Thoughts on My Upcoming 40th Birthday

I’ll be turning 40 years old in two weeks.  I guess the days drag slowly but the years go fast.  I sometimes lose track of time during the day to day grind.  I’ve been a bit more nostalgic than usual lately.  Been listening more to the music I liked back in college and high school.  While I don’t buy into the whole ‘older music is better than new’, I do like a lot of the things that came out in the late 90s and early 2000s.  But, then again those years were real significant to me.  It was when I was growing into the man I would eventually become.  In those years, I had my first dates, my first kiss, travelled to Mexico for a couple weeks, actually had good physical health, could stay up all night and still do a full day of classes with little more than a couple Pop Tarts and a cup of coffee.

It seems the only true constant in life is change.  I risk sounding like an old man when I say I’m amazed at all the changes I’ve seen just in my lifetime.  I’m old enough I remember the last few years of the Cold War.  Even as a nine year old growing up in rural Nebraska, I knew that the Berlin Wall coming down was significant.  I was in fourth grade when my elementary school got a bunch of Apple II GS computers.  I felt like I joined the future right then and there.  Now those are ancient relics compared to what we have now.  I may sometimes give my elders a hard time for not being comfortable with computers, but my nephews would give me the exact same hard time for being uncomfortable with VR programs and 3D printers.  My thirteen year old nephew set up a VR flying program for my father, a licensed pilot and former Air Force pilot.  I don’t know how to do this.  Maybe I could after watching a few tutorials on youtube, but not until then.

Just in my forty years, I’ve seen computers go from clunky desk tops to fit in your coat pocket supercomputers that happen to make phone calls.  I’ve seen the electric car become reliable.  I’ve seen the internet become as much as a game changer as the printing press and steam engine in previous eras.  Saw 9/11 and the subsequent wars.  Saw China become a world power.  Saw the European Union and Brexit both.  Saw the rise of Populist politics on all sides in many countries.  I’m seeing the Covid 19 pandemic play out in real time.  Saw the rise of robotics and the beginnings of AI.  Saw the Human Genome Project get completed.  Saw the rise of social media and tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.  Saw Apple’s renaissance.  Saw the decline of video rental stores.  I’m witnessing the decline of traditional retail (and many of my previous jobs were in retail).  I’m seeing the beginning of driverless cars (I imagine our grandkids will find that term as quaint as ‘horseless carriage’ was in the early 1900s).  Heck I’m even seeing researchers trying to slow down the aging process.  And these are just the things that are in the headlines everyday.

I don’t know if I have another forty years left in this life, but it has been an exciting ride so far.  I would love to make it to 2060, if for no other reason than to just see what else plays out.  We do live in troubling times, with the pandemic and protests turning violent on an almost daily basis.  I remain hopeful that these are the birth pains of a changed for the better civilization that makes more efforts to not repeat the wrongs of past eras.  Granted, some days it isn’t easy.

20 Facts About Me

I’m going to take a break from posting about my day to day routines during the pandemic today.  I’d like to do another ‘just for fun’ post.  I suppose it’s one of those odd facts about me postings.

