Been spending most of my time alone the last several days. And I’m actually quite happy with this arrangement. And why not? Most of my friends are going through the mid life crisis deals as my friends are in the mid thirties to early forties range. I have a college friend who was diagnosed with cancer several months ago who’s only a year or two older than I am. Most of my friends are struggling with debts and dead end careers, so they are constantly on edge about money. I’ve had friends suffer through divorces. I have a cousin whose son was diagnosed on the autism scale last year. My best friend from my teenage years lost her mother to cancer two years ago. Even in myself I don’t have as much get up and go as I did even three years ago. But I am in my late 30s. I’ll be 40 next summer yet I don’t dread it. I don’t dread aging as much as most of my friends. Most people think I’m weird or lying when I say I actually look forward to being a wise elder. I’m not lying or weird. I’m just ahead of the curve and no longer fearing the inevitable.
I admit I don’t have much nostalgia. I don’t long for the “good ol’ days” because, well, the good old days kinda sucked in many ways. When exactly were the good old days? Was it back in the 1990s when President Clinton was screwing his interns, computers occupied entire desks instead of fitting in shirt pockets, and the music of Tupac and Marilyn Manson were going to be the death of Western Civilization? Was it back in the 1950s when using the n word was okay but Lucille Ball couldn’t say pregnant on network television and the threat of nuclear war was real? “Better dead than red” people said back in those days. And people were worried about the corrupting influence of rock and roll music. Or was it in the Old West when boom towns like Dodge City and Tombstone were far more violent and lawless than any modern slum, women couldn’t vote, and bounty hunters got paid for Native American scalps? Or was it in the Stone Age when everyone ate fresh and natural food, drank clean water, breathed unpolluted air, had no laws, no villages, half of children died before adulthood, and writing didn’t exist. Even the 2010s will be considered the good old days in twenty years by nostalgic fools. Nostalgia is a desert mirage. It is imagined. It isn’t real. I haven’t fallen victim to nostalgia even though I’m on the door step of 40. Hopefully I never fall victim to nostalgia.
I definitely never want to be one of these bitter and angry old men who complain about the kids. Let’s get some thing real clear: every generation of “lousy kids” was supposed to be the death of civilization. And it never happened. If anything, most generations built upon what previous generations did and left science and humanitarian efforts further along than when they started. I have zero patience for people who complain about young people. Elders were complaining about how stupid and incompetent my classmates and myself were even when were in grade school in the 1980s. I have never forgotten how hurtful and unfair that was. I never will. And for that reason I will never pull that kind of crap on people younger than me. And it burns me to see people my age complaining about the kids coming up now. The kids are not more unruly or weaker now than in the past. The only thing kids have ever been guilty of is making old codgers realize that they will someday become irrelevant, they will someday die, and they will someday be forgotten. Kids make old people uncomfortable because kids make elders confront their own hypocrisy, stupidity, and that they were too scared or lazy to try to chase their dreams.
I’m now seeing many of my cohorts becoming bitter and resentful about the bad decisions they made in their teens and twenties. You should have left that dead end job and started your own business or moved to a different city. Yeah, you should have majored in STEM or went to trade school instead of majoring in humanities or general business. Maybe you should have paid off your credit cards before they become unmanageable. You shouldn’t have spent your teens and twenties partying, drugging, and having sex like there would be no price to pay. You shouldn’t have put up with abusive boyfriends or manipulative girlfriends. You should have called your mom more often. Yeah, you shouldn’t have cut ties with your siblings. You should have road tripped and traveled to foreign countries while you still had good health. You should have gone to seen your favorite musician the night they performed in your hometown. You shouldn’t have ignored that geeky girl or boy in your high school history class in favor of the school bully or queen bee. I could go on. But there are no do overs. Learn and move on. Quit romanticizing a past that never existed. Learn from your bad decisions and be glad for the good decisions you did make.
Been kind of quiet the last few days. I’m still going to bed around 10pm and waking up for good around 4 or 5 am. It feels like I get more done throughout the day now. I don’t know if that’s just my perception fooling me, but I do feel more productive and energetic on days I wake up early. I’ve been a night owl most of my life but that seems to be changing the older I get. I’ve felt less anxious and paranoid since I started going to bed earlier. Been doing this for a few months now.
Been feeling pretty stable. I still have minor flare ups once in awhile. But they usually quickly pass after several minutes. I think they are getting easier to manage all the time. I can be irritable and anxious, yet if I keep silent almost no one knows I feel any kind of anxiety or irritability. I never thought I was good at keeping my feelings and thoughts to myself. But maybe I’m getting better about this in adult hood. Some days I don’t socialize much. Yet it seems to keep me sane and well grounded. Sometimes my friends and family are going to be in foul moods. It seems to be best if I avoid them on days when they are. Sometimes I’m in a foul mood. And it’s better when I avoid people when I’m in those funks.
