of fruit, a salad) and some snacks here and there. It's hard to top $200, and this'll get you a really healthy 3-meal a day.
Curious how you spend $450. I mean don't get me wrong, I easily could, if you buy oatmeal with banana chips instead of oatmeal and a banana you pay $2 instead of $0.20, and you can get that 10x price increase for 'processed food' everywhere, but if I were planning my meals and cooking myself, $450 is really unnecessary.
Where are you buying your protein for $3 per pound? Ground beef costs more. 100g before cooking is a pretty small serving.
My local Safeway wanted $7/dozen (!!) for store brand eggs last week. I walked away shaking my head. Dollar isn't what it used to be. This week it was a "more reasonable" 5.49.
That's easily doable, at least here in the southern US. I regularly buy $10/3lb of chicken tenderloins. You can do much better if you're prepared to buy in bulk. Of course, venison is cheapest, if you're willing to kill it yourself/eat fresh roadkill/get the excess from hunting friends. ;)
Catfish runs about the same here as chicken, but tilapia can be had for super cheap. Of course, that's another one you can get for almost free after the investment of a fishing rod and a weekend.
Your egg prices are insane. I can buy 60-packs of eggs for $8.72.
The comparison isn't quite apples-to-apples as legs have bone, but I can't imagine I'm paying over $1.50 or so for the meat.
Note for non-Atlantans: we don't know what "Farmers Market" is here, this is basically a large grocery store with a good produce section.
Prices are from AH, one of the more expensive supermarkets here.  Chicken breast is $6.50 per kilo, no bones just the breast, or indeed ~$3 a pound. 100g serving is recommended here, but then that may be the difference between Europe and the US.
Ground beef is even cheaper. Of course these are the lower-end prices, you can pay $20 for a kilo, too. But for the cheaper prices the meat is still excellent as AH is one of the most expensive supermarkets.
The cheaper supermarkets here, which are still decent quality overall, get you a 10-20% discount. The cheaper shops have small discounts (5-10%) on things like meat or salmon as we don't see a lot of branding premiums here on meats. And bigger discounts (15-20%) on things like ketchup or cola, where if you buy a no-name brand that tastes just fine you pay a third less.
Wouldn't have thought the US had more expensive meats. When I was last stateside I remember paying a pittance at the golden coral and leaving with the feeling I just ate 5 cows for the price of a cinema ticket! How they remained profitable boggled my mind at the time, even with cheap & absolute garbage ingredients I must have cost them some that day :P
Eggs are as cheap as 15c and as expensive as 40c an egg. So a dozen can be less than $2.
Two things must be mentioned... one is that it's not a purchasing power parity comparison. I'd say average wages are a little lower in the Netherlands than in the US (although I think the median family is a lot better off here), meaning there's a bit less to spend here, putting cheaper prices here on some foods in perspective.
And the Euro is abnormally weak right now which is likely a temporary thing. Normally the Euro is about 30% stronger, so any price conversion I do now would normally be 30% higher.
> $10 a meal is just crazy expensive for a cooked meal.
If you use it to replace groceries... well, kudos to you if you can afford it. :)
(Another caveat is that Blue Apron's prepare-it-yourself meals generate a lot of packaging waste, since every ingredient is individually packaged. This is actually my least-favorite aspect of it. It's all recyclable, which helps tremendously although still incurs an environmental cost obviously)
It really depends on where you live and what your time is worth. An hour every week at the grocery store, gas, wear on the car vs going once every two weeks. Also, with fresh groceries, my meals generally run in the 7 dollar area.
If I value my time at 100 per hour, plus gas, I'm definitely saving money, even if I'm not using it to replace eating out. I live in NYC, for reference.
EDIT: Ok, I wanted to do the math. So at 3 dollars more per meal, per person, I would be paying an extra 3 (additional expense per meal) * 6 (meals in a week) * 4 (weeks in a month) = 72 (additional expense per month). If I'm saving two trips to the groceries and my time is worth 100 per hour, 100 * 2 - 72 = 128. So I'm up by 128 bucks. That's not factoring in the novelty of it or the time spent planning meals/ingredients.
Dinner - http://emeals.com/meal-plans/30-minute/emeals-30-minute-fami...
Breakfast - http://emeals.com/meal-plans/breakfast/emeals-breakfast-plan...
Lunch - http://emeals.com/meal-plans/lunch/emeals-lunch-plan.pdf
Lots of fun little optimizations could be made here and in fact that's something I've been playing with. 2 months ago was baseline "exactly as the meal plan dictates" month, the next month I rotated Paleo -> Budget plan after we spent the first third of the budget, this month we are choosing half of the meals off of the family size 30 minute meal plan. Next month might include larger meals so more lunches can be made from leftovers, but I really enjoy a lunch that's not the same as a previous dinner. Brightens the middle of my work day.
Crunching numbers, I was actually replying to nahname spending $100cad/week/person == $80/week/person. $450 is $56/week/person. $8/day feels damn good considering that's a combo meal at Wendy's!
Anyway, yeah $8 a day is fine. I'm at about $4 a day or so, but if the euro had been stronger like two years ago it'd be closer to $6 a day, not much different from you.
Anyway you asked about real prices so I looked them up. So here's a typical meal with prices from the most expensive large supermarket chain in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with the less expensive ones cutting prices by about 10-20% across the board:
Protein wise: 100g of Chicken: €6 per kilo, so €0.60. Fish is a bit cheaper unless it's salmon, about €5.50 a kilo, as is ground beef at €5.50.
I tend to eat 2x chicken, 1x beef, 2x fish, 2x veg. Looking to replace a chicken with another veg at some point. The vegetarian meal is mostly lentils, beans, soy etc.
Then there's veggies, it's about €1.80 for a kilo of broccoli or spinach or zucchini. A 100g serving is about 18c.
Then there's some form of carbs. Rice or potatoes at about €1.80 and €0.70 per kilo respectively. So a 100g serving averages about 14c.
So that gets you a €0.92 meal, which is about $1. It's the type of serving size I used while lifting heavy years back with a pretty muscular lean build, with a decent oatmeal breakfast, two pieces of fruit, a salad with dinner and a light lunch and plenty of water. Nowadays I have a pretty normal build, 6'2, not muscular or fat, not skinny either.
The salad I always eat with dinner is a tomato, part of a cucumber, a carrot and some lettuce and an olive oil, vinegar, garlic and onion dressing with some S&P. It's about $0.70 or so all together.
So my dinner, with all the extra dressing, seasoning, oils etc, comes out around $2, with the option of shopping cheaper by 10-20%. The vegetarian meals are even cheaper, which I eat 2/7 days. It's basically $0.25 of lentils with a ton of extras like a few tomatoes. Hard to top $1 - $1.50 on these meals.
