32 votes

What's something you've been mulling over recently?

What has your brain been spending its time pulling apart and thinking about?

It doesn't have to be a complete thought, or something you've come to a conclusion on. It can be as messy or odd or significant or inconsequential as you feel.

Inconclusive, directionless, stream of consciousness posts are welcome. This is a place to mull over the topic out loud, outside of your head -- not necessarily to take a stance or make a point.

117 comments

  1. [29]
    GenuinelyCrooked
    Link
    My husband has been going through some health issues and my sister keeps telling me to take comfort that God has complete control of my life. I'm an atheist, but I've been thinking about just...

    My husband has been going through some health issues and my sister keeps telling me to take comfort that God has complete control of my life. I'm an atheist, but I've been thinking about just exactly how fucked up and not at all comforting it would be if the God she believes in did have control of my life.

    I can't reconcile the idea of a heaven and a hell both existing, because I could never be at peace knowing that anyone is being tortured for eternity, but also our little brother died by suicide so he would specifically probably be in hell based on the rules in her book, which I definitely could not ever be okay with. The only way to have that happen to anyone, but especially to someone that I love, would be to remove the knowledge of it from my memory or just change the way that I feel happiness. Either way, that's not me anymore. Also, I'm bisexual and have zero intention of repenting, so I'd probably end up in hell myself anyway, and the rules against being gay are stupid and cruel of God to make in the first place and further evidence that his complete control over my life would be terrifying because his rules are mean and arbitrary.

    Also, if you know anything about the childhoods of serial killers, there's usually a lot of serious abuse and head trauma. God gives us "free will", which is basically composed of volition, the freedom to act, and inhibition, the freedom to not act. Then he designed a brain where a child can just basically lose half of that if it gets whacked the wrong way, and now that child is going to end up tortured for all of eternity because of a design flaw, not to mention the suffering of their victims.

    Christians usually fill this sort of gap with "God works in mysterious ways", which I understand comforts them, but telling me "don't worry, someone has total control over your life, and they're never going to make any fucking sense to you", is absolutely the opposite of comforting.

    She's told me this a bunch of times before and it usually just rolls off. I don't know why but this time it's sticking in my head. What if this petty, incomprehensible entity did have complete control over my life? What could I even do? Suicide won't help, he controls the afterlife. I could try to convert, and I'd believe if I had proof but I could never love this cruel and monstrous thing. Would belief and fear and loathing be enough?

    It's not comforting, it's fucking Lovecraftian.

    44 votes
    1. [13]
      TangibleLight
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      In my experience, when Christians say things like this it usually comes from a good place. I usually take those "God has a plan for you in X horrible situation" sentiment more like "I hope things...

      In my experience, when Christians say things like this it usually comes from a good place. I usually take those "God has a plan for you in X horrible situation" sentiment more like "I hope things turn out alright, but I don't have the ability (or will) to do anything directly to help you, so here are some Good Vibes instead"

      I often wonder if "God's Plan" is a way to cope with a sort of guilt over that inaction, whether it's warranted or not. "That thing is terrible, but it's God's Plan and I couldn't affect it even if I tried, so I shouldn't feel bad about not doing anything."

      I can't claim for sure that's what your sister means. I'm not her and I don't know the situation. And I have of course encountered "gods will" remarks directed specifically at non believers with negative subtext and that interpretation definitely doesn't apply.

      But usually I try to understand those kinds of remarks in that way. They generally don't intend the sort of psychological horror they're accidentally implying.

      23 votes
      1. [8]
        GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        Oh, she's absolutely doing it out of love. That's what normally allows me to let it roll off. And I know she's just not thinking very deeply about the whole thing, and terminating any hard...

        Oh, she's absolutely doing it out of love. That's what normally allows me to let it roll off. And I know she's just not thinking very deeply about the whole thing, and terminating any hard questions with "God is Good". Our brother is dead, therfore he must be in heaven even though the last thing he did was a sin because God is Good. I absolutely don't think she was trying to hurt me at all, she would probably be really upset to know that I've been distressed by it.

        Usually I'm able to just pretend she just said "I love you, I wish I could help" not think too much about it. I don't know why I keep thinking about it this time. It's not like this is the first time this has happened, this has been our dynamic for over a decade.

        I'm debating whether I should say something the next time she brings it up. I don't want to hurt her, and she'll think I'm being petty and hurtful, but I don't like the thought paths this has led me down.

        17 votes
        1. [7]
          TangibleLight
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I guess I can offer my own way of dealing with these kinds things: It really is Lovecraftian, both in the sense of cosmic horror and existential dread and also in the sense that it is fiction....

          I don't know why I keep thinking about it this time.

          I guess I can offer my own way of dealing with these kinds things:

          It really is Lovecraftian, both in the sense of cosmic horror and existential dread and also in the sense that it is fiction. Scary stories can have a moral, and they often make one reflect on their own life - but it's still just a story.

          For me, the most distressing thing about these situations is when I remember that hundreds of millions of people in my country - by demographics, 3 in every 4 people in my state - believe these things are reality. There are certainly differences in how strictly various Christian sects deal with the contradictions, but none of them have a satisfying answer to the question of evil, and to me that's the disturbing part. It's not so distressing to me, but I empathize with and am distressed for those millions of people.

          But really, those people are not me, and I don't really have any reason or right to be distressed on their behalf.

          I'm debating whether I should say something the next time she brings it up. I don't want to hurt her, and she'll think I'm being petty and hurtful

          Firstly: use your own judgement. You obviously know your own sister better than a stranger online.

          From my own experience living in the Bible Belt, in general, Christians:

          • Generally don't think critically about their foundational beliefs. All reasoning is predicated on that the Bible contains only translations of facts. This is a given.
          • Are conditioned to deflect conversations that challenge their foundational beliefs. It is difficult to impossible to convince them that the Bible passage (or other theology) in question is not a simple fact.
          • Are conditioned to make these beliefs a part of their identity. Discussions about beliefs tend to devolve into discussions about the believer's own identity. "Believer" is a virtuous identity trait.

          If you've ever attended an evangelical church service, it's easy to see how years of attendance would make one think this way. And it's important to remember how much of identity tends to get wrapped up in this. If you can convince the person to have a critical discussion about the beliefs and not about identity, it can work - but remember they are often conditioned not to do this.

          Asking not to be outwardly religious is asking not to be yourself. It's rarely taken well. Substitute "religious" with any other identity trait and it's understandable why. "It's okay if you're gay, but please don't make gay comments around me." "It's distressing to me when you come across so masculine." "I know your family comes from overseas, but it offends me when you pretend like you do." Those kinds of requests are obviously offensive. I hope you see they follow the same general structure as "I know you are very religious, but please don't praise god around me."

          Now I know that's not what you mean. It's not intended as an attack on identity because, from outside looking in, it's not even about identity. Just be warned that, if your sister is the median Bible Belt Christian, that's probably how it'll be interpreted at a surface level.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            boxer_dogs_dance
            Link Parent
            Not every Christian sect encourages or respects formal training in their leaders. For those that do, their pastors study theodicy as part of their training. It's an interesting...

            Not every Christian sect encourages or respects formal training in their leaders. For those that do, their pastors study theodicy as part of their training. It's an interesting philosophical/theological question and you may be right that there is no good answer but the 'know nothing' version of Christianity that has become so popular is not the only one.

            7 votes
            1. TangibleLight
              Link Parent
              I did not know the term for this, thanks for sharing! I was raised anabaptist and the teachings there were much more in line with this. Judgement based on actions and merit, rather than only on...

              I did not know the term for this, thanks for sharing! I was raised anabaptist and the teachings there were much more in line with this. Judgement based on actions and merit, rather than only on belief. The cosmic horror there is much less - but it's still there in the Bible, and the Bible is still Truth... ish. There was less emphasis on the words themselves and more on the story as a whole, in the context that it was originally told. This gives some room to understand the "problematic" parts with some leeway, and transfer the meaning from its original context into modern day. Generally the church was a lot more progressive and felt more sincere than others.

              However anabaptism is extremely unusual in my region. Southern Baptist, Catholic, and Methodist churches are much much more common. I do not like their services. Southern Christian culture in general makes a bit more sense if you imagine attending a service like that once- or twice-a-week for years on end.

              5 votes
          2. [4]
            GenuinelyCrooked
            Link Parent
            You're absolutely right about how she would take it, which is why I haven't brought it up in the past. I used to, in the least productive way, when I was a teenager. Not just about religion, about...

            You're absolutely right about how she would take it, which is why I haven't brought it up in the past. I used to, in the least productive way, when I was a teenager. Not just about religion, about everything. Gender roles, unconscious racial bias, vegetarianism. It's taken 15 years to repair that damage and get to a place where if I am extremely, extremely supportive and gentle, I can push back or correct a very small thing that she says without her clamming up and saying that I'm impossible to talk to. I don't want to destroy that progress. (I'm not trying to convert her, or anything. I just don't think you can have a real relationship with a person if you can never disagree with them, even a little bit.)

            If I do decide to say something about it, I definitely need to be extremely careful about how I frame it. The best I can come up with is "I've read the book you gave me (The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian - it also made me pretty uncomfortable!) and I've read the Bible, and I don't think you want to hear my opinions on either. I love you and I know you want me to be happy and comfortable, and I want the same for you, so I think it's safest if we avoid this topic." I think framing it as something that we're both agreeing to do, and something that we're both agreeing to give up, might make her feel a little bit less attacked? On the other hand, I'm sort of worried that it kind of sounds like a threat. "If you keep being my loving, Christian big sister, I'll go back to being that petulant atheist little sister and then we'll both be sorry".

            I've also considered addressing the entire dynamic of our relationship. In an effort to repair our relationship, I've sort of started speaking within the fiction of religion when I talk to her sometimes. I'll reference Bible verses that I do truly believe contain wisdom, like Matthew 25. If I'm trying to convince her of something, I'll use Biblical logic. I've even referenced God's plan for her life when she's worried about something. I do those things because I know that it brings her comfort, and she believes in them, and as far as her life goes that's all that matters. Now I'm worried that I've sort of invited this on myself by behaving this way. Maybe I don't need to ask her anything, I just need to clarify that while was willing to agree to speak her language with her, it does not mean that I am any closer to believing the things that she believes, and I am not inviting outreach in that direction. I'll have to be very careful with that, too, but it might be less tricky. I can focus on myself and simply make myself look like a poor target for proselytism, rather than in any way asking her to curb her proselytizing. Either way, I'm absolutely going to stop playing Bible make-believe with her.

            I think I'm ultimately leaning towards not saying anything. If we lived closer and could talk in person, maybe it would be a better idea, but as it is I think it's just too risky.

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              TangibleLight
              Link Parent
              I think you might have... and I'd also caution that it's easy to accidentally say something that retroactively makes your use of that language seem insincere. To me it sounds like you extended use...

              Now I'm worried that I've sort of invited this on myself by behaving this way.

              I can focus on myself and simply make myself look like a poor target for proselytism, rather than in any way asking her to curb her proselytizing.

              I think you might have... and I'd also caution that it's easy to accidentally say something that retroactively makes your use of that language seem insincere.

              To me it sounds like you extended use of that language to her with good intentions, but when she reciprocated you've realized it makes you uncomfortable. I'd just phrase it like that. Seems like it's no secret from her that you are, or at least were, atheist. I suspect it'll come across better if it's framed that you stepped out of your comfort zone a bit too far and need to step back in, rather than a direct request for her to change her behavior.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                GenuinelyCrooked
                Link Parent
                Well, we aren't using the same language exactly, or at least not to the same degree, and she definitely still knows that I'm an atheist. She was worried that her husband's job may change, but if...

                Well, we aren't using the same language exactly, or at least not to the same degree, and she definitely still knows that I'm an atheist. She was worried that her husband's job may change, but if it does they may be moving closer to family. I said something like "I know you have a lot of trust in God's plan for you." One ambiguous sentence. When I told her about a surgery my husband needed, she said something like "I know you don't believe, but it's so comforting to know that God has absolute control over your life", and she went on for several minutes while I just sat there quietly. If it had been one sentence, I don't know that I would still be thinking about it now.

                2 votes
                1. TangibleLight
                  Link Parent
                  I held off on responding to take some time to think about it and come up with a good response. I don't have a good response. I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly, but there's...

                  I held off on responding to take some time to think about it and come up with a good response.

                  I don't have a good response.

                  I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly, but there's something about that phrasing. "It's comforting to me that god has control over you." I can totally understand why it's lingered on your mind. There's a sort of faith-on-your-behalf that feels like a violation of... something. I suggest you think on what exactly that violation is and, if you choose to talk with her about it, try to keep the conversation on that topic.

                  It's probably not dissimilar from my feelings of distress on behalf of Christians probably being unethical. Imagine telling a Christian, "it's so distressing to know you believe God has control over your life." I think it would provoke the same reaction. I said in my earlier comment:

                  But really, those people are not me, and I don't really have any reason or right to be distressed on their behalf.

                  I think I stand by most of my advice, except my previous comment. With your clarification I don't think there's any interpretation that you're stepping out of your comfort zone, so a request to step back in really doesn't seem to apply.

                  1 vote
      2. [2]
        Plik
        Link Parent
        I feel like the world would be a better place if rather than "God has a plan," or "They're in a better place," or even "Sorry for your loss," people just said "You're getting a hug in T-5 unless...

        I feel like the world would be a better place if rather than "God has a plan," or "They're in a better place," or even "Sorry for your loss," people just said "You're getting a hug in T-5 unless you object".

        8 votes
        1. GenuinelyCrooked
          Link Parent
          In fairness to her, we're on different continents. With hugs out of the question her options are limited. Generally I think you're right, though. If we replaced "God has a plan" with a small act...

          In fairness to her, we're on different continents. With hugs out of the question her options are limited.

          Generally I think you're right, though. If we replaced "God has a plan" with a small act of kindness or comfort, it would make the world a much better place. There's a little story that I think is apocryphal, about a Rabbi trying to figure out why God created Atheists. He decides that it's because when someone is in need, everyone should behave as an Atheist does. Rather than simply offering prayers, you should believe for the moment that there is only one person who can help them, and that it is yourself. I liked that idea even before I was an Atheist.

          5 votes
      3. elcuello
        Link Parent
        I read that as "God Vibes" and immediately pictured Steve Buscemi with a skateboard but it kinda works though.

        "I hope things turn out alright, but I don't have the ability (or will) to do anything directly to help you, so here are some Good Vibes instead"

        I read that as "God Vibes" and immediately pictured Steve Buscemi with a skateboard but it kinda works though.

        4 votes
      4. chocobean
        Link Parent
        It's usually coming from good intentions, like, if you were watching a movie with small children and there's a scary scene, you might want to offer "don't worry the good guys win" or "don't worry...

        It's usually coming from good intentions, like, if you were watching a movie with small children and there's a scary scene, you might want to offer "don't worry the good guys win" or "don't worry the dog doesn't die".

        But yeah, spoilers are less helpful than "I'm nervous about the dog too....want to take a pop corn break?" Or offer to snuggle under the same blanket to get through the scene.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      Spydrchick
      Link Parent
      Also an atheist. First off, when people say stuff like God has control or is watching over you or He works in mysterious ways, etc. I absolutely cringe at the fact they have no real idea of the...

