January 21 2020

Been an uneventful week so far.  Too cold to really go outside for long.  So I’ve been staying home and catching up on reading.  I’m now a third of the way through ‘Wealth of Nations’ and halfway through ‘The Prince.’  I’ve also watched some educational videos on youtube the last few days.

I’ve found myself being a little more easily irritable for a couple days.  So I cut back on caffeine and forced myself to nap a little more during the day.  It’s beginning to work.  Talked to my parents for over an hour last night.  Watched some football on Sunday.  As far as the Super Bowl goes, I guess it really doesn’t matter to me who wins.  I just want to see an exciting game. And I talk with friends on facebook a little every day.  I sometimes forget it wasn’t always this easy to keep in touch with friends and family.  I don’t participate much in my groups these days as I mostly use facebook to talk to old friends and extended family.  I don’t watch news anymore.  I guess I don’t know many people under age 50 who do watch news on a regular basis anymore.

As far as tv watching goes, I watch mostly youtube anymore.  I did watch a couple superhero movies on my amazon account over the last several days.  I saw the first Iron Man and Man of Steel over the last few weeks.  Saw Black Panther a couple months ago.  Saw Avatar a few weeks ago.

Haven’t talked to my neighbors for a few days.  I am probably going to call them this afternoon and see how they are doing.  One of my neighbors had surgery a month ago and has been more or less house bound since.  His wife occasionally makes dinner for me, usually a couple times a week.  Haven’t been outside the complex for awhile.  Just too cold to be out.  Even though I live within walking distance of a couple restaurants, I don’t eat much fast food anymore.  I haven’t even eaten at McDonald’s in over a year.

I still lift weights three to four times a week.  As I get stronger, I add new exercises and more reps.  While I may not be losing weight, I know I am getting stronger.  I still get winded sometimes but I recover much faster now than a year ago.  I may not leave my apartment every day, but I do make a point of getting up and walking around at least once an hour.  About the only time I have aches and pains anymore is when I wake up or have eaten too much sugar and caffeine.

I guess I’ve fully entered my winter routines.  I don’t mind the cold weather, especially since I no longer have to drive in ice and snow anymore.  And sleeping under fleece blankets feels so good.

Winter, Socializing, and Reading

I’m now in winter mode.  Been reading a couple hours a day most days.  Still lifting weights three times a week.  Ever since I got my new bed I’ve been getting better quality sleep.  I don’t wake up with as many aches and pains.  When I do take pain pills, it is usually only once a day.  I am starting to eat less, I usually cook once a day, have a large lunch, and then have some left overs for dinner.  Mentally I am more stable.  Haven’t had any true problems since right before Christmas.  Been more social this last week too.  Talked with friends over facebook every day for the last seven days.  I feel like I have gotten some much neglected socializing.

We didn’t get much snow with this last cold snap.  But it did feel good to curl up under my fleece blanket and read some on my e-reader.  I’m currently working on a couple classics I read in my early twenties.  Currently working on Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and The Republic by Plato.  Haven’t been doing the audiobooks for several days.

For awhile I was worried about the fact I haven’t been as diligent about reading books for the last two years.  I still read a great deal, even if it was online articles, short stories, and audiobooks.  But for the last several days I’ve been reading like I never left off.  I’m still adapting to reading on an e-reader I guess.  It still doesn’t feel the same as reading a traditional book, especially an older book with the old library aroma.  I enjoy that smell, it reminds me of the old library in my childhood hometown that was my second home as a child.  While I haven’t been to a traditional library for a few years, I still love to read.  I’m now working on my e-reader.  I downloaded a few hundred free classics through the Apple online store.  I would have spent years and a small fortune tracking these books down in the years before the internet.  Sure there are many I’ll probably never get to read, but it still feels good to have them.  Thanks to my e-reader I have read some books I probably never would have.  It’s amazing what a person can find anymore.

Return to Routine After Holidays

Today was the first really routine day since a couple days before Christmas.  Even though I played Christmas music on youtube and watched a couple Christmas movies since the day after Thanksgiving, it didn’t truly hit that it was Christmas until a week before Christmas.  I had some flare ups a couple days before Christmas Eve, so I had to reschedule my plans.  I did talk to my brother and his family on Christmas Day as well as my parents and a few friends.  I had my Christmas celebration on New Year’s Day when my parents came to town.  I got a few shirts, a few pairs of sweat pants, a fleece coat, and a heavy duty bed frame.  The frame is all metal and a lot firmer than my previous frames.  Yet it seems to sleep better.  I went to bed at 11pm last night and woke up at sunrise and I didn’t have much for pain.  I still fit a little stiff, but that’s been normal for the last several months.  I didn’t even take pain meds this morning.  I do take some gloucosimine every morning with breakfast as I sometimes have sore joints in the morning.  That and a short soak in a hot bath every day seems to work wonders on my joints.

I hosted my parents yesterday, watched some New Year’s college football, and bought some groceries.  My cleaning lady arrived this afternoon.  Talked to a couple friends this evening.  A college friend of mine and his brothers went skiing on New Year’s Day in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  I never did any skiing or snow boarding, not even as a kid.  I was always into warmer weather activities like fishing, playing football, and running track and field.  My favorite winter activities involve drinking coffee, lifting weights, and reading.

Found my old e-reader two weeks ago.  I’m rereading a couple of the classics I read in my younger years.  I’m currently working on Plato’s “Republic” and Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations.”  Last summer I reread “Art of War” by Sun Tzu.  I also listened to a few audiobooks on youtube over the autumn, mostly science and tech books.  Read the first of the “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov last summer.  While it didn’t seem like I got as much reading done as I would have liked, I guess I did a bit once the whole year was taken into consideration.