I decided I’m not going to my class reunion. I’m not sore at anyone from back home or anything like that. It’s just I don’t have much in common with most of the people I grew up with anymore. Adult hood has a way of changing a person. I’m not the same person at age 39 I was at age 17. Sometimes it feels like I’m looking at someone else’s life when I think back on my teenage years. I was back in my hometown last slightly over a year ago. I didn’t recognize most people living there anymore. Most of the teachers and mentors I had as a kid are either elderly or dead. Most my friends from that era have moved far away. Some of them aren’t the people who would enjoy reunions and probably won’t be going. My closest friends live at least a three hour drive away from me anymore. My parents and brother live two states away. And while I’m on friendly terms with most people in my complex, even after thirteen years at my current apartment I still don’t feel like I fit in. I hope that is my illness talking and not what is really going on.
One of the lousiest parts of my illness is that I am never sure where I stand with anyone. I’m not even sure where I stand with my best friends and family many times unless they specifically tell me we are on good terms. The illness makes it easy to jump to conclusions and form fears that aren’t based in any reality. And it doesn’t help that I tend to over think and over analyze people and situations naturally. I know my desire for constant reassurance annoys friends and family. I am convinced it killed my ability to enjoy dating or even get dates to begin with. As it is I haven’t been on a date in a dozen years and I don’t want to date ever again. It’s just more headaches for me than it’s worth. At this point in my life I greatly prefer friendships to romances. I never understood why it was such a bad thing to be friends with a dating interest or a spouse. And I never will. The fact that almost half of marriages end in divorce and a significant portion of those that do last for life are unhappy drudgeries tells me that we as a modern society are doing dating and marriage all wrong. People are not meant to spend their lives in drudgery, anguish, misery, and desperation.
As much as the mental illness knocks me down on occasion, I am overall happy and content with my life. Sure I could stand to lose some weight and isolate less. I probably will live longer if I drop some weight and be more social. As far as how my life has turned out, it could be much worse with this illness. At least I’m not dead or in prison. At least I don’t have addictions. At least I don’t have debts. At least I’m on good terms with my family and have managed to keep some really cool friends. And even the ones I’ve lost contact with over the years we can probably pick up if we ever encounter each other. Considering the illness I really don’t have many regrets I could have done anything different about.
Feeling decent overall the last several days. Had my birthday celebration a couple days ago. My parents came up for that and brought lunch. At this stage of my life, the highlights of celebrations like birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc. is spending time with family and friends more than the dinners or gifts. I’ve gotten old enough now it gives me more joy to see my nephews and niece than it does if I get something cool as a gift. Anymore I’m as happy with something I can use everyday like t-shirts or pants or shoes as I ever was with the coolest toys and computer games when I was a kid back in the late 80s and early 90s. We do change with age, hopefully for the better.
Today is Father’s Day as I write this. This is my first Father’s Day with my dad being hundreds of miles away in another state. I sent him a text this morning. Being on a tight budget there aren’t many gifts I can give to the people that mean most to me. I always make it a point to call my parents at least once a week. I know someday they will be gone for good. Many of my friends have already lost parents. So I appreciate my parents whenever I can.
The weather has warmed up and we clearly are into summer. We are getting less rain than previous months but this spring was one of the wettest I can remember. With as cold as it was this winter, I almost forgot what hot and humid weather was. I still open my windows after dark to let a breeze in, at least if I don’t think it will rain in the overnight.
My sleep patterns are changing too. I usually take my medications about 9pm and am asleep by 10pm. I usually wake up once in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I’m usually up for good around 4 or 5am, almost always before sunrise. I have found I can still enjoy the quiet time of the overnight hours at 4am and still be available to socialize and run errands in the morning. I usually run my errands late morning or early afternoon. I sometimes nap for a couple hours in the mid to late afternoon. I also eat less. I usually eat only twice a day now. I usually drink lots of water throughout the day. It gives me the sensation of something in my stomach and gives me an excuse to get up and going so I don’t sit for hours on end. I sometimes get stiff if I sit more than a couple hours at a time. But if I stand up for even a few minutes every hour or hour and a half, I can avoid this.
I have found if I limit caffeine and sugar I feel less stiff and sore on those days. Back in high school when I was on the football team, our coach didn’t want us drinking soda pop or anything with a lot of caffeine or carbonation, saying such things “cut your wind” as he put it. By that he meant, it would make you breathe hard and sluggish. And I’m convinced that too much caffeine, carbonation, and sugar will make my muscles feel tight and rigid. Even in high school I felt better on days when I didn’t eat much sugar or carbonation.
