Things I Need To Appreciate Before They Are Gone Forever

Taking a detour for this post. Reflecting on all the change that happened in 2020 has me thinking about the major changes that will be coming just in my lifetime, let alone those who are still children. I’ve seen a lot of changes already in my 40 years. Some I don’t miss, like the smell of cigarette smoke everywhere, massive amounts of air pollution everywhere, bigotry and sexism being socially acceptable by most people, etc. Some I do miss, like my grandparents, seeing my cousins and friends almost every day, and healthy knees. But here is an informal list of things I’m going to miss when they are gone. Many of these could be gone in my lifetime.

Things I Need To Appreciate More Before They Are Gone Forever

My hearing

The internet being as wide open as the frontier

Privacy

My dollars being worth something

Inexpensive chocolate

Cool coastal cities like Venice and New Orleans

My niece and nephews as children

Getting to chat up delivery men before they get replaced by drones

High paying manufacturing jobs

USA being the only superpower in the world

Human Truck Drivers

Movies like Gattaca being science fiction

Amazon being both a rain forest and an online shop

Living World War 2 veterans

Living Vietnam War veterans (namely my father and my uncle)

Cheap cryptocurrencies

Cheap silver and copper coins

Humanity living only on Earth

Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean

Undeveloped Antarctica

Orbital Space Garbage not being an issue

Bioterrorism and Cyberwar being science fiction

Peace between major world powers

Easy access to drinking water

High paying white collar jobs before AI takes them over

California before The Big One hits

Social Media being free

Helium

Shopping Malls

More people being employed than unemployed

People having children before they can start modifying their kids’ genetics

Inexpensive Coffee

Humans driving cars being a normal thing

Coral Reefs

African Elephants

Polar Bears

Lions and Tigers outside of zoos and game preserves

Heavy Metal Music

Old School Hip Hop Music

Musicians like Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Paul McCartney

Actors like Kevin Costner and Daniel Day Lewis

More humans than robots

December 12 2020

We had our first snow of the Christmas season yesterday. Got several inches. Basically a good day to stay home. A mask mandate for our apartment complex is now in effect. I ordered a couple boxes of face masks. I told the manager of our complex I’m going to let her hand those out to residents. There are several shut ins and limited mobility people in here. I’m limited mobility myself these days. Thankfully I can have most things delivered to my place. And when I’m too sore to pick up my mail or packages, one of my neighbors will help me out. I gave him some masks as he is out and about a great deal.

Mentally I have some rough moments. Fortunately they don’t last very long. I usually just allow myself to rant and vent as long as no one else is around. It usually goes away after several minutes. I find that good sleep, a balanced diet, and easing off caffeine and severely limiting sugar helps with this. Usually happens a couple times a day. Mornings are usually the roughest.

Things I Love About Being An Adult

Going off subject for this post. These are some of the things I enjoy about being an adult.


Things I Love About Being An Adult

Privacy

Being able to vote but realizing that I am far more than what I vote for

Being able to change jobs easier than changing schools

Having locks on my bedroom door

Not feeling guilty for not being like everyone else

Not feeling pressure to date or get married

Not being afraid to ask for help

Not feeling guilty for not wanting to run errands for people

Getting to cook what I want for dinner every night

If I don’t like where I live, I can always move

Being able to save money

Being able to pursue my own interests

Not feeling guilty for pursuing my own interests

Not having to fake interest in things I couldn’t care less about

Not feeling guilty for not tolerating bad treatment from other people

Realizing that people in authority are often clueless

Not having to automatically respect someone because they are old or have money

Realizing there is far more to the world than my tiny farming village

Not being afraid to like diversity

Not being afraid to not voice my opinions if I don’t want to

Not being forced to live in a place where everyone thinks they have a right to know what I’m up to at all times

