Another month is all but over as summer fades into autumn. The weather is turning cooler and the nights are now longer than the days. I get outside some everyday to enjoy the cooler weather but I still don’t socialize much, at least not in person. It just seems that everyone I come into contact with anymore is in such a foul and angry mood all the time. I hope it’s just the paranoia of my illness talking. But it seems I can’t have any kind of conversation without the other person going off on someone or something or just being irritable. I hate it. It makes me so glad I live alone and just hole up for days if need be. I have enough problems of my own. But I try not to dwell on them. I won’t have anyone else trying to drag me down when I feel decent. I have even resorted to not talking to even close friends sometimes because even they are in foul moods. It’s getting old and I don’t want to put up with it anymore.
Been staying close to home for the last few days. I still really don’t want to socialize much in person. Yet I still socialize online via facebook and youtube comments all the time. I have found that I’m having more pleasant and enriching conversations with people that have common interests than even people I see on a day to day basis. I’m beginning to think that connecting people from all over the world with similar interests but will never meet face to face is probably social media’s greatest contribution to humanity. I guess I find myself alienated from many people I’ve known for years, including some of my own family, simply because we don’t share similar interests. Kind of sad but at the same time I’m grateful that I can connect with people who share my enthusiasm for science, tech, and living overall. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been for future thinkers and optimists in previous eras or even when my grandparents were teenagers. I know that had I lived in Medieval times, I’d probably be under house arrest, burned at the stake, or just a serf farming someone else’s land. None of those seem worthy of my nostalgia.
I suppose as it is I will be happy that I have a means to connect with similar minded people even if they are on the other side of the world. I doubt I’ll live old enough to see a Virtual Reality setup where people with similar interests can form their own virtual towns or even virtual nations. But I guess I am honored to see in platforms like facebook, twitter, snap chat, etc. the crude beginnings of such virtual communities. Of course some will abuse it and get trapped in echo chambers. But if I’m going to be in an echo chamber, I just as well be in an optimistic one that either attempts to solve problems or even just serve as cheerleaders for those solving problems in the physical world. I never had the math scores to be an engineer nor the science scores to be a doctor, but I guess since I can’t be among those making the positives a reality, I’ll be among the ones who appreciate what they do and cheer them on.
Been trying my hand at being more social in person and online the last couple weeks. Turns out it’s causing me more frustrations than anything. I try to talk to people in my complex, all they want to do is complain. I try to talk to my friends and family online, all the want to do is complain about anything and everything. And I’m burned out on socializing after only a couple weeks. I’m going back to hiding out with my books and computers. At this point I don’t want visitors in my apartment at all. I don’t want to socialize in person anymore, at least until normal people stop complaining about anything and everything. Socializing is supposed to be fun, remember? Does anyone just take a night off from their troubles and have a few laughs? Certainly doesn’t seem like from my friends and family and friends of friends anymore. I have better conversations with several of the members of my science and futurism groups than I do with most people I’ve known my entire life anymore. And I’m never going to meet any of these people in person. It’s quite sad, at least I think it is. I’m not delusional enough to believe if I moved to a larger city that my social prospects would ever change. It’s not that I fear stupid and rude people in themselves. I am scared that eventually I will become stupid, rude, and jaded myself. I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want my heart and soul to die because most people around me allowed theirs to die long ago. If isolating from other people is going to keep me humane, than so be it. It has been said that men go insane in herds and only come to their senses one at a time. True, too painfully true. Too bad pessimism is the spirit of our age, at least it is for most people I deal with on a regular basis.
Change of subject for this post. The summer is all but over. And it doesn’t bother me much. Summers have been my toughest times of year since I started having problems with mental health in my late teens. I just don’t do well in hot and humid weather. I have no doubt that being overweight only makes this worse. But I have lost some weight this summer as I’m down a full shirt size. I have no delusions that I’ll ever be able to run a marathon but I would love to be in better health again. There is just so much cool and amazing things happening in science, technology, medicine, humanitarian efforts, and even geopolitics that I would love to hang around for quite awhile just to see what happens.
