I Don’t Need To Socialize and Go Out More. Maybe You Could Stand To Shut Up and Stand Still

I have valued my quiet time and solitude my entire life. So much so that I was often labeled anti social when I was growing up. Crowds do not interest me or make me feel better. In fact, I hate crowds. They just drain the life out of me. I love solitude because it gives me a chance to recharge and analyze. The quiet doesn’t bother me. In fact, I thrive in quiet environments. It’s one of the reasons I choose to live in small towns. I think much of our problems in the ealry 21st century come from the fact that we as a civilization no longer value silence and moments of stillness. A lot of mistakes could be avoided if we as individuals and nations just took a few moments to evaluate the long term consequences of our actions and words.

I have never sought to be the center of attention. I actually hate being watched by people. So much so it’s why I chose to live alone once I got out of college. Nothing bugs me more than people looking over my shoulder or listening in on my phone conversations. I cannot have a conversation on the phone and with someone in the room at the same time. It annoyed me to no end as a kid when I would be on the phone and have my parents or brother trying to tell me what to say. I didn’t dare complain about it because it would have made a major argument with my family while I was trying to have said phone conversation. I literally do not have the ability to carry on two conversations at the same time. It’s physically impossible for me.

I also suck at multitasking. The closest thing to multitasking I can do is play computer games and listen to audiobooks at the same time. I never could talk on the phone, cook supper, clean up messes, and smack my older brother at the same time. I have to focus on only one task at a time. I can easily focus on one task for hours at a time. The limit I have on how long I can focus on one task is how long I can sit down without getting knee pain or muscle cramps. The barrier to me is physical and not mental.

I wasn’t bother by the lockdowns of the pandemic as much as most people. In fact, I rather enjoyed the forced quiet and solitude. I loved having an acceptable reason to stay home, read, binge watch youtube videos, and spend the day in sweat pants and hoodies. Most people have this dumb idea that because I spend my time alone and in quiet that I am bored or missing out on life. No I’m not. I have worked jobs before. I have gone to parties. I have gone to ballgames. I have gone bar hopping in my younger years. I have gone to concerts. I have been to weddings and funerals. I pretty much know how these things are going to turn out. I got paid for the trouble I put up with at work (more than I can say about the troubles I put up with at school). I’m going to end up in a corner with a couple of close friends trying to have an intelligent conversation over the noise of way to loud music and some drunk spilling his drink on my nice leather coat. In ballgames, half of the teams lose and half of the teams win. When I went bar hopping, I usually kept quiet because of too loud music and way too obnoxious drunks. As far as weddings go, half of marriages end in divorce but half of funerals don’t end in resurrections. I mean, after a few go arounds, the spoilers are already out of the bag. Not so with spending time alone, reading books, watching educational videos, or having deep conversations with friends and family.

In short, I don’t think I need to learn to come out of my social shell. I think that more people could stand to learn how to shut up, examine themselves, and just stand still for a few moments. Silence ain’t gonna bite you. Neither will solitude.

Why I Love Being An Adult

Talked to my landlady this morning. Got my paperwork signed that will allow me to stay for at least another year. And she was actually apologetic about the wait on the paper work. First time in my entire life someone in a place of power actually apologized to me. When I was in my twenties and thirties, most bosses and landlords acted like they were doing me a favor by letting me work a job and not be homeless. It’s amazing how much things change once you have a little money and some gray in your beard. Things like this make me glad I’m no longer young. I’m starting to understand why some people say life beings at 40.

I admit I don’t miss my twenties and thirties. Sure I miss the physical health and ability to just do things with friends at the drop of a hat. But I certainly don’t miss the disrespect, slights, and elders complaining about me being one of those “damn kids.” Breaks my heart that I see people my age complaining about the young now. It’s like, they were complaining about us the same way back in the 1990s. We weren’t the “triggered snowflakes”, but we were “slackers.” Hell, kids today binge drink less, have less sex, and do fewer drugs than the kids back in the 90s did (at least according to statistics). Rates of violent crime were going down for decades, at least until covid hit. Makes me wonder what Gen Y and Gen Z will say about their kids twenty years from now. Maybe cyborgs and full immersion virtual reality will be the social media of the 2040s.

