Thoughts On 2015 and Looking Ahead to 2016

Another year has come to pass.  We humans have survived yet another lap around the mother star.  2015 has had, like all years, it’s ups and downs.  Some really cool stuff happened like the sending a space probe to Pluto, vertically landing a rocket (I knew I should have bought SpaceX stock several months ago), and discovering water on Mars are just a few of the highlights I can think of right off hand.  This was ‘the future year’ of Back To The Future II.  My enjoyment of the internet and wearable electronics outweigh my disappointment of not having a flying car and not having a computerized Ronald Reagan taking my order at a 1980s nostalgia restaurant.

Looking back on 2015, I accomplished most of my goals.  I set goals every year instead of resolutions.  I actually write down my goals (i.e. make at least 30 blog posts, get my amateur radio license, get rid of my clutter, etc.) and I rewrite them at the end of every month in a journal just to remind myself to keep going.  The two goals I’m most proud of are getting my Amateur radio license and having more visitors to this blog in 2015 than 2014.  The only real goal I didn’t accomplish was losing another sixty pounds.  I started off well as I lost fifteen pounds in the winter months to start 2015.  But things fell apart about late May.  Having a college buddy visit for a whole week in June when we went out to eat and hit sports bars several nights in a row didn’t help the cause.  Things got even worse after the week in the Black Hills for Matt’s wedding.  I’m not blaming my lack of staying on track with diet and exercise on my best friend but friends do sometimes get you in trouble.  But those are the friends you should hang onto.  If the worst Matt causes me to do is eat like a horse for much of a summer, well there are worse things he could have involved me in.  But he’s one of these tall guys who’s skinnier than a rail and can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce.  He’s only a few pounds heavier than when he graduated college thirteen years ago.  I simply won’t even try to keep up with guys like him anymore.  In August, my last living grandparent died.  Went through several weeks of pulling all night internet research and computer game marathons at least three nights per week.  That caused even more weight gain and mental health issues.  My car wreck in late October didn’t help the effort any as it made exercise nearly impossible as I had a few weeks of chronic back pain.  But that’s all cleared now.  It wasn’t until mid November did things return to a sense of normal.  And now I’m where I started 2015, at least weight wise.

I also decided to get somewhat more cultured in 2015.  To this end I watched a few foreign movies on Netflix.  Also watched some classic movies like Citizen Kane, some Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The only Stanley Kubrick movie I saw previously was Full Metal Jacket.  I guess my impression of 2001 was it looked like a mashup of Jane Goodall, Buckminster Fuller, and Carl Sagan on bad acid trips.  This was the sixties after all.

For 2016 goals, I want to lose at least sixty pounds.  I also want to post to this blog at least forty times.  I want to have more visitors to this blog in 2016 than 2015. I want to write poetry again as I’ve been lazy about that for two years.  I want to revive some of my older writing ideas.  In years past I wrote rough drafts for two truly lousy novels. I’m going to see if I can find those old files and dust off the cobwebs.I want to continue to save at least ten percent of my monthly pay.  I’m saving up in part because I want to take a couple good old fashioned American road trip in a few years.  I haven’t been to the East Coast before.  That is one place I want to visit.  I’d love to see autumn in New England and visit some of the old Revolutionary and Civil War battle sites in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  Sometime within the next five to seven years I’d love to visit the Deep South too.  I have a couple college friends from Alabama who are always raving about the barbecue places and good diners down there.  Here in Nebraska, we don’t really have a specialty besides steaks and prime rib.  In short I have a few goals for 2016 and beyond.

 

Reflection upon 2014 and Looking Ahead to 2015

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The year 2014 will be drawing to a close in a few short days.  I always enjoyed the rebirth of New Year’s as a holiday as much as I enjoyed the joys of Christmas and the pride of July 4th.  It is, for me, a time of reflection on the year that was and looking ahead to the year that will be.  It is all appropriate to reflect on the past year.

In 2014, I managed to lose almost 60 pounds and get some other issues in my life in order.  Yes, the weight loss has slowed since late October.  But many people gain weight during Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas seasons.  I’m fortunate that I was able to hold weight wise and mentally even during these stressful and unorganized times.

I had a real good Christmas season.  I didn’t experience as much stress, anxiety, and irritation between Thanksgiving and Christmas as in past years.  Yes I did have one bad episode but that was resolved within one day.  But I got to see an old friend I hadn’t seen in over 15 years, I got some cool stuff for Christmas, and was able to spend several days with friends and family.  How can I ask for more?  It was an ideal holiday season for someone with a mental illness.  We can all use less anxiety and stress in our lives.  We who deal with mental illness are no exception.

I’m glad I lost those 60 pounds in 2014.  My goal, one of them anyway, is to lose another 60 pounds at minimum.  I still have a long way to go before I am at the weight I was in high school.  For far too long I accepted the nonsense that gaining weight while taking anti psychotic drugs was inevitable.  Yes, that can be one of the more prominent side effects of being treated for mental illness problems.  At the same time, many of the newer anti psychotic drugs don’t promote weight gain as much as many of the older generation of medications.  Yes, they are expensive.  Without being on Medicaid and Medicare, my anti psych drugs would cost $1,300 per month.  Just because I’m on government assistance doesn’t mean I’m not aware of what these meds would cost.  While I curse the fact I can’t support myself through my own labor (at least not yet), I am still grateful that such programs as well as private services exist to aid those of us who are, as of this writing in late 2014, still struggling to support ourselves.

We as people have made strides in 2014.  We landed a space probe on a comet among other numerous achievements.  Who knows what the next few decades, let alone the next few years, will bring us as far as achievements and breakthroughs that will make living easier and more productive.  For myself, I never imagined in mid 2012 when I registered a blog through wordpress.com, I would be doing this blog semi regular.  As of today, I’ve had 4,200 plus visits to my blog from at least 60 different nations on every inhabited continent in the world.  Yes, there are blogs that have that many visits on even bad days.  But, thewritngoflife.wordpress.com has evidently struck some people as something worth reading and leaving positive comments on.  Fortunately I haven’t had problems with internet trolls yet.  I’m sure I’ll get a few before long.  But a wise blogger doesn’t feed trolls or anyone else looking to irritate others and start problems.  While it is irritating for me to see people act dumb and look for arguments, even with a mental illness I am aware that such people do not deserve to have their comments responded to.

I have enjoyed 2014.  I got more healthy, lost quite a bit of weight, saw a few old friend I hadn’t seen in years, visited the Black Hills of South Dakota, found out I’m going to be a groomsman in a college friends wedding in summer of 2015, got to visit my out of state niece and three nephews a few times, stayed out of a mental health hospital (I can’t claim that for 2013), and got to see this little ol’ blog of mine reach some people.  How can I call a year like this a waste?  I can’t.  Yes I said good bye to an old friend, found out a second friend of mine in my apartment complex died on Christmas day itself, and saw my parents experience some of the ravages of old age.  Fortunately I had only two major psych breakdowns (I’m usually due for one in either August or September every year because I have a seasonal aspect to my schizophrenia).  As far as living years with a mental illness goes, this year may actually go down as one of my best yet.

As far as goals for 2015, I desire to lose at least another 60 pounds.  While I did fail at one of my goals for 2014 in that I didn’t find a part time job, I feel the year was a success overall.