being less of a tightwad as a harbinger of personal growth

January 26, 2021
In general I don't have a positive intuition about the probability - or maybe even the existence of - personal growth. To me, people seem basically the same over the years, and while people can change their behaviors, it almost always seems to require a persistent application of will. That health instructor line about "once you get into the regular routine of exercise, it will become a HABIT that's hard to break! It'll be tougher NOT to exercise!" seems like a good example of the big lies of personal growth.

But... the other day I mentioned to Melissa that I used to be a lot more tight with money. And now I'm pretty loose about it. So maybe that's personal change, or even growth?

Part of me resists the idea. I mean I can point to external factors; I've had many more years of making a good salary (a lot of techies are so blessed it's probably unjust) and so have rainy day money in a few places - easier to be relaxed knowing that's there. And I started working with a financial advisor on my retirement stuff, and she seems to have a pretty good shape of a plan for me in mind - easier to relax with that established.

Or I think about some events - I once had a big windfall from selling a house, and I lost most of that windfall the fourth or fifth year of making a loan to a friend's business. So maybe that instilled a sense of easy come, easy go - or maybe it's the years of observing how money seems to kind fit the shape of its container, like there's a set point of savings I have that (knock wood) is weirdly stable even when expenses rise or when I get some kind of raise. Or that while it's weird how big a credit card bill can pile up from $10 here, $20 there over a month (ties into how we don't have a good sense of how much time is crammed in a month!) by far and away the biggest expenses are the steady drain of housing and possibly car - so don't oversweat the small purchases.

I acknowledge a lot of privilege and just plain good luck in a lot of this. And some ok perseverance and skillbuilding, but yeah. Little did college age me know that switching to a computer science class to dodge repeating calculus would put a financial setting path in motion.
Alright, Cicadas aren't "Locusts" but it's that time of the 17 years again, it figures.
Really nice piece Why iPhone is today's Kodak Brownie Camera - a great tool for making photography in and of everyday life. Photos were again about capturing a moment and a vibe more than technical excellence.

The article especially talks about selfies - which brings up an interesting point, a smartphone is TWO cameras - and the front-facing, selfie camera will almost always lag the lenses you get using it more like a regular point-and-shoot.

(Wouldn't it be interesting if they could make a little "selfie drone" that would take off from the phone and take the lens assembly with it? Just a thought.)

While I've only dabbled at more technical photography, I do take a lot of photos, and think a lot about composition. From 2000 to 2012 or so, I really felt special carrying around a tiny Canon point and shoot, always having it in my pocket. (I was the "go to" guy for whiteboard snapshots at work.) But now nearly everyone has a great camera in their pocket, and all I have is a semi-annual excuse to upgrade my phone, always seeking that incremental upgrade in camera...