I do enjoy being middle age. Sure I miss the mobility, but I also enjoy the new found respect. I’m still not used to people in places of power taking me serious though. Most of the time I went to doctors in my twenties and thirties, most of my problems were blamed on my weight. One doctor blamed even my schizophrenia on my weight. I’m glad I fired him.

That’s another thing I glad I’m getting to finally experience in middle age. People like landlords, doctors, nurses, maintenance men, service workers, delivery guys, now act like their relationship with me is a two way street. When I was in my twenties, I was regarded as a nuissance at best by all of these. I still remember walking into stores in the mall as a teen and twenty something and getting followed around by the manager thinking I was going to steal something. Happened quite often. I still remember doctors and landlords treating me like I was an idiot and they were doing me a favor just by letting me into their offices. Now that I’m in my forties, it’s like we now have the two way relationship. I’m almost never regarded as an inconvinence or stupid. I never want to be young again. Screw that.

I also love how I can now say things that I know to be true and be considered wise and smart. When I was in my teens and twenties, I was just regarded as having an attitude problem especially when I was right. I was saying the same things at age 13 that I am at age 41. Yet now I am considered wise. I guess gray hair, chronic knee pain, and a little extra money make all the difference in the world. I just hope I never forget the struggles it took to get here. I hope I never pull the same crap on kids that was pulled on me.

Things I Learned In The Adult World I Wish I Learned In School

With graduation being only a few weeks away, I thought I’d compose a list of things that I learned as an adult that would have made my life easier had I learned them while in grade school and high school. Here goes:

How to invest in the stock market

How compounding interest works

How to have an argument without resorting to insults and violence

Sometimes being “just good friends” is better than a romantic relationship

How to spot biases in news stories and journal articles

How to really listen to people

How to convince people of the validity of my ideas (Hint: facts and statistics almost never work)

I wish I paid more attention in junior high home economics

I wish I paid more attention in shop class

No one is going to ask to see your grades unless you’re trying to get into grad school, law school, medical school, etc.

Things change

Take care of your knees

The only language some people understand is force

There are truly wealthy people who dress in Wal Mart clothing and drive Dodge Ram pickup trucks

There are lots of people living paycheck to paycheck who drive BMW and wear Louis Votton

If you are wrong, apologize and move on. Don’t keep bringing it up.

It is possible to pay too much attention to a love interest. What you call being attentive, they may call being clingy.

Adults don’t know everything. They are just better at bluffing.

Having a job isn’t as bad as your parents and 7th grade teacher told you it was

You probably aren’t being judged as much as you think. Most people are too busy with their own lives to notice.

Eye witness testimony isn’t always reliable.

Sometimes bad people really do get what they deserve.

Some of the most admired people are sometimes the worst human beings in private

You can have just as good a time with pizza and cheap malt liquor as you can champagne and caviar.

You can have an even better time at your nephew’s sixth birthday party then you can any frat party.

No, it doesn’t make sense that a wedding takes a year to plan but a funeral can be planned in less than a week. But it doesn’t matter. Roll with it

It is impossible to predict human stupidity

Most people don’t read books or even newspapers after leaving school

Most people can get through life hap hazardly. But it won’t be a life that makes a difference to even your friends, family, and coworkers

Some people are better off not marrying

Some people are better off not having kids

Some people are better off not working a traditional 40 hour a week job

First impressions do matter but aren’t always accurate

Being a liar and a hypocrite works only when most people aren’t liars and hypocrites.

And, most people aren’t liars and hypocrites.

I have more in common with the working class of rival nations and religions than I do my political leaders and business tycoons

Life is a competition and a game, but in the end it all goes back in the box.

Money in itself isn’t evil but can be easily abused.

Poverty in itself isn’t virtuous.

Long hours and obsessive commitment won’t insure riches. They are the bare minimum.

You can be rich in money but poor in free time.

