Death of an Acquaintance

Last night I learned that a guy I met when I was traveling over in Cambodia died recently in a motorcycle accident.

I haven’t been in touch with him since I left Cambodia (this was 2 years ago), but it still was a shock to me that I’ll never have contact with him again. Death comes for everyone, but for some well before their time.

This makes me think more about my relationships with folks. When you’re traveling, you make these great relationships, but they are one off things most of the time. When you are in the same place for a while (while traveling, for a job, just living life), you have the opportunity to make stronger connections just due to proximity to the same people. It makes me appreciate what I have.

There are a couple fascinating parts to this learning of his death for me…

I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for Facebook. I might have wanted to get in touch down the line and received no answer. It would have been weird.

The other thing about Facebook is that we have no common friends. There is virtually no one who is a friend of mine who also knows him. Though, there are other connections aside from Facebook, so I have found at least one person to talk to about this.

Not that it’s that much of a coincidence, but I am reading about the slow march towards death right now. “Tuesdays with Morrie” is about a gentleman with ALS. I was just reading the chapter where they talk about death. “The truth is, Mitch,” he said, “once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” In the chapter, Morrie talks about how we take death for granted a bit. It’s something we know is going to happen, but we don’t fully grasp that it can happen at any moment.

Motorcycles are dangerous. A friend of mine had a parent that was recently in an accident as well.

I don’t know how much this will change me, but it’s a good reminder that life is worth living.

Tipping: What is it good for?

Why is tipping a part of our culture?

On the one hand, I get it. People want to reward good service. This works perfectly well for some jobs.

But one where it doesn’t work so well in is waiting tables.

Not only does tipping not improve service, it isn’t doled out according to service anyway.  You are more likely to get a better tip if you are attractive than if you give amazing service.

It also turns out that restaurants end up having the cooks leave their positions to wait tables because the money is better (because the tips aren’t spread evenly among everyone). So there is this constant battle between the front of the house and the back.

Some eateries are changing this. I really do hope it sticks though. It is so confusing for folks who come here from abroad. But more importantly, it makes it easier on everyone so we don’t have to do math at the table.

I know that I enjoy going to other countries and not having to worry about tipping. Though, then I inevitably DO worry about tipping because I wonder if they do tip in these places.

This kind of goes hand in hand with the culture discussion from yesterday.

If We Hide Behind our Phones, Are We Really Discovering the World?

One of the books I am reading right now is a travel book. The author is riding various dangerous modes of transportation. I’m currently reading about the dangerous trains in Mumbai, India. They are so full that every boarding experience is an exercise in wrestling.

Another aspect that is really interesting about this book is the lack of privacy that people have in other parts of the world. Many of the people who I would talk to see it as a “Third World” thing. As our country has gotten richer and more technologically sound, it’s easier to get away. After all, 200 years ago the best thing that money could get you was privacy.

But is that all good? In this book, The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World… Via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes, the author continues to see happiness and comfort in folks who have much less than he does. Some of the people in the places he visits are interconnected in every way, much like what small towns here in the states seem to many of us. Everybody knows your business in small towns. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

New York City, with over 8 million people living there can be the loneliest place on the planet. But if I go back to my hometown, I just have to stand in the local grocery store for a few minutes before I run into someone I know.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Cleaning the Slate

I was able to clean my car today.  I got all of the winter off of it.  As we were riding home, my dad said, “When you clean it, it seems to ride smoother.”

He’s right.  When things are clean or organized, things seem to run smoother.

But I think it’s important to not get stuck in the organizational trap.  Things can always be more organized.

You only have so much time and energy for the work that needs to get done.

The Snowball Effect

Sometimes life just gets you down.  You might have something to do, but just don’t want to do it.  I’m not talking about procrastination, in this case I am talking about something that if you don’t do now, you just aren’t going to get it done.

For example, exercise.

I try my best to keep my body healthy.  I try to eat right.  I try to exercise daily.  I wash my hands and try to keep face touching to a minimum.  But there are some days when I plan on working out before work, but I really just want to hit my snooze button, curl back under my covers, and dream.

Today was one of those days.

A Little Background

I read a few financial blogs, mostly personal finance and how I can better manage my mo2318649324_98a5ff68f8ney.  A while back, I read an article called In Praise of the Debt Snowball on GetRichSlowly.org.  Essentially, the gist of the article is that if you start paying off your smallest debt first, you will gain momentum and you will continue until you pay off your big debts.

This method never resonated with me.

I have always done well with goals.  While I see the good reasoning behind it, I also see the big picture in that if I paid my debts off that way, I would be spending more money than if I paid it off big debts first.  I’ve always been conscious of where my money is going.

So I didn’t really put much credence into this Snowball Effect.  I’ve always thought that tackling the biggest portion first would make the smaller portions so much easier to get through.

Back to the Story

Here I was, waking up, knowing that I had two workouts to get through.  I had a longer arm workout and a shorter abdominal workout.  Normally, I do the longer one first and then bust out the shorter one after that.  But today, I was looking at it as a block.  “Wow!  I have a lot to do today!  This isn’t going to be any fun.”

So I thought back to the Snowball example and decided to switch up the routine.

Going through the workout was much easier on me because I didn’t have the “Yuck, I have fifteen minutes of abs after I get done with this” feeling.  I cranked out the ab routine and then just counted down until my arm workout was done.

Changing up the routine a bit kind of helped as well, because it was getting stale, but getting the shorter portion of my workout done first really helped me push through the longer portion.