Tag: Time

Are You A Driver Or A Passenger?

Seven months ago, I retired. It’s weird to think that “I’m retired”. That’s something old people do. At the time I didn’t really say anything about it, as it just seemed odd. I wrote something vague about leaving healthcare, but I didn’t mention that was the end of the work phase of my life. I will say that I do not miss working. I’ve held a job of some sort every year of my life since I was thirteen. From paper routes to lifeguarding to working in ski shops and a short order cook. I worked my way up in the tech world from writing manuals to phone support to traveling to do on-site deployment and installations. I moved on to software engineering and managing large tech teams. Eventually I got bored and moved to healthcare. So, it’s fair to say I’ve put my time in. And now I’m done.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, last night some friends we hadn’t seen in a while asked, “are you loving retirement?” And… I really didn’t have an answer.

When Mrs Troutdog and I decided it was time to be done, I had visions of travel and exploring without the constraints of worrying about the 9-5 routine. I had projects I needed to do, and creative stuff I’ve been thinking about. Finally, unlimited time to cook and get my diet and fitness dialed in.

So, did all that happen? Uh, no. Not exactly. I honestly don’t know where the time went or what I’ve been doing. We had a house remodel going on that consumed time and schedules. The weather this year has been weird, making it a little harder to do outside stuff. I did some motorcycle riding, but not as much as I’d thought I’d do. The creative juices faded a bit. I spent a lot of time reading and napping. In a nutshell I blinked, and half a year went by.

Why did that happen? I realized I’ve been a passenger instead of a driver. As an adult, especially in the midst of your working life, it’s easy to become a slave to your calendar. There’s a contractor coming to the house this afternoon; hockey tickets tomorrow; need to grocery shopping; a friend wants to play golf on Wednesday; I need to clean up the garage a bit; laundry; lawn needs mowing; we have to go to that thing with your sister this weekend. And so on, and so on, and so on. It’s life.

But time marches on and eventually you realize all you’re doing is being reactive to the tasks and events on your calendar. You’re being a passenger in life. You’re not driving the calendar – it’s driving you. I get it when you’re mid-career, you’ve got young kids and juggling the soccer mom/dad thing. It’s hard to do anything other than just get through the day-to-day minutia. But I don’t have that excuse. I literally have unlimited time. I can put anything on my calendar I want.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I’m very fortunate to be in the position I’m in. I’m not bored at all. But it’s clear that I’m not really driving my life right now. I’m just drifting along, enjoying whatever pops up any given day. Maybe after a long work career, that’s enough for some folks. But not me. I want more.

It’s time to climb into the drivers seat and dictate what I want out of my time. Because as the last half-year has demonstrated, time is accelerating at a frightening pace. I can’t control time, but I can control what I do with that time.

How about you? Are you being a driver or a passenger?

I Am A Closet Conformist

  • Here in the land of 1’s and 0’s, bits and bytes, I am a fierce contrarian. A dedicated non-conformist. The man ain’t gonna tell me what to do! I am a keyboard warrior who gives no quarter. (hey, that sorta rhymes) In the real world… I’m a rule follower. I wait to cross the street in the crosswalk until the light turns green, even if there’s no traffic (fueling Mrs troutdog’s never ending exasperation with this behavior). I dutifully return my hotel card key when checking out rather than just leave it in the room. I don’t get into the 10 items or less checkout lane if I have 11 items. I drive the speed limit. And to my shame, I wear a mask when required. If you’ve been reading along for any time, you’ll know that the mouth diapers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve ranted about them all too frequently, although I’ve managed to refrain myself lately to spare ya’ll from too much of the same dribble. In my state there are no mask mandates. Other than at work (hospital) I never wear one. We recently had to travel to California, which is nanny-state central. And what did I do? Made sure I had extra masks and my vaccine card packed. Made sure I wore one in the airport, on the plane, and in restaurants. Why? It was an important trip, and I couldn’t risk getting “cancelled”. So much for being a rebel. It’s frightening how much power the state has. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. And what did we do when compelled to do irrational things? We all meekly rolled over and said, “thank you sir, may I have another?” I’m very disappointed in myself and my fellow citizens. It’s clear that the state can create just about any rule they want and we’ll all just comply. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll go along with just about any silly rule, rather than risk missing out on all you can eat prime rib night at Joey’s Dinner. We’ve clearly forgotten that all important phrase in the constitution, “…governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Perhaps it’s time for us to start pushing back just a little bit?

  • Speaking of pushing back, I heard a rumor the other day. My hospital decided they were going to require the vaccine to keep your job early in the pandemic. I’d already gotten the vaxx (seemed like the right thing to do at the time), so it didn’t really affect me. They suspended that rule when Covid wave 2 (or 3, can’t keep track these days) hit and we were desperate for personnel. Staffing is better now, so they’re re-implementing the vaccination rule. I believe the deadline is Jan 1. It’ll be interesting to see how many people we lose. But that’s not the rumor… word floating around is they may add the booster to the requirements. I don’t know if this is true or not. I’ve decided not to get the booster at the moment for a variety of reasons. So – if they do require it, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to do some thinking on this one.