In spite of our problems and divisions there really are some cool things happening even right now. Just a few days ago I read an article that stated the two Koreas are talking about placing a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics. I would have not imagined that to be possible even five years ago. I saw another article about a Japanese businessman who’s going to literally fly to the moon and back via SpaceX in 2023, also a few days ago. And I have little doubt that the first people to set first on Mars have already been born, I wouldn’t be surprised if we do go there within 20 years. As bad as the hurricane has been to the East Coast, at least we can organize relief and rebuilding efforts more rapidly than we could even fifteen years ago. Pretty much every space agency in existence is making plans to set up bases on the moon. Cryptocurrencies have filled in the gaps in some nations where the traditional economy is falling apart. Kind of kicking myself for not buying into bitcoin when it was only a couple hundred dollars a shot. Another statistic I read a few days ago that gives me hope is that people that can read are reading three times as much as their predacessors in the early 1980s did. Granted most of this reading is online articles, tweets, and conversations with friends and colleagues.
Advances are coming in fast and often. And as connected we as a species and civilization are, they aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. Get used to it. Adapt or get left behind. I may find it frustrating to listen to people talk about the ‘good ol’ days’ but I am also amused when I hear griping about the present and talking how there’s no hope for the future on forums that didn’t even exist twenty years ago. I might take these types seriously if they were moving into Luddite communes or Amish villages. I for one say ‘screw the good ol’ days, they weren’t all that great’, especially if you were a racial, religious, or sexual minority, woman, or a child. And I hope we keep advancing so should I find myself in the 2050s as an old man pining for the 2010s, the youngsters will tell me where go with my nostalgia. And I hope some of these youngsters can tell me off from a lunar or Martian colony or via computer based telepathy or in full emersion vertical reality.
I am convinced some really cool things are going to happen within our lifetimes, especially if we don’t anything really stupid as a civilization that we can’t easily undo. As much attention as we pay to national politics, it isn’t the politician who’s going to make a cool reality possible. The best they can do is pass favorable laws and step aside. Science the %*&@ out of our problems, to quote ‘The Martian.’ Otherwise other peoples in other nations will bypass these nations and make advances possible. America and Western Europe are no longer the only shows on Earth, and no amount of whining, politicking, and trade wars are going to change this. And why not let everyone have a shot at some prosperity? The sooner we as a species realize that we share the same planet, breathe the same air, drink the same water, and that a species at war with itself is doomed, the better. At this point, we can achieve some cool stuff as long as we don’t seriously screw up. We don’t seriously mess up, it won’t be a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ And I feel extremely privileged to be alive to witness these transitions even if the ride gets bumpy and irritating at times.
Spent some time outdoors enjoying one of the last few days of summer. Also doing some cleaning in my apartment and rearranging furniture. It’s now a little easier to maneuver around, especially in the living room. Previously I had my computer desk in the middle of the room so I could watch ballgames and work on my computers at the same time. I now have a better setup as I won’t be tripping over power cords and wires as much now that I’ve moved my desk to a corner. I have my computers set up so I can watch them like a television from my recliner. I moved my couch so I watch tv from the couch. Previously I had used my recliner for everything. I use my regular tv mainly for play station games and live ballgames. Playoff baseball starts in a couple weeks and my Rockies have a shot of making the playoffs again this fall. We lost out in the first round last year.
After three months of changed eating patterns I think I’m seeing some positive differences. I am actually wanting to be active now rather than just spend entire days reading online articles or books. I socialize more often. I make it a point to now chat with other tenants at least three times a week. I rarely stay awake all night anymore. I am not as paranoid and anxious about my neighbors as I was this spring. I have fewer aches and pains. I still get winded sometimes when moving heavy furniture but I recover faster now. I still sometimes get stiff after sleeping, but it usually takes only a couple minutes of sitting up to be back to normal. And my clothing fits better.
Previously, from spring 2014 to summer 2015 I had lost slightly over 70 pounds in that time. I stagnated for a few months and then I had my car accident in fall 2015. After that I gained it all back. Oddly it took over two years to gain it all back, so it took longer to gain it than it did to lose it in the first place. I don’t really have any set goals as of right now.
I still sleep more than I would like. But so far it has helped me from having relapses. This has been a more pleasant than usual summer. Now the leaves are beginning to change and the weather will start cooling off any day. In Nebraska we usually get our first frost in mid October, so in three to four weeks if the averages hold out. I really don’t want to change much of my routine as it seems to be working. Sure I would like to travel more, but I’ll leave that for another time.
