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Wellness Wednesday for December 21, 2022

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

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So, I'm trying to do another coding camp. I've completed one, but it was very basic and I didn't really learn much.

I was thinking of epicodus, but before I start, I have to write a pro DEI affirmation, we will have weekly guided small group discussions on DEI concepts, several weekly large group discussions, and homework on DEI topics throughout the course. I can't just nod my head, I have to actively participate and affirm this stuff on an ongoing basis. At the end of each day, we even have to rate our pair programming partner on whether they made us feel "unsafe".

I understand that I will have to bite my tongue wherever I work, but this seems oppressive to me, and I don't know if I'm socially adept enough to make it in an environment like this.

Does anyone here know anything about Epicodus?

I live in PDX, and if anyone can suggest a rigorous boot camp, preferably with a focus on pair programming, that would be great. And if there isn't one in PDX, are there any I could take online? Are there strategies I could use to get through Epicodus or will I just be banging my head against the wall?

At this point I'm half considering the trades, but if I want to immigrate to another country, and I might, then working in tech will be an advantage in a way that plumbing might not.

I have been programming since my early teens (that's a long time). In my opinion, these camps are of very limited utility. The one you mention - avoid like a plague, I don't know what they are doing there and which game they are playing, but they aren't going to teach you much useful. "Working in tech" is kinda big goal, so hard to say what would help (and probably starting now is very different from what it was in late 80s) but the obvious places are online things like Coursera or Udemy.

then working in tech will be an advantage in a way that plumbing might not.

I think you may be getting it wrong. I've met tradesmen who moved into America, and from what I heard from them is that they are getting much more work than they can handle, and they get tons of money, and they can choose what to work and not work on. I see constant lack of good tradesmen everywhere. Of course, if you're moving to a place where tradesmen aren't paid well or not respected it may be different, but I'd say in most countries people use plumbing, electricity, cars, etc. so there are always jobs like that. The pay is varied - it is true that some FAANG people make $500k+, but don't expect to make that out of a coding camp.

I'll disagree with most of the replies.

My general observation is that for people of ordinary ability/motivation, boot camp attendees seem to be more likely to get jobs. I am not entirely sure why but I think it's because "boot camp -> entry level" is now a recognized entry pathway and therefore you don't pattern match as "weird". Plus many employers have a plan to allocate N interviews to particular boot camps (perhaps including yours), you may get one of those slots, there is no equivalent plan for weirdos who learned from the internet.

Also you should absolutely attempt to navigate the DEI stuff while hiding your power level. It's a compliance ritual of the modern workplace and it's often hard to avoid, so getting practice with it in a safer environment is useful. This is something I very much wish I had when I came to the US. Instead, I awkwardly tried to understand WTF people were talking about based on what I knew. "So it's like reservations, what is the quota?" Guess how well that went (and it's probably worse now).

I have no recommendations of particular boot camps beyond Bloom School (formerly Lambda) and I've only been to PDX once.

Damn, I think you're right. I've searched and searched and found nothing that has the kind of setup they do. I was having nightmares about it, because I'm a pretty socially anxious person, but I don't know that I have a choice. It's this or the trades, and starting a trade at 36 is rough.

It's a compliance ritual of the modern workplace

There are still many tech workplaces not occupied by DIE fanatics. Bigger companies may require you to click through a "anti-harassment training" or something like that but no more than that. Of course, in some places it's worse (and getting worse) but it's not yet all lost.

It's also a matter of getting through the interview. One current trend is to put the "diversity questions" (read: ideology test) as part of the interview process even if the job itself might not have anything to do with it. Once you get in you can often just do your job + click through ideology powerpoints (with a mandatory "you clicked too fast, please interact with the powerpoint for 14 minutes before we'll let you take the test").

And unfortunately, even at some companies not fully captured, it's still best to hide your power level. Recall that the OP will be a fresh non-college grad with minimal skills to start. 1 fanatic on a 5 person team + manager not paying close attention = good chance of a bad peer review.

with a mandatory "you clicked too fast, please interact with the powerpoint for 14 minutes before we'll let you take the test"

I got unexpected amount of fun recently managing to hack JS on one of those to let me blaze through it at 50x speed. It wasn't really hard but turned out significantly more fun than listening through the PC drivel they were supposed to feed me. Now I look on these with a different eye.