Again breakfast is really cheap for me. Liter of milk is about €0.60, oatmeal is €0.80 a kilo. A banana is about €0.20. So we both have half a banana, 10c of oatmeal, 10c of milk and we get a €0.30 breakfast. It's just a really great meal, the banana and oatmeal both don't spike sugar so they'll sort of give off sugar for hours until lunch, despite filling you up.
Lunch is usually pretty light for me. A sandwich or two with peanut butter. Tend to eat another piece of fruit, like an orange, around 4, sometimes a sandwich if my lunch was light. I can't really be bothered doing something fancy. That gets me to dinner around 7 where I go with a decent meal and a salad, and that lasts me until after 12 as I tend to sleep late.
So yeah $100 a month is possible, but I tend to do 180 a month in dollars if the euro is stronger like it usually is, or about $6 a day. Girlfriend likes to buy tons of the small things like dried tomatoes or olives that you tend not to buy in bulk. So 1 kilo of olives is €14, as opposed to say brocoli at €1.80. Those orders of magnitude more expensive small items that barely fill you up end up being almost half the budget. But it's what makes food fun and nice and not some kind of factory work :p
I was kind of jealous when shopping for the new puppy... why can't I just buy a 30lb bag of bachelor chow and live off of it for a month. (Answer: I'd get to throwing up when I thought about it after a week.) Absolutely right that all of the things that make food good and fun end up being a large portion of the budget, while the things that actually power you can be safely bought in bulk.
Edit: I also only buy humane meat, and organic eggs.
You're either a vegetarian or meat eater that thinks the whole thing is silly. I don't know which, but there are real differences. For example:
My comment was made in an understanding spirit, and indeed, i am clearly a proponent of ethical meat if someone is not prepared to go without :). So no, i personally don't think it's silly at all (what is silly, however, is downvoting a random person on the Internet with whom you do not agree on the subject :p).
Peace and kindness and all that, and have a nice day :) Thanks for the informative link! Maybe i'll send it to some of my more staunchly carnivorous friends.
I find that I can get groceries, without skimping, for less than $100/person, it just takes some optimizing and sometimes deciding what to make based on what's on sale. Also, buying products lower down the processing chain generally makes things cheaper as well.
San Francisco is a beautiful city but it is wasted on me and I feel like I should feel guilty for that. I don't deserve this nice city; it belongs to creative people.
Trying to leave the house to do anything interesting takes herculean efforts. I can't find joy or interest in anything beyond an intellectual level. Everyday sometimes feels like it's worse than the last.
I'm trapped in an un-ending present where I grow older but never grow as a person.
ps - anything you have to suggest is something i've heard already x10 and have or currently trying, such as therapy.
Depression isn't just an attitude, it's an actual chemical imbalance. It's something that happens to all kinds of people and investigating it might lead you to a fix. I've had periods where I've felt that lack of joy or interest and I wondered why I even bothered, but I got some help and now in retrospect I can tell it was terrible to live like that. At least talk to a doctor and bring up the possibility.
Tons of people around you struggle with the same thing even while they look so awesome and successful, especially if you're in the valley. I know it feels like you're totally alone but you're really not. At least investigate that your brain chemistry might be a little out of sorts.
Sure, I could physically travel to interesting places or just click around on Google maps. The joy might not be as great as actually seeing the same thing in person, but places are so much easier to get to online.
A physical firing range is seriously intense, but messing around in a FPS does not involve leaving the house and it takes so much less skill. Not to mention something like guitar hero vs. an actual guitar.
When in doubt seek help. That is what we need to encourage. And I know first hand how hard it is to seek help and keep seeking it, but the very act can be its own little bit of healing.
You may call it a mental health issue, but it is neither addiction nor depression; if anything, it's just not being addicted to real world enough.
It's not addiction either - I spend my days on the Internet (or in computer games) a lot, but if I had to spend a week without it, it wouldn't be a problem. I don't have to be connected 24x7 either. I also sometimes abandon the game for no reason.
It's really just you don't feel so motivated by the things in the real world compared to virtual possibilities. Let me reiterate, I think parent was spot on when he talked about the "artificial Skinner box of instant rewards", and I don't think there is a psychiatric category describing this.
It's not a mental disorder, just like overeating (and being overweight due to that) isn't (usually) a disorder. But yeah, it may be a mental health issue. It's mentally unhealthy behavior, just like eating too much is unhealthy.
It's actually a hypothesis that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.
Science is sometimes harder than a single test.
For example, there's no blood test for autism. There's no blood test for PTSD. But my best friend's brother took years to talk to me, and sometimes still goes into rages; one of my partners would wake up in the middle of the night convinced I was trying to kill her.
Brains, minds, reinforcement learning systems, are complicated. By entirely abstract mechanisms they can be rewired to beautiful and terrible extremes. I very much doubt that the trauma that induces PTSD depends on any pre-existing biological state to allow PTSD to take hold, nor does PTSD necessarily induce some biological state (other than the biological brain-configuration that it is obviously implemented in). PTSD seems to be the best example of the human mind's ability to learn being exploited in the same way a buffer overflow exploits a browser. Obviously something is there; it's impossible to see someone flashback and deny the condition exists; but will there ever be a blood test for PTSD, or any diagnostic test more sophisticated than something like the DSM?
Psychology is not an easy science. Like physics, it depends on reverse-engineering the rules to a complex system, but that system is the human mind, and unlike physics, which exists only at a single level, to understand the mind, we have to cross levels of abstraction, much like it would be utterly futile to try to understand a program by recording the patterns it activated on the silicon of a CPU. And worse, everybody thinks they're an expert, because everyone has N years of experience dealing with human minds.
It's easy to think that any science should have a nice, clean, reductionist, petri-dish and blood-test approach. But the universe is under no obligation to make things easy. In a sense, psychology is the hardest science, because it is simply so difficult to cross these abstraction boundaries easily.
Rather, I was trying to argue that the absence of a blood test doesn't make depression ascientific.
They are trying to say it's not a matter of willpower that you can just make it go away. It's something real and outside your control.
The chemical imbalance part is nonsense, the message it implies is not.
I've had depressed periods, but it was completely understandable given the situation I was in.
I think the whole "chemical imbalance" is an easy fix, rather than trying to fix society, or the situation they are in. It's quick and easy to give pills rather than fix a life.
Now i'm sure they're are actual medical causes for depression, but I think its overused.
But there is also depression caused by nothing whatsoever. Nothing detectable anyway.
People tend not to believe it can be possible, until they experience it (personally or by talking to someone who is experiencing it).
Talking about it (therapy) does nothing, because there is nothing bad happening to talk about. The person is just depressed for no reason at all, it's like someone pressed a "be depressed" switch in their brain. The person is aware of it, wants it to stop, and has no control over it at all, and no ability to change it.
It's that type that they call "chemical imbalance". The chemical imbalance part is nonsense of course, but the existence of this type of depression is not.
> but I think its overused.
In TV commercials, yes, I agree. But in real life? No, I don't think it's overused.
