Adjusting To Spring

It is starting to look and feel like spring again. Saw my first lightning of the season on Easter Sunday. The trees outside my window starting leafing this morning. Been watching lots of baseball the last few days. And I put some of my winter clothes away.

I’m still listening to audiobooks on youtube, mostly history and economics these last few days. Listening to some old radio shows too. Listened to a few episodes of The Shadow from the late 1930s. Been sleeping a lot lately. I usually go to bed around 10pm and wake up for good around 5am. Mentally I feel pretty stable. I usually do better on days I avoid aimless social media use and news casts. Have had only one major breakdown since last fall. Late summers are usually my toughest time of year.

Still taking it all one day at a time. At this point I’ve adapted to spending most of my time alone. I no longer feel guilty for not wanting to socialize with toxic and rude people. I’m glad I can keep myself good company. Alone time doesn’t bother me anymore. Sometimes it’s when I have my happiest and most peaceful moments.

Quarantine Journal: March 25 2021

Doing well overall. Started lifting weights again. I’m taking vitamin D supplements and I think it helps with the depression and anxiety. Met my new landlady a couple days ago while I was waiting for a delivery man. I think she will make a good manager.

I’m thinking about signing up for a home health service to see if I can a covid vaccine at home. Without a car I’m essentially home bound unless I want to hire an Uber driver. I’ve heard that many places are starting to have spikes in case numbers again. For as many problems as my country had in the first several months, we have gotten vaccines out faster than I thought we would. I’m thinking where was this level of focused action one year ago? Many people died that didn’t have to.

While I don’t socialize much in person, I leave my door unlocked during daylight hours in case anyone wants to drop by. My neighbors and I check in on each other a couple times a week. I’m having fewer aches and pains the last few days. Maybe I’m doing something right.

Still stable mentally. Had one flare up in early January but it was short lived. Haven’t had any since. It does get lonely sometimes spending most of my time at home and by myself. But I am still prime target for covid and there are still lots of vaccinations to go. This thing isn’t over by any means just yet.

March 22 2021

Another winter has passed. The weather is starting to warm and the spring rains are beginning. Corn planting will be starting in my home state in a few weeks. The days are certainly longer now. Easter will be first Sunday in April. And I’m beginning to adjust to the end of winter.

My parents visited over the weekend. My brother gave me a PlayStation 5 for Christmas. It is amazing. I have a couple games for it now. I have Madden NFL 21 and a first person game similar to Skyrim. The graphics and game play on both are mind boggling. Thank you Josh (my brother). I really appreciate the gaming console. I will get lots of joy out of it. Certainly a far cry from the 8 bit Mario Brothers games I played back in the late 80s. I don’t have any VR games but my nephew has a VR headset. My dad played a flight simulator game on it and said it’s quite realistic to a real plane (he’s a licensed pilot).

Been having more aches and pains lately. I’ve been lazy about taking pain pills and lifting weights the last few weeks. I’m starting back on those today.

Mentally I’m feeling stable. Exterminator is supposed to be spraying all the apartments sometime this week and maintenance will be replacing filters on my furnace soon. It’s good to see that routine maintenance will be resuming. The pandemic really changed a lot of things for everyone. Seeing my parents over the weekend made me realize how starved I was for in person human contact. I have essentially kept my in person socializing to a minimum for a year. Last I heard over one hundred million vaccines have been given in my country since Christmas. As sad as it is that my country didn’t handle the pandemic well, maybe we can turn things around with the vaccine programs.

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

End of Winter and Thoughts After One Year of Pandemic

Winter is almost over in my part of the world. I usually leave my windows open during the day only to get under blankets after dark. The days are usually warm but the nights are still chilly. The days are also a lot longer than just a couple months ago.

The vaccinations are rolling out pretty quickly in my country. Both my parents are fully vaccinated and getting out more often. Probably be a few more months before I qualify. Yet I have avoided getting sick for over a year. I still have some emergency supplies just in case. The last year has been lonely. But it wasn’t overly stressful. I’m glad I live in a town with home delivery groceries and Amazon delivery. I’ve avoided doctors’ offices and public places since last February because of pandemic. I did this as I am higher risk being overweight and mentally ill. But, as I had a set up where I could get groceries and prescription medications delivered, I didn’t have to leave my apartment unless absolutely necessary. My neighbor, who is quite mobile, picks up my mail once a week. In return I give him quarters for laundry and the downstairs vending machines. Amazon, grocery delivery, wireless internet with access to Youtube and Netflix, mail service, my cleaning lady arriving once a week, cell phone calls to family and friends, Facebook Messenger with friends, etc. has been a godsend for me and people like me. I sold my car almost two years ago as I no longer trust myself driving. My reflex and attention to detail just aren’t what they once were. If I do get real desperate, there are a few Uber drivers in my small college town. Most of the delivery drivers I have dealt with are younger people in their 20s. I think this pandemic would have been a lot worse had it hit back in the 1980s when we didn’t have easy access to internet, delivery services, fast vaccine developments, etc. I guess I am seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I just hope when another one hits, could be a few years or even not for another several generations, we are better prepared. As bad as covid is, it could have been so much worse.