Coding bootcamps are of marginal utility to begin with. I'd seriously consider not applying.

Agree with everyone else - bootcamp bad, same resources much more available online. The key thing is to (after you learn the basics) program a bunch of different kinda-useful or interesting things - make a game, learn how to have the player drive a ball around and hit other balls, even if it's janky, then try to make it an interesting game. figure out how to hide all comments on themotte from a specific user using javascript.

To be honest, I don't think that code boot camps are worth the time or money. The beauty of programming is that it isn't just possible to learn from online resources, it's easy to do so. And there's really nobody who is going to value whatever credentials you get from graduating the program. Boot camps are held in very low regard in my experience, so it isn't like getting a degree where the credential can help you to get jobs.

So, I know it isn't what you asked, but my earnest advice is "don't waste your time or money on a boot camp". Those things are basically there to make money off gullible people who don't realize how little value they provide. Don't fall into the trap.

agree. bootcamps cost a lot and greatly inflate their success metric, also don't produce competent coders. Competence will take a lot of personal initiative.

I'm not very familiar with coding camps, what I've heard is they're quite expensive. I'm not really sure what the selling point is over self guided stuff. If it comes with some kind of credential then sure, but if you actually just want to learn how to code you can spin up a react website in three or four copy and pasted commands and then try to find out what you want it to do.

What I'm asking is what is your goal at the level in between 'complete a coding boot camp' and 'successfully emigrate'. Surely you'll need to get some actual career coding done there so I'd look at what the local jobs actually want in an employee.

I'm not very familiar with coding camps, what I've heard is they're quite expensive.

Yeah. they are. People complain about college being expensive, but at least with college you have way more options with financial aid and payment plans , and also a degree is a valid credential in the eyes of employers; a certificate is not.

You should ping the people here who said that this wasn't happening and would never happen, but that they'd be against it if it was. Maybe they'll have some advice.

Any useful tips, tricks, studies or anecdotes about pure self-motivated learning (learning something with only individual study)?

For me it comes down to turning it into a deliverable with a deadline. It's a little like signing up for a race in 6 months to structure your training.

  • Externalize your commitments

  • pavlovian condition yourself

  • make it as frictionless to start as possible

  • Prioritize continuous removal of past inertia, no matter how small the change

  • Once removed, leverage present inertia to keep the chain going

Self-motivated learning shouldn't be learning in isolation.

I have had times when learning alone, where a close-friend would call me every morning to ask me what I was promising I will do today, and if I had achieved yesterday's goal. They barely even understood what I was doing. But, the shame of saying 'I didn't do it' would force me to keep myself accountable. (be warned, be kind to yourself. I have adopted this towards things I deeply cared about and failed. The shame of not finishing a commitment has sent me into depression before. I am better at having release valves now.) In a weird way, external deadlines forced on me never seem to provoke the same shame (sprint reviews, stand ups) that external deadlines I choose for myself do.

Also, make it as frictionless as possible. I was self motivated to learn the drums for years, until I could I put one right in my own garage. When its right there, it makes it so much easier to just walk to it and just start playing. Similarly, I always keep a book I want to read in my bag. When an ounce of motivation strikes, you want your ability to access the activity to be as seamless as possible. Mediums make a big difference in frictionless-ness too. I have found podcasts to be a much easier way to access learning. It isn't as efficient as books or videos, but I end up using it a lot-lot more often simply because of how easy they are to access.

Also, have loops that close. Many people who start too many things, get stuck in the rut because they don't have enough experience what that last 20% (that's 80% of the work) feels like and don't intuit the insane reward that comes with finishing something. Always start easy and build that "start-> enjoy -> suffer -> victory" loop. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

The God of Growth Mindset

On this Winter Solstice, let's take a few minutes to consider the merits of Norse Paganism. Epistemic disclaimer: Head-canon derived from decades old, fringe Neopaganism, with supporting research helplessly confounded by a certain fucking new video game.

