Hey hey, Traipsers,

Did your Thanksgiving feel different this year? Our quiet evening reminded me of spending TG in the giant redwoods at the start of our van journey years ago.

Slight difference: this time I made ridiculously tasty, tangy
butternut fettucini alfredo! No way could I have pulled that off in the van...

This Week's Newsletter:

A blog post with my favorite books from 2020, #mysocialtruth, 401ks vs pensions, and a sunset in NYC.


Now THAT is a tree.

My Favorite Books of 2020!

Amid all the upheaval and lockdowns and stress, 2020 at least presented me with more time to read. Turning off the news and disappearing into a book served as an important reset for me. I suppose it always does.

If you're ready for winter reading, here's a new blog post with a list of my favorite books from 2020, including why I loved them. From biographies to fiction to scifi to nonfiction to the natural world, there's something for everyone!
A request: please hit reply and send me any book titles that changed your mind, transported you to another world, or were just plain awesome. I always appreciate the excellent recommendations for you all. Thanks in advance.

#MySocialTruth - True Social Media Stories

Did you watch The Social Dilemma yet? If not, I can't recommend it enough. It has strongly reinforced my decision to close my social media accounts earlier this year!

The movie creators, many of them former tech leaders, speak out SO strongly about the dangers of social media. "Whatever the benefits of social media, they aren't worth the costs" sums up their thoughts.

Those same folks just launched an initiative called
#MySocialTruth to share stories of the damage that social media causes, especially to young people. If you have kids or spend time with young people, urge them to share their stories!

Here's a few snippets from the site. Real stories from real people:

"I was in a pro-anorexia group when I was in 7th grade."
"I didn’t realize what Instagram was doing to me."
"I thought it would be fun to download Tik Tok and it ruined my life."

Share your story here.

Reality not pictured: torn tire sidewall (barely fixable) and two hike-a-bike sections. But the sunshine was real!

401ks vs. Pensions

Other than running my own business, I've never worked a real job longer than 1.5 years. A pension is not in my future. However, apparently in the past this was a thing?
A pension: an employer pays into a retirement fund for you, say $20 for every $100 you make. You get that money when you retire. That's shifted to 401ks, where you have to opt in and employers often match contributions. (Though at far lower percentages than pensions.)
Enter insightful author of and his
thought-provoking breakdown comparing pensions to 401ks.
Consider the following two quotes from the piece.

"People’s behavior revealed a preference for more cash today. If the employer didn’t have a pension plan and it just paid $120 to the employees as cash, the employees probably wouldn’t have contributed $20 toward retirement. In other words, the old pension setup forced the employees to save for retirement more than they would’ve done themselves."

"Next time you hear “people used to have a pension,” think “people used to save 15-20% of their pay.” Nothing stops you from doing so today, unless you don’t want to."
My takeaway
: put your 401k on auto-deposit so the money never hits your checking accounts. Contribution elections for 2021 are coming up - put in as much as you can!

Sunset on 14th Street: A Poem

My mom loves to write poetry, but somehow I never caught the bug and rarely read verse. Sometimes one like Sunset on 14th Street by Alex Dimitrov grabs me though.
Sunset On 14th Street

I don’t want to sound unreasonable
but I need to be in love immediately.
I can’t watch this sunset
on 14th Street by myself.
Everyone is walking fast
right after therapy, texting back
their lovers orange hearts
and unicorns—it’s insane to me.
They’re missing this free sunset
willingly! Or even worse
they’re going home to cook
and read this sad poem online.

Dig it? Read the rest here...
That's it for this edition. I promise grins if you watch this 10-YO girl drum like a megastar (thanks Semi-Rad). Or be one of the 1.3 billion people to watch the Dance Monkey video and then spend the rest of the day with it stuck in your head! It's worth it.
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