September 20 - 10 Year Goals

Again, this is a visualization of my future life. Seeing myself in 10 years is hard. Honestly so much of my life is stable right now, but I doubt it's going to look the same in 10 years.

1) My child will start being rebellious. Maybe I'll have two at this point.

2) Upgrade to another home and rent out our first home for passive income

3) Write a book (or three) and publish them and have them bringing in passive income

4) These creative projects are making enough money that I don't have to work, or at least I have a more flexible work-life schedule

5) I've made substantial improvements on my mental health.

September 18 - 1 Year Goals

Just to be clear, these are not lists of goals to accomplish, but more a visualization of where I want to be in a year. I have two short term goals for this year. 

1) I want to be a mother - I just turned 30, I have my degree, I'm married, and my husband I have stable jobs. This is the place in my timeline where I get pregnant. My hope is to have the child in the next year or at least be pregnant. 

2) I want to be  Professional Engineer - If you don't know the Professional Engineer (PE) title is a difficult test that you need to pass to prove you're knowledgeable enough to approve plans. I'm actually taking the test again in October, and I hope to pass it this year. 


September 15 - If Money Wasn't an Issue

Recently I've been contemplating what I would do if Money wasn't an issue. A lot of times, people think that if people didn't have to work, they'd get lazy and complacent. I'm sure there are lots of people out there that would just stop doing things if they didn't need to to survive, but I think just as many, if not more people, would follow their calling and make the world a better place in their own way. I know I can't be idle. If I didn't have to do anything, I'd just start making up things to do. For me, if I didn't have to worry about money, I'd want to run charity fundraisers. I love helping people, and I love organizing events. So it seems like the best of both worlds. I get all my planning energy out of my system, I get to plan something fun, and I get to help charities I believe in raise money for causes I care about. Win-Win.

What would you do if money wasn't an issue?

September 14 - AI and Sentience

My husband and I were talking about Sentience and how one might define and identify sentience in an AI. Generally, I believe sentience can be identified when a living thing starts looking for the upper section of Maslow's Hierarchy of Need. Not to say that a person who is struggling to attain the lower sections by economic disadvantage isn't sentient. I mean as a species, human's desire those higher levels, therefore, we are a sentient creature. But how does that translate to an AI?

Simply put, unlike us, an AI is created with a purpose and designed to excel at that task. So you could say an AI is created at the top of Maslow's Hierarchy. But that is basically meaningless on the sentience scale, so how do we determine if one becomes sentient? I believe we should turn the triangle on it's head. Humans are born with instinctual desires for food, shelter, safety, and belonging. Organic creatures are born with these desires. Our sentience comes when we try to find purpose and grow. But AI are created with a purpose, so shouldn't we recognize sentience when they begin to desire those "basic" needs. When the AI begin to be concerned with being turned off, with losing the energy it uses to survive, to procreate, isn't that when we should reconize it has truely gained sentience?

September 10 - Meaning of Life

I spoke about my purpose back on September 8, but today I'm going to focus on the meaning of life. In my mind the meaning of life and our individual purposes are very different things, although some people may disagree with me. In my opinion, the mean of life is to perpetuate life. Now this isn't to say that everyone needs to procreate, or that we have a ethical responsibility to have children. I'm just talking on the generic. The meaning of life, the reason life exists is to produce more life.

So how does that affect us as humans? Well, over-population, destruction of resources, and global warming are creating problems today that are already detrimental to human life and all other life on this planet. The meaning of life is to make sure we can continue life. And we, as a species, need to start making decisions that will protect life on this planet, and hopefully, other planets. 

September 9 - Gossip

Gossip is conversations about other people, typically involving details that aren't confirmed to be true. I know I shouldn't gossip. And I know that I should say, "gossip is bad" and "I don't participate in such a hateful and mean-spirited activity." But honestly, I do. Now do I do it to hurt people? Definitely not. But that's not really a justification. 

My obsession with gossip is actually an extension of my fear of upsetting people. Hear me out. I want to know who's mad and who, and what so-and-so did to upset such-and-such. Because I want to avoid creating a conflict when I talk to people or invite people to events. I don't want to invite two people that are actively upset at each other to a intimate dinner party. Or accidentally tell so-and-so what such-and-such and I did last weekend. My obsession with not upsetting anyone creates a need in me to know intimate details about everyone's lives. I'm not saying this as a justification. I'm working on not spreading rumors and gossiping. I just recognize that when someone else does, a part of me "needs" the information. 

In conclusion, "gossip is bad." and "don't participate in such a hateful and mean-spirited activity." I'm working on growing and improving as a person, and maybe someday soon, I won't be such a gossip.

September 8 - My Purpose

So one of the hardest questions to struggle with is "what is My purpose?" Obviously, everyone will have a different answer to this question. I have decided, that overall, my purpose is to make the world a better place. Now this is two-fold. First, I need to make a world that is more loving, helpful, safer, and more ethical. Secondly, I need to make myself more loving, helpful, and ethical. I try to do this in several ways:

1) I live according to my core values - Adventure, Impermanence, Unity, Discipline, Simplicity, Efficiency

2) I work in energy generation - I specifically work in the Solar industry right now, but I believe that stable, cheap, and sustainable energy generation is going to fix a lot of the problems we have in the world.