First, consider the example of Gaston.

No one's slick as Gaston

No one's quick as Gaston

No one fights like Gaston

Douses lights like Gaston

No one hits like Gaston

Matches wits like Gaston

No one shoots like Gaston

Makes those beauts like Gaston

No one fucks like Gaston

No one cucks like Gaston

Er, little confused at the end there, but it's got the spirit.

And then this incredible dude (Perfect! A pure paragon!) gets into his first real scrap and in spite of his multiple sneak attacks, weapons, morale advantage and assorted other edges, attributes and bonuses he fucking dies.

Imagine being the toady, or just any of the people in the village who knew the guy. How do you reconcile that? How do you interpret that in a world that still makes sense? Do you just embrace chaos and the premise of an uncaring malevolent universe?

How often must this have happened in real life? Actual combat is messy and chaotic and subject to the vicissitudes of chance and fate. How many local champions and heroes were heralded by oracles, won the admiration of their peers, and then died ignominiously before actually accomplishing anything?

I think Valhalla is the answer to this problem. Valhalla is the Hall of the Slain, and it's inhabitants are those killed in combat. As far as afterlifes go, this one is pretty fantastic. Valhalla is an enormous tessellated Hall made of lesser-but-still-enormous Halls, and it's aesthetic is metal as hell. The rafters are spears, the roof is overlapped golden shields. You wake up every day and PVP all of your friends. You can all go all out because come dinner time, everyone's wounds will heal and the "dead" will get back up. Then you get to feast on the succulent meat of the boar Sæhrímnir, who gets a much less pleasant go of things, being slaughtered and risen to be slaughtered anew every day. You get as much mead as you want from the udders of the goat Heiðrún, served by buxom blonde valkyries.

Importantly, the einherjar are not there by chance; one of Odin's many names is "Chooser of the Slain". The Slain have some role to play during Ragnarok, as the army of mooks for the named Gods while they have their Endgame-tier epic battle against All Of The Antagonists At Once. Several of Glad-of-War's adventures in the myths are centered around preparing for Ragnarok, mostly in the form of acquiring Int bonuses and wizard powers. Gallows-God hangs himself on Yggdrasil to gain knowledge of the runes. Old One-Eye gouges out his own eye to earn the right to drink from Mimir's well of wisdom. The Father of Magic Songs goes to circuitous lengths to steal the Mead of Inspiration (the few drops he loses are said to be responsible for mediocre poets and scholars; throw shade as you will). Truthfinder has riddle-fights with other renowned sages to pick up any missing scraps of lore about how the end will go down.

The senseless deaths of great heroes seems more obvious when we consider it from Odin's perspective. He needs warriors, and he needs them more than these random mortal chiefs and kings. And obviously, he wants them at the height of their martial prowess, before they are bowed by age, their strength stolen by the thief Time. Good and mighty people die randomly in battle because Odin wants them preserved at their best... is a much nicer thing for grieving friends and family to tell each other than some cynical account of meaningless chance. The weak and cowardly fighter who slinks off to live another day survives because he doesn't deserve a noble death in battle, a seat in Valhalla. This too feels closer to justice.

It's a fun Just-So Story. But it implies that Odin wants you at your best, if you're still alive, it could mean that you have stronger yet to grow.

Paganism intrigues me because of how different the relationship with the divine is. I was raised Catholic. We prayed for salvation. We prayed for grace and mercy. For all that the priests talk of what God wants from us, it's a categorically unequal relationship. I want eternal paradise, and God wants me to not be such a piece of shit that he feels obligated to keep it from me... but that's entirely his decision. There's nothing really I have to offer Him. The pagans viewed their gods as being amenable to trades (though it's usually phrased in a less mercenary/capitalistic manner). Father of Victory isn't someone you pray to for salvation. He won't fix your problems for you. But he might, with a worthy offering, nudge you in a direction that can help you grow in a way to handle your shit yourself. This view of Odin is as something like a Dungeon Master who could be bribed into offering side quests. He benefits himself, by growing you stronger before he claims you into his forces, soul to be spent in a Pyrrhic stalemate with fire giants. You prove your commitment to being worth the effort by making an offering/sacrifice.

