One could argue that this "about" section is getting a little narcissistic. I talked about myself, my work and my values for like 2,000 words on the "about me" page, threw down a cool 800 paragraphs about the philosophical foundations of my website and the platform that I built for it over on "about this website", have a whole page devoted to my finances, and now I want to talk about my lifestyle.
I have a reason for wanting to share all of this, though, and it is that I've always been unbearably curious about how other peole live. I want to know what people eat, how much they exercise, how much they drive their cars, how much they talk on the phone and with whom, how much money they spend and on what, how much money they make and what they think of that, whether or not they have addictions and how they manage them, how they relate to their families and friends and how much time they spend with them, what they think of themselves, what they believe, what they value, what they build....
Because I'm so curious about other people, it seems that perhaps other people might be curious about other people as well. So here I am, adding unstructured and unverified personal data to our generational time capsule, to be Googled now and in the future by other curious souls like me!
Like 100% of other things in the world, my life is complex. In many respects, I live a very spartan existence, imposing strict limits on myself and doing without more often than with. At the same time, though, I live a life of clear and undeniable privilege. I'm a tall, young(ish), white male. I was born healthy, intelligent and reasonably talented, to two parents who both loved and cared deeply about me, in a country with structures built for my success (even at the expense of others). I've enjoyed virtually unlimited opportunities.
Because of this, my lifestyle can be spartan without being punishing. I can turn down a date to an expensive restaurant because I "can't afford it", knowing full well that I have the money to afford it and the means to make it up, but that it doesn't fit within the arbitrary rules I've imposed on myself. While this privilege is certainly not something I'm proud of, it's a crucial fact to keep in mind when understanding how I live my life, and its something that gives me an undeniable advantage over others. All this is to say that, while my life may look humble, it's not quite as hard as it seems....
I am of the camp that argues that routines will set you free. I have a number of routines myself, and indeed, they have helped me immensely in the accomplishment of my goals.
One of them is my to-do routine. Every quarter, I take a few hours to assess and update my 10-year, 5-year and 1-year goals, then create a set of quarter goals that feeds into my longer-term goals. At the end of each week, I create goals for the following week; at the end of each day, I create goals for the following day. This is how I ensure that I continue to move forward.
It's important to note that I don't make much of a distinction between work and pleasure in the setting of these goals. If an upcoming quarterly goal is to learn a new piece on the piano, I make time for that, even if it requires the sacrifice of certain less important work goals. (Of course, this requires a very realistic and well-crafted initial set of quarterly goals).
Diet statistics are notoriously hard to come by. I've tried a few apps, but have never been happy with them. Instead, I've fallen back on diet routines to ensure that I remain healthy.
The vast majority of days, I eat a variation on a Nicaraguan dish called Gallo Pinto for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. This involves frying a variety of vegetables (usually onion, garlic, zucchini, and sometimes mushrooms) in a hot skillet, then adding whole-grain rice and black beans. Sometimes I add a dollop of sour cream to enrich it a bit, but often I eat it plain. It's simple, filling, and very healthy, and I depend on it to allow me to live a normal life without spending excessive time and energy stressing about what I'm going to eat next.
Many mornings, though, I eat a particularly hardy home-made granola. While the sugar content of this is a little high (around 20g per serving, see the stats), it's usually almost all the sugar I have in a given day.
This is by design, for I am a sugar addict, and in the most literal sense. I have actually taken cookies from the back of the tray so people don't notice how many I'm having; I've thrown candy wrappers away in distant trash cans for the same reason. This shit is totally real. So I fight to keep sugary things out of the house, and when—god forbid—they make it into the house, I eat them with abandon until they're gone so I can stop thinking about them.
So for the most part, I don't stock cookies, candy, ice cream, or anything else like that. I do stock chocolate chips, and sometimes I have two servings (another 14g of sugar) with some almonds in the afternoon. Other than that, I'm pretty good.
Finances are interesting and important enough to me that I have devoted an entire page to them (here). Thus, I'll avoid repeating everything that I wrote there and say simply that I keep very strict books. I track every penny that I make or spend, and I track not only the what's of my transactions, but the why's. When I spend money, I typically go home and record the expenses either the same day or very soon after. I record every individual bus or train ride across the city or to the suburbs, too. I track how much I spend on individual foods like tomatoes, cherries, Bleu cheese, etc....
My concern here is not so much to "keep tabs" on my expenses. It's to provide data where very little currently exists—namely, to show people what one person in the world spends his money on and why. Again, this information is extremely interesting to me, and I anticipate that I'm not the only one who would find it so. It shines a brilliant light on the reality of life, and I hope it may serve to inspire others to change the way they use their resources.
My social life is fairly sparse, though getting better. I have to admit, I'm not actually sure how to manage a friendship (or a romantic relationship, for that matter). I'm perfectly happy alone, and I could spend days or weeks on end without ever seeing anyone.
I do enjoy company, though, and I also recognize how important other humans are in empowering each other to accomplish things. Thus, I prioritize maintaining friendships that I value, and I work to build new ones. I've written the search for social outings into my bi-weekly to-do list to ensure that I don't let it slide, and I volunteer frequently.
What I don't usually do is go to bars. I like talking more than yelling or drinking, so bars don't tend to be a place that's very enjoyable for me. My tendency is to stay in on weekends, or to go outside and sit beneath the moon.
One of the most important realizations that I had after my travels was that I'm being out-read by my peers. Reading is one of our most important forms of personal development, yet it was always what I cut out of my routine when I got busy. Starting mid last year, I began to mark off 2 hours per night for reading. I was good about it until the last quarter, and now I'm getting back on track.
It's amazing how much you can actually consume in 2 hours of reading!
Yet another piece of the human puzzle that I have often neglected, exercise has taken on new priority as I move into my 30s. I established a strict, one-hour-per-day exercise routine last year (almost always vigorous biking, though sometimes running and occasionally walking), fell off of it when winter hit, and am now anxious to get back on. I think it's realistic to say that I average about 3 hours of vigorous exercise a week during the winter, and about 8 in the summer. Not ideal, but I've never been one to hide the truth....
I'm not quite sure what else to put here. My goals with this page are mostly data-based: I want to provide an idea of how one human manages his life for those who may be curious. Long as this is, I remain unconvinced that the mission has been accomplished. More to come.....