Here are my year-end quick takes on a number of things.
Last Minute Christmas Gifts
Still don’t have a gift for that hard-to-shop-for adult in your life? This just came to the house:
Twenty-four states and DC have now legalized recreational pot. Has the rapid legalization push been a mistake?
Not for most users. But up to 30% of people who use weed develop marijuana use disorder, making them unable to stop using, even though it’s causing health and social problems in their lives. That’s a lot of dysfunction and suffering.
A better Christmas gift? A broken drum. You just can’t beat it. Ba dum tss!
I attended a retirement lunch the other day. The conversation turned to who might be next. One of my older coworkers said he has a simple “Have Enough ~ Had Enough” formula for determining when to retire. “I probably have enough now, so I could retire, but I’m still enjoying myself, so I’m not going to.”
I think too many people focus on the ‘have enough’ without considering whether they’ve had enough…or not. My 80-something father is still working and finding fulfillment in it.
There Is Such a Thing As a Dumb Question
I talk a lot about saving money here, but the easiest way to get out of debt or save more than you are, is to increase your income. To do that, you need skills, and to go where the good-paying jobs are.
Most good-paying jobs are not down the hall from your bedroom. Despite what you might hear, most jobs are in-person, not virtual. So, unless you really, really have to work from home, now is not the time to ask a prospective employer what their remote work policy is during a job interview.
The natural networking that comes with an in-person job is so much better for your career anyway.
AI Is Making People Cry
AI, AI, AI, AI, AI, AI, AI. It’s gone from rare to everywhere this year.
Naturally, I’m curious, so I open a free ChatGPT account and think about how I can use it for work.
I’m responsible for writing messages to be sent to all employees on key holidays. Last month for Veterans Day, I wasn’t feeling it, so I told ChatGPT what it was, who it was going to, and how long it should be. Within a couple seconds, it delivered something really solid. I made a couple edits and sent it out for review by management, with a line that noted ChatGPT’s contribution.
Within an hour, I received a 3-word response from our General Manager: “Made me cry!”
It’s a tool – nothing more, nothing less. As long as you’re upfront about its use (unlike Sports Illustrated), then it should be one of many arrows in your quiver.
Don’t Be Like Mary Lou
America’s sweetheart gymnast Mary Lou Retton is home again after suffering from a virulent form of pneumonia that sent her to the ICU. A distinctly American hero, Retton had a distinctly American status – a lack of health insurance.
Which was no problem for her. Her daughters set up a spotfund (think GoFundMe) and raised $459,264 from 8,317 donors.
Unless you’ve performed perfect backflips on a 4″-wide balance beam with millions of people watching on live TV, don’t be like Mary Lou. If you don’t automatically get it through work or Medicare/Medicaid, get a basic ACA policy. Healthcare costs are the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
If you work in an office, you’ve probably heard of SMART goals.
I amend it slightly to also include Stretch: SSMART. Think of it as SMART goals for snakes. Attainable is good, but you have to push yourself.
There’s no shame in missing a SSMART goal as long as you make a robust attempt. I had a goal to read the entire Bible in a year. I didn’t make it, but I learned and grew from the effort.
One of my SSMART goals for 2024: collecting 40 orphan hubcaps during my bike rides. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m excited for it.
I’ve become a bit of an expert at finding various treasures in the road while I ride (including a wallet stuffed with $72 that I gave to the police). Here are some being modeled by Nora:
By this time next year, I plan to fashion an art project from the wheel covers, a la this beautiful hubcap tree on The Avenue in Hampden:
What do you want to accomplish in 2024?