I know a few people here were formerly soldiers. Probably none of us will ever die in battle. But I would argue that given what his stories focus on, more than battle and leadership, Wand-Wielder is a god of knowledge, learning, and truthseeking. He's the patron god of X-risk. He is a god of frenzy, but that frenzy overlaps in concept with inspiration. If you've ever succumbed to the manly urge to binge amphetamines and code or research for nine days and nine nights, perhaps the Dispenser of the Mead of Inspiration was with you.

This mess of myth and fanfiction has coalesced into a small ritual for me. I take the night of the Winter Solstice as an opportunity for reflection and contemplation for the year to come. I think about the lessons I've learned in the past year, the areas I have personally improved, especially the ones I didn't expect or plan for. I have this notion in my head (probably from EY), that the hardest part of seizing an opportunity is noticing that one exists in the first place. I try to think of which ones I noticed and took advantage of, and what events might look like misses with the benefit of hindsight.

And then I think about what the next year might have in store. I try to imagine the idealized, heroic Iconochasm that might look back at me from next year, and wonder what roads he could have walked, and chances he could have taken. How is he better than me, and how might he have gotten there from here?

Odin doesn't eat, he only drinks mead, and sometimes inhales burned plants used in magic. Obviously, mead is traditional, but it's the symbolism that counts. A proper offering is an intoxicant, for the Lord of Frenzy, Madness, and Inspiration. I'll be gifting the Yule Father whiskey and an edible tonight. And in return, I'll be asking for CR-appropriate "random" encounters to optimally foster personal growth.

I wonder how the Romans of the mid-Republican era thought about this, dying in battle. These were the real superheavyweights when it came to martial valour and refusing to lose. They drowned Hannibal in Roman blood.

Rome lost badly at Lake Trasimene, they got thumped again at Trebia.

At Cannae, the Romans were going all out. They raised eight legions for a single campaign, more than ever before. They lost them all. The Macedonians entered the war against Rome, the Sicilians revolted, some of their Italian allies switched sides. Then they lost another 25,000 men at Silva Latana.

They lost about 20% of their adult male citizens in 2 years! After all that they doubled down, committing to total war and ultimate victory.

Truly a land of 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'. As much as Wilfred Owens has demolished that old line of Horace, it's worth considering that Britain's experience in WW1 paled in comparison to what Rome went through in the Second Punic War.

Damnit the Romans were such chads. Every time I think I know enough about them I realize I don’t.

A wonderful exploration of a concept I knew only the trappings of, thank you.

I very much enjoy the new community service comment rating system. It's always interesting to imagine how others vote, but I'm reminded in part of two things: the first is that the general standard of comments here, even reported ones (I assume the ones put before volunteers are reported), is extremely high; the second is the importance of context. I always make sure to check the context of a comment before rating it, since it's clear that there's a big difference between a flippant response to a flippant comment (merely 'neutral' in my opinion), versus a drive-by trashing of a long and well-written comment (even if I disagree with it a great deal), which is much more objectionable.

context is very important. it creates more work but necessary

Agreed that it's difficult to properly judge a comment without its context. @ZorbaTHut can the janitor page posts be tweaked to include their parent comment?

It's actually kind of a pain to do :V But yeah, I'll probably add support for it, it'll just take a while.

You're welcome to open the Context link in a new window; that's what I've been doing.

How is the janitor system working? I actually find it fun in an odd way. I like the hamsters.

I don't really know yet :V Right now I'm just collecting data; I'm planning on going and analyzing stuff to see if I can put something together that's usefully predictive, but right now it's Christmas and I've been kinda busy.

There is a lot of data, though. More than I was expecting! In that sense, it's working really well - I was worried people just wouldn't care and that is definitely not a problem I'm having.

Yah, I'm suddenly reading comments I'd normally have skipped. Might be healthy.

If only it were more gamey. I'd like to know how the algorithm rates me.

Same! I’m curious if I’m in line with the mods decisions. People might complain if that becomes too obvious though who knows.