When in reality I was lonely, didn't have much opportunity to socialise etc.
It was only fixed when I got out that situation, basically by chance by getting a introduction into an accepting social circle. I am now very happy.
The highest sucide rates are basically in young men, basically because how society treats them. I don't think its because young men are more prone to chemical imbalances, compared to women or older people. Its because its that stage in life, when men are literally lonely because of the transition from college to work and you can end up isolated and alone.
Put yourself in my shoes: Do I believe some Internet commenter without further evidence, or do I believe Robert Sapolsky?
Just saying. Claiming that Robert Sapolsky himself (whoever that is) is more correct than the post you are replying to, without providing citations to (peer reviewed and accepted) studies is nonsensical.
If I had to describe it succinctly; I've become a dedicated spectator, but no longer wish to participate.
It's pretty ridiculous and something very strongly tells me it's the wrong way to live life, and I'd love for that to change. But the passion just isn't there to get involved anymore for even the simplest things like taking a walk outside. Again, as a spectator it's great. It's not as if I'm disinterested or don't like to hear from friends if they call me or want to visit. But calling them, or visiting them, somehow it's too big of a step.
As it's only been like this for a few years I can see how ridiculous all of this is. It's like I got the lazy syndrome: still care, but not enough to act on it. Yet it's not really laziness as I never watch TV or sit on the couch or sleep all day or get no work done... It's something else but I can't quite put my finger on it. I wish I could take some kind of hormone injection and rediscover my lost motivation for life.
Similarish postscript as you btw. Proper food, sleep, exercise, meditation, social, iteration etc, already covered stuff like that, but I'm open to new ideas.
What's helping me is the concept of precommitment.
I have a simple system. It started as a simple weekly wager with a coworker: Every Friday, have a plan for your weekend. Complete that plan during your weekend. Failure in either part costs you a coffee, failure in both costs you lunch.
Those plans can be whatever you want. Ranging from taking care of basic life chores, to working on projects, to getting exercise, and to whatever else might seem a priority.
This doesn't fix the lack of intrinsic motivation to get started per se, but does add another, extrinsic, motivation. More wanting to save face than worrying about the hit to our wallets - both of us willing to tease each other and ourselves for being too meek in our planning when we succeed, or for being too ambitious or lazy when we fail. (Edit: Also out of a sense of competition.)
I'm still searching for intrinsic motivation, but at least as a stopgap, extrinsic motivation through precommitment is doing wonders for my life. Given that it took me a decade or so to figure out this much, I'll more than happily take it.
When they get some random activity in their head, they have someone to go do it with and I have that impetus to go do something outside my default patterns. It might be helpful to look at the friends and colleagues around you and see if you might need to go hunt for a little extra flavor in that mixing pot.
We live in a society where access to information is greater than it ever has been in history, and everything we may take an interest in doing has been done before, and someone has already pointed out all of the flaws and how it's wrong. We see that first and focus in on it, and we let it destroy something that a previous generation would've seen as imperfect yet beautiful.
On the other hand I'm afraid that it's a generational thing. A child of the financial recession (nearing 25yo, economy's not quite booming in Europe), of digital work (I'm able to pay the bills programming from home in my own little company without having to leave the house much), of an age with unprecedented access to information (everything you mentioned, knowing exactly how great the world is and how insignificant anything you do is). As if my particular blend of person in this particular age in this particular economy is just begging to become a shut-in.
I didn't quite ride a wave of easy employment that led to company life playing a big social, professional and personal (confidence etc) role in my life, having graduated during a recession. Wasn't forced outside and into the lives of others due to the digital age allowing me to make a living from home.
Anyway it's all a bit depressing, I try not to spend too much time explaining why. It feels like giving up, or finding an excuse.
One thing a friend told me a while ago stuck with me though... on how the notion that life is malleable (this sort of variation on the American dream. That if you just work and try hard enough, you can become anything and do anything), meant as an uplifting and motivating cultural idea, not to mention an idea that homogenizes everyone: everyone is capable, everyone is unique and special and important and powerful... I think perhaps is the reason of so much depression and anxiety and uncertainty in young people today. Because it's simply not true that anyone can become the next Steve Jobs, yet because of this notion that life is completely malleable, if you're not awesome then there must be some unique character flaw you're suffering from, it's your fault.
Anyway again I don't like to get caught up on this frame of mind too much as it just gets me absolutely nowhere, but it's definitely interesting to discuss every now and then.
After all, there are a lot of things your body is capable of doing, yet you aren't ever driven to do them. That's really at the heart of the shut-in symptoms.
Our limited capacity for "decision-making" is at least as real a limitation as time or money.
For me it has to do with opportunity costs. Take a strawberry milkshake instead of banana, no biggie if it tastes bad. Take a career path and end up regretting it, and it's a really big deal, usually. And even if your career path wasn't a bad choice per se, again, opportunity cost, perhaps the alternative had been much better. At the end of the day you just have to choose, try it, and if it appears nice enough you double-down, and that choice can be really difficult.
One of the most frustrating things for me had been having to decide on the bulk of my professional education before ever having worked in the field. I think programming is to some extent an exception in that many programmers get a decent experience on what programming is like as a kid, as a hobby. Being an engineer in an office is a whole different matter of course, but the notion of programming for hours on a daily basis is something you can grasp by age 15 or 18 when you decide on a focus in high school and a major in college.
But for so many professions, you have people age 17 having to decide if they like being a dentist or a lawyer, or a sales person or a government worker, while having near-zero experience, and fleeting ideas on what it is from movies and magazines.
Not sure what it's like in the US but in the Netherlands at age 11 you get tested and go to a certain level of secondary school. The lowest gets you entrance to community college at age 16. The middle to vocational school (e.g. university of applied sciences). The highest to university ('research uni'). There's some opportunities to switch after age 11, but it's very tricky for multiple reasons and generally rare. And then at age 13 or so you decide on a focus which gets you different subjects. e.g. Physics & Science, or Culture and Society or Economics & Society. And those give entrance to your tertiary education. So if you chose at age 13 or so that you liked Culture, you'd have gotten things like art history and French, and you couldn't go on at age 17 to pick Computer Science. You'd have to do an extra program, again difficult for various reasons and rare.
Now at 24 looking back this structure was really frustrating. I liked economics as a subject, chose that path, always did Computer Science as a hobby (which wasn't a subject in any of the paths), but couldn't do CS unless I did Physics (which was a subject I had for years regardless as everyone gets it, but not to the full extent supposedly required).
Wow, that sounds really f*-ed up! I always thought most places were like Slovenia (or UK is similar, if I understand correctly), where the main decision point is only at 18-19, when you're choosing your university! (The earlier is at 14-15, between a "gymnasium" - general-purpose school - and a vocational school (e.g. for a hairdresser, cook, ...), but most reasonably intelligent people go to a gymnasium).
