With it being a Friday, I am reminded of posts by friends of how much they love weekends and how much they hate their jobs. Maybe I got lucky by having a severe mental illness and being on disability. Perhaps I did, especially with how much I read about how people hate their jobs and their spouses. I also probably got lucky in that becoming disabled made me not marriage material. Yet, as it were, losing everything civilization told me to value made me fearless and optimistic. Once you lose everything, you are free to do anything it seems.
It’s now been four years since I last held a regular job. Even though I don’t need the money from a job as I am debt free, I do miss the daily structure that having a job gave. I do not miss dealing with office politics. It seemed that nothing I ever did at […]
Getting out of the apartment more than once a day now. For awhile during the fall and winter, there would be times I’d go entire days without leaving my apartment. But I guess that spending my days chatting with online friends, reading articles, and messing with computer games and programs gets stale after awhile. A change was due. Right now much of my region of the country is getting bad blizzards. I personally have only a couple inches of snow, some ice, but terrible winds. Fortunately it isn’t as cold as it could be, otherwise it would be Ice Age revisited. And this happened right as most of the snow we’ve had since before Christmas was melted. But, this being a late winter blizzard, should be melted soon. Then we’ll worry about flooding. So it goes.
Now that I actually want to leave my apartment and venture out, I can’t because of weather. I’ve been bound to my town all winter just because it was too risky to travel. My car doesn’t do well in snow. So I pretty much stay inside most of the time. I do force myself outside every few days just to get what little sunshine and fresh air I can.
Been having a few minor flare ups of irritability and depression lately. Fortunately I’ve been able to constructively deal with these. I do have to sleep more and severely limit my caffeine. I haven’t had coffee in over a week. While I do feel less irritable, I do sleep more and feel more scattered. Fortunately I don’t get much for back pain anymore. Maybe I have lost more weight. I exercise some every day. And I make it a point to stand up or lay down every couple hours so as to break up the boredom and long days. Been a tougher than usual winter. Physically it’s been tough because of the snow, cold, wind, and lack of physical activity. It hasn’t been too terrible mentally. The last several days have been the toughest. But I’ve been socializing more too. And I admit I get more irritated with rude people than I should. I almost never respond to rude people except to avoid them at all costs. I have enough going on already without dealing with unnecessary rudeness.
The unexplainable aches and pains are becoming less common. I guess I’m taking more preventative measures now. I no longer sit for more than two hours at a time. I sleep in my recliner half of the night to rest my lower back. I sleep lying down so not to get leg cramps from sitting too long. I take hot showers at least twice a day now, mainly to keep my joints warm and loose. Sometimes a few minutes of hot running water on my knees, lower back, and hands will work more wonders than even a couple Advil. And making a point to get up every couple hours to do even simple things like walk to the kitchen to get a cup of water or walking to check my mail every evening can keep my joints loose. I think one of the problems I was having with my back and unexplainable aches was that I didn’t move around enough. I went through a state of excessive paranoia and anxiety for much of 2017 and all of 2018. I was scared to drive my car, I was scared to talk to my neighbors, I was scared to leave my apartment after dark, I was scared to walk my neighborhood, and I was even scared to check my mail. Most of my mail is junk mail now that I do everything online almost. The 1 percent that wasn’t junk mail was usually from social security or my landlady. I always felt a tinge of anxiety with those letters, and any time I was called before anyone in authority. I’ve had too many bad experiences with short sighted, heartless, and irritable people in authority over me. I just don’t trust authority to not abuse their power and influence anymore. And, yes, it is unnerving and scary.
Winter is almost over, at least according to the calendar. And it isn’t happening too soon. I’m beginning to get cabin fever real bad. I guess even strong people have their breaking points. I am convinced I would feel much better when the weather warms up and there are options to how to spend my days.
Had a little bit of a flare up of irritability and anxiety this afternoon. Sometimes these can be started if I have too much caffeine in a real short time. And since I’ve been drinking more coffee and vanilla flavored cola the last several days and not sleeping as much as I usually do, it was only a matter of time before it caught up to me. Fortunately I navigated out of my flare up without taking it out on anyone. After a few minutes of fuming and fitting and ranting (though not yelling) and taking my irritability out by punching a few pillows and doing some arm weights, I think I’m back to my usual self.
The weather is quite decent today in spite being windy and partly cloudy all day. It’s been above freezing the last few days, so the snow and ice melts during the day. But it still gets below freezing after sunset, so it does make travel at night kind of unnerving for me. I never could have made it as a truck driver with as much as I don’t like driving in bad weather or heavy traffic.