Slime Mold Time Mold has released the results of their Potassium Supplementation study, and I'm pretty disappointed in them. They are boasting an average of 1lb of weight loss over a month, with about a quarter not losing weight and another quarter gaining weight. A few very fat people lost multiple lbs (person with BMI over 60 lost over 10 lbs.) Some of the people writing to them stated that they were intentionally cutting calories. For example, one testimonial:

(23881640) I started a quick calorie-restricted diet before the holidays (got to fit into those festive pants!), and I’m combining counting macros, counting calories, AND adding 1 tsp of potassium chloride a day to my water, and the weight is coming off. It’s making the calorie restriction much more bearable.

That sounds like the potassium was a magic feather, not to mention the effect of joining a trial and focusing on weight for a month straight.

Despite my assessment that this study is inconclusive at best, the SMTM team is crowing about statistically significant P values and how this shows some sort of effect. They say it couldn't possibly be cutting calories, because the people eating the most calories lost the most weight. Never mind that they aren't tracking calorie deficit, and as mentioned above the biggest losers were at very high BMIs, so we'd expect them to eat the most calories and still be at the biggest calorie deficits.

nd I'm pretty disappointed in them. They are boasting an average of 1lb of weight loss over a month, with about a quarter not losing weight and another quarter gaining weight. A few very fat people lost multiple lbs (person with BMI over 60 lost over 10 lbs.) Some of the people writing to them stated that they were intentionally cutting calories. For example, one testimonial:

Welcome to the world of weight loss studies. Disappointing describes almost all ,if not all, of them.

I guess it wasn't clear, I'm not disappointed in the results. I like that they published something that shows that it's not the potassium in potatoes causing the effect. I'm disappointed with SMTM because they don't seem to understand what their data is telling them.

that too is a common problem in weight loss studies and literature

Seriously just ozempic or moujarno, obesity is basically solved.

I think it's bs, sorry to say. Yeah, potatoes with just water and salt is low calorie and causes weight loss, but so is any vegetable. It's also unpleasant to eat, imho. Hence, fries or mashed potatoes, butter, or oil. But then you negate the health benefits.

Most people on the potato trial used oil while cooking their potatoes and still saw results. Potatoes are weirdly satiating.

Darn. This updates me majorly towards "its not the potassium". The effect size is so small as not to matter and I agree that the very fact that people are in a study will alter their behavior.

On the plus side, this majorly strengthens the case for the Potato Diet. Let's say we consider the potassium to be a placebo, and also that the potato and potassium studies were run under similar conditions. Since the potato diet should much greater weight loss, we can see that there is something real there beyond just being part of a study.

The person who critiqued SMTM's bad chemical hunger series did a quick search and found some negative RCTs on potassium. smtm bad etc

Yeah, fuck the critics. I'll take whatever SMTM is doing over the experts who came up with the food pyramid with 6-11 servings of bread at the bottom. I can understand how "real" scientists feel threatened when SMTM is doing interesting work and they are, by and large, not.

this is a bad reason to support something. it's possible for both parties to be wrong.

Huh? It's possible for SMTM to do bad science while most nutritionists also do bad science. Same way Ray Peat does it.

I can understand how "real" scientists feel threatened

"Natália Coelho Mendonça" isn't a nutrition scientist or anything afaict, they're just a smart person?

agree. bad science is not just limited to 'health authorities'.

If I had the reach and time, the next trial would be to have one group of people eat 1lb of potatoes a day (and otherwise eat whatever they feel like), a second group eat 2 lb of potatoes, the last group do the full potato from the first trial, and see if there is any effect from just increasing potatoes.

1lb of potatoes would be about 400 calories, or basically substituting a starchy breakfast for most people. If it caused weight loss, it would be notable and attributable to some quality in the potato. If weight loss only occurred when people do full potato, then it lends credence to the idea that it's the mundanity of eating the same thing that lost the weight.

But the big take away for me is that SMTM just can't be trusted to evaluate their data. Maybe I'm missing something, but they seem to think their results support potassium as a weight loss catalyst.

When it comes to nutrition, it's all so tiresome. I've never seen a subject where everyone thinks they are an expert. Perhaps it's because the experts are so consistently wrong.