The graveyards of the world are full of people who could never imagine the world without them.

There will always be people who fight against progress.

The past was a real lousy place for anyone who wasn’t rich or in the religious or cultural majority.

Progress isn’t guarenteed

Machines and robots will eventually take most jobs

Time speeds up with age

Why I Spend Most Of My Time Alone

It’s been two weeks since I left my apartment for something other than picking up deliveries. When I was out and about two weeks ago, I was reminded why I isolate so much. Had a conversation with a guy who went on and on about conspiracy theories. Dude wouldn’t shut up. So, to make it interesting, I played along and acted like I believed similar nonsense. It was both annoying and amusing at the same time. Another guy asked me why I spent so much time alone. I just told him I love to read and watch educational videos. And he was all like, “Why? You don’t get paid for it.” I wanted to say, but didn’t, “I don’t get paid to eat and sleep either but I still do both.” Some people are so willfully clueless it’s scary. And I also ran into the random lady who went on and on about religious rock music. I’ve heard some of the newer stuff. It’s not going to make me forget “Amazing Grace”, “Old Rugged Cross”, or “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

After a day like that, I had enough of being among people. I do get lonely at times. I’ve been quite lonely the last several days. But I’d rather be lonely than irritated.

Nearing The End of 2021

2021 will be fading into 2022 in a few weeks. It’s been a year of changes and challenges for myself. I spent three weeks in the hospital for blood pressure and heart problems. Will be on meds for these for the rest of my life. I’m continuing to lose weight. Most of my clothes fit loose enough on me now that I may have to buy a whole new wardrobe if the weight loss continues. Several of my neighbors have moved away. I don’t even recognize many of the newer faces in my complex. I haven’t driven a car in over 2 years. I just don’t trust myself on the road anymore. I get sensory overload even in my own apartment now. I more or less quit socializing with my neighbors with a few exceptions. I just don’t have much in common with my neighbors. I guess I’m content to keep to myself with my books and hobbies. I no longer have a stomach for drama and pettiness. I’m just too tired for that anymore.

Been warmer and drier than normal the last few weeks. Seems like every day I hear firetrucks going out to range fires. We’re supposed to get some snow by the end of the week. We’ll see about that. We certainly need it.

My sleep patterns are returning to more normal. I usually go to bed around 10pm and wake up for good by 6am. I’m experiencing less severe aches and stiffness in the mornings. I still have odd dreams, but they aren’t scary. Just odd.

Using audiobooks a lot lately. Probably use those 2 to 3 hours per day. Still working the Ray Dalio one that came out last week. Have some Yuval Harrari and Parag Khana going right now too. I don’t know why, I just prefer non fiction to fiction. I always have. I never did get into science fiction even though I think I would have loved Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series had I discovered it in my youth as opposed to my late thirties. The science fiction I grew up on were stories like Terminator, Matrix, and Judge Dread. Basically really lousy futures that aren’t worth living in. I had enough drama and horror in my own personal life, I didn’t need horror and drama as an escape. Hell, I needed an escape from the horror and drama of real life. I have actually never bought a comic book.

Canceled my cable service several months ago. I don’t miss it one bit. I don’t even watch ballgames much anymore. Just seems pointless and I no longer enjoy it. And I haven’t watched cable news in over ten years. How is cable news still a thing? Most of what I watch anymore is youtube and Amazon Prime. I don’t even have Netflix anymore. I used to follow the Castlevania, Borgia, and Altered Carbon series. But I guess I just have a lot of reading I want to catch up on these days. I find learning fun. That makes me weird, I know. Maybe I just went to a good school in that they didn’t beat the love of learning out of me. I think it helped that I had parents who always kept books in our house and I was walking distance to the local library. When I was a kid, I wanted to buy that library, work in their full time, and just live in the basement. That was one of my aspirations as a kid. Another was to be rich enough that me and my friends could play Monopoly with real money. But isn’t being a real estate tycoon Monopoly in real life?