I’m still sleeping more than normal. I usually sleep ten to twelve hours a night now. But when I’m not asleep I usually want to be outside and chatting with other residents and friends. I can say, at least for now, I’m not as annoyed by small talk and complaints as I have been in months past. I don’t know if it’s the healthier diet or getting more sleep that’s helping me feel less easily irritated.
I’m also finding I just don’t play computer games for a few hours at a time anymore. I’ve recently had entire days I don’t touch the gaming computer. That’s another positive change I’ve noticed. Sometimes I’d play games to escape from rude and irritable people. But I’ve been less irritated and less bothered by rude people lately.
I’m still not going to engage in political discussions or sports fan forums. I’m on too much of a winning streak to risk jeopardizing it or trivial nonsense and tripe. I mean, does anyone really change their minds on issues because of memes, being name called, being trolled, or even by statistics? Sounds like pointless posturing and mindless tribalism as far as I’m concerned. Besides, for as much as these things get reported on, they really don’t make as much of a difference as people would like you to believe. That’s why I focus on science, tech, and medical advances. It’s too easy to get discouraged from the news as they only report on a fraction of a fraction of what’s truly going on.
I still read a lot. Been kind of lazy about my audiobooks. I’ll pick those up again in time. Things like that come and go in cycles. But I have been socializing and reading more often. I let my mind wander more often and just let it go off on tangents and just see what ideas I can come up with. I’m looking for ideas for new poems or even ideas for novel drafts. As much as I love nonfiction, I really don’t have the credentials to get published as a nonfiction science or mental health writer. Besides, I’m having more fun and getting better audiences with this small blog than I ever did the traditional writing route. We are indeed living in some amazing times my friends. It’s sometimes too easy to forget this.
Getting out of the apartment several times a day now. Have been for the last several days. Catching up on the news of what’s been going on around the complex and meeting some of the new residents who moved in during the summer. Seems like we have a few really cool people move in lately, and some of them are even in my age bracket and younger. So I might be rebuilding some of my social safety nets that had fallen apart over the last few years.
I haven’t been as social over the last three years as I had been previously. I think some of it started when three of my friends in my apartment complex died within six months of each other. Then we had a few problem residents come in that gave problems to everyone. So I started isolating to avoid the drama. Then my grandmother died, which I think I took harder subconsciously than I realized at the time. My car accident in late 2015 left me scared to drive and not able to trust other drivers on the road for a long time. 2016 is a lost year as far as I’m concerned. The drama and emotions from the elections caused me so much grief and anxiety. I also lost some good friends and lost contact with some extended family because of those emotions running hot.
After months of hot emotions and people going insane over the pettiest things, 2017 was another tough year. I spent most of that year alone. I rarely visited friends or family. I went entire days without leaving my apartment. I more or less lost my ability to see anything decent in other humans, especially people in my immediate life. I devoted most of 2017 to my writing and self directed scholarly endeavors. Seeing some of the advances that were rapidly being developed was one of the few things that gave me hope in those dark years. Like a fool I tried to share this information with people, but almost no one took me seriously. I had some jerks tell me I was “fake news” and a liar. “Fake news” is another stupid phrase I despise. After a few episodes of this, I became real despondent. I lost myself in computer games and youtube videos and just became annoyed and irritated with people in general. The less I had to deal with flesh and bone people, the better as far as I was concerned.
But after almost three years of depression imposed exile and hermitage, I am slowly becoming more social. I actually want to socialize now. I truly believe that the type of people one surrounds themselves with can effect your mental and even physical health. I have believed this for years. But since most people I knew and ran into on a daily basis were in foul and angry moods, it just seemed better to just isolate, stay out of sight, and hope to God that people eventually came back to their senses. I’m thinking that people, at least the ones I associate with, are starting to come back to their senses. I certainly hope so. The last three years were lonely years. The only years I would rather relive less is my late teens and early twenties before I was being treated for mental illness.
Feeling quite well overall. In fact I would say that I’m quite happy overall much of the time. Yet living alone because of my mental illness, I really have no one to share this happiness with. Most of my friends, at least the ones in my age bracket, are married with children and in the middle of careers. I have several friends who are now divorced and struggling with life. I have a hard time relating to these friends simply because I never married. Even before I realized how serious my mental illness truly was, I didn’t have much interest in getting married. Growing up, I saw that many married couples were unhappy and having money troubles. Three of my best friends’ parents and three sets of my cousins’ parents went through divorces while I was growing up. It just seemed insane to me that my elders were chastising me for being leery about marriage when I was watching marriages getting picked off on a regular basis. I’m so glad that my parents didn’t pressure me into getting married or having kids. Now I’m watching some of my classmates go through divorces or having money problems in their late 30s. And I don’t have those problems.