It would be very challenging for someone lacking the above-average levels of interest/talent in relevant fields at the age of 16 (spurring them to take related college-level courses) to get into a prestigious STEM course - outwith extraordinary circumstance.
I personally got a maximum score of 550/550 on this test which gets you into 'gymnasium'. If you get below 545 you go to a middle-level education (will let you go to university of applied sciences, to become e.g. a marketing manager, teacher, physical therapist etc). Below 530 you do to the lower-level education (for lack of a better word), to train to become e.g. hairdresser or cook.
Anyway I got 550 but still went to middle-level as per a teachers' recommendation. (typical minimal effort maximum score kid). Later ended up still going to uni but it's a path with various hurdles and detours.
Frustrating in hindsight that this decision happens so early in life when you don't quite grasp the implications of educational & class differences, and at an age where the notion of becoming someone who volunteers in an animal shelter is way more interesting than to become a data scientist. As you grow up you realize the social stratification brought about by educational differences.
And then on top, indeed, you choose a certain flavor of high school. You get 2 years of general purpose stuff. Everyone gets both Physics and Math, as well as French and Art History, etc. But then the 3-4 years after, you choose one or the other. That's at age 14ish. And so even if you do gymnasium and everyone can go to uni, you're not going to be able to apply for medicine for example if you didn't do 6 years of physics in secondary school.
There's a lot of talk to change it. In fact I think Finland just removed the concept of 'subjects' altogether. Which is a radical thing to do, and takes a lot of effort and rethinking and reshaping of education. But it could be brilliant. Here they're talking about making secondary school a bit more general purpose, as the huge push for 'career planning' sessions for 12 and 16 year olds isn't enough to let them make informed decisions about what they'll be studying at age 20, and working in at age 30 or 40. Beyond that all of education is shifting away from skills, and towards competencies. So that if you teach 'self-learning', someone who spent 5 years in marketing can shift to become a programmer, if the economy changes. At least that's the general idea. It's a lot harder but competencies are definitely more valuable and important than skills (which become redundant as tech changes, e.g. being a skilled typewriter) in the long-term.
> It's pretty ridiculous and something very strongly tells me it's the wrong way to live life
Have you tried joining a volunteer organization? I'm a member of a couple, and it's hard to overstate how much it has helped me get out. Helping other people is such a rush. It's not all roses and sunshine, but might be worth a try if you haven't gone down that path.
Either a dedicated non profit like a mentorship program or a volunteer organization like the Rotarians (I'm a member of the Odd Fellows, myself) would love to have even an hour of your time a week.
> required volunteering
I know what you mean; my school had that too. It's compulsory but you at least get to pick where you work, right?
Anyway, yeah. I'm talking about actual volunteer work. The kind where you volunteer.
If not, try your local government or church, or just see if big-name charities or service organizations have any groups in your area.
For this reason, I've found what I desire in my life — as a fellow "spectator" — is to drastically change my surroundings instead of focusing on specific (and ultimately inconsequential) things to do. Not, "I want to ride a jet ski", but "I want to live on an island", or "I want to take a ship across the ocean". Right now, I've been traveling around Europe for most of a year, and even though I've still been largely living the shut-in life, I appreciate having seen so many new cities, tasted so many new foods, bumbled my way through so many new languages, and gained so much life experience.
The only problem is that you can't really develop a circle of friends when you're moving from place to place every few weeks. I've been thinking that maybe if I could find a nice, tech-minded "shut-in" community in a warm location, I could live like that for a few years. Do some gardening. Raise some chickens. Maybe visit the closest city every few weeks, if I feel like it. I think that would be a pretty good life.
But I guess that's the hardest part: finding that little locus of the unknown in the first place.
Maybe I should take up woodworking or something.
I had helped a friend a bit with some beer, but it wasn't until a few years later I tried on my own. I started with wine, initially with a book from author of _The Joy of Home Winemaking_ . Apple, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, elderberry, and also grapes (piesporter, carmenere, barolo, grenache, viognier, etc.). Cabernet / chardonnay are boring choices for boring people; there are so many other choices available.
Good results right away.
More extreme experiments, perhaps questionable results, but learned a lot in all of them.
For beer, can't go wrong with _The Complete Joy of Homebrewing_ .
I went to my public library and got a dozen books on each subject before going to the bookstore. Besides the techniques and recipes, there tend to be a lot of history and related books on those shelves, so definitely check your library and return for more.
It can seem like a lot of details, but it's not that hard. Easier with a friend. Even easier, you can go to a brew-on-premises place (with a friend). There's probably a homebrew group near you, maybe a meetup; go to your local brewing supply store and check it out--they're knowledgeable and usually pretty friendly too.
Relax! have a homebrew.
And don't forget cider, mead, metheglin, cyser, perry, etc.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/beer-equipment-st... looks like the kit.
Experience: first batch always great. 2nd or 3rd or 4th goes bad because you get overconfident, fail to sanitize something, and something nasty grows. You realize sanitizing is important and have success thereon.
Once was called black I think. It's the one people think of, when you say depression, and how movies portray it too: sadness, despair and the feeling that everything is bad, and everything ever will be bad.
The other one, however, is supposed to be more tricky. It's gray. It doesn't make you feel sadness or despair or any other thing. It makes everything gray. It makes you numb, it makes you not care about anything at all. The world doesn't do it for you anymore, and if it were to drown, you would not care.
The former is like being hurt. The latter is like being dead. The former is hell, the latter is great endless emptiness.
I'm not sure how accurate it is, especially considering how people find it easy to see themselves in text that could be about anyone - see horoscopes and stuff, but I think it's important to know, that depression doesn't have to look like person is sad or anything. I think what you are describing sounds a lot like "grey" depression.
At the same time it's completely empty. Going outside or making career moves or traveling or going dancing or eating out or whatever, just doesn't do it for me anymore. I feel pretty empty about most things, and I'd be mostly comfortable losing touch with say my friends. I tend to leave my house, in total (whether it's groceries or seeing friends) maybe 40 times a year and I tend to wake up and spend an hour in bed lying there without any reason to get out of bed, and then finally do because it's so boring to just lay there a whole day.
So yeah definitely 'gray' for me, while the 'black' thing just absolutely doesn't resonate.
I do feel I should do something more ambitious. So my brother for example keeps telling me to just get a job at a coffeeshop, go out and meet new people through work again. My bills are such that I easily could, but in that case I'd feel like I'd be wasting my time and should be doing something productive. I don't have anything against menial work but I'm sure I'd regret it in 6 years if I'm 30 and feel like I missed the boat on another career.
So I currently do basic programming from home which pays the bills just fine but I'd like something new. I'm not really a programmer though, just have a tech interest and did it on the side as a hobby, and grew that into a business. But it's definitely not professional software engineering. More like how your nephew can build you an ecommerce shop online with some plugins and basic scripting and could make a living out of that, but no ecommerce company would ever hire him to build products, only I know a bit more than your typical techie-nephew but not quite enough to work as an engineer.
