Merry Christmas

I am glad that Espen is here. We had a Christmas on Skype with Chrissy, Mariza & Alex. I read the Christmas story from Mathew as I have for many years. The kids seem bored, but that is the way it is. Ceremonies are important.   We use the King James Version. Whether or not you religious, the King James Version is beautiful from the literature point of view.

Our Brazilian neighbors put on a big firework show at midnight. It went on for about five minutes; it was very close and very complete. They celebrate Christmas more festively here.

This is also the time for my “look back”. It’s easier to look back than forward, so my technique is to imagine a place I want to be and reasonably can expect to be in five years. I then write how it happened. It has been useful since I started to do it back in 1991. I have never been right, but the exercise makes me think more deeply about priorities. I came fairly close in the early 2000, but that was a little bit of a setup, since I knew I was going to Poland well in advance and options were limited. Otherwise I get no closer than if I played rock-paper-scissors. 

I think that is the true lesson. You really cannot make detailed plans five years out, even with a fairly predictable life like mine. I suppose I am being silly. I have the same career with a little different specific job. Predictions are not and really cannot be that far off, unless I do something like win the lottery, which is especially unlikely since I never buy tickets. My “black swan” was being promoted to senior FS. It was not really so unexpected but I just didn’t expect that upside surprise. Good thing. My plan for post-FS life was a little vague and I would have come out just in time for the bad economy of 2009. Of course, what seemed impossible now seems inevitable. Life is such an exquisite mixture of chance and preparation. The operative skill is not the ability to make precise predictions, but rather a kind of Bayesian approach that allows for changing probabilities and effective adaptions.

The difference with this five year retrospective is that it takes me past my 62th birthday. They almost certainly will kick me out of the FS by then and I will be doing something else. That is hard to predict. I thought of posting the plan on the blog, but it would not be a good idea.