I don’t feel guilty about avoiding the problems that many of my friends and family members have or had. It seems that most of the really good marriages I see out of my friends and family members came when the couple in question didn’t marry until their late 20s or even mid 30s. People can say that marriages in the “good ol’ days” lasted a lifetime. But many lifetimes didn’t last that long. And most people in bad marriages stayed in mainly because they had no choice, especially when mobility was extremely limited and there weren’t many career options, especially for women. Many people in the old days married more than once, not due to divorce, but because of the death of the spouse.
And let’s not kid ourselves, people change over the years. People develop different interests over the years. People develop different values over the years. I am definitely not the same person now that I was fifteen years ago, let alone five years ago. And one of the things that keeps me getting out of bed every morning is the idea that I can and will change over time given enough time and effort. Having said this, the person you marry at age twenty three isn’t going to be the same person ten years later, let alone forty. I tried to tell this to my classmates when we were in college, but many of them were like ‘love is forever’, or ‘love is all you need’, or ‘who broke your heart’. But here we are fifteen to twenty years later and some of my friends and classmates are finding out there was some truth in my theories. I’m not cynical by any means. I’m actually more optimistic than most people I know. I just see trends earlier than most people.
Even though I had a few really cool friends in high school, by and large my teenage years were difficult. In fact, in many ways, they sucked. I loved scholarly pursuits and I loved to play football at the same time. That made me an outcast among my teammates by itself. My best friend in high school was a girl, and most people couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that it was possible to befriend someone you found attractive and not have sex with them. I suspect the big reason I didn’t get many dates in high school was because my best friend was a girl. But, looking back on it years later, I’m glad I did it the way I did. I do regret not keeping in contact with most of my other friends, but these guys aren’t the type to hang out on facebook or go to reunions anyway. I wanted to get good grades and good test scores in school, so that made me a nerd. I knew right away I didn’t have the hand coordination to go into the trades, so crushing it in academics was the next best thing. And I got excellent scholarships because of my dedication to academics. Sure there were many I didn’t qualify for because of affirmative action and equal opportunity deals. But rather than complain about what I couldn’t control, I did what I could. Namely take difficult classes, do well in those, nail the college board exams, and go to a college that would offer me good academic scholarships.
Even though I didn’t graduate in my preferred field of the biological sciences, I did graduate with a business degree with an emphasis on management and economics. I had no delusions that I was going to be the next Wolf of Wall Street, but I really wanted to teach personal finance and investing classes at the college level. That was before I realized I would probably need a doctorate in order to even consider having any job security in the academic world. Well, I didn’t want to go into student debt to do that. And I could tell my mental illness was getting worse even in my mid twenties. So I applied for disability insurance and moved to low income housing. I worked a part time job for a few years, mainly to prove to myself that I could. In mid 2012, I decided to leave the regular work world to concentrate on my writing and personal scholarly pursuits. I didn’t need to work as I could live off my disability pension. I can do this because I have zero debts, zero family obligations, have cheap hobbies, and I am a minimalist.
For years people told me I was crazy for not getting married, not wanting to have kids, not wanting to pursue the regular nine to five grind, not wanting to go bar hopping on the weekends, and not spending my money on crap I didn’t need to impress jerks I didn’t like. But I’m not even forty yet and I’m already starting to see benefits from being wise and not screwing up. The only really sad thing about this is that I find myself not having much to talk about with when I’m around my old friends. I don’t have a job I can’t stand. I don’t have problems with money. I don’t have a spouse or girlfriend I have personality clashes with. I don’t have an ex I’m send alimony to every month. I’m not making child support payments on kids I never get to see. I was able to separate the gold nuggets of wisdom tossed my way by my elders from the mountains of b.s. that some people tried to jam down my throat. I sometimes find I have more in common with members of my science and futurism groups on facebook than I do my classmates and even some of my friends.