So I'm going to defend SMTM. Give credit to the man in the arena and all that.

SMTM may not be right either, but they are exploring interesting ideas like the potato diet. Hell, maybe potassium does work, albeit with a low effect size. Next step would be to try it over a long-term period. People aren't going to lose 20 pounds and keep it off for 2 years because of study participation.

When it comes to nutrition, it's all so tiresome. I've never seen a subject where everyone thinks they are an expert. Perhaps it's because the experts are so consistently wrong.

It is because controlling for the multitude of variables and confounders is close to impossible ,and no diets seem to work that well.

The problem is that you and I both assessed that the effects SMTM saw from the Potassium study were more likely than not a placebo, but the SMTM people are treating it like a win. Their judgement on this study does not align with mine, and it calls into question their assessment of other papers they reviewed and will review going forward.

I still appreciate that they are investigating the contamination theory of obesity and are gathering data for everyone to look at. But now I trust their interpretation of the data less.

If you want unorthodox views that I think are further developed than SMTM, check out https://fireinabottle.net/ or watch this video series. But even there I have a caveat - Brad naturally wants to make money from what he's researching and therefore has an interest in selling supplements to people. When possible, he does link to other places to get the supplements, but some of his theories seem to involve supplements that only he sells in the US, which is a little suspicious.

The point being, I don't put all my cognitive eggs in one basket, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate these unorthodox people looking into the rise in obesity. I appreciate them for what they are and don't trust anyone wholeheartedly.

Revisiting my posts from last night, I agree with your take. I guess I just am overly sensitive to criticism of SMTM because I am aware they are dealing with an environment where criticism tends to be extreme and often unproductive. Much of it in the variety of "just eat less, herp derp". But you are right.

I think there is something else going on here. There do seem to be an array of exclusion diets that work well including the potato diet and croissant diet.

Here's another one that has mysterious results:

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/BD4oExxQguTgpESdm/the-unfinished-mystery-of-the-shangri-la-diet

The Shangri-La Diet is unfortunately named - I would have called it "the set-point diet". And even worse, the actual procedure sounds like the wackiest fad diet imaginable:

Just drink two tablespoons of extra-light olive oil early in the morning... don't eat anything else for at least an hour afterward... and in a few days it will no longer take willpower to eat less; you'll feel so full all the time, you'll have to remind yourself to eat.

I used to enjoy traveling A LOT before corona. Had a couple very long duration scarcely planned backpacking/hitchhiking trips far from home and by far the best things I have ever done in my life. Corona restrictions and later "life" got in the way a bit but I want to start again. I had some nice niche sources especially for Latin America for finding interesting places and events which aren't too touristy, or simply people who have interesting travel blogs/vlogs and can inspire (like the legendary Honda c90 world travelling guy or Bald and Bankrupt etc). Now I am struggling to find anything like that for Europe and Middle East.

Google became hot garbage for this and YouTube not much better either. Anything I come across is very commercialized and highly edited. But I know for sure there must be still blogs or youtubers or books or forums out there for people like me. Any tips??

I have done tons of month+ long trips through Europe, and the best resources for me have been:

Rick Steves books

Historical knowledge about eg. the salt trade or rome or moorish spain

traditional pilgrimage roads

Google maps images for particular locations.

Seeing cool stuff out the window of a train or plane and going back to see it in detail.

Finally: Just checking what is easy, direct, and cheap for point to point travel.

As an example: I knew I wanted to tour around southern spain 'cause of the history, see the mosque cathedral at Cordoba for example. I read the rick steve books about interesting shit and added some to my list, then I used google maps to check out parks/points of interest near where I was staying, and found as an example the Torcal de Antequera (a really cool mountain park near a really cool town) and the Cueva de la Pileta (one of the only caves with stone age cave paintings you can still actually visit). Then I find the cheapest flights in and out, and use those to pick my start and end destinations.

Likewise, the trip before I flew into Budapest to see the the city, saw that I could easily get to Zagreb to see that city, Saw that plitvice should be a natural wonder of the world and is quick to reach from zagreb, saw that the Skocjan caves were close to Plitvice, saw that I could catch a quick train from skocjan to Ljubljana and then to lake bled and from their to Vienna to see the city and fly home.