      Also an atheist. First off, when people say stuff like God has control or is watching over you or He works in mysterious ways, etc. I absolutely cringe at the fact they have no real idea of the harm they are doing by saying these things.

      I'm sorry this is sticking with you. Allow it to just roll off (I know it's hard). You are going through a rough patch. If you have trusted people who support you, surroumd yourself with them
      If not, try to find something that brings you comfort. I know it's hard with families, but if at all possible, limit your time/exposure with those that bring you distress.

      I hope your husband's health issues get the treatment that is needed. Remember to provide self care as well. One day at a time. Just take it one day at a time. Focus your energy on whatever provides support and positivity. Wishing you and your family the best going forward.

      11 votes
      1. GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        Luckily, we live in Sweden and my family lives in South Florida. That means I only have to talk to them when I want to, and we also get free Healthcare. I know she's saying it out of love and she...

        Luckily, we live in Sweden and my family lives in South Florida. That means I only have to talk to them when I want to, and we also get free Healthcare.

        I know she's saying it out of love and she just wants to comfort me, and I don't want to avoid her because she's otherwise a very good sister, but I do want to avoid this topic. I'm thinking of telling her that, but I don't want to start an argument that she's not going to understand.

        Thank you for the kind words.

        8 votes
    3. [3]
      TanyaJLaird
      Link Parent
      I've been toying around with the idea of a constructed religion. Could you come up with a belief system that gave the peace, assurance, and benefits of existing religion, without all the...

      I've been toying around with the idea of a constructed religion. Could you come up with a belief system that gave the peace, assurance, and benefits of existing religion, without all the negatives? Can you construct a theory of an afterlife without conjuring supernatural beings? The Hard Problem of Evil and the contradictions inherent in an omnipotent, omnibenevolent being are manifold. Can you have a belief system that provides comfort, but without claiming to have received divine revelation, and without creating any kind of corrupting religions hierarchy?

      What I've come up with is an adaptation of The Egg by Andy Weir. I don't want to spoil it, but the inspiration to this topic will be obvious to anyone familiar.

      So, here's the core concept. Imagine a far-off future society. All diseases have been cured. Aging is a distant memory. Better economic systems have been developed, and no one wants for anything. Imagine a true technological utopia, a true post-scarcity civilization of nigh-immortals. A society so advanced that they're one step removed from a literal heaven on Earth.

      There is one problem with a utopia like that though. Even with such a society, you still need to have some number of children if you want to maintain it. Even if you've cured diseases and aging, some people will die in rare accidents, and some may simply choose to end their ageless existence. So even if their population is constant, they still need to have children.

      And the problem with this is, how do you raise children in utopia? Imagine trying to raise a child in an environment where they could have whatever they want, whenever they want it, for as long as they want. How do you raise a child in such a world to have any level of self-control, social responsibility, or sense of purpose? How do you keep from having your utopia implode when everyone just decides to live in the sex holodeck all day?

      One solution to this problem is to not even try. If you can't raise children in utopia, then simply...don't. Raise them somewhere else. Or more specifically, some WHEN else. Imagine a benevolent version of The Matrix. Raising a child in a virtual world is one way to get around the problem of child rearing in utopia. Raise them in an environment where they will have some struggle and some suffering. Then when the time comes to enter utopia, they'll have that firm grounding in responsibility and restraint. And maybe, you and I are in such a simulation right now.

      And the time we live in would actually be a pretty good choice for such a virtual child-rearing environment. For most of history, people didn't really have a concept of technology of being this thing that constantly improved. It's only in the last 200 years or so that people have become used to the idea that the future may have far greater technologies than our own. If you woke up from the simulation and found yourself in a sci fi utopia, it would be surprising, but not unfathomable. You've seen your share of such worlds depicted before. Also, there would probably be an ideal level of struggle for the child-rearing simulation. You don't want to force a child to live say, an entire lifetime as a Roman-era slave. That seems both extremely unethical and counterproductive. But a 21st century setting? That's late enough that they won't have to live a whole simulated life as a peasant, but early enough that they'll still have experience some pain and struggle.

      So maybe what happens when you die is you simply...wake up. Maybe when you leave this world, you wake up in a pod or similar, and a kind counselor tells you, "you've now completed life 34 of 100 of your education. You will spend a few days in reflection and discussion, and then you'll go back in for lifetime 35. Your memories of your most recent and past lives will of course be temporarily repressed while inside the learning simulation."

      And there you have it. A means of conjuring up an afterlife without ever relying on a deity or supernatural beings. It's an afterlife of, by, and for human beings. The only thing you have to believe in is humanity itself, and our eventual ability to build such a utopia. You will liev in that paradise when you graduate. Your passed love ones? You'll all meet up again when you get out of school. You'll have a lifespan that could literally last millions of years to spend together.

      If you want, you could even integrate a kind of judgment/punishment of sinners into this belief system. Maybe you simply aren't allowed to graduate from your schooling program until you've lived a life of suitable generosity and kindness. You can pick how punitive you want it to be. Maybe no one graduates until they live a life like Mr. Rogers. Maybe almost no one gets held back except for serial killers and billionaires, who have to repeat a few lifetimes until those particular flaws get worked out of their psyches.

      And that's the core concept. In my head I've been referring to this concept, at least for now, as The Church of Graduation. I wouldn't say I particularly believe it, but I wonder if I should try to will myself into believing it. Or if someone wants to find some comfort in it, maybe they willingly choose to believe it, even knowing it was just made up by someone. I think ultimately, every religion started with either a truly crazy person seeing things out in the desert, or someone actually trying to do some good. I wonder how many of the major religions would, if you could trace them back far enough, be revealed to have been started by some random guy who just thought he would invent something comforting for people to believe in. Maybe religion is always invented for power. But I imagine may religions were consciously created by people just trying to improve human behavior and to get people to treat each other better. I see this sort of thing in a similar vein.

      I'm also fascinated by the idea of someone creating a belief system they know to be invented, but then simply choosing to believe in it anyway. Religion ultimately always comes down to an act of faith. Faith is the act of believing in something even if you have no rational evidence for it. And if you can believe in a traditional religion that you know has no objective evidence for it, why can't you just invent a religion from whole cloth, one without the negative characteristics of the other ones, and simply choose to believe that? I wonder if I tried really hard, could I actually convince myself, truly convince myself, and really truly believe in something like The Church of Graduation? Could I believe in it strongly enough that it would actually give me the same comfort that those in mainstream religions experience? I'm tempted to try, though the thought itself is a bit terrifying.

      8 votes
      1. GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        I've read The Egg. Absolutely loved it. Your idea is really interesting, and I appreciate all of the thought that's gone into it. The only major flaw I can see with it is that some people are...

        I've read The Egg. Absolutely loved it. Your idea is really interesting, and I appreciate all of the thought that's gone into it. The only major flaw I can see with it is that some people are suffering horrifically even in the 21st century, but since I'm not, maybe those people are only part of the simulation and they only exist to exercise my empathy and willingness to act on that information? But then that encourages solipsism and influences me to treat other people like they aren't real. Not nearly as bad as "hey, be glad that a guy who said 'if a woman doesn't scream when she's raped (despite the fact that freezing is an extremely common and lifesaving involuntary reaction to danger that He ostensibly programmed into her) then go ahead and stone her to death because she totally wanted it' is in complete control of your life, try not to think too hard about the implications of that and just trust that he wants you, specifically, to be happy even though he lets loads of people who believe in him suffer and die for no reason that you'll ever understand".

        I'm not really interested in creating a religion to believe in. I'm very comfortable with not knowing what's going on in the universe, theologically. If there is something out there in charge and it wants me to know about it, I'm going to need it to communicate that to me much more clearly than Yahweh did. I don't even have trouble with the idea that a god or several gods exist. Her god, though, the one described in the Bible, that one is scary.

        I do have some things that I believe. I don't think it's a system coherent enough to call it a religion, but I do have an assorted selection of ideas that I hold onto without evidence. Where my sister uses God is Good to answer difficult questions (read as: moral contradictions) I use I Don't Know Very Much to answer difficult questions (read as: physics and logistics). I believe that my little brother's consciousness exists somewhere and I'll see him again. I believe that when we had to put down our cat, they got to hang out together and be friends, and that mental image does bring me a lot of comfort. How could a consciousness survive past the death of the brain? Where is all of this happening? Does everyone go to the same place when they die, including all of the animals? Who maintains all of that stuff. The answer is I Dunno. I'm not very good at math and there's lots of science I don't understand, there's lots of science that no one understands. Maybe there's a spot for it to be possible somewhere in all that math.

        Believe is too strong of a word, but I have a deep suspiscion that the purpose of human consciousness is to have fun. The more we can make sure everyone's collective needs are met, the more fun we can have The Better everything is, cosmologically. If someone is suffering, then they aren't having fun, and we should do something about that. (Fun that hurts people does not count toward the fun total and should be avoided.) How did human consciousness get a purpose if we weren't created? Does that fun get collected? Is some entity using it in some way? Who decided on that last parenthetical and what are the exact parameters? I dunno. I don't know very much.

        I also really like to do little spells and rituals. The human brain just appreciates patterns and socialization, and rituals really tap into that. The placebo affect works (a little) and I am very willing to take advantage of that when appropriate (i.e. never as a substitute for actual medical care or effort and sacrifice on my part that may help someone).

        I've cobbled a little mish-mash belief system out of that sort of idea and practice and it suits me very well. I change with new evidence and over time and to my knowledge it has never brought a single person even one instant of pain. That's all I can ask for from a religion, is for it to not hurt anyone. If it stays that way, I'll be content with it.

        5 votes
      2. TangibleLight
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The two hardest parts about this for me are: What are these? Why can I not obtain these without a religion? What is the purpose of this? If I know it's not real, why choose to believe it's...

        The two hardest parts about this for me are:

        the peace, assurance, and benefits of existing religion

        What are these? Why can I not obtain these without a religion?

        but then simply choosing to believe in it anyway

        What is the purpose of this? If I know it's not real, why choose to believe it's reality?

        The comment comes across as an attempt to claim "faith" without having it. But "faith" is not inherently virtuous, so I don't see the reason to do this at all.


        But I should also say, as a story, I like it. It's an interesting variation on The Egg with some food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

        Maybe spoilers but - if you've seen The Good Place:

        This feels similar to the "solution" to the points system that the main characters devise at the end of the series.

        To summarize:

        Life on Earth is a way to create different personalities with different experiences. When people die, they move on to a sort of simulated training area (what used to be "The Bad Place"), where they spend multiple lifetimes learning to be better. Once they are, they graduate to "The Good Place" (essentially heaven). After people have had their fill and achieved their purpose - whatever they decide it may be - they may leave. It gives meaning to their time in The Good Place.

        If you haven't seen The Good Place, I highly recommend it to you based on your content here.

        4 votes
    4. chocobean
      Link Parent
      Yeah, even as a monotheist, that whole "don't worry he's got a plan" thing really really annoys me as well. It's usually a cheap one liner, uttered by bystanders (ie non stakeholders) as an excuse...

      Yeah, even as a monotheist, that whole "don't worry he's got a plan" thing really really annoys me as well. It's usually a cheap one liner, uttered by bystanders (ie non stakeholders) as an excuse to do nothing of substance to alleviate actual, present, visceral pain. (Sorry, I don't mean your sister in particular, obviously I don't know if she is actually helping)

      I heard this quote recently:

      “To have pain is to have certainty. To hear about pain is to have doubt." ---Elaine Scarry

      Sometimes it hurts me to see others who so often repeat the "god is in control and has a plan" come up against unphantomable pain themselves. It can also drive them to additional isolation because no one else around them will understand why they don't understand: to experience doubt and fears is to express a weakness in their own faith. So not only do they get more repeats of "thoughts and prayers 🙏" they'll also get calls to repent and abandoned some secret sin and stop being weak in faith.

      And I'll agree with you: to be told some powerful being can heal and comfort me but choose not to, and perhaps even to sit back and nod and say this pain is good, that's abhorrent. That's O'Brian in 1984 torturing Winston until Winston loves him.

      I hope your husband finds relief and healing soon. And for your own pain alongside as well.

      5 votes
    5. [4]
      updawg
      Link Parent
      Your comment really hit me because it speaks to a very difficult misunderstanding to bridge because neither side understands the context of where the other side is coming from. And so, because I...

      Your comment really hit me because it speaks to a very difficult misunderstanding to bridge because neither side understands the context of where the other side is coming from. And so, because I can't talk to your sister, I wanted to address a couple points that you wrote because I'd hate to see one person trying to comfort someone else and inadvertently causing more pain.

      First, I'm unaware of any rules in the Bible that say that your brother would be in Hell. Also, assuming she's a Christian, she almost certainly would (should) not believe that people go to Hell for breaking the rules. The whole point of Christianity (at least the mainstream interpretations) is grace and salvation, not vengeance and strict adherence to a specific set of rules.

      Also, I'm bisexual and have zero intention of repenting, so I'd probably end up in hell myself anyway, and the rules against being gay are stupid and cruel of God to make in the first place and further evidence that his complete control over my life would be terrifying because his rules are mean and arbitrary.

      Again, that's not the way Christianity works and it's not what the Bible actually says, either.

      I would encourage you to look more into it, if only in an academic sense because it has obviously been so foundational for honestly our entire world given how dominant the West has been in geopolitics for the last century. Actually, I'd definitely encourage it more in an academic style than in "searching for truth."

      I could try to convert, and I'd believe if I had proof but I could never love this cruel and monstrous thing. Would belief and fear and loathing be enough?

      Honestly, God, as portrayed in the actual New Testament, is essentially love incarnate. The version you are referencing is a creation by men in the last few hundred years. There is certainly no hate for non-cisheteronormative people or for your brother.

      As for your sister, perhaps it's a bit tone deaf, but I want you to please understand that within her community, God being in charge is the most comforting thing there is because of the love inherent in that statement to her. Her interpretation of what she said is nearly totally orthogonal to yours, and I would encourage you to talk with her about it in a way that you can both come to an understanding of how the other feels about that platitude. Perhaps using the couples counseling go to of "I feel x when you say y, could you please help me understand why you say y?" could help bring you two closer.

      Also, note that I'm not telling you to read the Bible; I'm more suggesting reading scholarly articles about the Bible.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        I do actually understand that it's extremely comforting for her to believe that there is a God, because she believes God to be good. I know that she is trying to say something beautiful to me, I...

        I do actually understand that it's extremely comforting for her to believe that there is a God, because she believes God to be good. I know that she is trying to say something beautiful to me, I don't for a second think that she's trying to upset me. She would probably feel terrible if she knew how upset I was. It's not that I don't understand that her intentions are good, it's that we simply disagree on how we see God.

        Talking to her about her perspective on religion isn't really something that I can do from a perspective external to that religion. She's not a very deep thinker, and she tends to take difficult questions as insults. I used to be kind of an asshole about a lot of things when I was a teenager, including religion, so that didn't help. She's gets very defensive very easily. I would love to understand her perspective, and know if she's even thought about a lot of these things, but I don't think there's any way that her and I can have that conversation without upsetting her.

