This week we discuss fresh approaches to education funding like allowing the money to follow the child, thereby empowering parents to pick the best education solution for their kids while also driving down costs for taxpayers. Win-win! After all, why should taxpayers be forced to continue to fund things that fail to deliver anything close to what is promised?
#1: All the Woolen Underthings
When confronted with your first New Hampshire winter, everyone will tell you to invest in woolen undergarments. Everyone will tell you to, but YOU will ignore this advice for at least the first if not the second winter. You will say: “Don’t you tell me what to do,” while thinking, “What difference can a pair of woolen socks really make?” As someone who waited 4 winters to invest in all the woolen underthings, let me tell you unequivocally: A LOT. I’m talking warm tootsies 24/7. Toss in a pair of woolen leggings and a long-sleeved undershirt for when you will be outside for extended periods, and you will find yourself saying: “Wait, what? Winter is over already?” Treat your woolen items with respect–don’t toss them in the dryer!–and they will love you back, winter over winter. Toasty!
#2: Layer Up
And strip down when needed. Layers give you the flexibility to be comfortable, no matter what the temperature is, inside or out. Added bonus: New Hampshire winters come with built-in stripteases!
#3: Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
If you take vitamins, consider doubling your Vitamin D intake during the winter months. This is a no-brainer mood picker-upper.
#4: Invest in a “Happy” Light
Short days getting you down? Let technology be the cure! While winter technically starts mid-December, the days then actually start getting l-o-n-g-e-r again. In the meanwhile, chase away the blahs with a light designed to enhance your mood, and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside the head.
#5: Seize the Day!
Embrace the weather, and get outside. Learn how to ski, and then learn how to ski at night. Discover the tranquility and peace of snowshoeing in fresh powder. Ride a toboggan. Get into a snowball fight. Join fellow Free Staters at a winter luau (pictured). Take a New Year’s Day Polar Plunge. Whatever you do, crawl out from under that blankie, and carpe diem the crap out of winter.
#6: Embrace Your Version of the Serenity Prayer
Whether you are a believer or an ardent atheist, you can manage your relationship with winter by observing some version of the serenity prayer, whether your prefer the religious classic: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change/The courage to change the things I can/And the wisdom to know the difference,” or, the activist version from Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change/I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Accept your power will likely go out, a Nor’Easter will spoil well-laid plans (possibly to get laid), the plow guy will show up late; it’s winter, trust me, something gnarly will happen. Bottom line: New Hampshire isn’t for sissies. How you approach these challenges will determine how you cope long-term. Change your mindset, and the rest will follow. Including Spring. I promise. It comes like clockwork, every damn time.
#7: Community Reigns Supreme
There is no place on Earth for liberty activists like New Hampshire, regardless of the season. Pop-up parties follow people with power (literal power, like lights and generators). Friends help friends. And there is no better place on Earth to make real, lifetime, meaningful friends than as part of the Free State Project community. Liberty warms the cockles of our aching, over-achieving, dreamer, doer hearts. Join us in New Hampshire, and let us keep you warm with the glow of knowing we are achieving “Liberty in OUR Lifetime.”
This article first appeared on fsp.org on December 15, 2014.
Happy New Year! Manch Talk is back with a bang! Red flag laws that lack due process (and why that matters), bad votes by Dems on the first day back in session, and more.
YOU moved your ass all the way to New Hampshire, where it is currently, well, yanno, wintery blerghinism, and, when you moved, YOU committed to EXERTING YOUR fullest practical effort, and I’m going to ask you straight up today to evaluate and determine, honestly, in your heart of hearts, to yourself, whether YOU are FULFILLING YOUR PLEDGE, or whether YOU could be doing JUST A LITTLE MORE to help build a voluntary society with smaller and more limited government here in NH?
I’m not here to (only) guilt-trip, I want to REMIND YOU:
1. It takes a quillage and we need HELP! It’s frustrating when the same 10-20 people keep doing all the work! SHOW UP!
2. You CAN make a difference! SHOW UP!
3. Find 1 or 2 things you are passionate about, and… SHOW UP. Be present. Pick a fight. Come testify on a bill. Support someone who is running for office (like Elliot Axelman‘s upcoming special election in Hooksett, you have two weeks to help, do it!) Run ideas by old timers if you want. Try something new and see what happens. But FFS, PLEASE DO SOMETHING to enhance Liberty in Our Lifetime.
