November 21 2020

Stayed up late again last night. Been listening to audiobooks quite a bit lately. Bought some groceries yesterday. Looks like I’ll be spending the rest of the month at home. My town passed a mask mandate through late February 2021. Glad I bought a box of masks last week.

The loneliness gets to me sometimes. I’m not irritated or paranoid about it. Just kind of sad. 2020 is going to be a year for the history books. And in almost every way imaginable. I’m still amazed workable vaccines were developed in only one year. I just hope enough people use these vaccines and practice preventative measures enough we can end this pandemic soon.

I doubt we will have a complete return to the normal ways of previous years. I don’t plan on doing much shopping in person anymore. I’m completely at ease for having doctors’ appointments online. I already got rid of my car last year. I had grown to hate driving the last few years before I gave it up. I have gotten pretty decent at cooking my own meals. I enjoy watching movies in my own home with my own snacks and no one kicking the back of my chair. I have thought for years that doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, etc. don’t get the recognition and respect they deserve. I think the same way about delivery drivers and minimum wage workers.

Progress didn’t stop during 2020. It actually sped up, often out of necessity. I read a couple days ago that now over 65 percent of the world has internet access and over 90 percent now has electricity. The change over to renewable power is going faster too. Read another article a couple days ago that over 90 percent of new electrical generating capacity is now clean energy like wind, solar, hydroelectric, etc. Politicians can talk all they wish about saving the coal and oil industries, but even the economics of cheaper renewables are working against this. It is now profitable to install green tech. I don’t think some of my friends would have seen the free market as ushering in green tech. Maybe we will head off the worst of climate change because the finances now make sense. Pity the tech wasn’t there twenty years ago.

As far as other progress goes, I read some places are now experimenting with flying drone taxis. Supposedly Dubai is supposed to have this service within the next two years. So everyone complaining about no flying cars can finally keep quiet and fly off. Personally I think a person born in the late 1800s, if they saw the world today would probably be more impressed with internet access than anything flying.

As bad as this pandemic has been, it could have been so much worse. Even if this would have hit back as recently as the 1980s, it would have been much uglier. I’m still amazed at how much work can be done from home. Couldn’t have done this without reliable internet. With vaccines set to be mass produced, I can start to see the end of the pandemic is in sight.

November 20 2020

Stayed up late last night, latest I’ve stayed up in weeks. Spent some time out of my apartment. I saw some maintenance workers in the apartment next door. So I’ll probably get new neighbors soon.

I’m slowly starting to reestablish contact with old friends. I kept mostly to myself and a small core of long time friends and family for the last couple years. I had gotten burned out on people fighting over petty nonsense over social media. For an introvert like myself, social media was a blessing as it was far easier for me to socialize over facebook than in person. Since I live in a small town and most of my friends live hundreds of miles away, I don’t have many opportunities for good socializing. Since I have rare interests, socializing has always been difficult for me. Once people started arguing over social media real bad, it really killed my social life. It hurt real bad. While I’m starting to rebuild those friendships, there are at least a few I’m not sorry I lost. One good thing about social media is that I get to find out what someone is really like. The bad thing is that I get to find out what someone is really like. I suppose it is like in order to find out what someone is really like, give them power and near unlimited expression.

Found some audiobooks on youtube, at least some that are old enough they don’t violate copyright laws. Been listening to philosophy books for the last couple days.

Not experiencing as many aches and pains the last several days. I still take advil in the mornings but I take it only once a day. I don’t need as much sleep. I usually only sleep seven hours a night. I usually spend three to four hours a day in bed reading online articles or texting friends.

Too Bad I Don’t Get Paid To Learn or My Path To Becoming An Independent Scholar

I’ve been enjoying the cooler fall weather and the changing leaves. Been having bouts of depression the last few days. They clear up after some good conversation with old friends and family. I think the loneliness of the pandemic is starting to get the best of me. I’m too paranoid to socialize in person much as most people I know won’t wear face masks. And with flu season starting in only a few weeks, this could be a really rough winter. I’m prepared to hunker down and stay home for a real long time if needed, at least in terms of supplies. I’m not so sure about the mental part of it.