Realizing there is more to life than just working and making money

Not being an outcast for liking intellectual things

Realizing there is nothing grown up or rebellious about getting drunk or stoned

Not feeling weird for not wanting to date and have sex

Not feeling guilty for just wanting to be left alone

Not feeling guilty for just wanting to be anonymous

Realizing it’s far better to be smart and eccentric than it is to be just as boring and mundane as everyone else

Realizing that yes, nerds really do rule the modern world

Not having to care about gossip

Being free to make friends with whomever I want

Realizing that a bad few days isn’t the end of my life

Realizing that the world isn’t as screwed up as the media or my elders make it out to be

Not feeling stupid for having hope in humanity

Being around long enough to see that what goes around often comes back on people

Being around long enough to see that constantly treating people like garbage comes back to haunt people more often than not

Being around long enough to see stupid and rude people often get to suffer for being stupid and rude

Being around long enough to realize that nothing lasts forever

Did I mention that I actually have some privacy as an adult and I absolutely love it?

Thanksgiving During Pandemic

I’m spending my Thanksgiving in my apartment this year. I couldn’t get my ham so I’m grilling bratwursts and making a large pot of cheese soup instead. I’ll also be doing Zoom calls with my parents and my brother’s family. I think most people in my complex are either staying home or going to local relatives. My cleaning lady said she’d bring a plate for me and the rest of her disabled clients.

Been listening to audiobooks more lately. Currently a couple hours into some Nietchze. As far as my other projects for pandemic, I recently finished Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I started back in February and finished a few days ago. Certainly a worthwhile read for anyone interested in history and economics. Granted it’s really long, almost as long as the Bible. Been reading more poetry too, mostly Emerson, Whitman, and Dickenson. Read some Kipling this summer.

Read in the news yesterday a third vaccine is ready for FDA approval. I think it’s from AstraZenica. I just hope enough people use it and distribution can be solved. I imagine front line health care workers, police, and military will be the first in line Hopefully I can get mine sometime by summer 2021. In the meantime, I’m avoiding crowds and wearing masks when I meet delivery drivers. For the ones that don’t come to my apartment, one of my healthier neighbors will drop off packages for myself and the other shut ins.

I did have a slight flare up over the weekend. Thankfully it was short lived. Nothing a few minutes of ranting and several hours of sleep couldn’t solve. Overall I’m doing well even if I am voluntarily isolating. I just hope this burns out soon.

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 19 2020

My hometown passed a temporary mask requirement ordinance at a city council meeting this week. It’s supposed to be in effect until February. The number of cases has spiked in my town. I wear masks when I meet delivery drivers and have guests. Have been for months. While I probably won’t be seeing my family for Thanksgiving, my cleaning lady said she would bring a couple plates of food.

I don’t have any plans for the weekend besides maybe watch some football. I’m still getting used to watching ballgames in empty arenas. I’m reading a lot again, mostly science articles. Found out that many of the audiobooks I was listening to on youtube were taken down recently. Likely because of copyright laws.

Weather has been nicer than normal the last several days. But we’re supposed to get chilly weather starting tomorrow. Today might be the last nice weather day for a long time. Most of the leaves have fallen now.

Mentally I’m feeling stable. Have some rough patches last week. But have felt better this week. I still don’t venture out much. I do check in on my neighbors once a day. I usually call my parents a few times per week. And I chat with my best friend via facebook a few times a week as well.

I saw that my supermarket is starting to limit the number of certain items people can purchase, especially paper towels and cleaning supplies. I usually bought a little extra in terms of food and cleaning supplies every time I got paid this summer. I should be able to bunker down for awhile if things get real ugly. I’ve heard that rural areas are now getting it worse than the big cities. Looks like it could be a long winter.