My uni background is in business & management which is absolute shit in terms of skills/knowledge. It's very much an experience-based industry. Business fundamentals is something you can do in a 2 month course, not a 4 year undergrad program. And so as a recent graduate you spent too much time learning too little, and have 0 experience. It'd definitely be fun to be a project manager, trying to blend the engineering and the business side of things as I feel I have a good enough intuition for both. But that's a role you get in your 30s with experience, not as a recent grad. Positions that are available to me are mostly sales. So a buddy of mine does ERP sales. And it's just not me, cold-calling people, having people shit in my ear 99/100 times and and preparing 1 hot lead for someone up top who rakes it in the next day for years, and then become that person. But the labor market for non-engineering things is just really brutal for recent grads. There are still jobs but everything requires a few years of experience at least. Let me know if you have any ideas haha, I'm at a loss, business school is one big joke in terms of employment. It's like it's the 80s and I just spent a few years mastering the typewriter.
Anyway got off on a tangent there. So no, no guilt on doing something 'fun'. I also wouldn't quite say that nothing is fun. If you'd teleport me onto a jetski right now, I'd have a blast. And to borrow from another comment, somehow I'm much more inclined to download a shooter game than to go to a shooting range even if it was free and around the corner, despite the fact the range would be a bigger thrill. I can't explain it, it sounds ridiculous. Same with friends, I enjoy hanging out with them every two weeks when someone keeps asking to hang out and I give in and we set a date, it's always, without fail, a fun evening. But I'm completely fine not arranging that myself for months. I wish I desired to do the things I end up enjoying once I do them. That desire isn't really there. It's like being a guy not attracted to girls at all, not feeling any emotion or sexual interest in a gorgeous willing girl across the street, as if you were gay. But once you do get around to visit the girl for whatever reason, it's genuinely fun. Again I can't explain how or why, just how it is/feels. Pains me to say it's a bit like that with my girlfriend, too. Absolutely love and adore her, pretty girl, too, sex is great and it's all there, but I've barely got any desire for it. I'd say it's a chemical thing, like a particular thing in my brain just doesn't fire because of it. But, and this is almost like a sad doctor's joke... I have no interest in going to the doctor to get it fixed. Kind of hilarious. Despite wanting for things to go back to 5 years ago (in terms of my mental state), I don't really care enough to pursue a solution.
Anyway hope that covers your question ;)
I don't have any of those.
Same with friends, I've not instigated contact in 2 years now with any of my friends. I still have 3 who hit me up and I go see either of em a few times a month because they want to. But I'd also be okay if they stopped calling.
Same with family. I hate to say it. I'd definitely still check in on them if they stopped calling, the only people really, but there's no real desire to hang out or talk, I'd just be really curious and concerned about how they're doing but not more than that.
So it's really because of them, not me. Wish it was all like 3 years ago. Now I couldn't even get excited for a free holiday trip. Hell I used to love that. Traveled Europe, Africa, Asia and North America by the time I was 20. Now I don't even want to walk in the park when it's nice outside, and I literally live next to a park. Crazy how a brain can change for no discernible reason.
When did things start to change for you, has it always been like this?
I think if I had to sum it all up, I'd say that the things I value just aren't really obtained by doing a lot of shallow socializing. I'd rather have a few very close friends, and I'd rather do a few things very well than do a bunch of things on a superficial level.
One thing that really helped me was getting a dog a few years ago. It was my wife's idea so I can't take any credit for it. But having a living (and loving) creature depending on me has definitely been good for getting me to take plenty of walks. I don't ever want to recommend a dog as some kind of self-improvement tool... they're sentient creatures, not accessories, and are a big commitment! But he's really been a wonderful influence.
> Traveled Europe, Africa, Asia and North America by the time
> I was 20.
Mmm good question. When I was a bit younger there was definitely an urge to do things I'd never done before. Travel, go to college, live on my own, girlfriend etc. And certainly there's a sense that this first-time's urge is gone.
But I've also always enjoyed things I had already done. Meeting friends or playing another game of football like hundreds before, going dancing etc, I used to like doing them weekly or monthly even when I'd have done them tens of times before. But not anymore so that's new. And when I came back from Asia I certainly didn't feel like I'd seen it all. I mean those 4 continents sound like a bigger deal than they are. I've seen only 2 countries in each of those continents, none of them more than 6 months, except Europe where I've lived for decades and traveled quite a bit. In terms of traveling there's a shit ton of places I'd love to visit, on paper that is. Places I've never been, would be awesome to explore and that I'd enjoy being if I happened to be there.
Thanks for sharing your story, always wanted to get a dog haha. But also always felt like it was a huge 10+ year commitment. Who knows maybe in a few years, if I ever buy a house I can definitely see myself having a dog! :)
It's a bit of an odd suggestions, but consider having kids. Kids have a way of needing things, that just transcends all the meaningless excuses you have for not getting anything done.
Make it a point that it's YOU that takes them to school, or shopping or whatever. Or if shopping is too confusing to do alone make a point that the whole family goes. That it's you that makes lunches, and checks if they did homework. As infants make it a point that you dress them for bed, even if your SO picks the clothing.
The instinct to take care of kids is wired really really deep in your brain, way below any surface problems. It will easily override them if you let it.
Raising kids for any reason other than "raising kids" strikes me as terrible advice. I'd be interested in hearing anecdotes of whether raising productivity by having kids is effective (let alone morally permissible).
It makes no difference why they were born, or how it helped you. The only thing that matters is how you raise them.
There are plenty of people who have children in order to mature, be adults, and progress in life. If you love them, and pay attention to them, and intend to raise them well, it works just fine.
most people here will do a great job raising them. you learn on the job, and via friends and family.
(lest people want the future depicted in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy :)
Nope, unless she tries to find it. HN is in my favorites and it auto-logins. But she's really not the type for that. I think it'd be pretty painful to read although she knows the bulk of it.
> It's a bit of an odd suggestions, but consider having kids.
Still 24, so that'd be really early for us, not something I'd love to have so early in my life (although I can imagine how nice it'd be to still be 44 with an adult kid!).
Beyond that though it's also not something I'd feel is appropriate. It's definitely true that if I'd have kids right now I'd probably solve the symptoms of whatever problem I have, completely agree with you there. I'm that type of person, as most people are, to my girlfriend for example. If she needs me I'll be there, if she has stuff planned for a birthday, or is going to graduate or needs a running partner for motivation, I'll suddenly be up for going out with her. And it's certainly true that people have had kids for less. But this issue is not something I'd ever want to use as a reason to have kids in and of itself, despite any of that.
Personally I think she should, but of course I don't really know anything about her.
> Still 24, so that'd be really early for us
I don't think 24 is especially young. Maybe a drop younger than typical, but you seem to have good earning potential, and someone you love. What more do you need?
