The Dog Days

It’s been quite some time since the last update so it seems appropriate to provide an update on my current state of mind. Let’s start with the weekend – it was a solid one that included surfing and friends, but was marred somewhat by the intake of some substances that are becoming increasingly accepted on a state-by-state basis, but not by the federal government.

I usually do a great job of maintaining a healthy lifestyle outside of work. Yes, work can be pretty stressful and I don’t always sleep well or get exercise when things get busy or stressful, but by and large on weekends I get a decent amount of sleep on weekends, I work out and I avoid putting terrible things inside my body – no sodas, ice cream and coffee and limited alcohol, for starters.

So I was acting pretty out of character this weekend in partaking. I had been lured into a false sense of security by 2 previous instances of partaking without actually feeling any tangible effects. This weekend though, I definitely entered into an altered state and … while it was not an unpleasant experience, I look back and think of it as a bad decision.

I rely on my mind to be sharp for my work the way that professional athletes rely on their bodies to be in shape. For me to knowingly inhibit brain receptors is to disrespect the effort that I’ve put in and the goals I have, particularly given the high level of thinking that I think the next few months will require. So it’s something that I don’t plan on doing again, even though close friends of mine may disagree.

Reviewing a longer time scale, recent weekends have involved playing hoops, surfing and going to Outside Lands. Boy – OSL was a dud. Two friends I had been planning on going with ended up having to work (or just being wet blankets) and I ended up tagging along (for parts of it) with folks I didn’t really know well. It’s either true that OSL is much better enjoyed with a crew of friends you like and know or I should’ve done a better job of making new friends and made the most of the group I was with.

It really bummed me out. I realized that although I know a ton of folks in the Bay Area and have a handful of close friends; I don’t belong to a cohesive group that comes together on a consistent basis. Instead, I know all of these disparate people from my current job, from high school, from consulting and from college and then realistically, I spend my time hanging out with 1-2 similarly situated male friends from college.

I’m not really sure why this feeling matters so much to me all of a sudden, this desire to find community. But I think some part of me equates the finding of a like-minded group of people with whom I feel at home with the discovery of self-identity. I’m learning that finding your identity can be tough – the comfortable “top student” identity you enjoyed in within the insular, ivy-covered walls of college is quickly stripped away by graduation and the “real world” is a big place, where a lack of identity and direction can make you feel as adrift in the ocean…

Finally, I did want to write a few words on how I’m thinking about the next phase of my life. While I hadn’t thought about it much, I’m increasingly leaning in the direction of attending business school. Above all, something instinctual is telling me to go. When I try to rationalize it, this is what I come up with – I really just want some time off from my career to develop as a person.

I like the firm that I’m at, like the work, like the group that I’m in and love the city. That’s what makes it hard to leave. But realistically, while I’ve been thrilled with my development professionally over the past year, I feel like I’ve done nothing as a person: relationships, love, cultivation of conduct and morality. Maybe it isn’t my career that’s been getting in the way of this development and taking 2 years off from it won’t do anything, but at least I should try to change something about my life to address the issue.

I’m not at the point yet where I just want to grind my way up through a firm and earn a living. That’s not historically how folks have thought of working at a hedge fund (these places are where you get tons of leverage early on in your career right?), but really it’s all relative and relative to the industry, where I’m at is somewhat law firmish in structure… where progress is a function of time and leaps are not necessarily quantum (which I actually think is wise… but it just doesn’t give me a sense of excitement and urgency that I HAVE to stay right now and I can’t just come back in 2 years).

So that’s the case for going I guess. But I’ll talk it over with folks I trust and my mentors of course.

For next time:
I could write a whole book on the work front, but suffice it to say, things have been interesting. Rarely have I had the opportunities,

Work on weekends? Enjoyable but rendered less enjoyable by the label of work. Feeling of need to rest & unwind. Ultimately, if unique…. like-minded difficult to find. But possible … quality gyms alluring given desire to play basketball & lack of courts in the city. Fine with that but iron sharpens iron. What’s the direction? Dolphin Club, running clubs, Bay Club, doing more running/triathlons, going surfing, spend money, etc. Stems from a desire & passion for something…

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