Odd facts about me

  1. Even though I spend most of my time alone, I actually like conversation.  Granted I have a tough time with idle chit chat and neighborhood gossip.  I will talk about things like history, geopolitics, economics, baseball stats, tech advances with almost anyone who is willing to engage in this type of conversation.  Even when my cleaning lady is here every week I’ll look up things online and tell her about some of the headlines, especially in tech.  Yeah, I’ll be telling her about something like advances in robotics while she’s mopping my kitchen or about possible medical treatments to slow down aging while she’s scrubbing my bathtub.  But she is either really interested or she’s really good at humoring the eccentric loner she cleans for every Thursday afternoon.
  2.  I really don’t watch a lot for traditional television shows, not even on streaming services.  I do watch a lot of interviews and round table conversations about science, tech, medicine, and economics on youtube.  I watch a lot of shows that sometimes are featured on channels like History Channel, Travel Channel, etc.  I subscribed to Disney+ mainly because they carry NatGeo shows.
  3.  I am far more interested in reading non fiction than fiction.  I’m not sure why.  Even my favorite comedy performers base their routines on pointing out how absurd every day life can be.
  4.  At least once a day, I will climb into bed, pull up my blanket, put on my CPAP machine, and just let my mind wander.  It seems to be a good way to declutter my mind and relax.  I try to do this for at least an hour a day, usually in the afternoons.
  5.  I really don’t like driving cars.  I never have.  I even sold my car last year because I didn’t use it enough to justify having it.  Thank God for grocery delivery and Amazon.
  6.  I do love computer games.  I especially love games like Civilization, Total War, Sim City, etc.  I have never really gotten into first person shooter games.
  7.  I no longer have music CDs or even pay for music streaming.  All the tunes I need I get for free on youtube or free Spotify.  I don’t mind sitting through ads every ten to fifteen minutes, at least as long as it’s not longer than thirty seconds.
  8.  I don’t have a Twitter or Tik Tok account.  I just can’t get my points and ideas across in a fifteen second video or a short tweet.  I have a hard enough time carrying on a decent conversation on facebook.
  9.  I don’t always carry my phone around when I’m in public.
  10.  If I’m in a state of depression or anxiety, I sometimes won’t answer my phone or my door.  I fear having a melt down over the phone or on a guest.
  11.  I’m still amazed at people who post articles on their facebook pages without doing a couple minutes of research to see even what the article says, let alone how reliable the source is.
  12.  I don’t use paper checks for anything besides my rent.  Haven’t for years.
  13.  I don’t check my mail every day.  90 percent is junk or things I already know through my online accounts.  Seriously, stop sending me coupons already.  I can just as good of deals with a few minutes of online research.  And businesses who try to advertise through direct mail make me not want to do business with them.
  14.  I’m surprised at how few people understand the concept of compound interest.
  15.  I sometimes get upset with youtube’s algorithms suggesting videos to me I have zero interest in.  Stop sending me links to conspiracy theory pages just because I watched a few videos on the history of banking or about buying gold coins.
  16.  I don’t enjoy long goodbyes.
  17.  I can often tell if the weather is going to change by how extra sore my knees are.
  18.  I think it’s too bad that chicken wings aren’t health food.
  19.  I think access to internet is no more a luxury than electricity or running water.  At one time, yes.  Then again, having a roof and four walls used to be a luxury too.  What century are my neighbors who think internet is a luxury living in?
  20.  I’m 39 years old and I still love heavy metal and hard rock music.  Always will.  If I make to be an 80 year old man and living in a retirement home, don’t be surprised if I’m still listening to bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin or the like.

Missing Sports During Quarantine

Been under volunteer quarantine for over a month.  I sometimes lose track of days at this point.  Many of the things I love about spring I haven’t gotten to take part in this year.  One of my spring traditions is watching the college basketball tournaments.  It’s always interesting to see what small schools pull off upsets and then make deep runs into the playoffs.  I’m also missing baseball.  It’s been a tradition of mine to have a game playing on my tv while I was working on my computer or reading a book.  I miss not following games I wouldn’t normally care much about because of my fantasy baseball league.  I’ve been part of a league for over a dozen years with a couple college friends and some of their coworkers and friends.  Only within the last few years did we start charging league dues.  But even those are only twenty dollars a year. I’ve never won our league, but I mainly do it to make watching baseball even more interesting.

I’m going to miss the Olympics this summer.  I have no doubt that Japan would have done a great job as host nation.  My favorite sports to watch are gymnastics and track.  I make a point to always watch the gymnastics finals and the sprints finals.  Even as a teenager I was never flexible or a fast runner.  Maybe that is why I pay so much attention to running and gymnastics.  Hopefully this pandemic burns out enough that we can have the Olympics in 2021.

I’m missing soccer too.  I have a niece and two nephews who are big soccer players in youth leagues.  So I started watching soccer games a few years ago to try to understand their sport more.  I have a subscription to ESPN Plus so I can get out of country soccer games.  I sometimes watch MLS during the summers.  And I make a point of watching the US national teams are playing.  But that is on hold for the time being.

I’m missing spring football practice.  This Saturday would have been many colleges annual Spring Game.  It’s essentially a glorified practice.  And here in Nebraska, that game normally draws capacity crowds of 90,000.  90,000 attendees for essentially a practice.  Yes, we Nebraska fans are crazy like that.

NBA playoffs would have been going by now.  I’m missing those too.  I’m even going to miss hearing about The Masters golf tournament and the Triple Crown horse races.

It still feels odd not having a ballgame on tv most nights.  I’m going to be glad once those get up and going again.  The NFL Draft is next week.  Of course, it’s going to be done remotely.  I may watch that.  I’m a bigger fan of college football than the pro game, but it is interesting to see what pro teams college stars sign with.

April 13 2020

Been a good day so far.  Bought some groceries.  So I’m set food wise for a while.  I was up pretty late last night.  I’m still staying home all the time.  I haven’t been off my complex’s property in a month.  I haven’t had problems with boredom yet.  I do have even more aches and pains the last few days, especially in my knees.  The best thing for that seems to be stand up and walk around more often.

I am so grateful for home delivery right now.  I’ve been getting my groceries and medications delivered to my home for a few years now.  It worked so well that I quit driving my car.  Having a phobia of driving made the decision to sell my car made the decision more easy.  I haven’t driven a car in over six months.  And I don’t miss it.  My budget is thanking me now that I don’t have to buy gas two to three times per month.  I haven’t even shopped in a Wal Mart or a mall for almost three years.  Most of my house supplies I get either from Amazon or through my supermarket home delivery.

