Real Talk 10/09/18: Harsh Realities

Ever had doriesquites? They’re pretty much the greatest.

The Principle of the Thing

I’m always reading one fiction book and one nonfiction book at a time. Lately my fiction reading has been taken over by the Crossroads book club, so if you want to hear my thoughts on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five you can check out the Crossroads podcast.

On the nonfiction side, I’ve been digging into the meaty and fascinating Principles by Ray Dalio. This book is all about decisions. Specifically, the idea that if you take the time to reflect on and codify your core values, you’ll never have to make a decision in the moment–you’ve already made all of your decisions ahead of time, and you can always know the correct course of action by keeping your principles in mind.

I’m about halfway through the book and loving it. The idea of reducing things to their essence has always appealed to me. It’s why I love subjects like philosophy and psychology. Instead of making moral judgments in countless scenarios or trying to sort out why a million things make you feel a million different ways, you can learn the underlying mechanisms and reveal that there are only a handful of scenarios and feelings, repeating over and over again under various guises.

The other reason the book appeals to me is because, well, it’s harsh. I like blunt truths and harsh realities. A lot of people will hate this book or find it offensive. If you want to get the most out of your life, though, the first step is accepting what is true, rather than believing in comforting delusions.

If you’re prepared to do some real work on improving your life, I highly recommend you check it out.

Quality Research

Speaking of work, I’ve been working on a lot of things lately and not keeping up with all of them. Notably, this blog has suffered, and I ended up taking most of last week off while I focused on writing and catching up on recording the podcast.

It’s not quite right to say I took the week off of blogging, actually. I didn’t post anything most of the days, but I was still doing research for posts. The problem is that I expect it to take about an hour to write a post, but lately it’s taking a lot more research and preparation every day. Not that that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a sign I’m striving to create higher quality content. To keep up my schedule, though, I’m going to have to either write shorter posts or allot a lot more time for working on this blog. Maybe a bit of both.

This week I should be back on track, considering half my research is already done. It also helps that we’re back on track with Crossroads–we were recording almost every day last week to get back on schedule, which really cut into my productive time.

What have I been doing all this time? I’ve been trying to keep up with some wild events going down right here in Mexico City, which I’ll hopefully cover on Wednesday. Getting the story straight is only half the battle; I also need to explain it in a way that will make sense to someone who doesn’t live her.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing a lot of research into the Third Crusade and other historical topics related to Assassin’s Creed. I’ve also been putting together a very basic, beginner-level workout inspired by Assassin’s Creed, and finding time to actually go to the gym and test it out.

Finally, the Witchtide Project eats up a shocking amount of time. I’ve set some lofty goals for myself with this campaign. Last week I spent hours upon hours researching Congolese, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Nahuatl mythologies just so I could create deities for the setting with an authentic feel. I’ve barely scratched the surface on the maps I’m supposed to have ready by Sunday.

It’s a lot of work, but I’ve been pretty proud of what I’m making here lately. I hope the quality of my content continues to improve with time.

Legal Immigration

I’ve lived in Mexico for almost two years now, but don’t have an official residence yet. I have to leave and re-enter the country every six months, and there’s no guarantee they’ll let me back in each time I cross the border. I’ve been working on applying for a temporary residence, but the process arduous, expensive, and frankly, confusing. Knowing this experience is still simpler and easier than the process of emigrating in the other direction, I have nothing but empathy to those trying to move to the United States.

If all goes well, I should be a temporary resident of Mexico within a few months. Then, after living here another few years, I can apply for a permanent residence. Within a decade I start the process for getting Mexican citizenship, assuming I can meet the prerequisites.

As it stands, I have dual citizenship in Canada and the United States. I can’t have Triple Citizenship, so I’ll have to revoke one of them. That decision is still quite a ways away, but I’m leaning towards revoking my United States citizenship, mostly because Canadians can travel a lot of places where Americans can’t.

The experience has me thinking about the whole decision to live in a foreign country in the first place. If I go on to much longer I’ll be getting into Low Fantasy Adventure territory, so I’ll leave it at this: nearly two years later, it’s still the best decision I ever made.

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