It has advantages too - you have more energy when young, and kids take a lot of work.
(Also don't forget you never know how long it will actually take.)
> But this issue is not something I'd ever want to use as a reason to have kids
It's not written permanently on them you know. Helping their parents is probably the best reason to have kids. "Why did you have me Dad?" "Because you make me happy."
What matters is how you raise them, not why they were born.
What matters is how you raise them, not why they were born
These are suggestions for you but maybe someone for whom your comment resonates with will get a helpful idea from what I've written. I hope you find a way out of your rut.
I've been wondering about doing something similar.
For some people, not being able to get online once you leave the office (if you're lucky enough to have such a clear work/life divide) can be the best thing for leading a healthy life.
So many people see the benefits of "cord cutting" but forget that replacing cable with WiFi is a problem of having six in one hand and half-a-dozen in the other.
aside from being great mental and physical exercise, you will make friends from completely different walks of life, which is a good thing.
Uhh, you sure? Solution space is much bigger than you'd think.
Have you heard of Trigger-Action Planning (also known in the literature by the horrible name "Implementation Intentions")? It gets you around 0.6 standard deviations more "doing things you want to do but don't end up doing." The gist of it is fairly straightforward - take a concrete experience, and tie it to a specific action you want to do in that context. "When I walk through my bedroom door, do a pull-up on the pull-up bar" is a great TAP. "After dinner, study math" is a bad one. "When I open reddit, close reddit" is both hilarious and effective.
The best part is that doing Trigger-Action Planning badly is better than not trying it at all. It's why I'm sharing it, since it's generally safe. It's a learnable skill for programming your automatic and habitual actions. (Please don't use it to program experiencing negative emotions into yourself. Part of your problem is likely that you've programmed "feel guilty about being unworthy of San Francisco" as an automatic response to experiencing San Francisco's beauty. If this resonates with you, don't feel bad about it - this is a growth opportunity, which is not something you want to avoid in the future.)
 Meant this link http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/2.derive.htm
I saw a wonderful anime about a Hikikomori character recently, called Welcome to the NHK. It's on Netflix, and I recommend it to everyone since it's topical but also because it was oddly (and sometimes not so oddly) moving.
"I really don't feel like it, but I am going to walk to the park/bridge/waterfront and back. I am going to get a beer/coffee/tea at this place I've heard about. I will walk to the store and pick up groceries. It doesn't have to be anything miraculous or life changing and I don't have to meet or talk to anybody--I just have to try, because it will be worse if I don't."
>"I really don't feel like it, but I am going to walk to the park/bridge/waterfront and back. I am going to get a beer/coffee/tea at this place I've heard about. I will walk to the store and pick up groceries. It doesn't have to be anything miraculous or life changing and I don't have to meet or talk to anybody--I just have to try, because it will be worse if I don't."
Where is the purpose there?
As in - go to the grocery store to get groceries
Go to beer place to get beer.
Small tasks with a small errand-like purpose to build up to bigger activities
The point is that not everything you do needs to have a _higher_ purpose.
1) Take a random amount of money... $25...$50... research and donate it to a charity you think is cool. Pick one and do it. Like now.
2) Are you in your house right now? Still on your computer? Go outside and walk around. It doesn't have to be supremely interesting or perfect.
3) Go to a coffeeshop or other place you can sit. Get a drink. Stare at the wall without your computer. Try not to be productive. Drink your coffee. You are not allowed to be productive.
4) The book "Feeling Good" helped me immensely.
If anyone's interested in researching where to give I also recommend checking out the Give Well foundation, as it matters more how you give, than whether you give. i.e. there are millions of people who have partial or full blindness due to lack of vitamins. A simple $20 operation will restore their eyesight, which is gigantic. Alternatively, there are millions of blind people who will never be able to see. We have alleviate their blindness with a guide dog, but it costs $20k to raise and train the dog and blind person. That's a three order of magnitude difference in cost, and the 100x cheaper operation actually cures blindless, while the 100x more expensive option 'merely' makes a blind life better.
In other words, one person donating $100 can be much more effective (curing 5 people of blindness) than 100 people donating $200 (giving 1 blind person a guide dog). This is the sort of thing the Give Well foundation tries to approach in a data-driven manner: what is the most effective way to give. This is an extreme example, but I think it's a really important approach to charity.
2) Went to my mom's birthday today instead. Was fun to see family again.
3) 9PM, reall cold and dark now... but yeah, I'd really struggle with this one even in the afternoon. But I'll try to do it tomorrow.
Either that, or get some good shrooms.
It sounds like you can afford it.
This is what a "good economy" looks like. Parents who work long hours so they can afford to rent some great apartment and buy stuff for their family. They outsource a lot of the childcare to professional nannies or whoever. They outsource a lot of the elder care to nursing homes etc. People are getting married later in life so they can focus on their career. Individualism, kids moving out early, trying to impress each other with great apartments etc.
We are materially richer, but what about the social connections?
Similarly with technology. Take birthdays, for example. On their birthday people used to get personal phone calls, possibly emails. Then facebook made it easy to just write "happy birthday" on someone's wall, and see who else wrote it. Then, to increase "engagement" (or the appearance thereof), they let you write a quick note right where the birthday reminder appeared, on the right-hand pane. Now you couldn't even see what others wrote, and sometimes would breeze through, personalizing the greetings slightly "Happy birthday girl! Older and sexier they say."
Now, people are complaining that they have to get through so many birthday wishes on their wall and write a semi-personalized "thanks" response to each one. So the remaining step is to make an app to automate this. So the end result is we'll have nearly automatic sending and nearly automatic thanking, basically robots talking to robots, while the whole experience of birthday wishes is automated away from humans.
Noooooo you just made that up in your head.
> People are getting married later in life so they can focus on their career.
Noooo, they are just no longer ignorant and don't think a god will smite them if the have a relationship before marriage.
> kids moving out early, trying to impress each other with great apartments etc.
Noooo, they are more childish than ever and are now still living with the parents past their mid teens. Here the reality might actually make you point.
The world is what you believe it to be, you're far from reality but it will become that for you if you keep believing this stuff.
Well...Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn of course.
They are interactions based on telecommunications, computing, display and sound reproducing technologies, etc, and they are one way to have contact with other people. "Real-world" interactions are also involve mediums: sound waves traveling in air, eyesight dependent on presence of visible light frequencies. Physical phenomenons like the transport of bits is, deep down.
Yes, there are some aspects in physical presence which do not apply to on-line social connections. Most importantly, touch.
But (depending on culture), we don't often touch people who are in the same room, either. On-line interactions have also some aspects that improve our workings with other people, over physical presence -- for instance, from on-line you can go off-line and exchange ideas and information, while if you're in a room and speak, the person who comes in 5 minutes later will not hear it.
