Last night I ran into my friend Pete at a local coffee shop. Pete is 50 and just recently retired. He told me how busy he's been, with reorganizing a business that I believe he's passing down into his family. Another thing he was talking about was how he was organizing his finances, taking an inventory of all of his expenses, and how he has those numbers down to the point where he can count the very number of hours he might have to work a part time job to live as comfortably as he'd want to (9 hours a week) and how he can shift that number up or down by simply adjusting one aspect of his spending habits (eliminate one expensive coffee from the cafe per week = one less hour he'd have to work per week). He hasn't always been this way, he told me. He used to live without tracking expenses, knowing he made enough to not worry about covering bills next month. But he shifted his approach to life after he retired by taking account of how much he earns, how much he spends, adjusting his spending habits, and that new sense of control in his life seems to have given him so much more peace about the future.

Another thing Pete was telling me about was his organizing of his house. His attic peaks in the center, so you can really only stand straight up and walk down the center of the attic, as the roof slopes down on both sides. He decided he was going to turn that part of the house into a storage space, with cabinets and chests going all the way down the aisle of the attic. It sounded almost like a Minecraft storage room in my mind. He told me he was going to organize everything - a drawer for paper, a drawer for gluesticks, a drawer for nuts, bolts, staples, etc, so that he would never lose track of another thing or have to rebuy something he already had but lost track of again.

He mentioned to me about how he'd recently picked up a container for his coffee beans. For the longest time, he would stick his hand into the small bag of coffee beans he would purchase, and how the bag would agitate his wrist every day. It's not a big deal, but it's what he considered a "micro aggression" - not from a person but from his daily environment. Something that an adult should be able to endure, something we can brush off our mind, but if we take account for all the little things that kind of burden us and fix them, no matter how small, that small change can positively influence our every day experience - and all those adjustments that make a small difference add up to a better overall experience that - in the back of our mind, or in our subconscious, may agitate us.

I'm no neat freak. I'm one of the least organized people I know. But something he talked about clicked with me. That was the type of behavior that I used to see as, perhaps, maybe slightly obsessive. But having gone day after day with small agitations eroding my sense of peace for decades - clanky vehicles, squeaky floorboards, clutter, and a ton of other things that I can't list because I haven't yet taken inventory of such things - I understand it now. The negatives add up just like the financial sheet. So do the positives.

I told Pete that it seems like he was created his own hedged garden, his own Eden at home, and we agreed that by doing the very best we could with our homes, to make them as nice, as enjoyable to live in as possible, it would probably have a very positive effect on us, maybe so much so that improvements in our mood and emotions may overflow from us and into our daily interactions with people in our community. We were excited over the idea that fixing our lives would benefit our community.

I mentioned it to him and I'll mention it to you: all the amazing cities that people travel to in order to experience - Florence, Vienna, Rome, Venice, you name it - drawn to them for their beauty cultivated over the ages, their rich culture, character, and history.. those cities became those worldwide destinations not because of the people who went to visit them but because of the people who stayed and built them. Perhaps we could all be living in future destinations - beautiful and rich places - if we stayed where we were and made them as wonderful as possible.

Anyway, good to post here, I haven't been on in a while. Busy with life, thoughts, projects and experiences :) Hope you're all well.

- Onio