3) I donate to charity -  I recognize that not everyone has the money to give away, but if you do, pick a few causes you want to support. Not everyone needs to support the same causes, and you can't support everything. So I'd pick two or three causes, vet the charities to make sure your money is going to good use, and donate what you can. I support my local food bank, UNICEF, and the ACLU. 

September 7 - One Recent Complement

I recently had my hair cut, and during the consultation with the stylist, he told me that I was parting my hair on the correct side of my face. I'm not a style person. I don't follow trends or brands. I don't watch add campaigns. I don't know how to do fancy make-up or hair styles. That is why having the professional say in passing that my part was on the correct side meant so much to me. I'm trying to care more about how I look and present myself, and having that confirmation of my style choices really meant a lot. I don't even think that the stylist thought much about it. 

September 6 - Spirituality and Daily Life

I used to be strictly "secular". I used to think that there is no place for "spirituality" in a modern society, but as I've grown, my thoughts on this subject have evolved. I've realized that we, as humans, need some way of finding purpose and meaning in our lives. Based on my definition, spirituality is just thinking about and trying to find your answers to the unanswerable questions. But how do you make this part of your daily life? 

Simply, you need to live your life according to your core values and your answers to those unanswerable questions. Questions like "What is My Purpose?", "What is the meaning of Life?", or "What is right and wrong?", help us decide how we should live. I'm going to go more in depth into the answers to these questions and more over the course of this month. You can play along by contemplating how you'd answer the questions too. Are you living your life according to the values and ethics that you think is correct?

September 5 - Feeling Joy

Joy is one of those strange feelings. It's something we value greatly, but when trying to acquire it, it can seem like it drifts further and further away. Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. I've found that I have the most joy, when I stop thinking about joy. When I sit back and just take pleasure in the moment I find myself in. When I get lost in writing or reading a good book. When I go for a hike. When I see my friends. These are the experiences that I find the most pleasure in, but I only find that pleasure when I stop thinking about how I'm feeling and just enjoy.

Clinging to an outcome, like feeling joy, I've found does the exact opposite. It creates unrealistic expectation on how the event is going to go. And then disappointment when the outcome is not how you wanted. It also distracts you from the current moment. 

September 4 - Spirituality

Spirituality is defined as the quality of being concerned with the spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. I think, colloquially, most people define spirituality as religion. I, personally, define spirituality as thinking about the metaphysical questions. There are a lot of questions in the universe that just don't have answers. At least, not answers that can be proven in any direction. Honestly, I'd venture that the answers also don't really matter.  I guess "Do these answers even matter?" is probably a metaphysical question in and of itself. Questions like "Why am I here?" or "What makes something right or wrong?". These questions can be answered in a myriad of ways, but at the end of the day. There isn't a "correct" answer. 

I feel like religious people will often use "God" or "Religion" to answer these difficult questions for them. To me this seems like the easy way out. I feel like secularists, often, have to deal with these questions in much greater depth. When you can't just chalk up your life's purpose to a deity, it's a lot more difficult. Generally, you have spend a lot of time reading, researching, contemplating, and discussing these topics. And a contemplative person may see their answers to these questions evolve as they experience more of the world and learn new things.

So my definition of Spirituality is vague and difficult to pin down. It's like a lantern floating down a raging river. At any one point you may be able to see the light, but sometimes it dips out of sight of is tossed behind a rock. But the lantern is almost never in the same spot twice.

September 3 - Dear Teenage Self

Dear Teenage Self,

I can only leave you one piece of advice. Don't make decisions out of fear. When the fear and panic start to build up inside of you, stop and take a deep breath. Identify why you are feeling fear. You'll find there is often no reason. If you can't find a reason to actually be afraid, just do it. Take the risks. Talk to the people. Try the new thing. Live your life. 



September 2 - Feeling Alive

Feeling alive is a varied term. When some people hear it, they think of the adrenaline in their blood from a harrowing or risky activity. Some people think of a feeling of ecstasy or jubilation.  Some feel validation for some accomplishment. Honestly, I feel like like all three of these things could be combined by feeling truly present in the moment. When you survive something dangerous (or perceived as dangerous), that adrenaline rush makes the world seem more vibrant in the moment. When you feel extreme joy, that feeling is fixated in the moment. When you accomplish something and are basking in the glory, that is focused in the moment. Feeling truly alive, then, is being truly present. Some things that I can think of that make me feel truly present in the moment are:

1. Taking cold showers - I know, sounds awful. But I always feel so refreshed and exhilarated during it. 

2. Running - Not fast, mind you, but a nice morning jog just seems to clear out my head

3. Cuddling - this is also one of the fastest ways to get me to fall asleep. 

4. Playing Dress Up - styling my hair, putting on make up, and rocking a fancy outfit I feel like I can take on the world

5. Taking Pictures - photography forces you to look at the world in a new way. You have to see the light and shadows. You have to frame the shot. You have to play with your camera to get the affect you want. It makes you really see what you are looking at.

I try to do the first three every day. I do number four and five for special occasions and on weekends. Doing these things regularly is a great way to make me feel connected and alive.