Here are some simple suggestions to get started:
1. Commit to attending 3 liberty meetings a month. This could be your local meet-up, Bardo Farm’s potluck, Merrimack Valley Porcupines, Lakes Region Meet-up/North Country/FreeCoast, New Movers, Market Days, your local political events (where you can network) etc. Check the FSP calendar if you’re not sure where to go, or what’s cooking. Or, join me on Monday’s at The Currier Museum’s Cafe from Noon-3PM where we gather to co-work on projects together. Whatever you choose, please, choose to SHOW UP.
2. Find a board or group that shares your passions and VOLUNTEER. I joined Right-to-Know NH a couple of years ago for this very reason, and still serve as secretary, even though there are few things I hate more than writing minutes. SHOW UP!
3. Into politics? NOW is the frigging season. Come testify on bills! Join GencourtMobile. Volunteer with the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance (basic membership is FREE, or support the organization by becoming an annual or lifetime member). Help the NHLA review bills—there are LITERALLY THOUSANDS! (See “we need help” above.) SHOW UP!
4. Buy YOUR Liberty Forum tickets today! Join hundreds of activists, state representatives, and speakers like Babylon Bee’s Kyle Mann and Julie Borowski (and me! :-)). I’m all for voluntary interactions, but I kinda wish I could make it mandatory. 😛 SHOW UP!
5. On Reddit? This Friday at 2PM help us promote the FSP to r/politics. This is a huge opportunity to help spread info about the FSP to a new audience. SHOW UP!
After a dozen years here in New Hampshire (yeah, that’s where the gray hair comes from) I still 100% believe in the Free State Project’s mission of attracting productive people to the freest state and working to keep it that way, and I 100% believe New Hampshire is our best chance (and now LAST chance in America) to achieve Liberty in Our Lifetime, but only if we all PULL TOGETHER, WORK OUR BADASSES OFF, and SHOW UP. Please, and thank YOU!!!!
As I write this with a clear and happy head at 6AM on January 1, 2020, I am struck by the remarkable things I have accomplished over the last couple of years.
I lost sixty-five pounds adopting an Ancestral/Keto lifestyle.
I quit drinking alcohol.
I restarted my Bikram practice after a twenty-year hiatus.
I broke a nicotine gum/vaping addiction after fifteen years.
I stopped biting my nails, a shame-inducing habit I’d had since I was a toddler.
I chose digital minimalism and significantly reduced my screen time.
I cooked at least 700 meals from scratch.
I fasted for four days more than once and am doing a 7-day fast soon.
I launched my website CarlaGericke.com where I blog about The Art of Independence.
I co-host a weekly local cable access show called Manch Talk.
I co-host the best podcast you have never heard of (yet) called Told You So.
I celebrated my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary to a man I love and who loves me back.
I write in my journal every single day since the day I promised myself I would.
I will be publishing a collection of short stories and essays, The Ecstatic Pessimist, in the next couple of weeks.
But, the most important thing I did is to finally, fully internalize the notion that in order to advocate the virtues of individual liberty and personal responsibility—from health to wealth and beyond—it has to come from the inside out.
In order to be free, I had to understand me.
A friend who hasn’t seen me in yonks recently said: “I don’t know what you’re up to, but your aura is, like, totes a different color.” I don’t know if auras are real. I can’t see them. I didn’t think to ask what color my aura was, or what color it is now. But aura or no aura, I am totes different; I am a better, less anxious, more balanced, me.
If YOU want to change, you can. You just have to choose YOU.
We hate to admit it, but there is a very simple recipe for feeling good. You know the drill, routinely: eat right (low carb, medium protein, high good fats); get enough sleep; exercise; don’t abuse the fun stuff; and sometimes hang out with other humans. Routinely. We know it, and yet, if you are like me, you resist anything that smacks of “routine.”