Holidays and Mental Illness

Hosted a non traditional Thanksgiving dinner over last weekend. My parents came back to Nebraska for a funeral, so they won’t be coming back this week. My cleaning lady, who does lots of cooking, said she’d bring me a plate of traditional Thanksgiving fare. I guess with many of my neighbors going to family and friends for the long weekend, I’ll be having a few quiet days in my apartment complex.

Holidays are tough for most people. For us with mental illness, it can sometimes be unbearable. While I enjoy the good food and Christmas decorations as much as anyone, I do have a hard time with the disruptions of my routines. I thrive on routines more than I care to admit. I don’t usually change my routines unless I have to. Some days I don’t even leave my apartment or have guests. I guess I’m really picky about what I do and don’t do, more than is healthy probably.

Christmas movies will begin playing soon. It’s A Wonderful Life and Christmas Story are my two favorites of all time. I think some of those ClayMation shows are kinda creepy. I definately will not participate in Black Friday. I mean, how did this even become a thing? Not only that, there are people who actually enjoy that madness. I can understand Cyber Monday, but in the case of internet shopping, I get what I need and the post man brings it right to my house. It’s so simple that the only time I need to put on pants is when I go meet the delivery man. I think kids waiting on the Amazon delivery service will be to them what getting the Sears Christmas catalog was to me growing up in the 1980s. On Black Friday, I’m just staying home and watching football.

While Thanksgiving and Christmas get most of the attention, my favorite end of the year holiday is New Year’s. When I was growing up, my church hosted a new year’s party every year. Played a lot of board games, had lots of good food, and we usually let out immediately after midnight in order to avoid drivers who had too much to drink. I’d wake up early the next morning and watch the Rose Bowl parade and football games all afternoon. Back then, my Huskers were good enough they were almost always playing in a New Year’s Day game. Sadly, some traditions wind up dying over the years. After I moved out on my own, I used to go to New Year’s Eve concerts hosted by the local bars. Quit going out on New Year’s around ten years ago after some girl chatted me up and I think she was trying to make her boyfriend jealous. Glad I was sober so I could talk my way out of a bad situation.

I didn’t do much for Halloween besides buy some peanut butter cups. They were always my favorite candy. First time in months I had candy. I try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Same goes for carbs. One year for Halloween, I watched the original Dracula movie from the 1930s.

While I do enjoy the chilly weather and possibility for snow, I don’t enjoy some aspects of the holidays. But they too shall pass.

Signs That I Am No Longer Young

My complex went back on lockdown until further notice starting a couple days ago. So, no more mass gatherings unless they are outside. I won’t be able to spend time in the complex library or commons area for awhile. We had a few people in here who tested positive within the last couple weeks, one of whom a close friend of mine. So glad I held onto my extra facemasks and sanitizer sprays.

Yet, in spite of the pile up of bad news, I’m going off subject for this post. I’m going to try to make a light hearted list of signs that I am no young. This isn’t by any means a complete list. So here goes.

Signs I Am No Longer Young

I get junk mail from AARP weekly

The highlights of my week often involve my cleaning lady showing up and appointments with my psych doctor

I get more joy now from a bowl of cheese soup and chatting with my best friends than I ever did going to bars and chasing women

I have zero time for drama but factor in time for aches and pains

I used to drink an average of six cups of coffee per day in my mid twenties. Now I drink maybe six cups per month

I’m not embarassed to talk about mental health issues

I have no problem asking for help

I have no problem with taking people up on their offers to help. You want to help? Fine with me. I’m putting your butt to work and I won’t feel a shred of guilt for it.

I remember when social media was fun

I remember when teenagers were called angsty slackers and not triggered snowflakes.

I remember when the Pepperidge Farm guy was a real guy and not a cartoon meme.

I learned about sex from my buddies’ stolen Playboys and Victoria’s Secret catalogs

I was scared to talk about my mental illness with even my best friends for the first five years of my diagnosis.

I got interested in economics and geopolitics by Ross Perot in 1992

Most of the musicians I admired in my teens and twenties are dead, many of whom died quite young.