I’ve been having more time to think during this pandemic. Been reflecting on my past and growing up. When I was a kid, some of my happiest memories were being alone and exploring our large back yard and letting my mind wander. I’d often make up stories and keep these story lines going for months at a time. I never did write any of them down and have forgotten most over the years. I kept a journal one summer while in junior high, at least until my brother stole it and mocked me for some of my writings. He and some of the neighborhood kids used to spy on me when I paced the backyard too. Hurt really bad to have my privacy violated like that. I didn’t realize I was good at writing and story telling until I was almost done with college.

I graduated college with a business degree. I originally started as a pre medicine major with the idea I would get a job in a research lab eventually. While I was really interested in biology, palentology, and chemistry as a kid, I was also really interested in history and literature. I didn’t consider studying history or english in college because I heard the horror stories about arts and humanities students finding only minimum wage jobs after graduation. I only studied business because I got a D in organic chemistry, which destroyed my chances for graduate school. I also didn’t know much about business or money besides how to balance a checkbook. And since money involves everything, I thought business might lead to a career once I finished college. I really enjoyed the economics, finance, and investing classes. I didn’t enjoy the accounting classes. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and no idea what I was going to do with it.

After graduation I worked a couple retail sales jobs as that was all that I had available to me. Even while working those jobs, I used to get anxiety real bad about working. I used to vomit before work most days because of the anxiety. I later got a job as a graduate assistant while I was working on my masters’ in economics. That job, while really enjoyable, lasted only a few months because I couldn’t make grades. I also don’t think my bosses or coworkers liked me.

After I qualified for disability insurance a few years later, I finally had a safety net. I worked part time for a few years as a janitor at the county courthouse. After a few years of that, I decided to take “early retirement” and finally do what I wanted for the first time in my life. I devoted my life to studying, reading, writing, etc. And I have never been happier. I may not make much money and I probably never will. But I’m good with that. I never had the kind of ego that needed lots of money, a prestigious job, a big house, a wife and kids, etc. I guess I just wanted to be an independent scholar. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties I got to realize this dream that I was too scared to admit to anyone, even myself.

I love learning. I always have. Even being the odd kid in my school who loved learning and was too stubborn to hide it, it was never beaten out of me. I guess I was fortunate that, even though I got lots of garbage from classmates for being too smart, most of my teachers didn’t discourage my thirst for knowledge and wisdom. I even had a few who encouraged me and loved me for being eccentric. And I found even more teachers like that in college. I also met kids who loved learning even more than I did. It was amazing. It’s tragic that most kids have that God given love of learning beaten out of them at such an early age. I don’t know why I never lost that love. I’m just grateful that I never did.

Thoughts On Daily Routines, Autumn 2020, Emergency Preparations, etc.

I’m still sleeping more than usual. But I feel quite stable. I usually go to bed around 9 or 10pm and wake up for good around 9am. I wake up at least once in the night to visit the restroom and sometimes it takes about an hour or two to fall back asleep. I’m still limiting myself on caffeine. I usually have no more than one cup of coffee every day, usually with breakfast. I contact my parents several times a week. My mother is keeping a daily “pandemic journal.” She usually records what’s happening in the news as well as locally and her own thoughts. My nephews and niece have been back in school since mid August. I can’t imagine how tough it is for those kids. The two oldest are teenagers and those years are rugged enough even in good times. My brother and his family are moved in to their new house. They have more space now and have a couple gardens. My mother and one of my nephews have planted some vegetables that are starting to grow.

The corn harvest is going right now here in Nebraska. It does feel odd to not be watching my Huskers play football on Saturday afternoons. Our season is supposed to start on October 24, barring any major outbreaks of the virus. I sometimes watched European soccer and playoff basketball to have some resemblance of normal. Baseball playoffs start this week in the USA.

The election is coming up in only a few weeks. For me, there is some added anxiety just from the unknown. I think the concern over the unknown is probably worse than the outcomes. I just hope there aren’t more bad riots. Regardless the outcomes, there were be millions of angry people in my country. It’s sad to see this happen. But, if we survived a civil war, two world wars, and several economic collapses, I believe we can survive our current mess. I won’t comment on my political beliefs except to say they are my own and I refuse to try to force them on anyone else.