After a very unmoored childhood, I waited almost forty-eight years, three continents, two careers, one miscarriage, and an arrest to start following the script routinely. And while I have always set, met, and surpassed my professional goals, leading to success as a lawyer and nonprofit executive, in my personal life, I’ve resisted looking too closely at what makes me tick. This resistance involved copious hard drugs, hard liquor, and hard partying. YOLO, baby!, until your friends do start dropping like flies.
A while ago, my husband Louis randomly asked: “When are you happiest?”
Me: “On holiday, d’oh!“
Louis: “What is it about vacation that you like?”
“Well, for starters, there’s more,” I wiggled my eyebrows suggestively and we laughed, “and, I suppose, because I get enough sleep, and, oh, I read a lot.”
Louis: “You realize all of those things are within your daily control, right?”
Me: Oh, screw you, Babes, hmm, huh, wait a minute… Dammit!
Another “huh” moment was when I accepted my calendar didn’t just have to include work obligations and Things That Must Be Done, but rather could, and indeed, should include the things you love to do. Things like, “Massage,” or “Call Kari to Chat,” or “Date Night” are totally acceptable ways to spend your time, and that:
1. It’s OK to schedule fun;
2. You are more likely to do it if it is on your calendar;
3. It’s satisfying and healthy to treat yourself like a priority.
These observations may seem obvious, but they helped me understand that I was “The Keeper (and Giver) of My Time,” and that this is the most important job I will ever have, because… this is literally… my life. All life is, after all, is figuring out how you have spent your time (your past), how you are spending your time now (the present), and how you plan to spend your time (the future). Your time equals your life. Spend it wisely.
The radical notion that I could tweak my “everyday experience” to feel more like vacay simply by choosing to read in bed instead of, say, watching another episode of a show that would still be there tomorrow, or arguing with some idiot online, was… liberating.
The next part of “Unpacking Me” involved one new habit, two books, and a quote.
The new habit was journaling. First, my sincerest apologies to every friend who over the years suggested I keep a journal. For every eye-roll, every semi-disparaging sigh, every “yeah, yeah, whatevs,” I’m sorry, and promise to accept all future Moleskines with super extra delight. Now I know.
Seriously, if you only adopt one new habit this year, make it journaling, by which I mean, keep a handwritten notebook and write in it each and every day with a firm commitment that triggers something terrifying inside yourself if you don’t. Natch, scratch that, since that’s a perverse incentive and there are better, more positive ways to motivate yourself, which I only figured out by, you guessed it, writing shit down in my journal.
How about this: Stick to journaling routinely because positive habits create positive feedback loops which lead to positive outcomes which make you want to do the good things more. It’s like a cocaine habit, except the exact fucking opposite.
The first book in question is Charles Fernyhough’s “The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves.” I’d heard a segment on NPR and thought it sounded intriguing.
Then I started reading the book.
Then I became hyper-aware of my own thoughts.
Then I started hearing a lot of voices.
Then I worried I was crazy.
Then I stopped reading the book.
But the voices in my head did not shuddup. And, thanks to journaling, I was able to isolate them. Some were smart and helpful, a couple were wise and pleasant, a handful were manageable assholes, but one, one was a Certifiable Cunt.
World: Meet my ego.
My 2020 mission is to kill this Cunt. (Do your best, she says, and just to show her who is boss, I write that down. Every time I hear her nasty, belittling, backstabbing, negative, cunty voice, I take notice. The more I see her, the weaker she becomes.)
From my notes, I discovered The Cunt’s negging is always in the second person, always with a “you,” or “your,” or “you’re” statement. She’s meaner than my worst enemies (and I’m a libertarian politician, so my enemies are… loud and plentiful).
A typical mind-convo goes something like this: “You’re useless!” “What have you accomplished in the past five years? Nothing!” “Why haven’t you finished your book!” “Why did you say that?!?” “Why didn’t you say that!?!” “Not good enough!” “Never good enough!” And my all time favorite worst critical comment that can shut me down for days, “Who cares?”
Fuck you, Cunt. I care.
Why? Why do I have this voice in my head who only talks to me in the second person as “you,” and never “me/I”? Who is she, if she doesn’t think she is part of “me”? Where did she come from? And what will it take to kill her nice and dead?