I remember when people were freaking about AIDS like they are now over covid

I watched the trials of O.J. Simpson and Oliver North

I was in high school before DNA evidence was considered reliable

I used a firearm before I learned to drive or shave

I was angry at my dad because he wouldn’t let me use the lawnmower until I was eight years old

The only person I know personally below the age of 55 who has worked for the same company for over twenty years is my brother.

I remember when college graduates having over 25k in student loans was a big deal

When people with law degrees or MBAs were not waiting tables or Uber drivers

When gig work was seen as a supplement and not a necessity

When you didn’t have to be independently wealthy to afford a house outside of the ghetto or rural America.

When corporations weren’t considered legal people. I mean, does Amazon have a favorite ethnic restaurant? Is Coors Brewing a big baseball fan and, if so, why do the Rockies stink every year? Are J.P. Morgan and Coco Chanel having an extramarrital affair? If so, does Apple have the selfies and is threating to share them with Twitter and Tik Tok?

Too many parents of today are overprotective of their kids. Same parents (and myself) were not supervised or protected at all while growing up in the 80s and 90s. Balance, people, balance.

I get good memories from hearing the theme songs to “X-Files”, “Daria”, “Cops”, “Resident Evil”, and “Jackass”

I’m old enough to remember when “The Simpsons” was just as good as “South Park”

I remember when crime dramas were as popular as superhero movies are today

A few of my friends thought they could commit the perfect crime because they watched every episode of CSI, The Sopranos, and Cops

I remember when the Bulls and Knicks had great teams

These are just a few. I’ve gone on too long already. I’ll be sure to post more in the future

Things I Wish I Knew At Age 18

I’m going to be celebrating my 41st birthday next week. A lot has changed over just the course of my life. The fact that I can send out my random rants into something called The Internet and have them available to anyone who has what is essentially a pocket sized super computer that happens to make phone calls is still mind boggling. The subject of this post is the things I wish I knew about life when I was 18 rather than having to learn them through hard experience. So here goes

Things I Wish I Knew At Age 18

In many ways, work is easier than school. At least with work, you get paid for your trouble. And you don’t have to deal with the completely random assortment of jerks, losers, morons, and bullies that you are assigned to just because of your age and where you live. At work, most people are there because they have skills the job demands. And, no, you aren’t expected to make friends at work.

You don’t have to get married and have children to have a fulfilling life. You don’t even have to have a successful career to be fulfilled.

It’s probably best if you don’t get all of your fulfillment from your job. The most interesting people I’ve ever known hate their jobs but made up for it with their hobbies, church groups, community activities, etc.

It isn’t necessary to have a high paying job to make lots of money, especially if you are smart about things like debts and investing. Lots of people make six figures yet are only a missed paycheck away from being behind in their lease or rent. Some of the richest people I ever knew never owned expensive houses, took vacations to foreign countries, or drove anything more luxurious than a new Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Take care of your joints, especially your knees. You’ll miss those when they go bad.

Routine maintenance on EVERYTHING. It doesn’t matter if it’s your house, your car, your physical and mental health, your friendships, your marriage, etc. It will allow you to correct minor problems before they become major crises.

You can tell the truth all the time and some people will still think you’re a liar.

Many people stopped developing mentally and emotionally as teenagers. In fact, I know many adults who have worse morals and make worse decisions then teenagers and college students.

Elders will always complain about the “damn kids.” The only way to avoid doing this when you become an elder yourself is to consciously fight against it on a daily basis. The same people complaining about Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande where the same people rocking out to Rage Against The Machine and Marilyn Manson back in the 90s.

If you want to find out what someone is really like, give them power and money.

Some people will always fight against change. They are usually only delaying the inevitable.

Some people will never be pleased.

Some of your worst critics will be family members, friends, and neighbors.

The only real constant in life is change.

Things I’m Looking Forward To In The Future

I’m composing of list of things that probably will be coming within the next generation or so that I am looking forward to. My entire life I’ve been accused of being too much of a dreamer and having false hopes. I’ve even had people tell me I think long term too much. I’ve always been bothered by how short sighted most people, at least in my culture, seem to be. But here goes with the list.