If you shun away from human interaction, that's fine. But be honest to yourself and don't say few clicks/strokes of keyboard are similar to having a decent talk with anybody. Heck, even video conf call is miles away from real world experience. I am an introvert myself, but this is simply not true.
I would never outsource my chores. I just enjoy them too much.
When I do chores (or any work really) I'm always thinking like "Look, Ma - I can do this on my own!" even when nobody around is watching me. I guess the feeling that you can learn those small things and take care of yourself help boosting your confidence a lot. That said, I admit that there are many things I can't do - like making my own garment or my own transistors. But I'm trying to expand my abilities, and this everyday learning process helps me keep having positive attitudes towards many things (because you're often surprised by how little you knew about things that you've taken for granted!).
A little side note. I work for disabled (blind) people and often I feel sorry for them not being able to do some of very simple chores without help by sighted people. Let them have a chance to enjoy their own chores. That would be a good society.
I do really enjoy the feeling of completing something on the to-do list as well, so that probably helps.
I would even go further and say these activities are necessary for some sort of mental balance (for lack of better words). What I mean - life isn't always about nice & easy experiences. One needs a bit of fortitude, resillience when you are facing with some "have-to-be-done" mundane or hard task to just move forward. Be it professional, be it in parenting, be it in adventures. When I look around me, I see a lot of successful, bright people that are incredibly spoiled in interesting way - any at least a bit boring activity appears on horizon, they are going nuts. Well, however hard you try, you cannot avoid these things in life, so better be okay when dealing with those.
I dont' want to sound extreme, some things can be done online easily and save a lot of time (managing bank accounts vs visiting local branch), just that some middle path by taking best of both worlds/approaches seems better to me. The situations in article seem on extreme end of scale (even within such a bubble as SF seems to be).
So, for that delivery guy, living in similar appartment building sounds like a dream. For me, I wouldn't call it nightmare, but definitely a bit sad life I wouldn't like to live.
Are these people so glued to their work that they can't take 30 minutes out of the day to walk to the grocery store and pick up a few items? This article was very sad to read imo.
This might be just me, but being in relationship is always a strong bond for me, that works only if both parties have similar attitude towards each other and can actually be present in the relationship.
Income inequality will always exist in capitalistic society and to a certain level that's ok. Whats not so cool it to feel as if they are inferior just because thats how they're making the best of their life circumstances. As one of the workers said “This is a job I need, but I actually love,” Some of them come from tougher times and appreciate the work they have. Being polite to them and treating them equally as another human goes a long way.
When our cleaner is over we always have a good little chat to her. She moved from Colombia to Australia by herself, is studying English. Respect to her drive to move to a foreign country and work hard to get ahead. She wasn't born in a middle-upper class first world country like I was.
Yeah, but it goes a longer way to make sure they're paid a living wage for their work, and that they're not being exploited by you or their employer (by not paying into their Social Security, say).
Part of the class weirdness around these jobs comes from the way the rich want people to do them, but they don't really want to pay what it would cost to have someone do them legally. So a whole gray market emerges of companies offering cheaper cleaning services by taking advantage of workers who don't have a lot of options, due to things like not being fluent in the local language or lacking proper immigration documents.
Homejoy's particular dodge to keep costs down is insisting its cleaners aren't actually employees of Homejoy; by classifying them as independent contractors, Homejoy can skip out on all sorts of expenses, like paying the minimum wage, providing health and retirement benefits, and reimbursing them for work-related expenses they pay out of pocket. Homejoy cleaners actually just launched a lawsuit against the company to challenge their classification -- see http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Homejoy-Postmate....
Particularly, there is a pervasive stereotype of the wealthy mistreating or dehumanizing hired help, so any suddenly-wealthy middle class person is going to be panicking, "Oh shit, how do I not become that wealthy person, I've never done this before"
I don't think judgement of the worker was even on the radar.
The self-sufficiency and egalitarianism of doing one's own chores used to be a note of middle class pride, at least in the once strong middle-class industrial areas of the country.
These values were further facilitated by the post-war boom in home-labor saving appliances (washing machines, etc.)
Many of us who grew up in such a cultural context have a more difficult relationship with others serving us, and we don't feel it gives us an increase in status, but rather it feels almost like a moral failing. Of course, with the ever busier nature of our lives and the availability of low-wage workers, it's quite hard to stick to those morals, hence the inner conflict.
People I know who grew up in US cities or other countries where a significant service-employed underclass exists don't seem to have issues with being served. From what I've seen, being able to afford service labor in those places is actually a status symbol that people strive towards.
It's true. We all have different backgrounds and we all have overcome different hurdles to be where we are. It's easy to look at someone who's 10x as successful as you by whatever metric you use to measure success and feel inadequate, or to see someone with 10x less and feel guilty.
But the reality is that we've all been dealt different hands, and all we can do is play the hand we have the best we can, and help others to do the same.
I mean...you don't even need to live in the bay area. You could just move to, oh I don't know, one of the other 20 massive major cities in America and live much cheaper. Is being amongst all of these startups really that important if all you're doing is going to the office and coming home? Never going out and being a part of the social scene? I just...don't understand this idea at all. Seems like a fairly illogical way to live life.
FWIW this is precisely the reason why I moved away from the suburbs and live in a city. I just like living in the city more, I like walking around and having conversations with people. Not talking to my neighbors makes me afraid of what I don't know about them. Not seeing anyone or knowing anyone exists seems scary to me, and the Internet is just 70% there because the social interactions you can have on here are limited at best.
Saying you have a social life because you're on the Internet is kinda like saying you're a total stud because you have a lot of phone sex. It's not really the same thing, but you might feel the same way about it.
Right!? When I saw that the concierge said they have a lot of "work from homers" I was like "wait...what". Why on earth would you live in SF if you could work from anywhere?
Other than that it might be for networking, or they might have all their friends in the area.
The image in my head (from movies and books and reading [about] Piketty) is that the wealthy in earlier eras were more idle, living off rents rather than incomes. I imagine servants would have been more of a status symbol for them, whereas today's upper-middle-class strivers see them as more of a necessity "to dedicate more time to working." I wonder, is that as close as we get to progress, under capitalism? I.e., if we're going to have servants, the people employing them today have a somewhat less dubious reason for doing so than their ancestors?
Indeed, this is exactly what it meant to be a gentleman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentleman) in 15th-19th century English/American society -- you owned enough land to be able to live off rents, rather than having to dirty your hands working for a living. Gentlemen were part of the broader upper class called the gentry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentry), which also included titled aristocrats (barons, dukes, earls, etc.). Since making money and buying land were generally easier than convincing the King to give you a title, becoming a gentleman was a popular way for ambitious commoners to move up the social ladder. (The flip side of that ease, of course, being that it was easy to stop being a gentleman, too -- just lose your money and boom, your family is common again -- whereas a titled peer would always be a titled peer, even if he was penniless.)
> I imagine servants would have been more of a status symbol for them, whereas today's upper-middle-class strivers see them as more of a necessity "to dedicate more time to working."