I get paid again in a couple days. While I am short on cash (like many people right before payday) I am not short on food or supplies. Anytime I get paid, I make a point to buy extra non perishable food in case of shortages. I have done this for years. I guess growing up in a rural farming village of less than 500 people with the nearest supermarkets being a fifteen minute drive away and the nearest Wal Mart being an hour and a half away, it was drilled into our heads at a very early age to be prepared in case a winter snow storm shut down the highways or any other natural disaster. Since most people I grew up around either worked in farming or supported the farmers, our very lives depended on the weather and the seasons, even in modern times. I guess most people I grew up knowing always maintained some of the self reliant and make do beliefs of our pioneer ancestors. I suppose you could say we were emergency preppers before there was a term for it. I consider myself a bit of a prepper even if I don’t believe most conspiracy theories. I fear most people don’t get involved in emergency prepping exactly because of some of these theories. It makes sense to have several days worth of food, emergency water, supplies, and getting on good terms with your neighbors and community just in case. I mean, most people have home owners insurance but still don’t want their house to burn down. It’s just a back up, no different than having emergency supplies or a football team having backups in case the team’s star gets injured.

It is autumn in my part of the world. The trees are turning and the nights are getting kind of chilly. I usually run my furnace at night and sleep under a fleece blanket. While spring is my favorite time of year for physical well being, I do get a lot of writing and reading done in the fall and winter. Even as a child I did my best in school in the spring semesters. But I am feeling calm overall in spite of everything going on. I’ll be glad when a vaccine becomes widely available and this pandemic comes to an end.

A Few Thoughts On The Changes Brought During 2020

This day is starting out well overall. I went to bed early last night and wound up sleeping on and off for almost twelve hours. Woke up stiff and sore but at least it was manageable. Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week as my cleaning lady arrives in the afternoons and there are usually a couple football games on tv too. It’ still strange watching ballgames without a crowd in the arena. I’ll be glad when this health crisis burns out.

Started writing a journal by pen yesterday. It might be helpful to have a means to write down my thoughts and observations that I wouldn’t normally put on a blog I try to keep family friendly. Mentally I am still feeling stable. I do have rough patches but fortunately they don’t last long nor are they bad enough for me to act on.

I make a point to leave my apartment at least once a day even if I don’t have deliveries coming. Met my new neighbor and got back in touch with some old ones. I don’t know much about my new neighbor except that he looks younger than I and keeps pretty quiet for the most part. I rarely hear him except for when he has guests and I can occasionally hear laughter. So maybe he’s a funny guy.

While the health crisis and economic problems have been rough on me, at least I haven’t had problems I couldn’t manage. I still see my psych doctor every two months via a service similar to Skype or Zoom. I’m scheduled to see him again in a couple weeks. I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment via Amazon or one of the local supermarkets. I started having my groceries delivered about three years ago when I came to the conclusion I wasn’t as safe behind the wheel of a car as I used to be. I think I was one of the first people in my complex to have groceries delivered to my place on a regular basis. While I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since before the shutdowns started, I still occasionally get delivery pizza and can sometimes sweet talk my neighbors or cleaning lady into picking something up for me, as long as I pay for it of course.

I’m still kind of paranoid about being out of my apartment for long periods of time because of the virus. Some people aren’t always wearing face masks or properly washing their hands. I may be only 40, but being overweight and mentally ill probably puts me in high risk category already. So I socialize with friends and family on a near daily basis via my phone or facebook account. I keep my facebook account primarily to keep in contact with old friends and extended family I may not other wise. Perhaps that was the original intent of Mr. Zuckerberg and his partners, not so much the arguments and trolling that is still too common.

Been seeing more articles and videos online about people working from home. Even my brother and his wife sometimes work from home with their engineering jobs. I think I could have gotten into working from home had it been available when I started my working life in my early twenties. I found out the hard way as a teenager working in restaurants and retail stores that I don’t easily pick up on social cues or office politics like many of my coworkers. Sometimes it got me into trouble with coworkers and customers. But I think the mental illness problems were more to blame than anything. While it was tough to realize I lost my career due to problems beyond my control, I’m glad I went through the struggles in my twenties when I was still healthy and wasn’t set in my ways. Even though I’m 40 and still try to keep an open mind about most things, I found I don’t adapt as fast as I did even ten years ago. I may have had an easier time with office politics had I started my career from home. But I’ll never know. I’ve made my peace with my lost career and the family I’ll never start.

