In Which I Ramble About Something That Is Completely Obvious In Retrospect (that you should like the things you do)

[CW: Introspection, Boo Rationality!, Bad Writing]

Re: Bad Writing- This is totally “Sophie Rambles at Her Computer”, NOT “Sophie Crafts a Well-Reasoned/Amusing Blog Post”. I should probably just make this an official “bad writing” blog, because I never get around to writing or finishing anything that I try to make well-reasoned or amusing, and I’d rather have a rambly bad writing blog that I actually post to than a good writing blog that I ignore.

I noticed a while back that my notion of “Events I Should Go To” did not align with the reality of “Event I Actually Enjoyed While I Was There.” Particularly, I found myself continuing to sphexishly go to NYC LW meetups even though I never ended up enjoying myself while I was there. It was like some part of me refused to change the idea of “This is A Thing I Enjoy”, even though that belief was formed in a completely different environment. So I committed myself to a rule of Not Going to Rationality Events in NY, Except Solstice. After some thought, I think it makes since to generalize this rule to something like:

Notice how much you are actually enjoying an activity while you are participating in it. Make an effort to go more frequently to the activities you enjoy, and to avoid those you do not enjoy. Exceptions can be made for activities that are advancing some goal besides enjoyment.


-SCA events: Here is somewhere I’m always happy to be. Particularly A&S Nights at the Solar, and schola/class-focused events. I have a high motivation to go to these, but they can require a bit of planning/prep work such as getting rides, packing, etc.

-Blues: I always enjoy myself a whole lot when I go blues dancing. Unfortunately I have very low motivation to attend. It’s very active when I want to be lazy, I don’t know people there, and I haven’t made specific plans with anyone to be there. Which all means that when Friday night rolls around, my feeling is that I’d rather stay home and veg, than go out and expend a lot of energy.

Note: I’ve noticed about myself before that it’s really hard to motivate myself to do any last-minute plans. If I precommit to something in advance (for example, by making plans with someone), it forces me to go and I can end up enjoying myself. But if I’m already home, or planning to go home, if someone asks “Do you want to….”, my answer is inevitably “No.”

-Going to new places/ Trying new things: Of course, I don’t ALWAYS end up enjoying whatever new thing I’ve tried Math Museum and Tenement Museum= YES, but live music event with blaring speakers= NO), but I find that my life feels fuller and more enjoyable when I explore the city’s attractions or try something new.

-Talking with my roomies: I always have better conversations when I’m hanging out and talking with my roommates than when I try to go to rationality events. Realizing this made it really easy to decide not to go to LW events, because I can get my “interesting conversation” quota filled here, in the comfort of my own home.

-Cleaning/Organizing/Accomplishing Things: Really high initiation costs on these activities, but once I get going, I really enjoy myself. 🙂

Do Not Enjoy:

-Rationality Events in NYC: My reasons are completely different from those posited by Slate Star about the Bay Area group. Briefly, instead of having a small group of committed people who come all the time you have a large group where everyone goes a couple times and so a) most the people are beginners who are at their first or second meetup, and b) it’s not a close-knit group. It’s not just the rationality community. It’s a generic Why-I-Hate-NYC thing. It’s also such a big city, that instead of having a diverse group, you get a bunch of clones, because there are 100s of people exactly like Standard Model. Also, too many people show up to actually have a conversation that everyone can participate in (when Cbus got above 10ish people, we started using a discussion method, where you held up 1 or 2 fingers if you had something you wanted to say, and we would keep track of who got to talk next so you didn’t have to keep your finger up, and it worked really well). So pretty much, instead of getting to participate in an interesting discussion, I get to passively listen to Intro Rationality 101. And then eventually people start talking about math and programming. And it’s a very Not Diverse group of people who are very much Not Like Me. And I end up sitting there thinking how long I have to wait til it’s no longer impolite to leave.

-Alcohol: I don’t drink a lot, but even a small amount of alcohol (less than one drink worth) can sometimes trigger a multi-day headache. I don’t know what exactly the combo is that leads to headaches (Is it a specfic type of alcohol? Is it how hydrated I am? Am I imagining a causal factor that’s not actually there? It’s DEFINITELY not the amount!). I’m not willing to go teetotaler for the rest of my life, but it is something I should be more cognizant about.

Sunday Assembly is on the list of things I only moderately enjoy, but that I very much want to succeed, and so I’ll continue to go. There are some things I really support there, and I think the community is more community-ish.


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