  • For my sanity and waistline, I’m asking everyone to start doing a snow-dance. If you’re not familiar, those of us who require the white fluffy stuff so we can go skiing perform a ritual dance to encourage the snow gods to bless us. Similar to voodoo. Anyway, we’ve had zero snow so far. This is a bad thing. There is a large storm lined up for the weekend with the potential of several feet of snow. So far, every storm has diverted further north at the last minute. Pray for us.

  • I just finished Dr Scott Atlas’ book about his time as a special advisor to the White House and the Covid task force. Read this book if you’d like to get really angry about the utter incompetence of government. It’s a great reminder that groupthink, ego, dogma, and politics exist in “science” just like any other discipline. Anytime you hear the words “consensus” or “science says”, you need to put your contrarian hat on.

  • The 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was a few days ago. 80 years before that was the start of the civil war. I thought that was an interesting illustration of time. There were some civil war veterans alive at the start of WWII, and a few WWII veterans alive today. Amazing to think about where we are today in a relatively few generations.

  • Substack is bringing back blogging in a big way. Whod’a thunk people would be willing to pay for blogs? I was convinced blogs were dead. I’ve contemplated abandoning WordPress for Substack. I equally contemplate giving up writing completely, as I can’t really define why I continue to babble. It’s clearly not for fame, fortune, or followers… Meanwhile, here’s a Substack dedicated to snacks. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does.

  • It cost me $81 to fill up my truck yesterday. When I was traveling to CA the other day it was $15 for 2.8 gallons near the airport. Lets Go Brandon!

  • Having just returned from the nightmare world of airline travel, here’s a collection of historical airline seatback safety cards. I will confess to having never read one, nor listened to the safety brief at the beginning of the flight. It’s still unclear to me why, in the 21st century, we still need instruction on how to fasten the seatbelt buckle?

Song of the day: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Official Video – AC/DC Live) (inspired by a little A10 action)

Yesterday, Today Was Tomorrow

  • Time is a cold hearted bitch. It doesn’t care about you, won’t wait for you, and is moving forward no matter what you do. I constantly need reminding of this. I am crazy guilty of “on Monday I’ll start my diet”, “I will workout tomorrow morning”, or “this spring I will start taking some day trips”. The problem is that tomorrow may or may not come for you. Just this week I had a patient who was young and fit. Had a silly accident and is now paralyzed. It’s a stark reminder that there are no guarantees. All of his plans for tomorrow are gone. For the first time ever, I actually wrote down some goals for the year and shared them with Mrs Troutdog. I didn’t think it would make a difference, but the act of writing them down and being public with them helped make them more real. I always have ideas, things I’d like to do floating around in my head, but rarely act on any of them. Just writing down the goals got me excited enough to start researching and making actual plans. The more I think about my young patient who’s goals are now permanently altered, the more resolved I am to start doing and stop just thinking about plans. It’s time to move forward because time is certainly not going to wait for me.
  • I had to laugh. An ultra left leaning friend on Facebook who’s spent the last four years spewing as much venom as possible towards the bad orange man, posted: “If you are a believer in the disinformation put out by Fox, Newsmax, Oan, Parler and all the other bullshit peddlers of lies – please do me a favor and unfriend me now. After the the last 4 years I’m just ready for truth and decency.” This is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting nah, nah, nah. Regardless of your personal and political beliefs – if you only seek out information that confirms what you already think, you’re a puppet and a very shallow thinker. And yes, we’re all guilty of this. It’s human nature. All you can do is try your best to look objectively at the world. It doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate about something, just try not to get so wrapped up in your beliefs that you lose sight of reality.
  • The Biden administration is unveiling plans to combat “domestic terrorism”. I wonder if that will include Antifa and BLM? Get ready for Patriot Act 3.0. Remember, if you see something, say something.
  • In 2006 the United States debt to GDP ratio was 60%. Today it’s roughly 136%. In 2001 Argentina’s debt to GDP ratio hit 166%, they defaulted on billions in loans, capital started leaving the country and unemployment reached 19%. They still haven’t recovered. We’re accelerating down a path that isn’t recoverable. Talks continue about printing more trillions. And Buttigieg is talking about possibly taxing Americans on the number of miles they drive to raise more money for infrastructure spending. Not only is that a regressive tax on the poor, it’s a massive intrusion into your privacy.
  • I almost violated my own admonishment to not seek out only information that confirms what I think. Tucker Carlson had a segment the other night that said CNN had conveniently removed the Covid death counter they’ve displayed prominently all election season as soon as Biden was sworn in. I was going to post that, because, of course, disinformation from the left! I did a little bit of research and that may not be really true. What’s reality? My guess is that CNN is showing it less than they did before because it no longer fits the narrative. Tucker is hyping it because it fits his narrative. So the truth is somewhere in the middle. My advice? Turn it all off an go outside for a run.

Song of the day: The Crystal Method “High Roller” (Live)