As tough as this crisis has been for me, I can’t imagine how tough it is for people with families, people who lost jobs and now can’t make their rent payments, for small landlords who can’t pay back their loans because their renters can’t make rent, for small businesses ranging from restaurants to dentists, and especially for the kids. I told one of my teenage nephews I wasn’t going to insult him by trying to imagine how tough this all is for him and his friends. My niece and nephews are at the age where kids learn how to socialize beyond family and classmates. And since much in person interaction is now no longer there, I think it will have a lifetime of effects on these kids. It might be similar to what my grandparents’ generation went through growing up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. My grandparents frequently talked about the struggles of not having money or having to fix things that wore out because they couldn’t afford to replace them. And one grandmother always said “It will happen again.” I’m so glad my brother and I payed attention when my grandparents talked about life during the Depression and World War 2. I’m also glad I listened to my parents stories about growing up during the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movements.

I recall a podcast back in April when the host said something like “We are going to witness ten years of changes in the next ten weeks.” Between the increased emphasis of working towards effective vaccines, work from home being a thing, private space flight becoming common, civil rights protests in almost every major city (not just in America) on a near daily basis, drone delivery getting approved by the Federal Aviation Association, and of course major wildfires on the West Coast and the South taking a beating via hurricanes and heat waves making people take the threats of climate change more serious, I think the ten years of change in ten weeks was an understatement. We will eventually emerge from these crises. We will come out changed people on the individual and national levels. The next few years will probably be brutal for most people. Hopefully we can emerge better people and stronger societies as a result.

Finding Happiness in 2020

Even though I don’t socialize much in person anymore, I try my best to stay connected to family and friends. Talked with my parents over FaceTime this morning. My dad had a check up on his heart and he does not need stints or surgery. He is joining a neighborhood gym as he wants to get more active again. I started lifting weights again on a regular basis last week. Even after a few sessions I can feel the strength and endurance starting to return.

In bad news, two of my friends in Omaha tested positive for covid. They are under quarantine for the next two weeks. They aren’t able to work and they sleep most of the time. One friend is a delivery man so he obviously can’t be going anywhere until this clears. Fortunately they seem to be doing better now than a few days ago. I imagine eventually I’ll catch this too. I just hope it’s mild. Even though I’m only 40, I am overweight and mentally ill.

Got some groceries coming this morning. I’m rebuilding my winter supplies. The leaves are starting to change in my hometown. I usually have my windows open during the day but run the furnace at night as it’s starting to get chilly after dark.

I’ve been forcing myself out of my apartment a couple times a day for almost a week now. Sometimes it is as simple as just standing in the hallway for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll even set up a chair in my doorway so I can sit and try to chat with whomever shows up.

I nap more during the days. I am usually my most active in late mornings and overnights these days. My sleep patterns can change with the seasons and they change if my illness changes too. Haven’t had any serious breakdowns for a few weeks. I still have minor flare ups at least once or twice per day. They don’t usually last long. I have gotten to where I can just let them pass and not feel bad they happen.

I have a couple packages from amazon coming this afternoon. I imagine kids growing up today look forward to the amazon delivery man as much as I did going to the mall when I was growing up.

Changed the parts on my cpap machine yesterday. Slept really well last night. I try to change out the parts a few times a year just to keep the machine properly working.

I don’t have much else planned for the rest of the week. My cleaning lady arrives on Thursday afternoon. I like her. She engages me in conversation while she works. I usually just stay sat down and out of her way while she cleans. I supply the cleaning agents and she does the rest. And she at least tolerates my eccentric sense of humor ūüôā

Avoiding Social Interactions

Been pretty stable lately. I imagine much of this is due to avoiding news sites and negative people. I’ve also all but abandoned social media. I have only a handful of people I even try to contact on facebook. If it weren’t for them, I would have cancelled my account years ago. I no longer comment on youtube videos or anywhere else. People are just so mean and angry all the time. It makes for a lonely existence some days. I get told all the time I need to socialize and reach out to people. There is no point to socialize and reach out if these people just make you feel worse. I’m too tired and burned out to argue about stupid crap that doesn’t matter. Anymore I feel happier when I am not forced to socialize. So much for people coming together during times of crisis. I refuse to give negative and rude people any time or effort or second chances anymore. If you can’t figure out that being angry and rude to people isn’t helpful by now, it’s never going to happen.

