As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?
I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:
- We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
- We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
- We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
- We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
- We’ve lost security in friendships.
- We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.
If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.
No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:
- “What did I do that made him cancel?”
- “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”
I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you?
Why do I consistently wait until the last minute to complete work? (I recently completed my largest project of all time. I had over a month to complete what amounted to 44 hours of work, yet I still crunched through 38 hours in the final two days, staying up until 5:30 am and evolving into a giddy, manic machine).
- Being in time-crunch is thrilling and I enjoy a good rush.
- It makes work take less time, and I don’t like work. (Since I don’t have time to lollygag or double-back, I don’t lollygag or double back).
- “That’s a problem for future-Julian, and what has that guy ever done for me?”
- I’m a lazy fuck… who does what he promises. (I would never do it, but that’s not an option so I come as close as possible.)
- The system works so I have no incentive to change it.
- You never know when the teacher will change the assignment last minute. Did I say “teacher”? I meant “customer”. They’re shockingly similar.
I struggled through five doctors over ten years before one correctly diagnosed me with obstructive sleep apnea.
It’s subjectively difficult to tell if something’s wrong with you because corroboration requires a doctor’s agreement. If they don’t see a problem, perhaps nothing’s wrong. Then again, perhaps they’re incompetent, or perhaps you didn’t communicate it clearly. Most doctors see a lot of patients, and communicating a subjective experience to a second party is very difficult. And even if you can’t get second-party confirmation, it’s still really your experience.
I pee frequently. Frequently enough that my friends comment on it. This causes me concern. I don’t know that there’s a problem, but I suspect something’s up. I could see a urologist, but that’s a minimum of two visits at inconvenient times to someone who I’ll probably conclude is incompetent.
Some doctors are great. Most are god-awful. It’s hard to know before seeing them. I’m delaying, which isn’t the logical choice, but it’s easier than calling medical offices. I’m solving my sleep now—one issue at a time. I hope I don’t come to regret waiting.
I’m on a decade-long journey to improve my breathing. Eight years ago I began meditating; two years ago I had my septum un-deviated. Both made my list of top-10 life decisions.
In dance lessons today, I noticed a clear difference between dancing with my mouth open and dancing with it closed.
- Open, I was calm, relaxed, focused, and accepting.
- Closed, I was jittery, jumpy, and quick to anger.
In short, I learned worse when I could breathe worse.
Medicine is the only industry I know where we avoid optimization. Doctors don’t understand, “I want to improve my daytime breathing.” If they don’t see a clear problem, they refuse to improve. Perhaps it’s their promise to “do no harm,” which doesn’t recognize some large upsides are worth the risk of harm.
More than just doctors, most people think about medicine this way. In every conversation (save one) where I’ve mentioned my desire for surgery, my co-loquitur has responded as though I’m nuts: “Why would you undergo surgery if your life is fine?” Even a 0.001% improvement to a person’s daytime breathing would be transformative. My life is fine. It could be better. And sure, as I tell them, “using a CPAP is annoying.” I just exaggerate how annoying it is.
If I’m lucky, surgery to rotate my jaw forward a few 5 millimeters will be done by February or March. If I’m unlucky, it could take a year more, perhaps even longer, because orthodontists are confusing, deceptive, and opaque… and because I may have chosen the wrong one. Until my cut date, I remain a mouth-breather.
When my jaw is fixed, it’s not as though my whole life will be fixed. It is, however, that my whole life will be improved. I’ll have a new jaw, a better jaw, a million-dollar jaw. I’ll dance with my mouth closed and cry tears of joy.