June 27 2020

Alternating between hopeless optimism and slight irritability the last few days.  Had my neighbors over for the afternoon a few days ago.  Other than that, haven’t had much for guests or in person socializing for the last two weeks.  I am still working on my audiobooks.  Still messing with my computer games.  Been usually going to bed shortly after sunset.  Usually wake in the middle of the night, read some articles or play some computer games for a few hours, then go back to sleep for another few hours.  My aches and pains are still the worst in the mornings.  After I stretch out, move around, and take my morning vitamins with breakfast I’m good for the rest of the day.  Standing up and walking around at least once an hour helps keeps the aches and stiffness down.

See that some places are bringing back the quarantines for the coronavirus.  Here in the USA, big quarantines are now in the southern states and west.  I don’t know what the answer is, or if there even is a best answer.  If we stay shut down too long, we will make sure the hospitals don’t get overrun.  But many small businesses will go bankrupt.  We already have 40 million people on unemployment.  I think we are going through one of those ordeals will we will see an almost unrecognizable world once this pandemic burns out.  I think many things will be better, like allowing for more work from home options and people taking health and cleanliness more seriously.  But it’s already been a very painful process and we’re only six or seven months into this crisis.

I find myself overwhelmed sometimes.  By the pandemic, social unrest, economic problems, etc.  Yet, at other times hopeful too.  Many changes that were needing addressed, whether it was public health, bigotry, work life balance, environmental issues, supply chains for essential goods and services, lack of understanding and appreciation for science and tech advances, changes in the work place, the rise of automation and early AI, etc. are now at the forefront of social discourse.  These conversations are being had in the halls of congresses, academic institutions, business enterprises, and among common citizens like never before.  While it would have saved much heartache and many lives had these conversations taken place sooner, they are now being had by almost everyone.  It seems we humans are often at our best during times of crisis.  This current pandemic and social unrest are probably the first time in human history that all the nations of the world are facing the same problems all at once.  That alone is going to get far more minds working on solving problems.  I sometimes get discouraged in the day to day grinds.  But I am also hopeful at other times.  We now have several possibilities for a covid vaccine in human trials.  And we didn’t even know what covid 19 was this time in 2019.  And it’s not just the US, China, etc. working on this.  If this pandemic had to hit, at least it didn’t happen back in the 1980s before internet was available to the common citizens and our medical science wasn’t as advanced.

Hermiting, Covid 19, and Schizophrenia

Been isolating and staying home for the last several days.  I do all my communication through social media and phone calls.  My cleaning lady had to have surgery so she’s out for probably a few months.  My neighbors come by and help out every few days.  Overall I’m burned out on dealing with people in person.  People actually scare me anymore.  The less I deal with them, at least in person, the better.

Currently working on audiobooks.  Recently listened to The Economic Singularity by Callum Chase.  Currently working on The Rise of The Robots by Martin Ford.  A friend of mine is trying to talk me into reading the Dune and Foundation series.  I read the first Foundation a year ago.  But I got soured on science fiction as a teenager when movies like The Terminator, Gattaca, and The Matrix were really big.  I have enough dystopia in my own life.  Why in the hell would I want to escape to that?  Recently read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harrahi.

I spend almost all of my time avoiding people.  These are real scary times for me, especially living in low income housing, being on disability, and dealing with mostly angry, irrational, and illogical people.  It seems like most people I personally know just want to fight all the time.  I’m through with that.  I’m ready to move past the anger phase.  Too bad almost no one I know is.  I am thankful I don’t live in a large city.  I am thankful I can hermit and stay home.  I am thankful I don’t have to deal with angry and stupid people anymore than I already have to.  I don’t see how most people can deal with this.  I know I couldn’t.

June 16 2020

Been real hot since Memorial Day.  Got some good rain also.  So at least it isn’t completely unbearable.  I have slept quite a bit the last two days, mostly out of boredom.

Sunday, June 14 was my birthday.  My parents came up for that.  Brought in lunch from a deli in one of the local supermarkets.  Pulled pork, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and chocolate cake were excellent choices.  I was glad they were able to make it up here.  I was originally worried about them getting exposed to the virus while travelling.  But they took precautions.  I wear face masks whenever I answer my door and pick up deliveries.  My dad joked that I may have been ahead of the curve when it came to getting groceries and supplies delivered to my house.  Been getting groceries delivered for a few years now.  Not many people did this when I first started, at least not in my town.  But even in the small college community I live in here in Nebraska, it’s catching on.

Had a short breakdown a week ago.  I always hate those.  I feel bad that I rant and rave to my family during those.  I do remember much of what I say during those breakdowns.  But it’s almost like the impulse controls are no longer working.  I feel sick that I take my frustrations out on family.  I’ve had only one breakdown in public, that was five years ago when I yelled at a young cashier.  I immediately apologized but I still felt so bad I stayed out of that store for over a month.  I guess I don’t understand people who take out frustrations on customer service workers.  Maybe I just have a big heart or just have more sympathy than some because I used to work in customer service.  Thankfully I’ve never had a breakdown around my brother’s children.  I love those kids and they are the last people I want to hurt.

