Life Bubbles

People talk about parallel worlds, living in a simulation, etc. The interesting thing is that we all live in different bubbles all of the time, in a way. It’s almost like each of these life bubbles is a tiny world where we interact with other people and often have conversations about different things.

I was born in Mexico, and most of my family and childhood friends are still there. When I go to Mexico, I am in a different bubble. The streets, the people around me, the food, and the conversations are all part of that bubble. I often talk about other topics when I am in Mexico than at work or home in Seattle.

One of my passions is photography, so I follow this topic on the internet. In addition, I follow photographers on social media and often read books about the subject. This is my photography bubble. When I share my thoughts about photography with people from my other bubbles, the reaction is mild, very different from that of someone interested in photography.

My day job is programming. I code for a living, which is another type of writing. You type words on a screen, and these words then get translated into something a computer system understands, causing this system to perform the task described by the written code. This is a very different bubble than my family bubble, Mexico, or photography bubble. My technology bubble includes books, coworkers, conferences, blog posts, projects, etc., and it’s unique and very different from the rest of my life bubbles.

Why a bubble? I think of bubbles because that’s the easiest way for me to interpret the uniqueness and differences of these areas of my life. Each of these bubbles comes with its own characteristics, such as people, conversations, goals, etc.

My life bubbles aren’t entirely shielded from each other, and there are family members interested in photography, friends who work in technology, etc. However, for the most part, when I am at home, I react and behave slightly differently than when I am at work. Of course, this is nothing new, but once I started thinking of these interactions, work, home, hobbies, etc., as different bubbles, it somehow made sense to think of these experiences as bubbles.

My goal is to try and make these life bubbles blend; this can make things simpler and more enjoyable for me. I want to live my life as if everything is part of one big bubble, where everything blends and connects.

As I wrote the sentence above, I thought of Ben Stiller’s new TV series “Severance.” Trust me, I do not want to live separate lives as the fictional characters do in that show. It’s sad.

We are moving

We signed a new lease. This lease represents our commitment to staying in Seattle for a few more years. We wanted to buy a home this year. That was the original plan before coming to the Pacific Northwest. The idea was to go to Seattle, rent for a few years, and then buy a home once we knew the area more. That would help us make an educated decision about the neighborhood for a house.

We moved to Seattle from Austin, TX, in January of 2019, and right after our first year in Seattle, COVID happened. At first, I thought that because of COVID, the housing market was going to crash, and perhaps, we would have an excellent opportunity to buy. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the housing market went a bit out of control, prices have gone up a lot. So for us, the wisest decision right now is to wait more, avoid buying now, and hope that prices come down or the housing inventory increases, so at least there are more choices available.

Renting isn’t too bad, but I dislike the idea of looking at places, applying for a lease, and then moving… knowing that you won’t be there for long. In addition, just like buying a house, renting in the Seattle area is also a bit out of control. Prices are high, and there is a lot of competition. For example, the other day, Felly and I went to see a condo, and once we arrived there, there were 3-4 other couples to see the same place. At the end of that day, there were more than 10 applications in addition to ours. So we didn’t get it. But it’s OK, we got a different condo in the same building at the same price, so it’s okay.

We will try to stay put as much as we can unless the market changes and it becomes friendlier to homebuyers instead of sellers. In the meantime, I a happy to have a place to live and work. We are very fortunate, and we recognize that. This area is expensive, but it is also gorgeous. The Pacific Northwest is unique. There are mountains, the ocean, ferries, islands, cities like Seattle, Bellevue, Vancouver, and all within driving distance. It’s quite a change from Texas.

The plan might change in the future, but for now, we are going to stay here for at least a few more years. After that, we might buy a home here, or we might not. Hopefully, things work out for us and for everyone else out there. There are a lot of crises in the world right now, but I am optimistic, and I think that while things aren’t good at all for a lot of people right now, everything will improve, and as they say, there will be calm after the storm.

The plan after Seattle might be moving to another country, Italy is a place that we have talked about in the past, and it might happen. Felly and I both like that country quite a bit. The people, the food, the wine, and the countryside are beautiful. Also, living in Italy will make it possible to visit other countries nearby by train. It would be amazing.

I think moving to different places is overall good for the soul. I know many people disagree, but in my opinion, humans are much happier when they don’t stay in the same place forever. I have written about this before; all humans were nomads, often looking for shelter and food. Unfortunately, today, many people are still moving and migrating for these very reasons, and that’s heartbreaking, and we all should be empathetic to this reality and help in any way we can.

I am grateful for having the ability to move by choice and not a necessity. This is an opportunity available to more people in this country due to the increase of remote work. It’s incredible how things have changed because of COVID and the need to work from home. Not everyone benefits from working from home, but those who do, should take advantage of it by traveling more and looking to finally move to those states and cities you’ve always wanted to move to but couldn’t because of your job.