        I would actually love to academically understand the Bible better. I don't really know where to find the resources for that, or who I can ask. I used to get kicked out of Sunday school for asking questions and not taking "God works in mysterious ways" for an answer, at more than one church. I have read the Bible, although not in many years, and my understanding of it comes mostly from that.

        I do know that entrance to heaven is supposed to come from accepting Christ, not by deeds, but I know there's also a lot of disagreement about that between different sects of Christianity. My brother and I were both baptized as babies, but we both became atheists later, so he was not currently accepting Christ at the time of his death. Some sects of Christianity believe that because we were baptized we can do basically whatever we want and we'll still go to heaven, and I do think that's what my sister believes sometimes, but she has mentioned fearing for the souls of people that she knows to have been baptized, so maybe she isn't sure. She definitely believes that being gay or trans is a sin worthy of being sent to hell.

        I have another Christian sister who is much more liberal and we are able to talk about religion in the abstract. Her answer to most of my questions is that she doesn't know, she just has faith. She's very accepting of the queer community, and I asked her how she reconciles that with Romans 1:26 and she said that there must be something she doesn't understand, but God is love and she believes that he must be glad anytime anyone finds love. I'm glad she feels that way, I'm glad that it allows my sister to have the comfort of her faith without feeling obligated to be homophobic, but it doesn't actually seem supported by the text to me.

        Even if my brother and I wouldn't go to hell, I can't understand how a heaven and a hell could both exist. How could I experience paradise knowing that anyone, even people I've never met, are being tortured for eternity? No one deserves that.

        As far as the difference between the old testament and the new testament, that distinction never made any sense to me. The idea is that God is perfect, right? He's always been perfect and always will be perfect. It's not like when Jesus died he was all "oh, my bad, I used to actually have kind of a problem but I've worked on it and now I'm better", it's more like "I forgive you so now you don't deserve for me to abuse you anymore but you totally did before", which is not great! I do like a lot of the things Jesus said, but it doesn't make any of the things that God did in the old testament any better unless God admits that those things weren't okay, which I'm pretty sure he never does. And if we say the old testament is untrue and corrupted by man, why wouldn't we say the same of the new testament?

        I don't expect you to have all the answers to these questions, and it's not your responsibility to represent religion for me. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about it at all.

        1. [2]
          boxer_dogs_dance
          Link Parent
          If you want to learn more about Christianity and how it has changed over time, I can highly recommend the books Jesus Through the Centuries and Whose Bible is it, by historian Jaroslav Pelikan....

          If you want to learn more about Christianity and how it has changed over time, I can highly recommend the books Jesus Through the Centuries and Whose Bible is it, by historian Jaroslav Pelikan. However, this won't make it easier to talk with people inside strict denominations of Christianity

          3 votes
          1. GenuinelyCrooked
            Link Parent
            I appreciate those recommendations, thank you!

            I appreciate those recommendations, thank you!

    6. [2]
      bitshift
      Link Parent
      Sorry to hear about your husband's health issues! Besides the logistical stuff like time and money, it's never fun to see someone you love suffer. It sounds like your sister's from a more...

      Sorry to hear about your husband's health issues! Besides the logistical stuff like time and money, it's never fun to see someone you love suffer.

      It sounds like your sister's from a more conservative branch of Christianity? FWIW as a more liberal Protestant, I hope she's incorrect about some of God's aspects. I don't have satisfying answers, but the unsatisfying summary is I hope there is much more goodness and mercy out there than that, somehow.

      I like your use of the word "Lovecraftian". Sometimes I ponder how wrong I might be about the universe, e.g., what if we're in a simulation, and whoever's in charge is Lovecraftian in the sense of cosmic indifference to our suffering (as opposed to an entity that inflicts harm for harm's sake). After all, I run computational stuff all the time, and I've never lost sleep over whether I've accidentally created suffering! In fact, we give strange looks to people whenever they say stuff like LLMs might have consciousness. If the hypothetical Programmer Upstairs was anything like a human programmer, it would be bad news for us.

      To be clear, I don't believe we live in the Matrix — I'm fond of Maciej Cegłowski's criticism of the simulation hypothesis as "a powerful solvent for sanity." But I can't rule it out, which is kind of distressing. Ultimately, I cannot change the universe I'm in, so I try not to worry about it — it's just one of many unanswered questions, alongside such classics as, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

      1 vote
      1. GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        Thank you for the kind words! We're lucky enough to be in Sweden, so money isn't really an issue, but seeing him in pain is really difficult for me, and the idea that something bad could happen to...

        Thank you for the kind words! We're lucky enough to be in Sweden, so money isn't really an issue, but seeing him in pain is really difficult for me, and the idea that something bad could happen to him is terrifying. Right now it seems like he's going to be okay, but we're still waiting on some test results and a really serious surgery. The doctors here are wonderful but I'm still really scared.

        It sounds like your sister's from a more conservative branch of Christianity? FWIW as a more liberal Protestant, I hope she's incorrect about some of God's aspects.

        She's definitely pretty conservative personally, but we don't actually discuss any of her specific religious views. I know she believes being gay or trans is a sin, and she believes that demons exist and are very active in the world, because those things have come up in conversation. Most of the fear I have about God hypothetically existing comes from the Bible, not from her. I don't really know how to talk to her about her beliefs without hurting her feelings, and I have a strong feeling that she's never really thought about most of the questions I'd want to ask. I know she's also satisfied that any question can be resolved by the answer that God is Good and we cannot understand His Plan, whereas I am only more unsettled by that answer. I used to get kicked out of Sunday school for not accepting answers like that.

        Funny enough, I do kind of worry about the "quality of life" of hypothetical entities in simulations. I try to be as kind as I can when I play video games, not to the point of not playing the game correctly, but I can never being myself to do an "evil" run. I don't really like using AI programs for other reasons, but if I end up doing so, I try to be nice to them. I don't think they actually have consciousness or experiences or anything, but it costs me nothing to be nice, and there's a lot I don't know about the universe.

    7. [2]
      crdpa
      Link Parent
      You could be more fucked because if I was god I would be more pissed if you believed in the wrong God than if you didn't believe anything.

      I could try to convert

      You could be more fucked because if I was god I would be more pissed if you believed in the wrong God than if you didn't believe anything.

      1 vote
      1. GenuinelyCrooked
        Link Parent
        Oh, I would only convert if I had some kind of actual proof. It's not something that I'm actually contemplating.

        Oh, I would only convert if I had some kind of actual proof. It's not something that I'm actually contemplating.

    8. umlautsuser123
      Link Parent
      I posted this somewhere else on Tildes, but this was ultimately what turned me into an atheist. I got the concept, I just didn't see the point of an almighty power that let bad things happen. Why...

      I posted this somewhere else on Tildes, but this was ultimately what turned me into an atheist. I got the concept, I just didn't see the point of an almighty power that let bad things happen. Why worship that? I'm sorry for what's happening.

      1 vote
  2. [6]
    r_se_random
    Link
    The world is flirting with religious fundamentalism/fascism in various shapes and form. The trends are disturbing, and the unprecedented control from the mega-corpos can/do exert makes it...

    The world is flirting with religious fundamentalism/fascism in various shapes and form. The trends are disturbing, and the unprecedented control from the mega-corpos can/do exert makes it precarious situation.

    18 votes
    1. [2]
      first-must-burn
      Link Parent
      I worry about this all the time. I am in America, so after 2016 it was, "where would I go if things got bad here?" Then I realized it's happening all over the world. Sometimes I worry that there's...

      I worry about this all the time. I am in America, so after 2016 it was, "where would I go if things got bad here?" Then I realized it's happening all over the world. Sometimes I worry that there's some self–destructive impulse in human nature thst makes us, as a society, go to the bad place every hundred years or so. Sometimes I think maybe it is a defense mechanism to slow our growth. Sometimes I can't face it at all and I just try to distract myself and not think about it.

      14 votes
      1. Tmbreen
        Link Parent
        I do think we have a cyclical man made disaster ever so often, but less to thin our numbers (though I think it's pretty obvious we are running outdated software on even more outdated hardware) but...

        I do think we have a cyclical man made disaster ever so often, but less to thin our numbers (though I think it's pretty obvious we are running outdated software on even more outdated hardware) but I also see places we've massively improved and points in our past where we've headed off disaster, at least a little.

        5 votes
    2. [3]
      GenuinelyCrooked
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If you're of a leftist persuasion you might find this video comforting. It's pretty long, but very well done. It, uh, does not start off being comforting, though, so don't watch it unless you've...

      If you're of a leftist persuasion you might find this video comforting. It's pretty long, but very well done.

      It, uh, does not start off being comforting, though, so don't watch it unless you've got plenty of time, or you're okay with being super bummed out in between some of the watches.

      7 votes
      1. Tmbreen
        Link Parent
        Not OP but I gotta check this out! That top comment -the power of capitalism seems inescapable but so did the divine right of kings - is fuckin motivating the hell outta me rn.

        Not OP but I gotta check this out! That top comment -the power of capitalism seems inescapable but so did the divine right of kings - is fuckin motivating the hell outta me rn.

        6 votes
      2. chocobean
        Link Parent
        Video description for others (and note for myself later) The World Is Not Ending, by Sophie From Mars, length 2 hours plus. Chapters: 00:00 Part 1: The Uninabitable Earth 40:31 Part 2: How To Blow...

        Video description for others (and note for myself later)

        The World Is Not Ending, by Sophie From Mars, length 2 hours plus.

        Chapters:

        00:00 Part 1: The Uninabitable Earth

        40:31 Part 2: How To Blow Up A Pipeline

        01:24:35 Part 3: The Mushroom At The End Of The World

        6 votes
  3. [8]
    0x29A
    (edited )
    Link
    (sorry, be warned, long post... I can put it behind a spoiler if that's better for page length or whatever - kinda freeform streaming this out of my head) Between jobs at the moment... or...

    (sorry, be warned, long post... I can put it behind a spoiler if that's better for page length or whatever - kinda freeform streaming this out of my head)

    Between jobs at the moment... or something like that. Decided to leave my recent one (for many reasons), one of which being because it was just not headed down a good path, despite the pay. There was a lot of good things about it but a lot of bad, and a lot of the bad wasn't even really in control of those around me (management, teammates, etc)- part of the decision was also since I'm moving, and needed time to myself to de-stress, get the house ready to sell, prepare to move, sort through a loved one's belongings that they left in this house when they passed a few years back. Needed time to myself (and can afford it for now, which I understand the privilege of such a life position) to work on my mental and physical health, decide what I'm doing next, etc.

    It's not a long-distance move (only 90 mins) but even working remotely for that same position didn't feel like an option- I realized how it was eating away at me and just no longer feeling like a good fit... got completely burnt out and even after weeks of vacation I couldn't muster any desire to stay. The move will put me closer to family I usually only get to see on holidays (so that's good, and it's family I'm on great terms with), it will reduce my costs a lot, it will give me a better place to live with less restrictions (HOA-wise), a better job market, a slightly quieter surrounding (close to civilization but just enough out to feel rural), which works for very-introverted me.

    What I'm currently mulling over is ... what to do next and even "now"- aside from all the things I already am working on (as stated above). But, from a job/career angle, I don't know what to do next. I'm completely disenchanted with the idea of "career work" anymore or even caring that much about the pay. I just want something simple or something I can enjoy. I come from a sysadmin position (and prior to that, desktop support, helpdesk, and far back- general customer support). But.. I don't even know that I want anything in any of those fields anymore. I kinda want to do a complete 180 turn into something else, or not, or even find a way to make my own business, or find a way to make money on my own. The problem is most of the things I think I'd enjoy doing are creative work and not stuff that pays unless you're lucky (video games- so streaming?, making music, lightweight website stuff, etc)... I just want something that pays the bills and budget which I desire to keep rather minimal- even if that's like me working at some small business like a record shop or something (since I'm really into music), or who knows what.

    That's the problem, I know eventually I'll probably have to go back to career type work, but I'm definitely brainstorming in the meantime how I can use my current freetime to find a way around it.

    All I know is, for the second time in my life, ending my time at a job has been the best mental health decision I've ever made. No regrets there, whatsoever. My brain tries to attack me, remind me of the pay I was getting, etc- but one second of thinking about the state of things- and how much better I feel now- how much brighter every day is- how much energy I have now. I realize my entire life was sucked away energy-wise, and life is too short to not get to live it at all

    In the meantime, might try out some streaming if I ever feel like I can consistently do something like that and handle it. Otherwise, while trying to work on health and stuff, also trying to actually see if I can get a song, then maybe an EP, then maybe an album recorded. It's one of those things I told myself I'd work on during nights and weekends while I had a job, but never had the energy for- now I do! Maybe I'll actually get off my ass this time.

    13 votes
    1. [3]
      GenuinelyCrooked
      Link Parent
      My husband actually kind of followed this logic into his current, decently paying, career. It wasn't a quick, low-effort thing, but he loves his job and he's paid enough to support us both in a...

      The problem is most of the things I think I'd enjoy doing are creative work and not stuff that pays unless you're lucky (video games-

      My husband actually kind of followed this logic into his current, decently paying, career. It wasn't a quick, low-effort thing, but he loves his job and he's paid enough to support us both in a country that we love.

      He was really into this one video game, played it all the time, and helped set up tournaments for it. As part of setting up the tournaments, he got to know the game devs really well, as well as getting super involved in the community. When they needed a new community manager, he already knew the devs so well and was so good at managing their community that they. . . hired someone else. BUT they hired him on as a Discord manager, and the person they hired as a community manager was absolutely lovely and great at her job. Then, they had some financial troubles with that game, and let basically the entire communications team go, along with other huge chunks of the company, including my husband. THEN, a few years after that, when they got a new contract with a different publisher and started working on a new game and needed a new community manager, they hired my husband.

      We got to move to the country where the game studio is based, and he gets to do something that he loves all day. It did take a lot of luck, it wasn't easy, it took several years and during many of them there was absolutely no way to foresee this outcome, and I definitely can't recommend trying to follow his exact path. I can recommend just working really hard at the things you love, and more importantly, doing what you can to get to know the people that make them. If you're lucky and talented, maybe you can become one of the people that makes those things.

      14 votes
      1. chocobean
        Link Parent
        Wow that's the gamer dream :D thanks for sharing the journey: it's definitely non-linear and no guarantees at all along any of the points in time but it sounds like one of those luck only comes to...

        Wow that's the gamer dream :D

        thanks for sharing the journey: it's definitely non-linear and no guarantees at all along any of the points in time but it sounds like one of those luck only comes to those prepared type situations.

        3 votes
      2. 0x29A
        Link Parent
        I appreciate this reply and for sharing this experience- not because it's necessarily the route I should go, but simply because it's making me realize there are a lot of angles / potential that...

        I appreciate this reply and for sharing this experience- not because it's necessarily the route I should go, but simply because it's making me realize there are a lot of angles / potential that I'm overlooking in regards to my creative endeavors! This gives me far more branches to follow on my mental map of this, thank you.