Feeling good overall. I have my routines that, while may be strange to my friends and family, work well for me. I know I’m getting close to my toughest time of year. August and early September have always been tough. At least they haven’t been so tough the last few years. But I’m doing well now and will enjoy the winning streak I’m currently on.
I haven’t been socializing much lately outside of family and close friends. I don’t post on facebook much anymore because I have better uses of my time than debate and defend myself against negative and toxic people. It seems to me that the negativity on social media tends to ebb and flow, almost like the tides. And sometimes I have runs where I’m the only one I know (it seems) who even tries to stay optimistic and positive. In cases like this, a vacation from the social media circus is in order. I’ve been doing this for several days now. I still go on once or twice a day just to see if my friends, family, and chat groups are up to anything new. And in cases when everything is going negative and irritable, I limit my responses and posts to bare minimum. I try not to philosophize and ask deep questions anymore, even on friends sites. It’s kind of tough as I am a bit of a philosopher and researcher by nature. Have been my entire life. Joe Rogan put it well when he said to the effect ‘do high achievers spend their time answering critics on twitter?’ Of course not. I doubt most high achievers and celebrities spend much time on social media. I imagine most of their posts are really done by a public relations worker.
I used to live on social media. It could be fun and it could also be stressful. But like any new tech advances, there is a a learning curve to social media. I try not to post things I know will start unneeded arguments. And let’s be honest, most arguments on social media are not needed and aren’t productive. I doubt scientists trying to accomplish things like making safe AI, trying to crack nuclear fusion, trying to cure cancer, or develop treatments to slow aging, etc. are getting into twitter arguments or trolling scientists working for rival companies or universities. But I guess I don’t see as nasty and personal of insults online as I did even a couple years ago. It still happens, but I think an unwritten code of ethics and conduct is starting to develop when it comes to social media.
But I still make a point of avoiding people when they are being negative. I certainly avoid toxic people who run down other people, especially those trying to do something constructive with their lives. I guess I really don’t have the patience to put up with negative people. I don’t want to be bothered with them. Let them stay away until they stop being so negative and irritable. My mental illness makes it easier to sink into negativity than it would for most other people. That’s why I force myself to read optimistic literature and search for good news stories. I am not a natural optimist. But I do look at data and trends.
I avoid negative and toxic people but not out of spite. I avoid these people because I don’t want to be toxic and negative myself. I have had many bouts of negativity and depression over the years. I’ll probably be more prone to fall into negativity and toxic behavior for the rest of my life, barring some major breakthroughs in medical and psychological treatments. I avoid toxic and negative people for my own health and well being. It’s nothing personal.
Been feeling decent overall the last several days. I haven’t had much for flare ups lately. I think it helps I cut back on caffeine and sugar. Too much of either can make me irritable and sluggish. One of my neighbors recently moved out so it’s been quieter than usual lately in my complex. I signed another lease last week, so that’s finally taken care of. I guess I was delaying and worrying over nothing. Since I emailed my bank and social security disability information to my landlady a couple weeks earlier, all I had to do was sign a bunch of papers. It took maybe fifteen minutes overall. I was fretting and worrying over something that turned out to be far easier than I thought. As I had been fighting excessive paranoia and anxiety this winter and spring I was worried about the whole process. I was even worried I might get evicted.
I guess I have experienced too much negativity in my life that I pretty much expect the worst anymore. I have lost jobs and friends for some very petty reasons. After going through that several times, I became convinced anyone in authority can mess me over for whatever reason they see fit and there isn’t anything I can do about it. It didn’t help any that, in the past, when I asked for help, I was too often denied help and even condemned for asking for help. It came to where I had zero trust of authority figures for anything. Anymore I just try to stay low and out of sight. I can’t stop authority from messing me over, I can only lower the chances that they do. I never understood why it makes some people feel important when they screw over someone who can’t fight back. And I never will.
Overall I try to stay out of sight, out of mind with almost everyone who isn’t friend or family anymore. I am tired of putting up with irritable and angry people. And I especially hate sarcasm and snark. Neither are original anymore. I think empathy and compassion is the new edgy and rebellion. It sickens me how most people I know and hear from every day have no empathy for others. And it spills into all aspects of life. I’m tired of dealing with it. I’m going hermit until people come to their senses. If you have nothing decent to say or are just going to be a pessimist all the time, don’t waste my time. I lost years of my life being a pessimist and believing everything sucked and was only getting worse. I hate pessimists. They just drain the life and joy out of everything they encounter. And they certainly never propose solutions. And I no longer want to hear it. I have dealt with schizophrenia for over twenty years, yet I am more optimistic than most neurotypical people I know.