0020 – Understanding constraints

Abandoned house in Brumundal, August 2022

I’m trying to understand the idea of limits. The difference between a professional and an amateur is the understanding of constraints. There’s a midwit meme somewhere where a project is difficult for the newbie, really easy for the midwit and difficult for the experienced – all for different reasons. The newbie knows they don’t know a lot, the midwit thinks they know a lot and the experienced person knows they know some things but there are still some things they don’t know that will make it difficult. 

People explore constraints in different ways. Many women I know are opting out of being mothers. There’s a lot of uncertainty now and the future looks even more bleak. We can’t rely on things like pensions. We are already seeing governments raise the legal pension age higher and higher and who knows, by the time we get to retirement it may be well up to 70. We can have many projects in life, one of them is to bring a child into this world maybe another could bring ourselves into a post-capitalistic state beyond the need for the government dictating our bodies. Maybe some people would just say: “do both” but not having kids definitely increases the possibility of making it work out for yourself. 

People are also constrained by status. It’s hard to switch careers and even ‘go down’ in society’s pecking order. Having spent some time in some fancier areas of London, you can see the stratification so clearly. The way the bartenders have their hair, makeup, nails, tattoos. It stands in such stark contrast to the patrons. 

It’s all a costume, really. I saw some bankers walk around with leather satchels, really silly things actually. They don’t contain that much but the folds of the leather are so overdone. I would think it would be quite annoying bringing a laptop around in one of those. One of the women ordering a drink was wearing a white blouse and her teeth were perfectly straight and her hair was also straight and bleached a light blond. She was thin. It makes sense that money just looks different. Rich people want to breed with attractive people. But back to the main point, there are lines between parts of society all the time and that line can be as thin as a bar. 

I’ve written about this before, that as one ‘goes up’ the class hierarchy the amount of acceptable jobs (i.e. professions which are legible to friends and family) drops off dramatically. If one were to do a survey, there would probably be a greater diversity in careers from a normal school vs. an elite school (everyone becomes lawyers, doctors, economists). This is strange to me because there’s probably a similar diversity of tastes and characters between each student body. 

I think we have to feel out our constraints and poke them and see which ones are real. We have to investigate our assumptions. In the same way that we should figure out “When to run” (I think I wrote this three days ago), we should figure out where we are constrained. We should run when the situation at hand actually is a danger to us rather than our ego and I guess the same goes for constraints. Are we limited by what we believe or what the world actually is. 

It’s so hard to know, isn’t it? Especially for things you can’t redo. I think of all the young couples who have kids and then they make it work. They look back on the difficulty and say it was worth it. Then I also think of the families who were brought to the brink of despair, of relationships ruined, of kids neglected, of women silently suffering in marriages that they are economically bound to. Were they aware of the constraints? I don’t know. 

There’s a way to approach this with an abundance mindset. That money will always flow and that the world and your talents are boundless. Maybe that is the case for some people but is it responsible to preach that when maybe the right path is caution and careful exploration. There’s a survivor’s bias here when people say: “quit your job, it will be ok” because the people who have quit their job and it not being ok do not get to write the blogs and sell the courses. They are living in their mom’s basement (if they have a mom) and are probably deeply ashamed.

I’m not sure where that leaves me. Right now, my constraints are focused on the day at hand. I can’t predict what tomorrow will bring but I want to simulate a life in a day. I want to go to sleep tonight like how I will die: knowing that I gave it my all in the time I had. The french talk about ‘le petit mort’ which is cute, I guess but maybe the real “petit mort” is going to sleep. There was never enough time but in a way it was the perfect amount.

The year is closing in, it’s already the end of November. I can’t recognize myself from the person I was in January. Maybe I should make more youtube videos. So much has changed and I’m still dealing with the changes. Or maybe the world has always been the way it was and I’m updating myself to believe it. Neo pukes after his first encounter with The Matrix. I didn’t understand him at the time but I think I do now. I’ve had to mentally puke sometimes. I’ve been in some holes this year and parts of me are still there. Day by day it gets better. I just count the days. 

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