        2 votes
    2. [4]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I've been where you are now, and wound up running away from technology to work as a pastry cook for a while. I loved the creativity and discipline - it gave me some very useful and healthy habits...

      I've been where you are now, and wound up running away from technology to work as a pastry cook for a while. I loved the creativity and discipline - it gave me some very useful and healthy habits of thought. However, it was in no way a substitute for professional mental health therapy. That bit me very badly a number of years down the road, when I burned out hard again.

      If you have free time now, I'd strongly suggest that you consider counseling to help identify the underlying causes of your current burnout. Do you have trouble setting healthy boundaries and saying "no" when needed? Do you derive too much of your self-esteem from your career? Are you overworking to avoid painful emotions or relationship issues? Those were among the precursors to recurring burnout for me, and I hope that you can overcome anything similar.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        0x29A
        Link Parent
        I think most of the burnout this time was external from me. Part of it was in my head I'm sure- but mostly the stress from dealing with the below, and just not wanting to be present for it...

        I think most of the burnout this time was external from me. Part of it was in my head I'm sure- but mostly the stress from dealing with the below, and just not wanting to be present for it anymore. Had I had my prior position in the same company (desktop support) I think I might have fared better. The new position simply, at least the way it is run there, just ended up not being a good fit after a while.

        Without giving too much detail away- my sysadmin position was created to specifically help a particular department of the company transition much of their IT support away from themselves and to the IT of the company. For whatever reason (long story), the company allowed that department to essentially have their own IT people, their own access to the server room, their own processes for buying server equipment, etc. As that started to move over to the company's main IT- the main issues ended up being political- I have no authority over that department, so if they refuse to cooperate it kinda just leaves me hanging- and they started out cooperative but then could not easily handle giving away their power, and without that being forced to happen... well I just ended up caught in the middle of it all and attempting to provide work for a department that was unwilling to receive it (unless things blew up or went wrong, then they came running and/or would attempt to blame us for problems they created).

        That, mixed with (and it also caused it somewhat) downtime to the point of having days where I was not accomplishing much- got to the point where I dreaded giving an update in meetings because I had no control. My dept knew that and was helpful / protected me- but it burned me out. Wasn't able to really "enjoy" my position anymore because I couldn't really get things done and accomplish things anymore. So much limbo, so many slow days, then rushing to get something done when it fails or departments whine (when otherwise they're unresponsive). The "structurelessness" of such a position does not fit me well mentally- I don't mind being self-guided- but I need some structure- a list of things to do- a list of tickets to work on and close- whereas this was more of a wishy-washy "learn X and implement it when you can or if they let you", then once that's done... just limbo.

        Basically the entire reason they hired me turned into this weird political back and forth with another department- and no one taking the initiative to "force" that department to properly hand over control, clearly delineate responsibilities, etc just left me without support from that angle and at the time- no openings to go back to a position I would prefer. It's possible those could have opened up but:

        That's not the only reason I left, just one of many- but when that burnout started to appear- it so happened that my rent went up, neighbors moved away, I began to get tired of this town, some other issues at work happened (really poor decisions not of my control that make my job harder, etc)- and my family offered me a nice way to be closer to them and potentially consider a move- well, everything seemed to fall into place that it was just the right time to leave.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          patience_limited
          Link Parent
          I've been in that limbo job state where there are unpredictable responsibilities, no control, and no direction. If you're at all prone to anxiety, that's a recipe for misery, and I'm happy to hear...

          I've been in that limbo job state where there are unpredictable responsibilities, no control, and no direction. If you're at all prone to anxiety, that's a recipe for misery, and I'm happy to hear that things fell together for you to make an exit. Best wishes for a brighter future with opportunities that let you be happy!

          2 votes
          1. 0x29A
            Link Parent
            Thank you! And I indeed am prone to anxiety, sometimes lots of it, so yeah that cocktail was very unpleasant... but overall I'm feeling a renewed energy and sense of getting the things outside of...

            Thank you! And I indeed am prone to anxiety, sometimes lots of it, so yeah that cocktail was very unpleasant... but overall I'm feeling a renewed energy and sense of getting the things outside of work stuff that I need or want to - preparing to move/sell, personal projects, learning, reading, playing games a bit while I've got the mental energy (rarely had it when I had that job, very draining, even when it was slow). Making music. Cleaning my house and donating stuff, minimizing possessions, etc. - all of which has an enormous effect on my daily energy / comfort / anxiety- a cleaner house really helps my brain.

            All sorts of stuff- so only upwards from here (and thankfully a supportive family too)!

            1 vote
  4. [13]
    wedgel
    Link
    After a chain of terrible events, I finally got a job. The pay is terrible but my employment history is terrible as I was a stay at home spouse after having stroke. Anyway, I've been at the new...

    After a chain of terrible events, I finally got a job. The pay is terrible but my employment history is terrible as I was a stay at home spouse after having stroke.

    Anyway, I've been at the new job for a little over a week and my boss is the most toxic motherfucker I have ever worked for. He is from Columbia, and while his english is better than my spanish I have a hard time understanding what he is talking about a lot of the time. He gave me the wrong key to the building, and when I brought it up, I was accused of losing the key. Even though it was in his hand. I pointed it out and he kept saying it was the wrong the key, not the key he gave me, it has an engraved 'A' in it. And when I pointed that out, he went off that someone stole it.

    We have a trailer at work. Everything is in pretty much disarray as he prides himself for being underbudget. Uggg! Well the Bearring locked up on the trailer, so I am being blamed for that. Yeah, that's likely. I didn't bother argue.

    He then had a big meeting when he showed pictures to everyone on his phone and shamed a fellow employee in front of everyone for doing a halfassed job. This person has been there 17 years and is basically a level 2 needs ASD.

    That was within about forty five minutes yesterday. The job doesn't pay shit but it's really easy and really laid back, but only when he's not around. I'm the night manager, I didn't apply for that position. But I took it out of desparation. And while I have a work history with management on it, I have AuDHD and don't really like managing and telling people what to do.

    I'm wondering how best to set myself up to not be treated like shit.

    And what is the least amount of time to hold a job on a resume that doesn't look like hot garbage?

    Thank you.

    12 votes
    1. [5]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      If you want to look for another job, I would just do it and not worry about how it looks. You can leave this one off your resume if you like. Don’t lie, but you can explain your situation after...

      If you want to look for another job, I would just do it and not worry about how it looks. You can leave this one off your resume if you like. Don’t lie, but you can explain your situation after you get an interview, if it comes up.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        TangibleLight
        Link Parent
        Strongly agree. "My current manager is toxic so I am looking for something better" seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation for short/missing experience on a resume. I don't have a good sense...

        Strongly agree. "My current manager is toxic so I am looking for something better" seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation for short/missing experience on a resume.

        I don't have a good sense on whether it's better to include that or not in order to get the interview, though. It probably depends on the field of work and on the culture of the location you're applying to. My gut feeling is it's better to include it so there's a more complete picture, but honestly I'm not sure.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          “I found a job, but it’s not great so I’m still looking” seems better (more vague) if you don’t want to talk about it. I think it’s better to avoid spending time complaining about the old job when...

          “I found a job, but it’s not great so I’m still looking” seems better (more vague) if you don’t want to talk about it. I think it’s better to avoid spending time complaining about the old job when it doesn’t help you get a new one. If you get the new job, you’re leaving that behind.

          If you can say something you did that makes you look good, then bring it up.

          5 votes
          1. TangibleLight
            Link Parent
            This is probably better advice. Thanks for clarifying.

            This is probably better advice. Thanks for clarifying.

            2 votes
    2. [5]
      chocobean
      Link Parent
      Oh good heavens that sounds terrible. Absolutely horrible and it's predictable where it's gonna go... I can only hope when you say "it doesn't pay s--" you meant that it does in fact pay decently....

      Oh good heavens that sounds terrible. Absolutely horrible and it's predictable where it's gonna go...

      I can only hope when you say "it doesn't pay s--" you meant that it does in fact pay decently. I hope.

      How are things at home, did you have a stroke or your partner? Everything okay? Congratulations on the first job, and as we say, ride that cow until you find a horse.

      Do you want employment advice or just venting?

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        wedgel
        Link Parent
        The pay is garbage but I'm starting over, so it's expected. Things at home are ok, I no longer have a spouse. Thank you. Some advice would be great. It's been a long time since I've dealt with...

        The pay is garbage but I'm starting over, so it's expected. Things at home are ok, I no longer have a spouse.

        Thank you.

        Some advice would be great. It's been a long time since I've dealt with shit like this. And where I'm on the spectrum I tend to be a little too honest. So it would be great to have an idea of what character to play to simplify things and not be buried with toxic bullshit before I can get out.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          chocobean
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          :< stuff is hard and I wish we all had a comfy corner to curl up in, sometimes. The advice I have need to be tempered with "how much emotional health do you have / will this advice cost" - do a...
          • Exemplary

          :< stuff is hard and I wish we all had a comfy corner to curl up in, sometimes.

          The advice I have need to be tempered with "how much emotional health do you have / will this advice cost" - do a cost benefit analysis and if something will put you in the negative, it doesn't matter how good the advice is, it's bad advice that doesn't apply to you.

          I'm not on the spectrum myself but I find my loved ones who are, tend to feel "bound" by rules others give them, whereas my (comparatively) less neurodiverse self would be free to shrug off bad suggestions. And also these might be super obvious and you already know, my apologies in advance. So ....

          First career advice: prioritize mental health first.

          Collarary advice: your real job is your mental health and your physical + financial health. That's where you spend 40 hours a week. There might be some overlap in hours where you get paid to take care of yourself, but that's coincidental more than anything. Own oxygen mask first.

          Addendum to collarary advice: you don't have to give it your all at work. He's not giving you hardly anything, don't give him your health.

          Summary of first advice: do as little as your health permits at work, do as much as your health permits towards job search. Toxic people sap energy and the longer you stay the less energy you'll have to escape its gravity.

          Second advice: If your health permits, document all the ways he abuses others and gas lights you and are mean and abusive. If or when you get fired for no reason, this will help your employment lawyer fight for your fair share. Having a few months salary to quietly focus on looking for new work won't hurt.

          Third advice: at your job interviews DO NOT share negative aspects of this current job. In fact, try not to share anything negative about yourself in the first weeks. Your persona is someone who has the energy, positivity and the resourcefulness to solve problems for them: they do not want to spend an iota of time on solving your problems at all. You want to be on an upbeat trajectory of success and they're lucky to ride your cost tails on this brief journey. It's not lying: you're sharing the positive parts of yourself, putting on customer service smile and focusing on what you are offering to do for them, not the other way around. People might feel bad for others but they don't like those people afterwards.....maybe they feel awkward or just also down or whatever reason...... Professional smiles. You're here for money so you can solve your own problems.

          :< I can envision my autistic loved ones being dismayed about hearing this last point already..... It's very unfair and some of us have an easier time compartmentalizing than others....I'm sorry.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            wedgel
            Link Parent
            Wow! That was an amazing reply. Thank you!

            Wow! That was an amazing reply. Thank you!

            1 vote
            1. chocobean
              Link Parent
              You're most welcome, and I hope you get out of there and into a way better job soon :)

              You're most welcome, and I hope you get out of there and into a way better job soon :)

    3. [2]
      irren_echo
      Link Parent
      Haha man, this sounds like a guy I worked for once.... Briefly, very briefly. The computers were all running Vista (in ~2015), for cash transactions we had to photocopy the literal cash for the...

      Haha man, this sounds like a guy I worked for once.... Briefly, very briefly. The computers were all running Vista (in ~2015), for cash transactions we had to photocopy the literal cash for the (paper) filling "system," and several very long-term employees mentioned in passing that they hadn't been paid yet that month and were kinda annoyed "because he just bought that 4' geode in the corner." Shit was wild. Oh, and whenever he was allowed at a computer, he'd just.... click the mouse around randomly (a kind of nervous tic) while reading things, and then freak out if a program started up, or a file opened or something because he "didn't do anything."

      So anyway, just sympathizing. Collect those stories for as long as you can stand it, and then gtfo. I'm glad I got those couple months of wtf stories, and a point of reference for how absurd a working environment can be. And now I'm interviews I can talk about being calm and productive in an absolutely batshit situation, so that's somewhat useful.

      4 votes
      1. wedgel
        Link Parent
        Thanks man. That cracked my shit up.

        Thanks man. That cracked my shit up.

        1 vote
  5. [14]
    palimpsest
    Link
    Whether I want to have kids or not. I always thought I didn't want them, in part due to horror stories of childbirth and raising babies/toddlers, but now everyone around me is having kids and the...

    Whether I want to have kids or not. I always thought I didn't want them, in part due to horror stories of childbirth and raising babies/toddlers, but now everyone around me is having kids and the vast majority of them are doing just fine. (Then again, the very few who have children with chronic health problems have had their lives completely upended, and you can never know if that's gonna be you.) I like kids in all their stages as long as they're not shrieking (noise sensitivity, I get it with other things as well and it makes me want to go insane). But then again, I lived next door to a colicky baby who spent a whole year screaming their poor lungs out, and I survived.

    I'm 34, so I don't have that long to decide. I literally never had a strong desire to have a child. I also live in a studio apartment (can't afford anything bigger due to the housing crisis), am prone to anxiety when stressed out, I like my own space, and hate hate hate the idea of being pregnant and giving birth. I'm not close with my family, my partner's family is on another continent (he doesn't want to move back) and while my friends are nice, they're all childfree and wouldn't be able to help out much.

    On the other hand - I know I'd be a good mom. I like caring for people and I did a lot of thinking/reading about parenting, mostly because my own parents were not exactly great. I'm the kind of person who reads all the books and does the research and always tries to do what is best, even if it's uncomfortable for me. My child would be so loved! (Unless I develop some mental issues, which I do low-key worry about.) And this is just from my side - my partner is loving and dedicated and I know he'd love to have a family (but he also knows how much I struggle with this, so he doesn't really talk about it).

    So I have a ton of various fears and anxieties over the whole thing, and no big desire to have a kid. But everyone says it's the greatest thing ever, and my future looks kinda empty and pointless. Which sound like the worst reasons to have a child! So far, I'm giving myself time while also taking steps towards more stability (looking into buying a bigger apartment, primarily) and really, really thinking about everything. But honestly, I just wish I had either a strong desire or strong repulsion towards the whole thing!

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      BeardyHat
      Link Parent
      I'm going to try and keep this post as neutral as possible, because I just want to relay my experiences. For context, I'm a straight white man, married to a straight white woman. Hopefully this...
      • Exemplary

      I'm going to try and keep this post as neutral as possible, because I just want to relay my experiences. For context, I'm a straight white man, married to a straight white woman.

      Hopefully this all makes sense, I did minimal editing and I may or may not reread and edit for clarity. But now I think I'll have a little bit of that time to myself.