The Train ride to Vienna was so spectacular, I did another trip this year to see the alps, and decided to tour around various towns and large cities associated with the salt trade (Salzburg, Innsbruck, Munich, Garmisch, Reutte, etc.); which was also amazing. Bavarians are super catholic, super nice, and have incredible beer and sausages. Strong recommend.

So, shit like that. Alternately, I just pick a traditional pilgrimage road and do sections of that.

Bald and Bankrupt has videos on Europe.

He has videos in Syria and Afghanistan too

Just about the two worst countries to visit in the middle east lol.

It's what makes his videos so interesting.

I'm successfully married in so far as that I'm married and it lasts. Does that qualify?

I'd say your summary sounds about as good as it gets. You can never know for sure and there's no telling how clouded by love your mind really is, but if the facts are as you laid them out, then go for it. You're unlikely to find much better.

You can never fully reason out that a relationship will/won't work out. It's the other minds problem, "What is it like to be a bat?" You can never really know what someone else means when they say they feel love. A lot of over intellectual fuckboys agonize themselves into knots over trying to figure out if this is real love or fake love or whatever, but at the end of the day you're always taking a gamble. Nothing will give you 100% certainty of a good marriage, not living together first not mutual virginity not entrenching yourself in a trad community not joining a polycule. It will go bad for some people.

For me, and keep in mind I was 20 at the time, I realized Mrs FiveHour was it for me like you realize you won the big pot and you should cash in your chips rather than keep playing poker. Every partner is a gamble, some are better gambles than others, assuming you want to get married you'll need to pull the trigger on one. Do you want to reroll?

Two questions that you ought to feel very much free not to answer: did your parents marry young and have you been monogamous since your marriage?

  1. No, my parents married hella old. ((Like probably old enough that if you wanted to make fun of anything I posted by linking to stats about geriatric pregnancy I'd have little counterargument)) Ironically my sister and I both found our partners relatively young, she married the guy she went to senior prom with, I met my wife sophomore year of college, though technically I got married at a younger age despite my sister's two year head start.

  2. No. We've had a long running understanding on several fronts, but it's not something we're actively engaging in most of the time, and we've always been 100% socially monogamous.

However, I will note at the time I made the decision to commit I expected to be fully classically monogamous, truthfully Mrs. FiveHour had dropped hints about alternatives from early on but I thought it was typical 20 year old girl shit talk about how great and open minded she was about things that would never make their way into reality. I was... Wrong about that.

ETA: What are you deducing from these facts?

When I was trying to decide if I was going to propose to my wife, I talked to my dad and brother (two people I highly respected) about things. Which is something I highly recommend you do as well. Talk to some men (I assume you're a man) who you respect and have experience with marriage. For me at least, the most valuable part of the experience wasn't advice. It was that to try to answer the questions they asked me, my own thoughts got sorted out as I tried to come up with an answer.

One specific question my dad asked me I found very helpful. He said "it comes down to this: are you better off with her, or without her?". And as I thought about it, I decided that I was in fact better off with my then-girlfriend. I had a good woman who I could be happy with, and that was what mattered. Like @janeerie, I don't believe in "the one". Getting married isn't about finding some mythical perfect partner, but about saying "yeah I'm happy with her, this will be good" and taking happiness in what you have.

What do you do if you have never met anyone who you can respect?

Hmm I am not sure what I would have done in such a case. I'm hoping that it's pretty uncommon and that most people have at least one person they respect to talk to. But if you truly have nobody, then you might need to fall back on trying to get advice from books or something?

I'm just asking as the advice hinges on that factor is all.

Sure. I would imagine it would be pretty uncommon for someone to not have anyone they respect to talk to. But in the case that they don't, my advice wouldn't work.

There is no "the one." You just decide to commit yourself to this person to build something bigger than yourselves. There will probably be times when you doubt your choice, but then you just have to recommit and move forward.

The whirlwind emotions you describe, while nice, are not the foundation of a marriage. It sounds like you and this woman would build a lovely life together.