Inspiration and Bringing To Light The Things Done In Secret

Even though I’ve been feeling hopeful and optimistic overall during the last couple weeks, I still don’t socialize in person much. Then again, that could be why I’m optimistic. While most people have been allowing themselves to be bombarded by constant bad news, I’ve been making efforts to figure out what is actually going right. My entire life I’ve heard that the world was messed up and we would collapse back to the Stone Age any day now. It really messed with my head when I was growing up. It was one of the reasons I preferred to spend most of my days alone in my backyard. I’d spend hours on end out there pacing through the cedar and cherry trees making up stories. I’d made up stories of heroes, future worlds where we solved most of our current problems (like climate change, poverty, war, disease, etc.) and were exploring outer and inner space. I never read comic books or science fiction novels as a kid. The nearest bookstore was over an hour drive away. Most people in my hometown thought “The Simpsons” and “South Park” were morally degenerate but war movies, westerns, and crime dramas were “wholesome family entertainment.”

As I didn’t have much inspiring hope in me as a kid, I had to manufacture my own. Granted, this was in the years before youtube and binge watching Star Trek reruns on Netflix. My best friend from my teenage years (the same lady who is my best friend even now) was probably even more alienated and an outsider than I was. I could at least fake enthusiasm in things like watching sports and politics I didn’t agree with. And I still do, mainly as a mechanism to appear like one of the crowd. I am actually more effected by the reactions of my family and friends to things like politics and our team suffering a losing streak than I am the politics and losing itself. Sadly, social media only amplified this.

Yet, I’m still thankful that enough people had the vision and ability to make social media work to bring it to the world at large. Sure, it was painful seeing sides of people I had known my entire life I would have wished I never knew existed. But I also found out who were really cool people I could count on in times of crisis. I may have lost lots of friends over the last several years, but I strengthened others in the process. Social media and the last few years of social unrest and change have really driven home the fact that most people have the friends they have, not because of shared interests and values, but due to lack of options. I have often had more acceptance and friendship from strangers I’ll never meet in my various facebook groups than I experienced from some people I have known since childhood.

Social media also allowed me to find out who the really toxic people were in my life. Once I gave up trying to talk sense into these people, I cut them out of my life. It was a tough process, but one that was worth it. People like that have always been toxic. It was just in previous eras this toxicity would have never been made public knowledge. These may have been the types of people who were pillars of the community in public but beat and shamed their children and spouse behind closed doors. One positive about social media is that is exposed the con artists and liars for what they are. People like that could have gone entire lifetimes being such and would have probably never been detected. The people who can be aware of how messed up those in power and in our own social circle can be are figuring it out. We don’t necessary need an entire population of citizens aware of how bad they are being cheated by those in authority that have never cared about them. Just enough to force changes are necessary.

Sometimes all it takes is the actions of only one really dedicated individual to inspire others whom in term inspire others. I mean, does anyone know who Gandhi’s brothers and sisters were (without going to wikipedia)? Or Isaac Newton’s? Or Greta Thunberg’s? Or Martin Luther King’s? Short term, fear and hate usually win. Long term, it is usually love and hope that wins out. Sure we have our problems and always will. But that doesn’t mean that progress is in illusion. I absolutely despise people who believe progress isn’t real and that even individual people can’t change. I’ve ended friendships over these attitudes. I spent my entire childhood being bombarded by negativity, pessimism, and fear. I will never go back. Hell, I feel like I was cheated by my elders for trying to steal my optimism and hope. They may have fought to take my hope and crush my spirit and kill my creativity. But they failed and they failed miserably. If anything, they made my resolve even stronger. And I’m not unique in this regard. I imagine every city, town, village, cross roads, tribe, etc. all over the world has at least a few kids who were “hopeless dreamers” who refused to be “practical” in spite of the negativity and punishments of their elders. And many of these kids grew up to be the adults who made positive change possible in their own ways. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are often the ones who accomplish just that. In short, now is probably one of the lousiest times in human history to be a pessimist who naively clings to comfortable lies of the past. It is also an awful time to a tyrant so seeks to divide people and rule through fear.

