Life Goals and Plans

I'm nearly forty years old. That's a scary thought. What makes it scarier is that I don't really have plans for what I want to do with my life. There are Things I Want to Do™, but no actual plans. To help me with that, I'm going to try to codify my goals and define them better … starting now.

I want to:

  1. Own a boat and cruise.
  2. Have a clean home.
  3. Have my kids graduate high school (preferably college).
  4. Travel to other countries.

This all sounds simple. It isn't that simple. Each of those has some big prerequisites (except cleaning — we’ll get to that in a minute).

  1. The boat needs:
    • Money.
    • Time.
    • Education about boats and boathandling.
    • Better swimming skills on my part.
    • Swimming skills on my kids' parts.
  2. A clean home needs:
    • Less stuff.
    • Time.
    • Motivation.
    • Maybe some money for supplies and organisational stuff.
  3. The kids graduating needs:
    • Time.
    • Money.
    • More money, if they go to college.
  4. Travel needs:
    • Time.
    • Money.
    • Less time committed to other things.

There are two themes that keep coming up: time and money. Unfortunately, in my current circumstances, having one generally means I don’t have the other, but I need to figure something out.

I can't have more money by having more time (not doing anything). It just doesn't work that way. However, if I have more money, I can get away from having to do as much, so I can have more time by having more money. So, it sounds like I need to develop some side gigs.

This means less time available now, but more money soon and more time after that.

Any ideas for side gigs from home using my Chromebook and/or Raspberry Pi?

Accomplished Something

Today has been an interesting day. I’ve had all sorts of little things go wrong. Started the day in a foul mood for no reason. Yelled at the kids for no reason. Got out and ran errands. Came back after picking up lunch. Spilled my soda and fries all over the floor.

But, I finally fixed the radio in the truck (it’s been a year or so). It turns out that before I switched the head unit, I did something stupid. The left side rear speaker wire had been hanging in the foot well. I tossed it over the emergency brake handle (it’s a t-handle next to the steering column). What I hadn’t expected, nor noticed was that the speaker wire got caught and drug back into the tube around the handle rod. Somewhere back there, the wire broke. I pulled the wire out. Of course, it severed completely. So, I patched it back together and reconnected the harness. Now, I have all four speakers.

Sailing Videos, Patriotism, and Civilisation

I’ve been watching a lot of videos about people sailing around the world, the Caribbean, the coast, or wherever. I find myself somewhat envious of these people’s lifestyles: no traditional jobs, no deadlines, and otherwise able to do pretty much what they please. I know they do something to pay for maintenance, camera equipment, &c., and there are events, laws, &c. that hamper them in many ways. No life is perfect.

A couple of things have cropped up because of me watching these videos: first, my family all thinks I’m a bit strange (my wife and I both had grandfathers in the Navy, but not much first hand experience with watercraft); second, my mother seems offended that I wouldn’t want to fly an American flag from any craft I would own. I have a few reasons for this.

First, I am not defined by the country where I was raised. It has had a huge impact on the culture where I fit, but so have other countries`- even some I’ve never visited. Obvious differences between the country where I was raised and myself: spelling (colour v color), units of measure (feet v metres), names of things (football v soccer). Despite having never left the North American continent and only leaving the US twice, I don’t feel any sense of belonging to the country as a whole. American humour (as seen in TV programmes, films, and stand-up comedy) has little appeal; I would rather eat the original versions of dishes than the simplified, over-flavoured versions common in the US. I can’t swear that I would feel any greater belonging anywhere else, but I certainly don’t feel it here.

Second, I have no patriotism. I’ve seen the meme that the rest of the world sees Americans as ‘My country. Always. We are the greatest.’-type patriots, but that type of American (and there do seem to be a lot of them) confuse me. The US has done little for me from my perspective. I have been provided with an education (through secondary school); I have been protected from despotism; these are things one should expect from any reasonable government. A good government would protect the well-being of the nation’s children (see Finland’s baby boxes, and many nations’ maternity and paternity leave programs); a good government would provide the post-secondary education for which an individual is suited (some people shouldn’t program computers – just like some people shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a hammer). I could continue complaining about how the US government doesn’t align with my views of the world, but no government will ever match perfectly.

Third, and most practically, an American flag attracts attention. The US have pissed off a lot of people, so those people may seek retaliation against anyone flying the flag. Americans are often viewed as having money with which they are willing to part or can part, making vessels with American flags a good target for thieves, pirates, con artists, or wily salespeople. Americans are also seen as bigoted, obnoxious boors who think the world should adapt to serve them (anecdotally proven), and they make no attempt to adapt to other cultures; there is a tendency to socialise with those most like oneself and wall oneself off from the cultures one is visiting. This is purportedly common amongst those who have decided to move to another country as well.

I am sure that I am deceiving myself when I say I’d like to socialise with the locals if and when I travel, but I suspect that I would gravitate to those most like myself. Now, here’s where I think I’m different from the individuals who cling to their countrymen: I see my culture or societal niche not as my nation of origin, but as my interests; I would be comfortable around most science-fiction, fantasy, RPG game, or comic fans, those who are fascinated by the idealised versions of historical periods, and those who are enthusiastic about their particular areas of academia and trivia.

As for the civilisation I mentioned in the title? I’ve realised that one of the reasons I like those sailing videos is that to me, civilisation is not civilised.