Thoughts on My Upcoming Birthday

My birthday is this Sunday.  I will be forty years old.  I guess the thing I’ve noticed about getting older is that I do have more aches and pains, especially in the mornings.  I have to be more careful about what I eat too.  I’ve noticed that too much caffeine makes me irritable and short tempered.  Too much carb rich food like bread and pastas will make me lethargic and sleepy.  Too much milk will unsettle my guts.  It’s also easier for me to fall asleep.  I do wake up at least once a night to visit the bathroom.  I don’t desire sugar as often.  I have little to no interest in sex, certainly not enough to start dating again.  I have come to be more accepting of my weaknesses and drawbacks.  I’ve learned to compensate and work around those weaknesses and drawbacks.  Instead of looking for what’s going wrong in the world, I spend much of my time trying to figure out what’s going right.  Even though I’m middle aged, I have more empathy for kids and young adults.  I didn’t have much empathy for kids and young adults when I was a kid and a young adult.  I’ve come to accept that everyone has their own struggles and problems, so it’s best to go easier on people overall.  I’ve developed more of an appreciation for customer service workers like waitresses, cashiers, delivery drivers, shelf stockers, gas station clerks, etc.  I have found that a good cup of coffee and a home cooked meal will give me more joy than going to clubs and chasing women ever did.  And I learned that we as humans are far more adaptable and able to change than we realize, especially in the long term.

June 7 2020

Starting to sleep less overall.  Been reading alot, especially online articles and journals.  I still keep in contact with my friends and family.  Been going easier on the computer games the last few days.  I do get lonely at times.  That’s why I try to stay in contact with friends and family.  My friends circle is quite small these days.  Too many people I personally know are real angry and scared these days.  I try to stay positive and remind myself that these current troubles will eventually pass.  Too bad almost no one is listening.

We Knew The Problems, We Didn’t Act Accordingly

Haven’t left my apartment since last weekend.  Been sleeping more too.  2020 has been an insane year, to say the least.  Pandemics.  Protests.  Quarantines.  Broken supply chains.  Private space flight takes astronauts to the space station.  Yes, 2020 will be a year for the history books.

While all these things are overwhelming for me, I try to stay grounded and positive.  I try to tell people around what’s actually going right.  I tell people that I am hopeful that all of our current troubles are hopefully the birth pains of a more humane and balanced way of living and interacting with the world.  We were foolish to base so much of our manufacturing overseas, especially essential medicines and protective gear.  Militarizing the police was not a good idea.  The uncomfortable conversations about bigotry have been put off for far too long.  Our governments spending too much money and passing the debts off to future generations have gone on for too long.  The gaps between the wealthy and the poor have gotten unmanageable.  The middle class, a key ingredient in any stable and free society, has been under siege financially for too long.  Many people in their twenties and thirties don’t see how they can ever afford a house or children when they already have a small fortune in  student loans.  They were told, like I was, a college degree was necessary to get any jobs beyond frying chicken or pumping gas.  Then they get out of college and the good paying jobs their parents and grandparents had aren’t there.  And now automation is probably going to take over a significant portion of jobs in most industries.  Any wonder most people are scared and angry?

Most of this has been building for at least a couple decades now.  Workers in my parents’ generation knew that social security wasn’t going to be enough to cover their retirements.  Yet, too many of them didn’t save and invest enough to make up the difference.  Now they can’t afford to retire and creating a log jam of millions of younger people overqualified for the entry level jobs they have available.  We knew that too many police officers weren’t being held accountable for using excessive and deadly force, primarily in black and brown neighborhoods, yet we wouldn’t hold them or corrupted local politicians and judges accountable.  Doctors and scientists have been warning us for decades a major pandemic was extremely likely in our lifetimes.  We knew, but we refused to prepare.  We knew about the potential dangers of climate change since at least the 1960s.  Sure, rivers are less polluted in many countries, electric cars are becoming reliable, solar and wind power becoming cheaper than coal in many countries, power storage is becoming more feasible, and nuclear fusion is in development.  But we are starting to see the effects of what scientists have been warning for decades.  We knew a major stock market crash was due once my parents’ generation started retiring and selling off their retirement funds.  We didn’t do enough to prepare, either as nations or individuals.  Wages for most workers haven’t budged in terms of inflation since at least the early 80s, even though workers have gotten more productive and are demanded more from employers.  We treated customer service workers like garbage for decades.  I saw it everyday I worked.  I even received enough abuse from customers, bosses, and coworkers alike I will never work in customer service again.  I don’t care if my disability does get cut off, I’d rather starve to death than be treated worse than an animal.

2020 is indeed a very stressful year for most people.  It was made worse because problems we’ve known about for decades were either never addressed or addressed inadequately.  Hopefully 2020 will be a year when we start to make right the wrongs and bad decisions of previous decades and eras.  I don’t know what it’s like to be black or any other racial minority.  And I never will.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman either.  And I never will.  I don’t understand their problems.  But I do want be empathic and be part of making right the wrongs of the past and present.