      First things first: Pregnancy, especially at your age, is going to be difficult (most likely). Some women don't have a problem with it, (You'll often hear, "I loved being pregnant!"), but my wife was miserable almost the entire time, both times. You are also going to be at risk for complications; I do believe my wife had undiagnosed preeclampsia due to her normally low blood pressure; this lead to a traumatic birth, where she woke-up at 4am bleeding everywhere. I ended-up rushing her to the hospital where she had an emergency C-Section to save both her life and the life of my oldest. I still have PTSD from this moment, envisioning my bathroom just covered in blood from my wife; just typing this out makes me anxious and emotional, but I am so thankful for my wonderful Sister-in-Law who cleaned it all up while we were in the hospital. I think my wife has finally worked through all of this trauma, but I do know it wears on her, because going into this pregnancy, we both had certain expectations of how it would go, which proved to be completely false. But that's going to be the theme of this post and parenting in general. But to further belabor this point, my wife has now developed some health issues and while she believes it to be from PFAS chemicals, I think it probably has more to do with her guts being opened-up, moved around and replaced twice from two cesareans. As a woman, you are giving-up a lot and that's not even to speak of the expectations of being a mother, but just your body from the pregnancy will change forever and never be the same.

      I want to note that I'm not trying to scare you here, but instead, trying to relay the realities of what the first steps can be. My wife was 33 when our first was born, so it's just something to be aware of; I know we expected some things, but the reality is quite different from where our expectations where. Your time may not be as difficult, who knows, every body is different.

      Next: You are not who you think you are. At least, you're going to change once you have kids and not immediately, but six years down the road, you recognize the person that you once were, that you thought you were, is very different from the person you are now. You might think you're sensitive to noise and you probably still are, but you'll find your tolerance is dramatically different and changes based on the fact that your child is your own; I know this is a trope, but it's a trope for a reason. I grew up in a very introverted family, we all had our own spaces and all liked our own alone time, in spite of often spending time as a family. I had been with my wife for ten years before we decided on having that first kid and I would have sworn up and down that I hated noise, hated the energy of a kid running around the house, needed to be alone pretty much constantly, but you know what? Six years in now, I feel weird when I don't have people around me now. I still like quiet, but my tolerance level for noise has gone up dramatically, as well as my tolerance for being around other people and not existing solely on my own. And just like you experienced, my first was screaming all the time; for the first nine months of life they had acid reflux we weren't really aware of, but it kept us up constantly and they were almost always unhappy, because they were uncomfortable and underslept. My second? That one just came out screaming and hasn't stopped since. They can make some of the loudest noises I've ever heard and while I do have to tell them that they're hurting Daddies ears, it doesn't often bother me.

      Not to mention, I used to think I was very calm and stoic, but my kids really put the nail in the coffin on that one. I'm still fairly calm, but boy can my kids drive me up the wall like no other and when you're underslept because the kids woke you up in the middle of the night and all you want to do is sit on the couch and drink some coffee, you can really snap and lose your shit sometimes. It happens to both my wife and I. That said, we do try to be better than our own parents and apologize and explain that it wasn't appropriate for us to do that.

      My kids have taught me a lot too. I am just generally a much better, much more productive person than I used to be. Where once I generally just sat around smoking weed, playing video games and fucking around, I now have creative, fun hobbies that take-up a lot of my free time. I feel that, in the limited time I have to myself, I must do something, so I've found a lot of happiness in painting miniatures and creating things to go with them. Having kids has also inspired me to be more attentive with my friends; where before I might slag them off and not hang out with them, I'm now excited to do whatever they're doing and try to make time with them whenever I can. This is in addition to the other hobbies I've picked-up and granted, I don't have a lot of time for all of them, I find each of them fulfilling when I am able to do them and accomplish a goal.

      I could keep going on and on, but I do want to address one thing you've mentioned:

      But everyone says it's the greatest thing ever, and my future looks kinda empty and pointless

      Is it the greatest thing ever? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes I really regret having a family, because it would be so much easier for me to go off on my own or with my wife. To schedule a vacation or go out to dinner without having to think about the kids; your entire world becomes about your children, because you often don't have a choice. You realize how the world is absolutely not setup for families or kids in general. You think a little harder about the world that your children are going to be growing up into. I worry constantly about things generally outside my control. Will they have mental health issues? Will they fall in with a bad crowd? Will something catastrophic happen to the world? To our country? Will they got shot at school? And on and on. It's a constant barrage of anxieties for an already anxious person like me and I can see how many people let that anxiety get a hold on them and end-up damaging their kids for it. So on the flip side of that anxiety coin, I try not to let it get the best of me. I don't let my anxieties spill over to the kids, because I want them to grow-up feeling safe and like they can do whatever they want.

      But it can also be really. fucking. awesome. I will never forget the first time my oldest followed me with their eyes; it seems bland and not exciting, but it was one of the best moments of my life. It's so fun and exciting to watch them develop as people; my youngest is beginning to show signs of a sense of humor and I must say, it is absolutely my dumb, ironic, sarcastic sense of humor and I love every bit of it. My oldest is into mechanical things like me; anything that moves, has gears and levers, engines, etc, they are all about. But they also have their Moms sensitivity and creativity. My youngest doesn't care about gears, levers, engines and on, but they have my stubborn sense of self; they can be difficult, but then again, so can I, because I am absolutely stubborn like a mule. At the same time, they love things like swimming, like their mother, something I absolutely hate and loathe. It's fun to watch my oldest learn new things at school and demonstrate them for me; just last night they were explaining to me how they've started learning subtraction at school this week and demonstrated some arithmetic at the dinner table for the rest of us.

      It's all peaks and troughs; Monday was hard and I was very much disliking my oldest, as they were coping an attitude and being difficult. All last week, my youngest was having that stubborn sense and was just persistently tired, being a complete shit to his Mother and Myself. Yesterday and Today so far? Both great. The youngest has turned a corner (for now) and is so cute, loving and sweet. The oldest is back to their normal self, something they very much weren't on Monday.

      As to the point of your life being pointless without: I love being a Dad, but it's also something you can't lose yourself in. I see many parents in my situation who become that as an identity, which isn't good for anyone. If you've done things right, your kids will eventually leave you, there will be a long period where in their totally normal selves, they won't want to have anything to do with you. They likely won't call, won't visit and won't give you the time of day; I recall being such a way. In this case, I believe it's very important not to completely tie my identity to "Dad", because what happens when they do leave? I can't put the anxiety of losing my identity on these two people, because that is what they'll eventually be adult people with their own lives, which, while tied to me, won't have anything to do with me. They don't have to like me, love me or even think about me as they get older; I hope that we can be friends and love each other when we're older, but that remains to be seen.

      The last thing I want to touch on is family: If you choose to do this, please know that you're on hard mode without family. Remember what I said earlier about life not being set up for families and kids (This really only applies to the US, as I can't speak for anywhere else)? You know the saying, "It takes a village?", well, it absolutely does and you're going to need family or close friends who can help. I'm only somewhat close with my own family, they very occasionally provide childcare, but will rarely make the 35 minute trek to come visit, but I'm thankful my wife has a large family and most of them are closeby and always willing to help if they can. There have been so many times when my wife and I just need a break (Peaks & Troughs), because parenting is fucking relentless and my wonderful Sister-in-Law has been able to watch our kids for an evening or an afternoon so that we can go out and have a date. Hell, my wife and I have a trip planned to England in May for my 40th birthday, which we absolutely wouldn't be able to do without the family; we're only going to be gone for a week, but thankfully my Brother-In-Law(s) will be with them most of the time and otherwise, they'll get passed around to various other family members while we're gone. We absolutely wouldn't be able to do any of this without the support of family (or close friends). Having people who can assist you will be absolutely essential for your own mental health and stability. Shit, my Mother-in-Law is picking my youngest up from school today (as it's only a half day), so that I can have some extra time to myself, which is enabling me to write this long ass post.

      This leads into my next point (which I hope is my last, sorry. I know I said the other would be the last, but here we are): Your relationship with your husband is foundational and you need to prioritize that over your children. Sure, your kids are important and you do need to prioritize them, but the foundation with which you're raising them is built on your partnership and without that, you're going to struggle. Again, I see so many people lose themselves in the identity of "parent", who end-up not prioritizing their relationships, which then gradually fall apart. I'm of the age now where I'm starting to see a lot of couples (especially with kids) divorce, because the foundation was never strong and wasn't maintained. This again relates to the above point of familial support: My wife and I need to do our best to make sure we keep our partnership strong, physically and emotionally, which can be a challenge. We have to schedule dates. We have to schedule sex. Everything wants to get in the way; even when the kids aren't around (such as bedtime), you're tired and just don't want to make the effort, so you need to make sure you dedicate your time to keeping that foundation strong, so when you're out the other side of this journey, you're both better off for it and not absolutely sick of each other. This is going to take introspection and effort on both parties parts and unfortunately, a lot of failings tend to fall on the men; I see friends and acquaintances who are also Fathers who think that just because they earn the money, it means they don't have to do anything, whether that's taking care of the kids or attending to their partners needs. Unfortunately, even in this generation, there's a lot of ingrained sexism.

      Sorry for the long post, I totally understand if you have no interest in reading it. I just wanted to do my best to provide a balanced perspective. Being a parent is great for so many reasons, it's an absolutely wonderful experience, but it can also be fucking miserable, relentless and draining, especially with young kids. There isn't any right answer for you, as far as having kids goes, it's an emotional decision ultimately and you have to know if you're ready to do the emotional labor of it, because once you've chosen, you can't go back. It's hard, grueling, unappreciated work and even harder on women, both physically and by the societal expectations put upon you, but it's also rewarding, interesting and something completely new that you've never done before and it's always changing. Your kids are constantly changing and something new may arise that completely sucks or is totally awesome, so you need to come to peace with the fact that life is in a perpetual state of motion and you might be handed something completely unexpected.

      27 votes
      1. palimpsest
        Link Parent
        Hey, thank you so much for sharing your experience, I really appreciate it. In a lot of ways, your post actually makes me feel better, because there was nothing in there that made me say oh shit,...

        Hey, thank you so much for sharing your experience, I really appreciate it. In a lot of ways, your post actually makes me feel better, because there was nothing in there that made me say oh shit, I didn't think about that at all (other than worrying about school shotings - I'm in Europe and hopefully won't get to the point where I need to worry about that too).

        Some things that I'm cautiously optimistic about: I'm the primary earner in the household and my partner would love being a stay-at-home dad, but his work is so flexible that even if he remains employed, he could spend a lot more time at home with kids than is the norm. At the same time, my own mother was so incredibly anxious that I really want to be mindful of not passing that on to my children like she did to me.

        I also really don't want to be just a mum - I admire my cousin who has had three kids and is still very involved with her hobbies. When I said that the future looks kinda pointless, I meant more in the sense that it's not leading towards anything. I have my little hobbies and interests, but there's no great sense of purpose behind them, and I'd like to see if there's something more to life other than this and the daily grind.

        8 votes
    2. [2]
      lackofaname
      Link Parent
      Im just a little older, and have gone down some similar lines of thought in the past few years. I can commiserate. Ive never had a desire to have kids, find the idea of being pregnant to be...

      Im just a little older, and have gone down some similar lines of thought in the past few years. I can commiserate.

      Ive never had a desire to have kids, find the idea of being pregnant to be offputting, and have a lot of anxieties around.. life. But, a lot of my childhood friends started having kids a few years ago and I realized, I dont hate them! They're little humans! How cute! It made me pause for a minute. Would I regret not having kids?

      Even though I'm in a much more stable place now, I'd still have to make a few big shifts to the way my life is structured that I'm not really prepared to do. And, I still don't feel an actual strong desire for them, which for me has been a huge factor in my decision. All in all, I've come back to feeling comfortable not having kids.

      Im not suggesting you should make the same choice, just sharing my story. It's smart that you're taking the steps toward stability to keep your options more open while you decide. Not sure where I saw it, but I live pretty strongly by the idea another tilderino expressed that we can only ever make decisions based on the information we have at the time. It helps me feel at peace with my decisions. Either way, the decision you make will be the right one for you.

      10 votes
      1. palimpsest
        Link Parent
        Thank you for the encouragement! Honestly, it's hugely helpful just listening to people's experiences.

        Thank you for the encouragement! Honestly, it's hugely helpful just listening to people's experiences.

        6 votes
    3. [3]
      Wolf_359
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      New dad here. I'll start by saying that I think people can find happiness no matter what they choose. As for kids, they are a complete and total shit show. There are moments when I want to punch a...

      New dad here. I'll start by saying that I think people can find happiness no matter what they choose.

      As for kids, they are a complete and total shit show. There are moments when I want to punch a hole through my mattress at night because our little 6-month-old baby can get so fussy and we aren't sleeping great. He recently had an ear infection after getting COVID and our lives have been, excuse my language, completely fucked for the last month. He's also (maybe slightly) behind on his language milestones and my wife has autism in her family, so obviously we are stressed about that a bit. I'm a special ed. teacher who has pretty hardcore ADHD myself, so I'm fine with an autistic kid but I want him to have a happy and easy life - sometimes autism doesn't afford that. That's all.

      Anyway, my hobbies are essentially gone and the only thing I have time to do for myself is to play a few moves of chess throughout the day on the chess.com app. Maybe once every other month the wife and I have been able to go do something. We also don't have friends or family in the area who could help out, so that does suck.

      It's also expensive as hell. Whenever you think you're budgeted for the month, you might as well double that and then find a way to laugh at yourself when even that doesn't cover it. Stuff just keeps popping up. Money has been a real stresser lately even though we both have "good" "middle-class" careers.

      There are many, many days when I miss my pre-child life. There are times where I'm so exhausted that I want to scream at this miserable little baby. Oh, and with my ADHD, having a baby has unlocked all kinds of new anxieties and nightmares for me. I am terrified all the time that I will forget something important (as I often do) and accidentally leave him in a hot car or leave out a dangerous object with which he will hurt himself. I wake up with a start fairly often imagining that I forgot him downstairs or that I fell asleep holding him and he's suffocated on my shirt. Lol. It's nuts.

      But I still don't regret it at all. And I know that I'll be sitting at the dinner table with my grown little boy (and hopefully a sibling of his) and be so proud of how far he's come. He has given my life a lot of meaning. And a lot of nihilism and escapism I used to crave has vanished. I used to imagine going off to Mars or being totally alone in a spaceship. That was my little safe space in my brain and a fantasy that sounded completely amazing to me. Yes, I love my wife but I still found comfort in the idea of going off and exploring or getting some solitude. After having our son, I can't feel that same way and I'm okay with it. I just love him too much and I wouldn't enjoy being away from him. I miss him even when he's sleeping.

      So, I can't answer it for you. But I think there are serious pros and cons for each option. And I think you'll find that you can be happy either way. The only "wrong" decision is to have a child you know you don't want. Kids need a LOT of love, stability, and pretty much all of your time and attention when you're not at work.

      Edit: literally seconds after posting this my washing machine started rattling and it's now broken. I have a massive load of mine and my son's laundry soaking wet in a broken washing machine right now. Can we afford a new washing machine? Do I have time to deal with this right now? Nope. But I'm excited to see him when he wakes up from his nap. That's being a parent in a nutshell.

      Edit 2: Washing machine part is ordered. I'll fix it myself Saturday with the help of YouTube. Baby is laughing in his jumper and my day is going awesome. Love him so much it's crazy.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        palimpsest
        Link Parent
        Hey, thank you so much for telling me about your experience and for being honest. Both me and my SO are forgetful people (I'm extra forgetful when stressed out), so I can see this being a source...