Often I think about how lucky we are. I am grateful for having my family, our health, a place to live, and a job I enjoy doing. Then I look at Twitter or other news sources and see all the human loss and material devastation in places like the Middle East and Ukraine due to stupid wars. Thousands of young lives are wasted in senseless wars that are almost always the result of greed and power from the people in power. Young people go to War, giving their lives for a cause they probably don’t understand. It’s sad. Everyone is talking about Ukraine now, but this same human loss and material devastation has been happening in the Middle East for decades. I hope that I experience world peace lasting for decades in my lifetime, the world needs it, and most people want it.

War is never OK.

Turning 40

Today I am turning 40 years old. What does that mean? that I am old? that I am about to go into mid-life crisis? that I should give up all of my dreams? that I am entering into one of life’s most dangerous ages for men? The truth is that most of the things I mentioned above can only be true if you allow it.

I still remember when I was in my teenage years and I wanted to reach 20 years of age, I was frustrated that I couldn’t reach that age fast enough. When I was around 16 or 17 the idea of being a 20-year-old opened all sorts of opportunities and freedom, or so I thought. By the time I was about to reach 30 years of age I felt stressed, I knew I was reaching an important part of my life where every time you make a decision regardless of being good or bad, you know it would affect you down the road. It also meant that every decision I made would affect not only me but my wife and kids, I was no longer a unit of one.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I started feeling worried and a bit sad that I was approaching 40. I remember thinking of people who age when I was in my early 20s as I looked at teachers, my parents, uncles, etc… to me it meant that if you were a 40-year-old person, you were a super old person. How naïve I was.

Recently I started to realize how our core and our mind doesn’t really change that much with age after you reach your 20s. You do start seeing wrinkles in your face and you notice how your body starts to change but inside, you are still you; The same person who thought a 40-year-old person was super old and this, this is exactly what made me and so many others feel sad about getting older.

I have respect for people of all ages, and sympathy for those who are trapped in an older body when their mind and spirit is still the same, young and full of joy. However, it isn’t easy to accept that your body is just a wrapper and that you are what’s inside of it. You must remember that your feelings, memories, experiences and thoughts are what makes you, the person.

I’d like to think that I still have a long way to go, that I am still in the beginning of my journey, that there are still many awesome things out there to be discovered and that makes me feel young and happy. I think of all the joy that my kids have brought me so far and that this is just the beginning. I imagine myself being a grand father and walking with my grandkids on the beach or a small street somewhere in Europe. I imagine holding hands with my wife and laugh at our ourselves and our old bodies. Sitting somewhere contemplating the horizon and thinking about all the things we’ve done together.

So I have come to the conclusion that age is nothing but a number, it means nothing really and it only helps humanity to divide people by “age” so we can create rules and laws around that.

Perhaps the fact that we acknowledge age and see it as something important is what causes all of us to become old and feel like it. Think about it, we could be convincing ourselves to feel and behave differently just because we are older. How naïve.

What have I done these years since my 20s? here some of the most important things I have done since then:

  • Said bye to my family in Mexico and moved to the United States, undocumented.
  • Got a job and helped my family back in Mexico.
  • Fell in love with my wife.
  • Got married after dating my wife for 3 months.
  • Got my first apartment, for me and my wife.
  • Got my first real job, working at a factory and earning minimum wage.
  • Became a citizen of the Unites States.
  • Went to College in Minnesota.
  • Had our first child, our beautiful Jennifer Lee.
  • Kept working fulltime and going to college in the evenings.
  • Found a job as tech support in a small company.
  • Learned to code and started doing some websites and consulting.
  • Started a Tax preparation company which my wife runs today.
  • Graduated.
  • Got promoted at my job, I was no longer making a minimum wage.
  • Had our second child, our handsome Ricardo Ervey.
  • Moved to another city in Minnesota.
  • Things improve professionally, and the Tax preparation business takes off.
  • Got tired of the cold winters and the snow.
  • Moved to Texas.
  • Bought our first house.
  • Found a job as a software developer.
  • Traveled to Europe for the first time.
  • Had our third child, our handsome and energized Mauricio Dioni.
  • Things improve professionally, my wife takes over the Tax business.
  • Travel a lot.
  • More travel.
  • Move to another job.
  • Start another business.
  • Sell our first home and move into our second home.
  • Kids are growing. Jennifer is in High School now.
  • My brothers and sisters are growing, and so are their kids.
  • By now my wife and I have traveled to almost 10 different countries, and have drank and ate more food that you can imagine.
  • Turned 40.

Today I am 40 years old and I am very happy. If you are into history and would like to know what “other” famous people are turning 40 this year, click here.

[Update]

Meet Tokio, new member of the family and a gift for my 40th birthday from my wife.

tokio

Until next time, I’ll write something similar when I get to 50 🙂