People think I’m odd because I get along fabulously well with my parents, at least the ninety nine percent of the time I’m not having flare ups with my schizophrenia. Sure they were demanding and tough on my brother and I when we were kids. Sure they told us harsh truths about ourselves, the world at large, and didn’t give us the whole Disney fantasy fairy tale stories kind of childhood. As a little child in the early 80s I knew who Ronald Reagan was before I did Mickey Mouse. At age seven I could identify Carl Sagan before I could most movie stars and musicians. It made no sense to me as a kid as it seemed that some of my school mates were more care free and happy than my brother and I. We may not have been raised like warriors but we certainly were raised like scholars.
Now that I’m an adult I am grateful for the way I was raised by my parents and extended family. I am grateful I struggled socially as a teenager as that made me develop skills that some people never had to. I’m glad I got see what could go wrong in dating relationships and marriages without having to experience these tragedies first hand. I’m glad my best friend in high school was a girl. I’m glad that she and I are still good friends twenty years later. That probably wouldn’t have happened had we tried to force the friendship into a romantic direction. I’m grateful for the failed relationships and dead end jobs. I’m thankful I moved out of my hometown. I’m grateful for the years I lived alone. I’m grateful I got out of debt. I’m grateful for loving to read and write. Reading and writing give me a joy that I never found in any romance, job, etc. I’m especially thankful for the early struggles in my teens and early twenties with mental illness and bad jobs. I’m glad those struggles came in my youth rather than my current middle age. I don’t have a mid life crisis because I had my crises in my teens and twenties, learned from said crises, and adapted accordingly. I’m glad I didn’t have it easy early on socially, work wise, mental health wise, etc. I’m grateful for the early struggles. I’m glad I had to face loss in my early twenties as opposed to my late thirties.
Been rainy and cool the last few days. Haven’t really gone anywhere over the Labor Day weekend. Pretty much slept in, listened to podcasts, and talked to family a little. I think my bouts of irritability and paranoia have passed. Was having some problems with those for a couple weeks. I find that sleeping more and avoiding rude people helps me. So does eating healthier. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost but I am down one full shirt size since the middle of June. And I’m not doing much besides eating more protein, severely limiting carbs and sugars, and lifting weights three times per week.
Overall I think I’m coming out of my traditional late summer depression. It helps that the weather is cooler. I always enjoyed cooler weather. From this point of the year until early April I really don’t feel much pressure to socialize if I don’t want to. Sometimes in summers past my friends and family would want to do things like go camping, go to baseball games, go fishing, or go to the park. Sometimes I wouldn’t want to go but I’d force myself to in an attempt to break out of the depression I was in. More often than not I did break out of it, at least for the rest of that day. I would be glad I went out with them afterward but I would, unfortunately, be a little resentful when first asked out. But I did make some good memories in the process even when all I wanted to do was stay home and brood.
I’m enjoying the cooler weather and the rain. Sometimes during these rainy days, I’ll bring up some jazz music on youtube and just relax. I like to read to jazz and blues music. Listened to a lot of Miles Davis, Muddy Watters, and John Lee Hooker over the years while reading. Cooler and overcast weather puts me in the mood to think, read, and write. I do enjoy this kind of weather.
Been quite rainy and overcast the last few days. I do enjoy this kind of weather, especially as a break from the dry heat that is typical of late August and early September. This kind of weather seems to a good excuse to pull up a blanket while sitting in my recliner and reading a book.
Still sleeping more than usual. But this time it’s not that I’m awake all night and then I sleep all day like I had in the past. As it is now, I’ll usually sleep five hours in the night, wake at sunrise, fall asleep after being awake for a couple hours and sleep until noon, be awake for a few hours, nap a little in the late afternoon, and then start the cycle all over again. It does make it tougher to accomplish errands and daytime tasks, but I still feel pretty good over all.
Not only have I been sleeping more, I’ve been sleeping deeper. I sometimes wake up disoriented and not even aware I fell asleep. I dream more too. Fortunately most of my dreams are either halfway pleasant or just make no sense but aren’t scary. I used to get real bad nightmares in my early and twenties where I’d wake up in a startled panic. Haven’t had one of those in years. It’s a gradual process enacting positive changes. But I’m glad that problems can changes and that we can adapt. I used to consider naps a punishment, but sometimes a good nap can be the highlight of my afternoon.