        Hey, thank you so much for telling me about your experience and for being honest. Both me and my SO are forgetful people (I'm extra forgetful when stressed out), so I can see this being a source of extra anxiety!

        4 votes
        1. Wolf_359
          Link Parent
          Definitely! I just added an edit because upon reading my comment I noticed that I never mentioned how amazing it is to watch my son laugh or play with toys. He's learning so many new skills and...

          Definitely! I just added an edit because upon reading my comment I noticed that I never mentioned how amazing it is to watch my son laugh or play with toys. He's learning so many new skills and he's my little buddy. That's the good stuff I didn't touch on as much.

          I hope you find an easy decision. But either way, do what you're going to do and don't look back no matter what. There is a ton of joy to be found with or without kids.

          5 votes
    4. chocobean
      Link Parent
      It's a difficult decision, a literal life and death one and one I wished didn't hinge on a time limit. No advice but sheer support -- whatever you decide will be the right decision for yourself...

      It's a difficult decision, a literal life and death one and one I wished didn't hinge on a time limit.

      No advice but sheer support -- whatever you decide will be the right decision for yourself and others.

      Okay I guess one more thing: my mom had mental health problems stemming from tumours in her brain. It did not stop her from being an amazing woman and an amazing mother. She's not on this planet anymore but her strength and her faith and her joy remain with me. So long as you love the child, neither poverty nor insanity nor ill health nor short lifespan would prevent them from having a beautiful life.

      7 votes
    5. gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      This is such a difficult decision. But my personal experience, as likely one of the older tilderinos who's already a grandparent of 7 is that having kids was the greatest thing in my life. I not...

      This is such a difficult decision. But my personal experience, as likely one of the older tilderinos who's already a grandparent of 7 is that having kids was the greatest thing in my life. I not only love my 3 bio kids dearly, I now have 3 stepkids who have added a great deal to my life. And having grandkids wasnt something I thought about much way back when, but they add SO much to my life, and I to theirs. I look forward to teaching them things and learning new things and loving them into strong, capable young people like my own kids. And honestly, when I look back on my life now that Im in my waning years, my kids are my greatest contribution to the world - they are all very kind, giving and successful people and the change for good they are making in the world is tangible. It's heart warming to realize that when I'm gone, their lives and the grandkids lives will continue to change their world. It gives whole new meaning to ancestry and the chain of lives I can trace from generations back into the future.

      Thats the good news. The other side is that one of my kids has always wanted four kids, and after the second one they are definitely done. The mom had an absolutely miserable time through both pregnancies with severe nausea, multiple complications, followed by months of post partum depression. It was brutally hard for a couple who love kids so much to suffer so much and it impacted their marriage - I definitely understand why they're done. But there's really no way to know how its going to be until you're into it, which is the difficult part.

      Not sure if any of that is helpful, but I wish you the best in your decision making.

      7 votes
    6. [2]
      em-dash
      Link Parent
      Several people have reassured you you'll be alright if you have kids. I'll reassure you you'll be alright if you don't. There are multiple sources of fulfillment and meaning in life. Kids can be...

      But everyone says it's the greatest thing ever, and my future looks kinda empty and pointless.

      Several people have reassured you you'll be alright if you have kids. I'll reassure you you'll be alright if you don't.

      There are multiple sources of fulfillment and meaning in life. Kids can be one of them, if you're the sort of person who can derive fulfillment and meaning from raising kids. A child isn't the only possible source of those things, and not everyone will get those things from having a child.

      My partner and I decided very early on to not have children. Neither of us has ever regretted it. Some people, like me, just don't have whatever mental bit makes "other people depend on me" desirable, so it's a trivial choice. My partner does have that bit, and that's why she fosters cats for a local cat rescue, which interferes with the rest of our lives far less than even one child would. Some people volunteer for charities.

      I literally never had a strong desire to have a child.

      But honestly, I just wish I had either a strong desire or strong repulsion towards the whole thing!

      So I have a ton of various fears and anxieties over the whole thing, and no big desire to have a kid.

      IMO, the only people who should be parents are those who actively want to. It's far too big a decision to jump into if you have no stronger reasons than "that's what people do". If you don't know whether you want them, the penalty for guessing wrong one way is you miss out on something some people enjoy, and the penalty for guessing wrong the other way is you completely upend your life and make yourself miserable (and possibly your child as well).

      6 votes
      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        My kid is 7 months. I love my kid. However, there are times when I wonder why did I let that happen to me. I may do a vasectomy because I'm sure one is enough. My wife is in love with all the...

        My kid is 7 months. I love my kid. However, there are times when I wonder why did I let that happen to me.

        I may do a vasectomy because I'm sure one is enough.

        My wife is in love with all the little aspects of baby development. "Look, he can roll!", "look he's crawling", or "look he can eat a chunk of banana now". And I'm like "tell me when he starts saying cute stuff".

        Yes, I do everything that's required of me as a father. But I'm not in a great journey of romanticized baby appreciation. I was never crazy about babies and that didn't change. There's no magic. I love my son which is in the form of a babie, but I still don't care about babies. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy it when he can play video-games with me. Right now? I sure love the dude, but he's pretty boring.

        8 votes
    7. umlautsuser123
      Link Parent
      I read the Baby Decision, in part because dating childfree is really hard. I went in childfree, and left as "childfree, but if I change my mind, who cares? and if I don't have one, I know I'll be...

      I read the Baby Decision, in part because dating childfree is really hard. I went in childfree, and left as "childfree, but if I change my mind, who cares? and if I don't have one, I know I'll be happy / can be an aunt." For me, I felt like I had to justify my decision with philosophy, when really I just had to accept that 1) organisms just wanna reproduce 2) if I change my mind the only person I have to prove myself to is the kid. There's no philosophical committee judging my reasons.

      It's been a few years, so my memory may be failing me, but iirc the book goes through different mindsets towards having kids / not having kids. It's works well enough as an audiobook. I have no idea if it'll give you any real clarity, but I found it helpful because it helped me identify my feelings on each mindset.

      6 votes
    8. pekt
      Link Parent
      Newer Dad with two young sons here. I think other commenters shared some great experiences and I thought I might give my own $0.02 as well. Having my boys changed me fundamentally. I always wanted...

      Newer Dad with two young sons here. I think other commenters shared some great experiences and I thought I might give my own $0.02 as well.

      Having my boys changed me fundamentally. I always wanted a family, a big family at that, but once I became a Dad I realized just how much I needed to improve myself. I have a relationship with my Dad that was "normal" but that was a very surface level attempt by me to cover up abuse and give the appearance of normality. After having some issues that stem from that crop up and impact my marriage I had to stop and reflect deeply on what kind of husband and father I wanted to be. It has been a journey each day but I hope that when my sons are older they'll want to still be friends with me and include me in their lives. They deserve the best me I can be.

      Having a strong relationship with your husband is key before having a child. Having that foundation built sturdily is going to help you immensely through all of the struggles that being a parent entails. I put a massive crack in my marriage with my issues and I hadn't done as good a job as I thought I had in building it up which has made it feel extra crucial that I focus on my family before my own interests. Put your marriage first and your kids second. I know another commenter said the same thing and I wanted to reiterate on that. Find small things you can do together and don't let your marriage orbit your kids. Chatting while folding laundry, cooking, or even on a phone call on a drive can help make sure stay connected.

      Your relationships with your friends will also change. My wife and I only have a few friends who have kids with the majority either not in a relationship or aren't interested in having kids. Some relationships will drift as your interests and time constraints are imposed by having children. I.e.: hard to say yes to a last minute 6 mile hike with friends when you have a 4 month old or even if your child is older l, say 1 year, you'll need to plan around their nap times and make sure you bring all of the necessary things with you (snacks, bottles, diapers, clothes, etc.). This isn't to make it sound negative but more to highlight that things change when you have a child that you may not have considered or noticed with your friends who do have kids. In my personal experience I've tried once a week checking in with friends just to stay current and connected even if it's a few words. I have no social media so it's my only way to know what's going on with them when I live 8-11k miles away.

      I've heard about the differences in happiness levels of parents vs those who aren't. This is based on memory, that parents have a greater volatility of emotions compared to those without kids. Higher highs but also lower lows. I would agree with that based on my experience. Seeing my sons play together and watching my oldest trying to teach my youngest how to crawl and walk and talk fills my heart in ways I can't describe. On the flip side having my whole family get sick and dealing with cleaning up diaherria + vomit and cooking after only getting a couple of hours of sleep each night for days on end can have spend time questioning my decisions and wondering if it's worth it (it is, but you can't beat yourself up for having those moments).

      Find support from friends and family and don't underestimate how much they matter. We moved across the world to be closer to my wife's family and while we don't have as many friends here yet being able to give my sons a loving family environment is huge. They're also going to get an overall better education (in my opinion) compared to the one I got in a US public school, besides a few areas that we'll address at home.

      I'm glad you're giving it serious thought before diving in. I hope you find happiness in whatever decision you make. I'm sure if you do decide to have kids when need somewhere to vent anonymously that myself, and others here on Tildes, will be happy to lend a virtual ear.

      4 votes
  6. [2]
    52150281
    Link
    I miss my puppy. He was 11 months old when he passed away this time last year and it's really hitting me hard the last couple of days. I'd give anything to have him back.

    I miss my puppy. He was 11 months old when he passed away this time last year and it's really hitting me hard the last couple of days. I'd give anything to have him back.

    11 votes
    1. gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      So sorry to hear that. 11 months is so young and it definitely hurts to lose our faithful companions. A little <<virtual hug>> for you.

      So sorry to hear that. 11 months is so young and it definitely hurts to lose our faithful companions. A little <<virtual hug>> for you.

      3 votes
  7. [22]
    BeardyHat
    Link
    I'm traveling in May and June, the May trip is something I've wanted to do for a long time now. I should be excited about the trip, I mean, I am, but rather than think about that trip, my supreme...

    I'm traveling in May and June, the May trip is something I've wanted to do for a long time now. I should be excited about the trip, I mean, I am, but rather than think about that trip, my supreme concern has been the gaming devices I intend to bring with me.

    I intend to travel light, so I'll be bringing my laptop for light use, as needed, as well as some gaming (it is not a gaming laptop) and some form of handheld console. But I'm torn, maybe instead of my laptop I should bring my Steam Deck? Maybe instead of my DSi for a handheld, I should bring my Vita? My 3DS? My Miyoo Mini? I've been basically obsessing about this for months, because I have this thought in my head, "well what if I want to play X game and I don't have access to it?"

    Which is fucking dumb, because really, the only real time I'll have to play games is the long flight there and back, maybe in the evenings (doubtful) and odds are, I probably won't even want to play games on the flight. Even if it turns out I do play lots of stuff, I'm sure I'll have plenty enough to cover the bases no matter what I bring.

    It's probably just my anxiety looking for something to latch onto, but it's driving me bat shit. Rationally, I know none of this matters, but I haven't been able to get the emotional side of my brain to shut up about it.

    10 votes
    1. [5]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Prior to my last flight I did the following: Downloaded several books to my Kobo Bought and downloaded several games to my Playdate Installed several games to my Steam Deck Added a bunch of ROMs...

      Prior to my last flight I did the following:

      • Downloaded several books to my Kobo
      • Bought and downloaded several games to my Playdate
      • Installed several games to my Steam Deck
      • Added a bunch of ROMs to emulators on my Steam Deck
      • Installed a bunch of non-Steam games from the Discover store on my Steam Deck (just in case Steam decided not to work in offline mode)
      • Downloaded several movies and television shows to my phone
      • Downloaded several games from Apple Arcade to my phone
      • Downloaded several audiobooks to my phone
      • Downloaded several music albums to my phone

      I had literal weeks worth of content for roughly fourteen total hours of flights and airport time across the entire trip because, like you, I kept thinking but what if I decide I want to enjoy [specific entertainment product] on the flight?!

      What did I end up doing? I read half of one of the books, listened to some music, and then played Dicey Dungeons most of the time.

      The irony?

      Dicey Dungeons wasn’t even one of the games I’d prepped for the trip! I literally bought it on my phone while waiting at my airport gate.

      All of this is a long way of saying that I totally get where you’re at. I’m the exact same way.

      18 votes
      1. [2]
        R3qn65
        Link Parent
        Well, this is a fun new discovery for me. Thanks!

        Dicey Dungeons

        Well, this is a fun new discovery for me. Thanks!

        4 votes
        1. kfwyre
          Link Parent
          I hope you enjoy it! The game is one of my favorites. Such a joy. Also infuriating at times. But mostly a joy!

          I hope you enjoy it! The game is one of my favorites. Such a joy.

          Also infuriating at times.

          But mostly a joy!

      2. Protected
        Link Parent
        A Steam Deck, a Playdate and a Kobo? That's all of the cool devices! Normally I add a few prog/concept albums to my phone and listen to them in full on the flight. Thinking about it, if I had a...

        A Steam Deck, a Playdate and a Kobo? That's all of the cool devices!

        Normally I add a few prog/concept albums to my phone and listen to them in full on the flight. Thinking about it, if I had a Steam Deck I'd probably just bring something with extreme replayability, like Binding of Isaac. I dislike flying so it's best to bring something that helps me turn off my brain rather than constantly noticing the passage of time.

        4 votes
      3. BeardyHat
        Link Parent
        Yup! This is exactly what's going to happen and I already know it. Maybe I'll finally try Balatro before I go and see if that hooks me for the flight.

        Yup! This is exactly what's going to happen and I already know it. Maybe I'll finally try Balatro before I go and see if that hooks me for the flight.

        3 votes
    2. [11]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      You probably won't even play games on the flight most of the time. I'm an avid gamer, and there's few things I love doing more. I have a steam deck that I use regularly, and I take on most trips...

      You probably won't even play games on the flight most of the time.

      I'm an avid gamer, and there's few things I love doing more. I have a steam deck that I use regularly, and I take on most trips with me.

      Most flights, even long ones, I open the thing up, play a game for a little bit, then put it away after half an hour and end up sleeping, looking out the window, or just talking to the person next to me.

      I'm considering just not even bringing it anymore.

      8 votes
      1. [7]
        chocobean
        Link Parent
        Oooooooh that sparked an interest in me: I wonder what percent of people in general, and what percentage of Tildes people prefer seatmates who talk, vs seatmates who don't even want to acknowledge...

        Oooooooh that sparked an interest in me: I wonder what percent of people in general, and what percentage of Tildes people prefer seatmates who talk, vs seatmates who don't even want to acknowledge each other exists :D

        Also, are you a window person or aisle person?

        4 votes
        1. BeardyHat
          Link Parent
          I could go either way, myself. I'm introverted and shy, but weirdly, I also very much enjoy talking to people and have no issues striking up conversations with strangers, but I usually leave it to...

          I could go either way, myself. I'm introverted and shy, but weirdly, I also very much enjoy talking to people and have no issues striking up conversations with strangers, but I usually leave it to strangers to initiate. If they're not going to, I keep to myself and do whatever I intended to do, but if they open it up, I'll probably talk their ear off.