Routines and Change Of Seasons During Pandemic and Economic Crisis

I’m enjoying the cooler weather. I spend most of my time either under the blankets in my bed or with a blanket over my legs while I sit in my recliner. I think I’ve gotten more sensitive to cold over the last few years. Cold didn’t bother me at all until my mid 30s. I am glad that cool weather is here. I usually do my best writing and reading in the fall and winter.

I’m currently between major reading projects right now. Been reading some old poetry books, writers like Emily Dickenson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Starting to read science articles again. Spent much of my summer reading geopolitics and history articles and blogs. Been reading more wikipedia lately.

I’ve been lazier about writing the last few weeks. I guess even I thought my blog entries were getting stale and uninspired. I’m now seven months into my self imposed quarantine. It goes get to me sometimes. Many people I know still won’t wear face masks in public even with cases of covid on the increase in my town.

Many people I personally know are struggling. Two of my friends in Omaha had to apply for rent assistance and regularly use food pantries. A friend of mine in Denver is worried that layoffs at her job may be coming as her company is losing business. I don’t leave my apartment much except to visit my neighbors and pick up the mail. I pass most of my days with lots of reading and phone calls. I call my parents every couple days to check in on them. I talk to my friend in South Dakota every weekend. I don’t watch much live tv outside of football on Saturday afternoons. I do watch a lot of science lectures, philosophy lectures, interviews, podcasts, and audiobooks on youtube. I don’t use facebook much except to keep in contact with close friends and a few cousins.

Weather is supposed to get real cold this weekend. My friend in South Dakota said they have had a few snows already. My friend in Denver specifically owns an all wheel drive car for their winter snows. I am restocked on supplies and should be able to stay home for awhile if needed. My cleaning lady arrives on Thursday afternoons. She does good work and is good conversation.

If there is one thing I don’t like about being an adult is that it isn’t as easy to have good conversations as it was when I was in college and just starting out in my adult life. Most people I know are busy with family and careers. Most are stressed about money issues, relationship problems, problems at work, etc. that I really can’t relate to. I don’t know if I’m stuck in a perpetual early adulthood or if I just skipped most of my career and right into retirement. I have given up on making new friends via social media. Just to divided and nasty anymore. It didn’t start out that way. It’s sad to see what it has become.

In other news, cement work is being done around the complex, namely in the parking lot. Doesn’t effect me much as I no longer have a car. But at least maintenance is still getting done during a recession and pandemic.

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.

Things I Am Glad To See Change

It’s been several days since I last wrote.  I feel that my posts were getting stale and I was running out of material.  I was needing some time away to recharge.  A lot has changed over the last several years since I started this blog.  That change has only accelerated over the last several months during the pandemic.  I thought I would do a post about things that I am glad that are changing.  This isn’t meant to be definitive by any means and is merely a thought exercise carried out via a blog entry.  So here goes.

Things I Am Glad To See Change

  1. The increase of the work from home options for office jobs.
  2. The rise of home delivery services, especially for groceries.
  3. Increased appreciation for delivery drivers and store clerks.
  4. Increased appreciation for nurses and doctors.
  5. The decline of the commute to the office.
  6. The decline of air pollution
  7. Less emphasis on senseless consumption
  8. Increased appreciation for empathy and compassion
  9. Increased awareness that not everything on social media is true
  10. The decline of 24 hour cable news
  11. The increased appreciation for baking and cooking at home
  12. The decline of retailers who couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt
  13. Increased awareness of prejudices in our institutions
  14. Increased awareness of prejudices in culture
  15. Increased awareness and appreciation for medical science
  16. Private space flight
  17. Plans to return astronauts to the moon
  18. The mass realization that there are some problems politicians can’t solve
  19. Increased applications for renewable energy
  20. More people realizing the importance of work life balance
  21. Streaming services
  22. Increased learning from home via Khan Academy, etc.
  23. Increased awareness of how social media can be abused
  24. 3D printing
  25. CRISPR Cas 9
  26. Self Driving Cars
  27. The rise of the electric car
  28. Increased awareness of mental health issues