Things I’m Looking Forward To In The Future

People back on the Moon

People on Mars

5G tech

3D printed houses

Eradication of malaria

Seeing people my age and younger in places of power, wealth, and influence

Seeing my nephews and niece start careers and families

Being seen as a wise old man instead of a young smart ass with attitude problems

Blockchain tech truly come of age

Having people do favors for me because of my age and not feel guilty

Being old enough to not only know what others think doesn’t matter, but not being able to remember anyway

Truly amazing Virtual Reality

Seeing friends and classmates become grandparents

Not repeating the mistakes of my elders and previous generations

Lab grown replacement organs

Mile tall skyscrapers

Fusion energy

Having a robot neighbor

Cures for mental illnesses (It’s my blog, I can dream can’t I?)

Riding in a driverless car

Getting to watch what amazing breakthroughs come by the time I die

The end of the pandemic

The end of cable news

The end of unneeded paper work

The end of junk mail

Personalized medical treatment

Getting to watch the development of the next trillion dollar industry. My bets are on biotech and space based resources

Just knowing we have armies of really smart scientists, engineers, doctors, artists, etc. figuring out new things and solutions while normal people cry doom and gloom. Then again, good news never has sold well

Things I Don’t Understand

I readily admit there are things about my fellow humans I don’t understand. And I never will. Of course having a mental illness makes it almost impossible to read people. But here is a short list of things I don’t understand (and likely never will). It is not meant to be a comprehensive list. Here goes:

Things I Don’t Understand

Celebrity worship

Obsession over designer clothes

Gender reveal parties

Beauty pagents for children

Little league parents

Parents giving participation trophies to kids and then complaining about kids receiving participation trophies

Teachers and adults who tell kids “Wait until you have a job, kids, etc.” And then never acknowledging the kids who learned from their elders’ mistakes as adults.

Too Big To Fail

Too Small To Succeed

Treating politicians like rock stars

Treating scientists and doctors like idiots

Prosperity Gospel

The belief everyone has to have an opinion on everything

Cancel culture

Most Tik Tok videos

Most Twitter tweets

Arguing over petty nonsense on social media with complete strangers

Prideful and willful ignorance

Being proud of having no compassion and empathy

The belief that apologizing when wrong means one is a weakling

People who think the world is more violent than ever when all the data says otherwise

Adults complaining about kids not supporting certain businesses or industries. It’s called voting with your money. People used to call that the free market

The appeal of the philosophy of Ayn Rand

The appeal of country rap

Vaping

Bragging about how much you work

Bragging about how much you hate your job

Bragging about how much you hate your in laws

Bragging about how bad your ex was

Believing there is virtue in being a victim

The acceptance and praise of mediocrity in all it’s forms

Reruns of Jackass and Beavis and Butt Head

The Bachelor and Bachelorette

Most reality tv

People complaining about how Hollywood doesn’t have any new ideas. That’s why Netflix and Amazon Prime are so popular these days. And there are thousands, if not millions, of people in youtube making original content on a daily basis, often on shoe string budgets and with just a smart phone or laptop

People who worry about dystopic futures yet refuse to acknowledge that the past was dystopic for most people, especially racial minorities, religious minorities, anyone not obviously heterosexual, slaves, women, and children.

Most print magazines

The belief that the internet is a luxury. Twenty years ago, it was. But now over 5 billion people (on a planet of almost 8 billion people) now have access to it.

The belief that the USA is the only country in the world with debt problems

The celebration of sociopaths and psychopaths in popular entertainment

Treating politics like religion

Treating science like a matter of opinion

Believing money is evil

Believing technology is evil

Most conspiracy theories

Caring more about your kids’ grades in school than if they are learning anything

The outdated belief that learning only takes place in school or has to be tedious and boring

Requiring college degrees for most jobs

These are just a few things I don’t understand. Once again, it’s not meant to be a comprehensive list. It was merely for fun and a change of pace