Poor William's Almanac - week of July 23rd / by Will Ringland

Virtue Grid

Focus Virtue

Humility: I'm so humble, I never mess this virtue up.


Actually, I've been thinking about Humility and how we live. Like as people and ow we live out our lives. I've been trying to figure out what it means to be humble in the face of death. Not that I'm dying.

Well, I am in the way that we all are. But here's what I'm trying to grok.
I turned 35 this month. The most recent generations of men in my familiar all died around 70 years. That would put me at 50%. Half way through my own life. And what do I have to show for it, what really lasting thing?

I know there's lots of intangible stuff. I have friends and family and cats that would all miss me. But I haven't made much of a dent in the universe otherwise. And thinking about dying without something surviving beyond me is terrifying. Disappearing into a void, memories and all, being forgotten.. that's the shit that fuels my nightmares.

Set aside that I've not really defined what I'd want in a legacy and that many of my favorite writers and artists didn't start making their dent until well after 35. So, it's not like I'm out of time. Just... being potentially half way through? Man... that gives me chills.

But how do we accept that and continue to live our lives? What supreme humility does it take to accept that inevitability.

I don't have any ideas for you this week. I've just been turning it over and over and over for weeks. May be too much.

Virtue Week

Aside from the above really getting in my head, the rest of the week has been good.

Productive for sure. I continued my efforts to brain dump all the accessibility design knowledge I've been acquiring the last few years at work. I've written maybe... 50 pages of documentation to help developers at my company design accessible software. I'm really pleased with it. I have started wondering if I could generalize it for a larger manual of some sort...

I think I've been sort of mentally depressed the last few weeks because of some sneaking temperance issues. I write about how insidious alcohol can be seemingly every few weeks. But never o I seem to maintain for more than a few months. So I think that, plus a lack of exercise, has lead to a generally depressed outlook.

So, back on the wagon this Monday. I've also gotten back on the intermittent fasting wagon too after breaking 200lbs again. Meh.

Well, we're all learning here. the important thing is that I can piece these things apart, self-correct, before they get really problematic.

Interesting links

The Contemplation of Death


It is not the things themselves that disturb men, but their judgements about these things. For example, death is nothing catastrophic, or else Socrates too would have thought so, but the judgement that death is catastrophic, this is the catastrophic thing. (Enchiridion, 5)

Part of the stuff about turning 35. The Stoics have eaten my brain this last week.

How to Maintain Your Sanity (and Be Productive) When You Work Alone All the Time


Some days you’re not at the top of your game, and you just don’t have the energy or focus to tackle the bigger creative tasks on your to-do list. I keep a separate list of necessary (but boring) rote work tasks at the ready for just these occasions. Then, I can shift gears seamlessly and continue working on tasks that I need to get done — just the less challenging ones — rather than accomplishing nothing because I’m beating myself up for not being in tip-top shape.

Man, Friday I was having a rough time focusing. These days are good for work-related learning activities. Weirdly enough, I can read things like federal regulation notices and the like, which helps my work, when I'm otherwise brain dead for other things. It takes a different brain state than the sort of creative work that can wipe me out (in a good way) when I've had a productive week.

Have a virtuous week! -Will