Partly it was a status symbol for them, but status symbols were a bigger deal to them than they are to us because their societies were more rigidly hierarchical than ours are. So having ways to display your status was part of how you held on to that status -- gentlemen had servants, because if you couldn't afford servants that told everyone you really weren't a gentleman. It was self-reinforcing.
It's wrong to make value judgements on the way people make money in an honest job. A person in the 19th century who had a job as a servant at least had a job, and what was considered respectable as well. The alternatives were far, far worse, like getting caught for petty theft and shipped to a colony.
See "The Edwardian Country House", the BBC/PBS series. It's a reality show for which the producers staffed a large mansion with the staff it had a century ago and sent a family to live there. All the servants had to live by the rules of that era. The lower-level servants were trained to be invisible - the maids would turn away and not make eye contact with the family.
I don't understand HN's tendency to swallow this claim whole. If you convert any increase in free time immediately into more work time, that's a problem with your work/life balance, not with whatever is increasing your free time.
With the arrival of every functionary serving as a reminder of what could happen if you slow down your pace on the treadmill.
This article makes me glad I don't live in SF any more.
Slowly, it turned the other way round - I got shut-in. Started from not having to go to local store daily - because it was a waste of time. I could not relate to a calendar-day. Sometimes I would start my work at 6pm in evening and sometimes at 3am in the morning. I tried to discipline myself, but it did not work out for valid reasons. And I started introverting due to lack of social contacts. Health wasn't an issue - because home gyms were good enough and I think those kept me off any depression. The shut-in introduces pretty bad habits. The "freedom" was out, I was working most of the time - it almost felt like a self-imposed prison in the name of discipline and saving time. Sometimes I have wondered if my life was any better than placing my brain in a box bionically connected to a computer.
Now, I make it a habit to go out once every day or couple of days, same time for 45 mins-1 hour a bit after the busy day starts for most. It is a HUGE waste of time but it acts as a tether for my work day, makes me feel grateful for what I have and surprisingly, results in better productivity.
Been meaning to go out on a daily basis but I think I have DSPD  and so I tend to wake up late, sleep really late (or early in the morning). It's terrible really, I feel like a bum or a teenage kid sleeping like this but it's like I'm programmed to act like a 3 year old in the morning, the self-discipline required to get out is insane while I've generally always had a bit of a spartan lifestyle haha. It boggles my mind how hard it is for me to get up. And I absolutely can't sleep at night consistently. Even if I wake up at 8AM, work out heavy for 2 hours, spend a day draining my brain concentrating for hours, meet people for hours and go around town doing groceries and am physically tired, I can't sleep. And then at 4-5AM it hits me like a train. Sometimes I'll power through, not sleeping because I know if I sleep at 4, I'll wake up at 12. So instead I'll try not to sleep and power through until the evening, and then yes I can finally sleep at night that day.
But then that next day I generally still wake up at 12. Even if I ease into it and change my sleeping schedule by 1 hour every two days, at some point it gets reset. Anyway the point of all this is that I tend to wake up shortly after noon and I just don't want to go out for an hour at that point, all I want to do is get some work done before I need to clean up, help prepare dinner, spend time with my gf etc. After sleeping in so late, the last thing I want to do is spend the first hour walking around outside. So I postpone going outside to the evening and I never really do, especially if it's dark and cold like now. In that way it's exactly like you said, a self-imposed prison in the name of work and saving time. And then a little later it's 12PM and I've still got hours ahead of me, but there's no way I'm going outside at 3AM. (I used to as a teenager, but now as an adult I'd just feel like a freak and my gf would get super worried and want to have 'a talk' if I started doing that haha. Also I'd be bored out of my mind if it's dark and deserted. Also, no Vitamin D at night!) Writing all of this down is confronting haha, looks like my life is a mess.
Still trying to find some balance to all of this. I've been meaning to just get a regular job again, but I'm genuinely afraid I couldn't do the 9-5 schedule, as I basically went straight into freelance work out of college and both college and freelance work allowed weird schedules. The hope is that the pressure to conform to this model for fear of getting fired etc forces me to keep to the schedule.
Would love any more ideas or experiences if you want to share :)
I have the same guilt about it as you do, and I'm a total baby about being woken up early. It's been this way my whole life.
Meh. It's specialization. It's been happening since everyone figured out Og makes better clubs than everyone else and he'll make you one if you give him food. Most of the people reading this site have a skill that brings in $50+ per hour. Why not pay someone to clean your bathroom and use that time for working?
The example of Mallon making $1,000 for her company an hour, isn't clear to me that she owns that company. Based on her apartment not having sufficient hot water to wash her hair, I tend to think she is not making the $1,000 an hour herself. I'm also a bit dubious that she would be able to bill out at nearly that rate, but could be wrong.
I'm paying an accountant to do my taxes, not because I can't do them; but because I don't want to. I mow my own lawn, because I don't mind doing it. I pay someone to clean my house once a week, not because I think it makes me better off financially, but rather because it is no fun; I would rather do something else (e.g., engage in some kind of home improvement).
Woah what? I know you're not being literal here, but I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. Are you saying that having a high-paying job automatically makes you feel like you're better than everyone else and doing mundane chores reminds you you're all people?
The problem with that is "thinking you're better than everyone else" in the first place, not "missing out on mundane chores".
 Apologies if I'm misinterpreting you here: if so, what did you mean instead?
Because only a lunatic would think that high-status people think they're literally no longer classified as Homo Sapiens?
In case you're talking about "Apologies if I'm misinterpreting you here":
The word "if" is generally used to indicate conditioning on an event: i.e. "considering only the situation in which this is true". Nothing about the word indicates "certainty" about anything.
I'm sure pretty much everybody who hires a cleaning service knows how to clean a toilet.
I needed to do laundry my first week of school: I couldn't (and to this day can't) even fathom what the phrase "know how to do laundry" meant. Separate whites and colors (or don't), put the clothes in the machine, and press the button.......what kind of mental deficiency is required for someone to think there's an actual gap between "knowing how to do laundry" and "not knowing how".
Loading a dishwasher and cleaning a toilet would seem to be similar. The only gap between "knowing" and "not knowing" is perhaps three seconds of Googling (in case there's some pitfall about what you can and can't put in there).
Have you ever worked tech support and had to help a lawyer or doctor set up their router?
It's not about mental deficiency.
Neither of those are applicable to doing laundry. There's literally no knowledge required other than "clothes and detergent go into machine". Hell, you don't even have to know WHERE to put detergent because machines are variable enough that they usually just tell you where to put detergent.
> Or mixed ammonia and bleach to clean a floor?
The first part of your comment was a reasonable point, but what the hell are you talking about here? You do your laundry using bleach and ammonia....on your floor?
Someone has to come in person to clean your toilet, and can't be outsourced to the cheapest locale.