Fear of the Future

Since I have more alone time since the pandemic started, I have spent much of my time researching science and tech articles and journals. I’ve been especially interested in the changes in the workplace and job market. Personally I’ve been getting my groceries delivered to my house since 2017. When I started this, I was the first one in my complex to do so. As far as I know, a significant portion of my neighbors now do so.

I’ve gotten most of my shopping done online via Amazon and King Size for several years. For the first time in my life, I actually have a complete wardrobe that fits perfectly. I never understood why people were so picky about brands of clothing, at least for clothes that didn’t have to be worn at work or social gatherings. But then I grew up in rural Nebraska where most people wore polo shirts and slacks even to church. It was tough to get excited about clothes shopping when I knew it was hit or miss if I would find anything good in my size. Most people weren’t at all sympathetic about it. I was just told to “lose weight” rather than look for specialty clothing options via mail order and online. For me, the internet has been a godsend when it comes to shopping for clothing.

I don’t regret selling my car. I had grown to hate driving over the years. And since I live in a small town in a predominantly rural state, driving is my only real option. I’ve had people tell me that things like buses and passenger trains were “socialist.” Never mind that USA used to have the best passenger rail and public transit service in the world. And air travel, with all it’s restrictions and screenings, is a sick joke as far as I’m concerned. You pay for a ticket and then they treat you like you a criminal from the time you show up at the airport until you arrive at your destination.

But, it’s alright. With communication tech being what it is, I really don’t have to leave home much anymore. And the pandemic accelerated the changes that were already starting. People tell me to socialize more. What do think I do online? I also read more now than I have at any point in my life even if I haven’t been to the library in over five years. I’m actually learning more as a middle age man than I ever did in school. Too many people got the idea that learning has to be tough and boring. And no, memorization isn’t learning. A damn smart phone can look up facts and do math better than any scholar. Anyone relying on rote memorization and repetition is getting slaughtered in the real world. It’s only going to get worse in that regard.

When I was struggling socially in junior high, my dad told me that nerds and geeks would someday rule the world. I thought he was full of it when he told me this when I was thirteen. But, not even thirty years later he was right. Most of the richest people in the world got their start in science and high tech, not manufacturing or mining. And I am loving every minute of it. Things like comic books, live action role playing, computers, techno music, video gaming, art, writing, empathy, compassion, etc. were considered weak and unmanly. My classmates hated people who read comic books and worked on computers or did art. They were like be normal, play sports and fix cars.

Now people are worried about machines taking over many current jobs. They should be, especially with the whole Puritan work ethic and being defined by your employment type of b.s. we’ve shoved down our kids throats for generations. These kids are right when they know that even a college degree isn’t worth as much as it was forty years ago. I’m glad I went to college when I did and got out debt free. College was also the only means I had to find something conducive to my skill set. I grew up in a town of less than 500 people dominated by corn farming and raising cattle. The nearest four year college was an hour and a half drive away. Corn farming and raising cattle requires nowhere near as many workers as it did one hundred years ago. We no longer live in a world where 80 percent of our workers can work on farms, factories, or mines. Maybe 15 percent of the population does such now. People complain about all the manufacturing jobs getting sent to China, but the value of US manufacturing is actually higher than ever. We just manufacture expensive things like jets, power generators, etc. And much of our manufacturing is done via machines. Blaming immigrants and foreigners is a convenient red herring for politicians looking for votes.

If there is a point to this post, it is that the future is already arriving. It’s up to us to adapt to the new reality or step aside for those who will rise to the challenges. If you don’t think the world can change for the better, you are wrong. It will change for the better but it will change in spite of people who try to hold onto the good old days (which actually sucked for most people by the way).

Jan 26 2021

We got over a foot of snow on the ground right now. I’m staying inside for awhile. I’m content to read, play computer games, and stay warm. I was supposed to have a couple packages from Amazon come this afternoon. Don’t know if they’ll be delayed or not. Packages delayed by snowstorms isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination.

I am still sleeping a great deal. Most nights I go to bed around 10pm and wake for good around 9am. I wake up a couple times in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and stretch. I usually get stiff and sore after sleeping for several hours. I have found stretching for a minute or two before I get out of bed can knock most of this down.

I haven’t visited my neighbors this week. I’m pretty content to stay home and keep to myself and my audiobooks. Typical mid winter for me.

I have all but given up on social media. I chat with a few friends, a couple neighbors, and a couple cousins. That is it. If I don’t know someone in person I will no longer chat with them over social media. It’s no longer worth the headaches and stress. The only reason I keep facebook is so I can have instant messaging. I cancelled twitter over a year ago. I understand why many social media sites are becoming ghost towns. It’s no longer any fun outside of close friends and family.

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?