As it is, it’s days like this that remind me that winter is just about over. And the start of Lent season for my Catholic friends is another reminder too. A college friend of mine teaches school in Netherlands and went to Italy for a few days this last week. He visited the Vatican and got to hear the Pope speak on Ash Wednesday. Definitely something on “the bucket list” for anyone with an interest in history and culture. The closest culture thing of that kind of magnitude I ever did was visit ancient Aztec pyramids and ruins when I visited Mexico City as a teenager. So glad I got to travel some and see a few cool things before the mental illness got to where it put a cramp on my physical health and ability to travel for days at a time.
Spring is about here. Baseball starts in a couple weeks, two of my closest friends have birthdays next week, my brother’s birthday is later in March, and the last season of Game of Thrones gets going, ironically on April 14, the day before tax deadline here in USA. April, May, and June have always been happy times of year for me. It’s isn’t icy or cold like winter, not too hot and humid like summer, and not the rush of activities that fall is with the start of school, harvest, preparing for winter, and fall sports seasons.
I didn’t get as much hard reading done as I would have liked this winter. Sure I made it a point to read every day, but I read mostly online articles for science and tech sites. Too bad more of this isn’t reported on the large media outlets, though they are getting better about it recently. I look forward to warmer weather and more sunshine. We went almost a month in my town without getting above freezing point. One of the longest bitter cold streaks I can remember. But the beginning of the end of winter is here.
Take biology and psychology that developed over many thousands of years in the Stone Age, throw in Bronze Age spirituality and religions, mix in legal, finance, and government institutions developed in the Renaissance, toss in jobs, consumerism, work ethic, and education developed in the Industrial Revolution, add mass media and instant communications of the early 21st century, and possibly add machine automation that will make the work force far smaller and resources far easier to get as icing on the cake. Stand back and watch mayhem and chaos ensue or work toward bringing about the Star Trek future.
Been awhile since I wrote. Haven’t really had too much to report lately. It’s been too cold and too much snow to really go anywhere or do much of anything. I’m getting burned out on reading, messing with my computers, and just staying home. I’m glad to hear it’s supposed to start warming up again, at least by early March standards within a couple days. I don’t think my town has been above freezing point in three weeks. It’s one of the toughest cold spells I can recall. There are times I have gone a few days in a row without even going outside it’s been so cold. I don’t even know how much snow we still have on the ground except that it’s at least twelve inches. Looking out my window, I can see one of the parking lots across the street from my house has piles of shoveled snow at least ten feet tall. I used to go sledding on piles like that growing up. It’s been one of the snowiest winters I can recall. I haven’t seen even dried up grass since Christmas.
I write about the weather because I don’t have much else to report. Been fairly stable overall. I sleep maybe eight hours a day, but not all at once. I usually sleep five hours in the night and take a couple naps during the day. My days normally start around four a.m. I usually nap for a couple hours in the afternoon, usually for an hour in the evening after dinner, and then I usually take my medications and call the day done around ten p.m. I like this routine actually more than the all nighters I was pulling as recently as a year ago. It allows me to do some things in the quiet and dark hours of early morning. But I can still leave my apartment easily and run errands at four or five a.m. before the crowds get too bad just like I could at midnight or one a.m. Usually by four a.m. about the only people on the streets are people reporting in for early morning work and city employees. In the middle of the night it’s mostly eccentrics even odder then myself and the police. And if I want to get some restaurant food without fighting the crowds, the middle of the afternoon suits me as well as the middle of the night did even as recent as three years ago.
I have settled and stabled more in my late thirties than at any time in my life. And this blog is starting to attract better than ever audiences, at least on the days I write. I’ve had at least four days since January 1st when I drew over one hundred visitors for one day. My first such one hundred plus visitor day was I think last year. I don’t know if the search engines are starting to pick me up more, more people are interested in mental health issues, or if the persistence is starting to pay off, etc. But I am getting pretty decent visits now, at least decent for my standards. When May arrives I will have been doing this blog on a regular basis for six years. I still have most of my posts from these six years online and on this site. I should go through them one of these days and see what I can discard and what I should keep so to make my blog more easy to navigate. I should also take some time to compare and contrast my writings and moods now to those early years.
I have done blogging for six years now. The longest I ever held a “real job” was four years when I worked as a janitor at the courthouse from 2008 to 2012. This blog is the most satisfying work I have done in my entire life even if it is the worst paying. With what I have spent to promote the blog and register my website, I still haven’t made a profit even after six years. Yet I really don’t care if I do. Yes, it would be cool to make some more money from my writing. I wouldn’t refuse it. But this is more a community service or labor of love than anything. Being a parent pays nothing but it’s the most influential and important job any person can have. Just because work doesn’t make money doesn’t mean someone isn’t getting something of value from it. I may never turn a profit or get bigger audiences than I am now. But that is alright with me. I just hope to keep these postings online and in public access for years to come. Maybe someone can get some benefit from these posts even after I am dead and forgotten. Of course, if a cure for schizophrenia was discovered at some point in the future, then that would be a major blessing for myself and millions with similar problems. It would mean I would have to go back to work probably. But it would be a cool problem to have being cured of schizophrenia and having to find work again. I wonder if people will still be hiring experienced writers and bloggers by then.