Around this time, I ran across a quote by Lao Tzu on Pinterest: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
I want to be at peace, so next, I started reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” which I’m pretty sure I read years ago but the message just didn’t resonate with me then. Important ideas are like that sometimes, you need to circle back when you are ready. The book’s back cover says, “To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind.”
Sounded to me like I’d found the roadmap to kill The Cunt: a little mental time travel, baddabingbaddaboom, and, voilà, peace in the now, right?
Then I started to delve into my past.
I looked at the story I told myself about my childhood. Child prodigy! Genius-level IQ! International travel! Exotic locations! Chauffeurs and maids! Penthouses with elevators that opened into the apartment itself! My whole persona was wrapped in this belief that my upbringing had been oh-so-glamorous, diplomat’s daughter, what, what, that I had never stopped to consider—not true, I taught myself not to—the potentially damaging effects of living on an entirely different continent, separated from your—my—parents, when you are—I am—a ten-year-old girl. Sure, we spoke on the phone once a week, usually for less than five minutes because international calls were crazy-expensive back then. We mostly talked about the weather. The standing joke in our family was that my sister, Lizette, and I would always ask, “Please send money!”
Please send money to buy your own—my own—toothpaste when you are—I am—ten years old.
Please send money to buy your—my—first bra when you are—I am—twelve years old.
Please send money to buy your—my—first tampons when you are—I am—thirteen years old.
Please send money to buy your—my—first bottle of booze when you are—I am—fifteen years old.
For a while, I wondered if the negative back-talk stemmed from suppressed memories of awful teachers or matrons or “Mean Girls” who bullied me, but, for me, unlike my sister, that wasn’t the case. Sure, I was bitterly hungry for five years straight, and any All-Girls boarding school is going to give you some food and body issues, and I did for a time become a compulsive exerciser, and I definitely leaned into my neurotic nail-biting, but for the most part, Pretoria High School for Girls gave me a solid education, impressive leadership skills, a stiff upper lip, and, at least publicly, what appeared to be a great deal of confidence.
In the Mystery of Carla’s Secret Cunty Ego, turns out, the culprit all along, was… me.
After my parents left me at that ivy-covered, cabbage-reeking hostel with its metal-framed prison beds, I was so alone, so confused, so sad, so devastated, that in order to cope, I told myself my parents were dead.
When you miss something so intensely that it is easier to pretend the subject matter is dead, you are probably going to create a few voices in your head. When you are also a very bright, analytical child, you know, deep-down, the “Dead Parents” narrative isn’t actually true.
So you create a voice that starts with bargaining (if you run that extra lap, they will come get you), moves to chastising (you should have done better on your math test, then they wouldn’t have left you here), and eventually settles into something malevolent (of course you are a failure at everything you do, even your own parents don’t want you).
But here is the reality: No one said these things to me but me. So no one gets the blame—if there is any to assign—but me. My parents genuinely loved and spoiled us when we did spend time together. And because no one else created this monster, no one but me gets to off her. No one but me gets to set me free.
For my entire life, I said awful things to myself in my head, and I allowed that voice to become an integral part of my internal life. No more. True freedom comes from loving yourself, and the way to love yourself is to like yourself, and the way to like yourself, is to know yourself, and the best way to know yourself is to examine yourself, and in examining yourself, you have to figure out what the hell you are spending your time on, both physically and mentally. And, from now on, I am not spending another second being mean to myself. I do not blame Little Cunty Abandoned Mini-Me. From now on, my slate is clean, because I choose what’s in my head, and I choose to forgive all of me, now, and in the future, which is always now.
LISTEN NOW… Living in the modern world is hard – there’s more information than ever at everyone’s fingertips, but public discourse isn’t getting more enlightened. How can people with the same information come to such radically different conclusions? Join your hosts to think about the way people think on this week’s Told You So! LISTEN NOW…
This week on Manch Talk, it’s ‘Festivus for the Rest of Us’! Or maybe, the ‘Best of Us’?!? In today’s episode, we do a little “Airing of Grievances.” Watch to see with whom we “have a lot of problems with you people!” Can you guess who made the list?