          6 votes
        2. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I'm firmly in the "Please, for the love of God, don't talk to me on the airplane" camp. I put my headphones on and pull my Kindle or iPad out the second I'm seated to discourage that from...

          I'm firmly in the "Please, for the love of God, don't talk to me on the airplane" camp. I put my headphones on and pull my Kindle or iPad out the second I'm seated to discourage that from happening, and because I need to focus intently on something otherwise I'm likely to have a panic attack. And conversations with a complete stranger makes me anxious to begin with, regardless of the situation, but on an airplane it's even worse since it's a confined space with limited bathroom access. Which is why I always choose aisle seats too, because if I do start having a panic attack, I often need to get to the bathroom immediately. :(

          5 votes
        3. papasquat
          Link Parent
          For me it greatly depends on the type of person. For 90% of people, I love hearing about their lives, and I don't feel like I'm a great conversationalist, so when I meet someone that's good at...

          For me it greatly depends on the type of person. For 90% of people, I love hearing about their lives, and I don't feel like I'm a great conversationalist, so when I meet someone that's good at talking, I'm always in awe and love being there.

          Sometimes though, I ask myself within five minutes, "why did I engage with this person." That usually happens when I talk to people who have an agenda to convert me to their ideology, whether that's telling me how great Andrew Tate is, or how the only way to get into heaven is by reading the Qur'an and these handful of hadiths. (Both real conversations that have been started by strangers, and both actually with somewhat similar themes).

          Even when those painful conversations are happening, there's some part of my brain that's going "Oh man this is going to be a GREAT story to talk about later"

          So actually, yeah, I pretty much always like it to some degree, but I'll only pursue it if someone responds favorably in an engaged way to my initial "hey there, how're you doing?" Otherwise I mostly just look around, daydream, or sleep.

          And I'm an aisle person. When I have to pee, it's an annoying urge that I absolutely cannot ignore that very quickly becomes unbearable. I hate having to wake people up to crawl over them to go to the bathroom. Although I do really like to look out of the window too.

          5 votes
        4. [3]
          patience_limited
          Link Parent
          Window seat, and 50/50 on talking or not, depending on how exhausted I am from a trip. I've gotten to speak with some utterly fascinating seatmates! I'm a little claustrophobic/agoraphobic and it...

          Window seat, and 50/50 on talking or not, depending on how exhausted I am from a trip. I've gotten to speak with some utterly fascinating seatmates! I'm a little claustrophobic/agoraphobic and it can be helpful to keep my mind off being crammed into a sardine can with strangers. I've also never mastered the art of sleeping on planes, so I'm happy if I can read most of a book, or if other entertainment is on offer.

          I've spoken with a paratroop instructor, a Navy commander, a forensic psychiatrist, a leader dog trainer flying with their trainee dog, an epidemiologist, teachers and professors, various fellow IT nerds...

          And some people are so annoying that they're interesting in a different way - generic grandparents who want to chatter about their families (with photos), a multilevel nutrition and fitness marketer (also a Trump stan); a makeup influencer doing contouring, with a running narrative into her phone while filming; a Mormon missionary; a pack of unsupervised children; and one serious aerophobe who had to be talked and hand-held through a bumpy landing.

          Every flight is something of an adventure.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            chocobean
            Link Parent
            Wow :) As much of an introvert as I am, that does sound very fun. And honestly there's nowhere else in life left where we're "sardined" in with strangers for hours anymore I'm one of those sleeper...

            Wow :)

            As much of an introvert as I am, that does sound very fun. And honestly there's nowhere else in life left where we're "sardined" in with strangers for hours anymore

            I'm one of those sleeper types, so I don't initiate conversation, and only respond with minimal efforts if talked to. Which is sad because normally I would like to talk to strangers, next table over in a restaurant, or on a bus or train or on a ferry or heck I wouldn't mind even light chatting in a theatre (I know!) But for some reason flights are for solo looking out the window and sleeping, for me

            3 votes
            1. patience_limited
              Link Parent
              Oh, I'm a total introvert too, and it might take a long weekend cloistered in a quiet place to unwind and recharge from all this activity. But curiosity is a huge motivator for me, and I've got a...

              Oh, I'm a total introvert too, and it might take a long weekend cloistered in a quiet place to unwind and recharge from all this activity. But curiosity is a huge motivator for me, and I've got a little of Oliver Sachs' "anthropologist on Mars" desire to learn about my fellow hominids. I usually carry a big tin of mints and offer them to my seatmates if I'm having one myself. That often starts the conversational ball rolling.

              Maybe it would be different if I could sleep in flight, but planes are too confining, chilly, noisy, and bright for that.

              2 votes
      2. BeardyHat
        Link Parent
        Never do, in fact. Last flight I took, I'm pretty sure I played Battle Brothers on my Deck for about 30 minutes or so and that was it.

        You probably won't even play games on the flight most of the time.

        Never do, in fact. Last flight I took, I'm pretty sure I played Battle Brothers on my Deck for about 30 minutes or so and that was it.

        2 votes
      3. UniquelyGeneric
        Link Parent
        I also compulsively bring a steam deck on flights. What I noticed really improved my experience (and allowed me to play more than 30 mins before giving it up), was to use a stand and a controller....

        I also compulsively bring a steam deck on flights. What I noticed really improved my experience (and allowed me to play more than 30 mins before giving it up), was to use a stand and a controller.

        I got a 3D printed stand off Etsy (with an external battery attachment), and I prefer a DualSense controller. Add on noise-cancelling headphones and you can really mentally exit the airplane experience without needing a Vision Pro.

        Late at night it would be nicer to have an OLED screen to dim some of the brightness, but I’m usually sleeping on those flights anyways. Removing the discomfort of holding the steam deck at a low angle made the most difference. I’ve seen “clip your tablet here” type seatbacks, and that would be ideal with my setup to have the steam deck at eye-height.

        When I travel with my girlfriend we can kill an hour playing a coop game by using the kickstand on a single person’s tray table and sharing headphones (pairing two Bluetooth headsets is more troublesome on Linux). We each have a separate controller and it’s fun to play a split-screen platformer like It Takes Two or Sackboy given the screen size.

        2 votes
      4. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Talking to the person next to me? Hasn’t happened in years. I think it’s great if you can break the ice, though.

        Talking to the person next to me? Hasn’t happened in years. I think it’s great if you can break the ice, though.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      GenuinelyCrooked
      Link Parent
      I think this actually explains the thing that's been stuck in my head. I think I'm just anxious and I can't think about the thing I'm anxious about anymore, so I'm latching onto anything I can...

      It's probably just my anxiety looking for something to latch onto, but it's driving me bat shit.

      I think this actually explains the thing that's been stuck in my head. I think I'm just anxious and I can't think about the thing I'm anxious about anymore, so I'm latching onto anything I can grab. Thank you for that!

      Maybe you could trick yourself. Bring something productive to do, something that you'd like to get done but that's kind of boring. Maybe a very dry book about a subject you want to know more about. And then bring any other thing. Instead of comparing the game you have with The Perfect Game that you left at home, you'll be comparing the game you have to some boring book you don't really want to read, which is a much better comparison.

      It might already be too late for that, though, since you've already acknowledged to yourself the full range of your options. It might be worth a try anyway?

      6 votes
      1. BeardyHat
        Link Parent
        You're welcome. As an anxiety sufferer, I've lived with this shit long enough to understand how it works and how it will always find something to latch onto that often isn't the thing you're...

        You're welcome.

        As an anxiety sufferer, I've lived with this shit long enough to understand how it works and how it will always find something to latch onto that often isn't the thing you're anxious about. Hell, usually there's no reason to be anxious about anything, but anxiety creeps in and wants you to worry about something, so it'll gladly find you something to worry about.

        Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to do my best to just not worry about it and making this post has helped me get things straight in my head, reminding myself that this doesn't matter and I'll find something to do, undoubtedly; and that fewer options are better than choice paralysis.

        3 votes
    4. [2]
      palimpsest
      Link Parent
      I agree that it's probably anxiety. I often get the same before a trip - fixated on some detail, maybe even starting to feel kinda meh about the whole thing. Then I go and it's a blast. Like the...

      I agree that it's probably anxiety. I often get the same before a trip - fixated on some detail, maybe even starting to feel kinda meh about the whole thing. Then I go and it's a blast.

      Like the other person in the responses, I always come overprepared for a flight, and then I never use a single thing I brought. On long (10+ hr) flights, I mostly watch movies on the in-flight tablet, read, and listen to music. Every single time I tried gaming on a handheld I gave up after half an hour or so. The vibes are just not right for me. I did play a bunch of simple mobile/PC games though (I have fond memories of playing FTL on one flight; on a different one, it was Reigns on my phone).

      If I were you, I'd bring just the laptop with some games that can run on it, something that doesn't require complex controls. If you really want to bring a handheld, bring the one you'll miss the least if it gets lost or stolen.

      3 votes
      1. BeardyHat
        Link Parent
        Absolutely my experience, as well. Grand plans and then nothing really comes of it and logically I'm well aware, but emotionally, that anxiety needs to find something to fixate on. I definitely am...

        Absolutely my experience, as well. Grand plans and then nothing really comes of it and logically I'm well aware, but emotionally, that anxiety needs to find something to fixate on.

        I definitely am going to need something simple and straightforward if I'm going to play anything at all, but what this actually reminds me is that I should get a headphone splitter, so that my wife and I can watch Star Trek TNG on the flight. That's probably what we'll mostly end up doing.

        3 votes
    5. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I usually deal with packing anxiety by being ruthless with myself about packing for carry-on only, even for trips of a week or more. I may spend the better part of a day triple-checking that all...

      I usually deal with packing anxiety by being ruthless with myself about packing for carry-on only, even for trips of a week or more. I may spend the better part of a day triple-checking that all of the essentials made it into the 20" suitcase plus personal item. But I can be certain that I won't dither over all the options for other things I could bring along. It's also fortunate that with digital storage, I can bring more reading material than I'd get to in a lifetime.

      1 vote
  8. [3]
    gowestyoungman
    Link
    Just dawned on me today that my thoughts about my deceased father and my deceased dog, are objectively polar opposites. I went no contact with my father about 25 yrs ago because of some serious...

    Just dawned on me today that my thoughts about my deceased father and my deceased dog, are objectively polar opposites. I went no contact with my father about 25 yrs ago because of some serious issues and I haven't regretted that. But just this morning I was relating how I had to put my dear pup down because she could no longer eat or stand and how hard that was, and even now, years later, it makes me tear up. I still miss her dearly. I have mementos of my little hound in the house and I think of her with fondness regularly.

    But my father? Well, he died last month and I'm no longer angry with him, but I have a hard time thinking of something that would move me to tears, or anything akin to affection or fondness. It just seems very odd to me that the man who was my father brings up so little grief, but my thoughts of my dog can readily bring me to tears. Its sad that I couldn't have grieved as much for a father as I did for a dog. Its odd. Its just... strange how life works sometimes.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      GenuinelyCrooked
      Link Parent
      Someone once told me that grief is how you feel when you step into the hole that they left in your life. Your dog was with you every day, for most of the day. She was constantly interacting with...

      Someone once told me that grief is how you feel when you step into the hole that they left in your life. Your dog was with you every day, for most of the day. She was constantly interacting with you and giving you love. You probably do things every day that you did with her, like taking walks or lounging on the couch. If you live in the same house you probably constantly see the places where she would spend time. Your routine probably changed a lot when she passed, especially if you were spending a lot of time caretaking for her towards the end. She left big holes in your schedule, in your home, in your life.

      Your father left his hole 25 years ago, not last month. He was probably never in your house. He was never part of your schedule. The difference in your day before your father died and after is probably non-existent apart from the knowledge of that fact. You're used to the space he left. It's built in.

      That can happen even if you have a good relationship with someone. I still grieve for a cat much more than for a family friend, who helped raise me until her family moved away when I was 6. The cat left holes in my schedule. The cat had favorite spots in my home. The cat made sounds I was used to hearing, and that silence was a hole. Betty, who was wonderful and kind and a human being, neve had a place in my adult life. She didn't make a hole to fill.

      8 votes
      1. gowestyoungman
        Link Parent
        All very true. I appreciate those insights.

        All very true. I appreciate those insights.

        3 votes
  9. [2]
    Nijuu
    Link
    The AI crap and how certain sections of people are excited for it. When the reality is - it feels like anything new coming from using AI models really is mashing together existing ideas. It sure...

    The AI crap and how certain sections of people are excited for it. When the reality is - it feels like anything new coming from using AI models really is mashing together existing ideas. It sure feels like that's all it is.

    8 votes
    1. TangibleLight
      Link Parent
      That is all it is. To be a bit reductive - but not very reductive - the new boom in AI is fancy autocompletion. It is special in that it can complete different kinds of media - it can fill missing...

      That is all it is. To be a bit reductive - but not very reductive - the new boom in AI is fancy autocompletion. It is special in that it can complete different kinds of media - it can fill missing parts of images, predict missing words in a sentence, or replace gaps in speech and music.

      Critically, it can take some short prompt and predict the "missing" part at the end, making the prompt longer. This is how it generates new content.

      Except, all that content is really just predictions. It's not creating anything. It's not thinking. It's not intelligent.

      BUT, in the same way that people capitalize on Crypto and NFT and Web 2 and all the other fads before, people with interest in AI technology are overpromising to investors and generally other people who don't know enough about the technology to realize the promises mathematically cannot be met. And I'm sure these people will be gone by the time consumers start to realize the limitations of the thing and - probably more importantly - investors start to realize how expensive it is to run.

      5 votes
  10. lou
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm thinking about writing a story that is kinda like Black Mirror / Kafka about a person who is accused of something but never learn what. It will touch on subjects dear to me such as the problem...

    I'm thinking about writing a story that is kinda like Black Mirror / Kafka about a person who is accused of something but never learn what. It will touch on subjects dear to me such as the problem of Evil, miscarriages of justice, punishment, absurdity, and prison abolition.

    I'm thinking of another story about a guy that is handed a time travel belt and he goes in the past to prevent someone close to them from being the target of great violence. The idea is to make the crimes so egregious, and describe so personally and intimately, that the reader will actually question themself if it's moral to kill a baby (that will cause great harm when they become adult). Really make the reader conflicted.

    I'm thinking of writing an article about how trauma takes precedence in discourse. I probably won't write this. Too complicated.

    8 votes
  11. [3]
    Melvincible
    Link
    How much time is it appropriate to let myself play Baldur's gate 3? I just got it. I usually don't buy games like this because I KNOW they will consume me. And here I am finding myself getting...

    How much time is it appropriate to let myself play Baldur's gate 3? I just got it. I usually don't buy games like this because I KNOW they will consume me. And here I am finding myself getting consumed. I am loving every minute of this game. I actually think it's going to make me enjoy my in person d&d campaign even more. But like.... I have not picked up a single other project since downloading this game. I wonder if I should set boundaries for myself or just say fuck it and do what I want... why is there guilt attached to this hobby? Because I am not creating anything? Do I have to productive to feel like my time isn't being wasted? Is immersing myself in fantasy an unworthy hobby? Anyone, 10/10 best game in a long time, highly recommend.