My parents moved to Oklahoma City area a few months ago to be closer to the grandkids. They seem to be adapting to suburb life well. They joined a large church where they have lots of opportunities to socialize even outside of Sunday church services. And my dad, being a bit of a handy man from his youth on a farm, is absolutely thrilled that he lives only a few minutes drive from stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Mom is talking about planting a few trees and getting a garden going in the new backyard. Meanwhile, here in Nebraska we haven’t been above freezing point for over two weeks. But I guess as I learned from my brother who has worked in Oklahoma City area for twenty years now, that far south seems to get spring almost a month ahead of me where I’m at. I have been quite envious of how their winters are milder than ours (and my friends from Minnesota say the same about my winters) but I will be grateful that my summers won’t be as rough as theirs. I imagine I’ll eventually relocate to Oklahoma myself. It’s just a matter of time and doing the Social Security transfer paperwork.
Overall I am happy for my parents in their retirement years. I was worried about how they would adapt to retirement when my mom retired from the hospital and my dad sold his practice. They didn’t socialize as much as many people, at least not outside of family and church. My mom was on the town’s library board of directors and my dad was on the local school board back in the 90s and early 2000s. He got to sign my brother and I’s high school diploma. I did hear of a few examples of 18 year old high school seniors got elected to their local school boards and got to sign their own diplomas.
I guess I have gotten past the fact that I can’t just get in the car and go visit them on a whim like I could when they lived only a couple hours away. But then, I just don’t travel as much as I used to mainly because I no longer need to. I even recently signed up for grubhub.com, so participating fast food places in my hometown can deliver food to my house now. I now special order my clothing through a big and tall men’s webpage and they mail my orders to my door. Sure it is more expensive than Wal Mart or the old K-Mart, but the selection is much better and the clothes fit much better too. As I always had odd sizes. Before I hit puberty I was quite tall but really skinny. Never been anything between being overweight and really skinny it seems.
If I don’t feel like venturing out of my house, there are a couple places in my hometown that can deliver groceries, sometimes even same day delivery if I order in the early morning. I get most of my prescription medications sent through the mail now. One of my college friends joked with me that if he used my setups, the only times he would need to leave his house would be to go to work, get maintenance and gas for his car, and to buy his occasional beer. He may have been joking but that is about the reality for myself.
And now many jobs can be done from home now via telecommuting. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before this truly takes off. I have a cousin and his wife that can do most of their work from home if they so chose. The only time I need to go to my bank is to buy quarters for laundry and visit the ATM machine. I do all my blogging from my leather recliner (which was delivered from a local furniture store) in my living room. I have friends who take free online courses (not for college credits though) through MIT. I use Khan Academy and youtube videos a great deal when I need and want to learn something.
Maybe it will be telecommuting that saves some of these small Midwest and Southern towns that started drying up once farming and manufacturing got more automated and needed fewer human workers. With as bad as rents and housing costs are in the big cities I couldn’t afford to live in a place like San Francisco or New York, let alone Omaha or Kansas City. Maybe telecommuting is what will indirectly solve the affordable housing crisis here in USA. Might even solve the problems of higher education costs getting out of control. It also will cut down down on commuting time, so less air pollution from automobiles even if electric cars weren’t becoming more affordable and easy to find. As strange as it may sound to some people, future generations might look back and write history books about topics like how technology, science, and the open market solved problems like environmental pollution, resource depletion, poverty, and perhaps even end war. I think in some ways (at least much of the stats and data I have personally seen) all of these are beginning to happen.
Even though I don’t socialize in person as much as I used to, I don’t feel any less connected than I did in the past. Sure I do miss physical touch and intimacy, but I have adapted to socialize more online and on phone. I’m currently trying to get face time set up on my computer. But I have adapted to my reality and have found ways around not having much money or living near people with similar interests or not wanting to drive everywhere anymore. There was an old song about having the world on a string. I don’t have that, but I do more or less have the world with a few keystrokes on a computer with wireless internet. I can all my shopping and socializing and I don’t even have to wear shoes if I don’t want to. I can hardly wait until I can get a multi purpose 3D printer I can use in my house as easily as I now use my computer and phone.
Progress does sometimes seem to be slow, at least when we are in the middle of the day to day grinds and stressors. But given the perspective of decades and years, we as a civilizations and species have made an incredible amount of progress just in the last ten years, let alone my lifetime, and certainly let alone since my grandparents were born. All of this I do from home wouldn’t have been possible even in 2000. Yet, growing up in the 1980s the year 2000 was some mythic futurist time. Sheesh, other than fast than light travel, matter replicators, “beem me up Scotty”, computers who act like humans, and contact with life from other planets, we are starting to live much of what science fiction even forty years ago. I have hope. Everyone else should too.