Transition from Summer to Fall

It’s the first day of September and I’m looking forward to cooler weather, getting to wear sweatshirts, the changing of the leaves, corn harvest, and all the other trappings of fall. While I am disappointed that my Nebraska Huskers’ fall sports season is cancelled due to coronavirus, I understand why. I just hope we can mass produce a vaccine and that enough people can safely use it soon. I am concerned about the flu season being extra rough with coronavirus going around at the same time. It’s one of the reasons I volunteer to stay home. One of my relatives said to the effect our grandparents were asked to fight wars halfway across the world, we are asked to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. This isn’t the first pandemic we have dealt with. Won’t be the last either. I hope we learn from this one and manage the next one better.

Besides a short lived breakdown a couple weeks ago, I am doing alright. I’m not needing as much sleep anymore. I wake up with fewer aches and pains, and even those are more manageable. I see my psych doctor by teleconference again in a month. I haven’t had to have a change in my meds for over a year. I also think I’m losing weight.

I talk to my parents on an almost daily basis. They are doing alright. They don’t go out much besides running errands and visiting my brother’s family. My nephews and niece started school again a couple weeks ago. They seem to be doing alright considering everything. My brother and his wife work from home part of the time.

I have been lazy about reading for a couple weeks. I’ll probably pick that up again soon. I haven’t been watching the news lately. Too depressing these days. I want to know what’s going right, not everything that is going wrong. The information on what is going well is out there, you got to look for it though.

Quarantine Journal: August 26 2020

Been feeling better since I last wrote. Got a shower chair from UPS this morning. Got it tested out. I guess I live a mundane life when the highlight of my morning was the UPS man bringing me that package. While I do prefer baths to showers, I am convinced I get cleaner in showers and in less time. But as much as my knees sometimes hurt, especially in the mornings, getting out of the bathtub after a long soak was getting to be a chore. Getting in was no problem, getting out was.

Found out an old friend of mine has to have a medical implant removed because it has gotten bad infections. Her surgery is tomorrow. I wish her only the best. My former neighbors are still under quarantine but haven’t shown any covid symptoms yet. I hope they stay well and safe.

Been really hot here the last several days. Supposed to start cooling off over the weekend. To help pass the time I’ve been watching old football games on youtube. I am saddened that much of college football season is cancelled due to the pandemic, but I also understand why. Hopefully this will just be a one year deal. But between the pandemic, wildfires in Australia and the USA, economic depression, protests, major elections, etc., 2020 has already been a year people will talk about long after I’m dead. I think this is the most eventful year I’ve ever lived. And we still have four months to limp through.

Plugging Along Through Summer With A Mental Illness

Mentally I’m still stable for the most part.¬† I sometimes have moments of irritability and anxiety.¬† They usually last for only a few minutes.¬† I’m glad I haven’t lashed out at anyone because of these bouts.¬† I fear with as on edge as most people are these days, my lashing out at even family wouldn’t go over well.¬† So far I’ve been able to fit and fume to myself and keep these flare ups from blowing up into breakdowns.

My cleaning lady is back on the job.  She comes back in a couple days.  I miss my neighbors.  I was sad to see them leave.  But I am coping alright.

The college football season is all but cancelled in the US.¬† I’m sad to see this happen but I hope it can come back next fall and we have a mass produced vaccine before long.¬† I have heard that Russia already has one that they are trying to mass produce.¬† Reports like this give me hope that the rest of the world can have vaccines soon.¬† Several other countries, including the US, already have vaccines in human trials.¬† A hospital in my state was looking for volunteers to test out a possible vaccine.¬† If I didn’t have a mental illness, I probably would have signed up.

Been sleeping well lately.¬† I usually sleep four or five hours at a time in the night.¬† I usually wake at least once to visit the restroom.¬† If I pace myself and stretch before I get out of bed, I can avoid the worst of the morning aches and pains.¬† It does take a few minutes, but if I stretch my legs and back before I get out of bed I can get around alright in the mornings.¬† I still take some advil with breakfast every morning.¬† I usually take it only once a day.¬† The daily aches and pains are about the only part of being middle age I don’t care for.¬† I do miss my easy mobility but I do like the idea of becoming a wise elder. Maybe I can put my knowledge to work afterall.