    7 votes
    1. irren_echo
      Link Parent
      Hey, if you're enjoying it and nothing critical in your life is being neglected because of it, let yourself enjoy it! Maybe be a little mindful while you play, schedule breaks to walk around or do...

      Hey, if you're enjoying it and nothing critical in your life is being neglected because of it, let yourself enjoy it! Maybe be a little mindful while you play, schedule breaks to walk around or do a chore or whatever, and if it starts to feel more like a need than a want then step away for a little longer.

      It seems to be a pretty common problem for people to just do things for fun (I know I struggle with it) but there's nothing wrong with just enjoying your down time! So this stranger is giving you permission to play the fuck outta your game, and don't feel guilty for it :)

      6 votes
    2. umlautsuser123
      Link Parent
      I do it based off Journal changes :) But I think you just have to make sure you get up every 20 minutes, don't stay too long in one posture, and get some okay physical activity (even just walking...

      I do it based off Journal changes :) But I think you just have to make sure you get up every 20 minutes, don't stay too long in one posture, and get some okay physical activity (even just walking around a bit) after 4 hours if you can.

      I just watched like. 6 hours of a kdrama today. And ate a lot. It's not great but I think it somehow gets a little less judgement than playing a game, despite a game being more stimulating than most shows.

      2 votes
  12. simplify
    Link
    I'm thinking about becoming a liar. I'm very good at it, but I've mostly repressed it out of some sense of morality that grows weaker every day. Our culture rewards dishonesty. The people at the...

    I'm thinking about becoming a liar. I'm very good at it, but I've mostly repressed it out of some sense of morality that grows weaker every day. Our culture rewards dishonesty. The people at the top of our society are liars. Now, while I don't expect to make it to the top, I would like a better life than my general honesty has gotten me.

    Specifically, I know my skills and work ethic should get me a high-paying job. I'm smart and talented and have a keen ability to learn quick. But my reluctance to lie on my resume feels like it's holding me back. Job listings are so inflated, and resume-scanning tools are looking for buzz words that I don't have but could learn in an afternoon, that it's like... why not just lie? I'm a quick researcher and an expert bullshitter. I'm charismatic. I think by not lying, I'm just hurting myself.

    I recently heard from a friend that he has a coworker with more remote jobs than you would think is reasonable even for an "overemployed" person. And this guy is making upwards of a million a year, doing as little as he can get away with at these jobs. He's not worried because he's constantly looking for new jobs. If he loses a job, he still has multiple to fall back on, and probably recently had an interview for a new one anyway. While this isn't the life I want, when I think about the story, it just makes me feel like such a sucker.

    I want to transition from development to devops. I'd much rather work with orchestration and tooling and helping a development team succeed. My current role is full-stack web development, though my responsibilities have quickly become more "senior" in scope. So why don't I just lie? Why don't I just put a bunch of stuff as responsibilities for this role that would look good for devops? My company is a shitshow, with bad tooling, terrible CI/CD, backwards thinking.

    But I don't need to say any of that. I could say it's great and that I turned things around and implemented a bunch of stuff I didn't do. Who really cares? None of this actually matters. I can watch some videos to fill gaps in my knowledge and bullshit away. It just seems like I'm doing myself a great disservice by not taking advantage of my ability tell tales. It's starting to feel self-sabotaging or abusive, even. Why not me?

    7 votes
  13. [2]
    umlautsuser123
    (edited )
    Link
    I consider myself a pretty patient person. But since October, I feel like I've been astronomically more likely to simply... lose it. For the most part it's been minor-- like when someone is...

    I consider myself a pretty patient person. But since October, I feel like I've been astronomically more likely to simply... lose it. For the most part it's been minor-- like when someone is telling me what to do (when I've already thought it through and ruled it out) I rarely, but multiple times, have been testy in turn. Often times I let things go or I control it. Ironically no one else really knows how much stuff bothers you if you hide it as you're expected to.

    (I also feel like I was born a few senses short. Very few normal things excite me, and this past month of exceedingly normal things-- weddings, trips with friends, music-- has really highlighted that and weighed me down with the frustration that I'm not normal.)

    A major part of my stress was work, but I was (very fortunately) laid off with severance when I was already planning to quit-- so I have all this time to recover myself. It's been a stressful slog of attending to life commitments, though, so I'm only now feeling like I have time to give to myself instead of giving time to layoff stuff, family, friend, and (to some extent) partner commitments. I don't feel resentment (well, a little towards family) but I just don't feel like I've been able to have time for myself to simply attend to myself. I always have to cut it short to make room for others. I would like to do nothing for days until I truly miss someone.

    I am wondering how to attend to my different needs of keeping up with interview prep, of not overly delaying working again, and of properly timing my attempt to actually apply to roles. I know I'm kind of just living in this self-created cage of commitments. I think it's a great attribute-- much better from where I was years ago where I was filled with analysis paralysis and couldn't get shit straight. But ultimately, right now, I want to stop grinding my teeth during the day / carrying the physical stress I've had since April of the previous year. This was pretty stream of consciousness but I'd love tips on healing physical stress without becoming a complete potato.

    7 votes
    1. irren_echo
      Link Parent
      Unfortunately, you're going to have to just take the time and space you need, because no one's going to give it to you. But it sounds like you have a perfect opportunity to turn off and just let...

      Unfortunately, you're going to have to just take the time and space you need, because no one's going to give it to you. But it sounds like you have a perfect opportunity to turn off and just let yourself exist; and figure out what that even looks like for you.

      And because I am the tildes autism fairy~ have you considered that you may be autistic? If you were to read this post to my friends, they'd all be calmly nodding while studiously avoiding eye contact.... So like, I'm not gonna dx you here and now, but finding a therapist who is familiar with autistic adults might do you more good than seems reasonable from this vantage point.

  14. krellor
    Link
    I've been writing a series of works, including a journal article, a book, and a new TTRPG, which are about done. Unfortunately, it is difficult to publish under own name because it needs to go...

    I've been writing a series of works, including a journal article, a book, and a new TTRPG, which are about done. Unfortunately, it is difficult to publish under own name because it needs to go through a vetting process with my employer to make sure I'm not disclosing confidential information or speaking on behalf of the organization. It's not that big of a hurdle, but it does sort of stifle my desire to get these projects over the finish line.

    So I've been thinking about things I might publish or post under an alias that would be valuable to people. Maybe a primer on interpreting and engaging in argumentation in good faith, or an analysis of life outcomes by county correlated to local and state laws. I'm hoping to go back to grad school while continuing my work, with the hope of finishing my PHD in public affairs and public policy.

    I'll probably be in my current organization until 2030 to see some big initiatives over the finish line, so I might write another book and queue up multiple things to publish once I'm past their restrictions.

    6 votes
  15. asparagus_p
    Link
    I've been semi-seriously thinking of starting a new career as a postman/mail carrier. And when I say semi-seriously, I mean I'm probably not going to do it and think it's probably a terrible move....

    I've been semi-seriously thinking of starting a new career as a postman/mail carrier. And when I say semi-seriously, I mean I'm probably not going to do it and think it's probably a terrible move. I currently have a fairly creative freelance job, which provides an OK income and I enjoy it, but it's being rapidly replaced by AI and bargain-basement providers around the world, so I'm craving some stability. My body is also starting to give up on me because I spend far too much time at a computer, for both work and hobbies. I've been looking at the mail carriers in my neighbourhood and seeing how they get lots of exercise and probably have very little stress. My previous jobs for corporations have left me very reluctant to go back into that rat race, so I'd rather not opt for that perceived "stability" and the crappy politics that go with it.

    But obviously I'm concerned that a job with zero creativity will ultimately turn out to be horrendously boring and a terrible move for my professional life. I'm wondering, has anyone here gone from a more creative/intellectual job to something more menial and actually thought they made the right move?

    6 votes
  16. [6]
    artvandelay
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been mulling over which car to get. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to afford a car to be used for pleasure rather than for commuting. The only thing I am certain I want in my new...

    I've been mulling over which car to get. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to afford a car to be used for pleasure rather than for commuting. The only thing I am certain I want in my new car is Apple CarPlay, a decent sound system, and a manual transmission. I'm a pretty indecisive person so I started my search about 6 months ago and at this rate, I'll be searching for another 6 months. I started with a budget of $35k and after going back and forth between a few car, I sort of settled on getting a Golf GTI. I test drove a Mk7.5 and Mk8 and found myself preferring the Mk8, despite its touch controls. Unfortunately, there just aren't that many used Mk8's in my area at the moment so I've just been twiddling my thumbs a bit. Around the time I did my test drives, my car enthusiast friends started asking me why I was looking for a 4-door car rather than something with 2-doors and I honestly didn't have an answer. I used to be the friend that gave others rides. However, now everyone else has their own cars so I don't need to give them rides anymore. So, if I'm only ever driving myself, might as well get something sporty and 2-door. As a result, I'm once again unsure of what to get.

    I've been looking at at the GR86/BRZ, Mustang GT, Camaro SS, M2/M2 Competition, and others but still not sure what to get. The BRZ/86 have amazing handling but the sound system is pretty bad. The Mustang and the Camaro have a cool V8 but that I'm not a fan of the interior and the fuel consumption would bankrupt me here in CA. The M2 sort of has it all but is more expensive than what I'm comfortable paying so I'm sort of stuck.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      gowestyoungman
      Link Parent
      Ive driven, and loved a Golf GTI. But if you're going with a manual, for fun, then old school reasoning says V8 power and rear wheel drive is the order of the day. How can you drift corners with...

      Ive driven, and loved a Golf GTI. But if you're going with a manual, for fun, then old school reasoning says V8 power and rear wheel drive is the order of the day. How can you drift corners with front wheel drive? :)

      If Im going with a retro brand it would be the newer Challenger, which does look a lot like its original. Interior can be a bit bland but I think the body lines make up for it.

      For the fun factor I bought an 81 Corvette. Its an automatic but I do a lot more cruising than gear jamming and you cant easily hold a coffee and drive stick, so I definitely have priorities.

      3 votes
      1. artvandelay
        Link Parent
        My thoughts exactly! I did look into the Challenger but I'm just not a fan of its looks so it's out of the running for me. Getting an older car is also something I've thought about but that...

        How can you drift corners with front wheel drive? :)

        My thoughts exactly!

        I did look into the Challenger but I'm just not a fan of its looks so it's out of the running for me. Getting an older car is also something I've thought about but that infinitely increases the scope of my search haha. Older Miatas, Nissan Zs, BMW Zs, BMW 3-series coupes, Porsche Boxster/Caymans, the list goes on. Unfortunately, most older cars in my area are already modded to hell and back so it's also hard to find something old.

        2 votes
      2. [3]
        oliak
        Link Parent
        https://www.thedrive.com/news/27898/can-you-drift-a-front-wheel-drive-car
        1. [2]
          gowestyoungman
          Link Parent
          Yeah, you CAN do it, but its completely different technique and not nearly as fun as in a rear wheel drive. Ive spent most of my adult life living in the snowy north, and for about 5 years I drove...

          Yeah, you CAN do it, but its completely different technique and not nearly as fun as in a rear wheel drive. Ive spent most of my adult life living in the snowy north, and for about 5 years I drove a TransAm with a 350 to work. With fat tires, plenty of power and nearly zero traction in the snow, "drifting" was anytime I didnt round a corner with a very gentle touch on the throttle. It only took a tiny burp to get the back wheels spinning and do a very clean, controlled drift around a corner. Thoroughly enjoyable even at 15 mph.

          1 vote
          1. oliak
            Link Parent
            You asked, I answered. Simple as that man.

            How can you drift corners with front wheel drive?

            You asked, I answered. Simple as that man.

            1 vote
  17. [2]
    SeraphicSoul
    Link
    I've been mulling over my childhood trauma. Possible triggers, even though I'm going to dance around details. My sisters and I had a provider dad who was awesome when he was around but wasn't...

    I've been mulling over my childhood trauma. Possible triggers, even though I'm going to dance around details.

    My sisters and I had a provider dad who was awesome when he was around but wasn't always around. Mom was a hippie, and had a bunch of non-mainstream values. Combined with a domineering personality, many of her suggestions weren't suggestions, and she suggested some fairly inappropriate things in retrospect. She could be scary, and all of us kids were motivated not to bring that out of her.

    I'm left wondering how bad it was. Talking with one of my sisters, sounds like there were more things happening than I was aware of. But I'm still wondering if it's worse because of retrospect. Inside the nature of growing into personal autonomy is establishing your ability to consent. Thinking back to my early and late teens, it's all "me" but of course I never stopped growing, integrating new ideas into my worldview over the years. There's no line to draw except the arbitrary ones society puts out there. And of course I made my own mistakes. Continue to make my own mistakes. How hard is it to be a parent? One of my sisters doesn't want my mom around my nephew unsupervised based on some of our shared childhood trauma, which is totally fair. Did my childhood contain abusive moments, or patterns of abuse? I was slightly older, do I share in responsibility and to what degree...

    It's a process. Had a good reconnection with my sister recently which brought all this back up. It's clear she doesn't blame me but how do I feel?

    5 votes
    1. GenuinelyCrooked
      Link Parent
      I can't speak to being a parent, but I have experience sharing an ambiguously abusive childhood with older siblings, and I can tell you that I don't blame mine at all. To be honest, I did a...

      I can't speak to being a parent, but I have experience sharing an ambiguously abusive childhood with older siblings, and I can tell you that I don't blame mine at all.

      To be honest, I did a little, when I was a kid and it was happening, but even by the time I was a young teen I realized they didn't see it and there was nothing they could have done if they did. We had different moms, and they only spent every other weekend at our house. When my parents were drunk on a Friday night, it was fun. A little more casual than their mom's house, but a normal thing. When my parents were drunk on a Tuesday morning, my sisters weren't there and they didn't see it. They didn't know it was scary. If they did know, what could they have done? They were just kids themselves.

      All I want from my sisters as an adult, as far as concerns our childhoods, is for them to believe me and validate that the feelings I have about it are normal and okay. I'm sure you can do that for them, right?

      3 votes
  18. qwed113
    Link
    How bad I am at relationships, and that no matter how much progress I make to be better and form new connections - I always revert back to my "nature" of wanting to be a hermit because it consumes...

    How bad I am at relationships, and that no matter how much progress I make to be better and form new connections - I always revert back to my "nature" of wanting to be a hermit because it consumes so much less energy and lets me focus on the solitary tasks I actually want to be doing.

    Looking back I've had some challenges making friends and maintaining them. Even the ones I have maintained (there's really only 1 or 2 people), I still feel a bit distant from (both physically and emotionally). In recent years I have become more social and even gotten into a romantic relationship with a lovely person -- but I've recently realized that I am just not cut out for any of it.

    The life I want involves a lot of alone time with some occasional get togethers with my parents and siblings, and occasionally talking to 1 or 2 friends outside of work.

    The argument could be made that I still haven't found the "right" people, but no matter who I find, I always end up feeling high and dry.

    This was an aimless post and I'm currently exhausted - but the only time I feel truly connected with others is when I am interacting with them online and am far removed from their true personas. It seems like whenever I get too close to someone, I find something about them that repels me enough to never want to be around them again.

    4 votes