 

April 1 2020 Social Distancing

Got my social security payment this morning.  I ordered a few groceries and supplies.  Mostly meat and cleaning agents.  I should have those delivered this afternoon.  I have to drop off my rent check and do laundry today.  I do my laundry at least once a week.

Still doing well mentally.  I haven’t had a breakdown in over a month now.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m holding it together in spite the stressful time we’re in.  I think it helped that I got prepared earlier than most people.  I haven’t even had to leave my apartment complex in over two weeks.  I sleep a lot now.  I usually sleep at least ten hours a day.  I’ve heard sleep helps boost immune defenses and, for me, reduces stress.  I was doing breathing exercises in bed yesterday and was relaxed enough I fell asleep for over three hours.

I actually don’t have much problems with aches and pains except for when I wake up in the mornings.  I make a point of standing up at least once an hour no matter what I’m doing.  I haven’t read much other than online articles this week.  I still watch some youtube videos.  Much of what I watch are videos on the line of what positives will come from this pandemic and what tech will advance faster because of covid 19.  One thing I do see happening is that more companies will allow more work from home options.  Another is that grocery and medication home delivery services will become real popular.  I also see that fewer people will harass others via social media interactions.  I was starting to see this already.  It isn’t as bad now as it was three to five years ago.

I started lifting weights every day.  I just don’t work the same muscles two days in a row.  When I was seriously lifting in high school and college, I usually lifted five to six days a week but worked individual muscles no more than three times a week.

The days are starting to go quicker now.  For the first week of the self quarantine, the days felt like weeks.  It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t leaving my apartment complex, it was that even that option went away.  But, like many things, I adapted within several days.  I do still have some minor maintenance issues in my place that could be taken care of quickly.  But, for now, only vitally necessary maintenance is getting done.  So glad I got my new floor and paint before all this mess hit.

March 1 2020 Part 2

Now that I got the last rant out of my system, I’m feeling better overall.  I actually feel almost energetic on top of feeling restless.  Maybe it’s the sunshine and fresh air we’ve got the last few days.  Even though I haven’t left my complex in a few days, I have had my windows open for much of the weekend.  I think the fresh air is making me feel better and more energetic.  Hopefully the last rant I wrote is enough to cure me of my irritability for awhile.  I’m glad spring will be here soon.  April, May, and June are my favorite times of year.

Things I’m A Bit Nostalgic For

This is going to be an off topic posting.  I haven’t done one just for fun in a long time.  Even though I’m only a few months from being forty years old, I am normally not overly nostalgic.  But there are a few things I like from my past years that I don’t get to see much anymore in 2020.  So here goes.

Things I’m A Bit Nostalgic For

Having several great friends within a few minutes drive of my house

Camping in the Rocky Mountains during the summers

Knowing enough Spanish to carry on a conversation

My freshman dorm in college

High school speech meets (I met more girls this way than anything else I ever did)

Good shows on History Channel

When politicians at least acted like they were telling the truth

Not being afraid of driving a car

The aroma of old books in a library

The comedy of Bill Hicks and George Carlin

Indiana Jones movies

Music from old Nintendo games

Roller blading with my best friend and her sisters

Being able to play football on Friday nights and then go work at a general store for an afternoon shift the next day

Being able to look at the stars most nights

Being an insecure teenager and not realizing my classmates were probably more insecure than even I was

Seven a.m. chemistry lab sessions my freshman year in college

Ethnic food night at the campus mess hall

On campus concerts from student bands a couple times a month

Watching college baseball games while sitting on freezing aluminum bleachers

99 cent bottomless cups of coffee and all night discussions at the local truck stop over plates of chicken fried steak or bowls of clam chowder

Being able to road trip on a few minutes notice

Spending a part of every summer at my friend’s house in South Dakota

Tom Osborne as the Huskers’ football coach

Watching Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood and Sesame Street

Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoons

Buying fireworks from the American Legion during the summers

My grandparents and their mannerisms (some of which I’m now showing)

My niece and nephews as babies

Listening to Husker football games on the radio when we were road tripping or the game wasn’t televised

The music of Hootie and The Blowfish

Having to get off the internet because my dad had to make phone calls for business

Feeling like a thug because you had a large Napster account

Binge watching X Files, Daria, and Futurama on VHS

Tap recording songs off the radio

 

 

These are a few things that make me feel a little nostalgic.  Granted there is a lot about the past I grew up in that can stay in the past, namely most public places smelling like tobacco smoke and not having internet available.  But that is a subject for another posting.  Take care.