November 10 2019

Today is November 10, 2019.  This is the first day in my experiment of living without social media.  I shut down my twitter account and I went inactive on my facebook.  I had plenty of acquaintances but only a handful of people I interacted with on a regular basis.  I am getting back into writing emails again.  I wrote to my best friend and she wrote back a few hours later.  So far I’m not going through withdrawal, at least not yet.  Now that I starting to adjust to not needing to check on my friends several times a day, I found I actually got some more things done today.  I started journaling again.  I had bought a few notebooks several months ago with the idea that I would write in those.  But I found that it’s actually easier now to type things out rather than write them out long handed.  I don’t write long hand much anymore.  But I can write decently on a computer keyboard.  I’m going to do more writing on my computer now.

Renewed my Netflix subscription a few days ago.  Saw a couple science fiction movies I had been meaning to see but never got around to.  Saw Cloud Atlas this morning.  Saw Thor Ragnaork a couple days ago.  Thinking about binge watching a few of my favorite series again.  I’m thinking of starting with either The Borgias or Hell on Wheels.  I may also pick back up on Star Trek Next Generation.

Finished an audiobook on YouTube a couple days ago.  It was another book about automation and the future of working within the next twenty years.  If what many of these authors and scientists write is true, millions of people could be out of work within the next ten to twenty years.  This could be quite devastating to many people, especially people in mid career who suddenly find their skills obsolete.

And the kicker is that while scientists and tech bosses are talking about this, as is the press, almost no politician is even discussing this. I swear our political system isn’t designed to keep up with the current speed of tech and social change.  Neither are our financial, legal, educational, or religious systems.  As unrecognizable as the world of 2019 would be to someone visiting in 1999, I am convinced the changes between now and the next twenty years will be even more disruptive.  We can deny it or legislate it away as much as want, but it won’t do any good.  It will make the transitions only tougher.  And I fear our current crop of leaders in government, education, commerce, religion, etc. are woefully under preparing for what is staring us in the face.  I’ve feared this for years.

Science and tech seem to be among the few things that are actually adapting to the new ways of living and doing things.  I mean, we have tech magnates making plans to go to Mars, build colonies on the Moon, provide broadband internet to every person on Earth, and even people audacious enough to try to figure out how to reverse aging.  Yet we have politicians who try to revive dead industries, try to divide peoples, and seek to start wars.  I try not to pay attention to politicians anymore.  They are, as far as I’m concerned, merely a distraction and a circus side show.  The real drivers of progress are science, technology, medicine, and art.  And it may be that increased international trade is what will prevent a major world war, if it is to be prevented.  I mean, what’s the point of going to war against trade and business partners?  The citizens, by and large, want peace.  It’s our short sighted and arrogant leaders who want war and division and hate.  Keep them divided and fighting among themselves I guess.

Random Thoughts on Colder Weather and Socializing

Been quiet on my end the last few days.  I’m glad the weather is starting to turn cool.  Summers have been my toughest time of year for me for many years.  I guess I just don’t like day after day of sunny and hot weather.  I’m not a lizard and I can wear sweaters, get under fleece blankets, and make hot soup and coffee.  I’m usually my happiest in winter and spring.  Winter usually puts me in a philosophical and reflective mood.  And I’m usually happiest and most active in the spring.  Even as a middle aged man looking at the second half of my life and seeing many people my age the parents of teenagers, I still feel as giddy as a child when it snows.  I like Christmas, but I enjoy the socializing with family more than I do getting gifts now.  As far as gifts go, as a middle aged man I really appreciate things like tools, clothing, and money or gift cards.  Now that I’m a grown man, I understand why my dad always liked getting tools or clothing for Christmas.

As far as getting ready for colder weather, I broke down and bought a jar of instant coffee for the first time in over a month several days ago.  It takes the chill out of my bones and helps me concentrate my thoughts.  But too much can make me jittery and easily irritated.  So it’s more of a balancing act than it was even five years ago.  Caffeine just effects me more in middle age than it did when I was in my twenties.  I also decided to regrow my beard and let my hair get longer.  I more of less shaved myself bald and got rid of my beard for the summer.  Yes, I cut my own hair.  As good as my barber is, I just can’t justify paying her increased prices.  Especially since I usually do most of my work and receiving guests at home and don’t have to be super presentable every day.

Been watching more movies lately.  Watched a few science fiction movies from the late 90s and early 2000s over the last few days.  As far as movies go, I always liked science fiction and historical drama.  I don’t usually watch a lot of westerns, but Tombstone was one of my favorite movies from my teenage years.  I do like some superhero movies, especially the Batman trilogy with Christian Bale.  Haven’t watched much for comedies lately.

Still haven’t had much for socializing lately, at least not in person.  But I’m at the age when most of my friends are busy with careers and family.  All my friends except for my college friend who’s a school teacher in Netherlands are married or divorced.  I don’t hear from my brother much as he’s quite busy with his career and family.  I try to stay in contact with my best friends from high school and college at least a few times a month in spite how busy they are.  I imagine we can eventually pick up on the long drawn out conversations once the careers slow down and their children grow up.  Thanks to social media, my dad has reestablished contact with some of his old college and Air Force friends.

As popular as facebook has become I imagine there are millions of retirees in my parents’ age bracket reestablishing contact with old school friends and military buddies.  Before facebook got really big, my parents told me they were proud of how many people in my age bracket and younger were making more effort to stay in contact with friends from high school, college, and the military.  It wasn’t always easy, and sometimes it still isn’t.  But the efforts were worth while.

Some of my friends I’ve seen only a few times in the last fifteen years, but we can easily stay in contact.  It’s one of the reasons I stay on social media in spite how much negative vibes can thrive in some cases.  I have gotten to where I don’t post much, at least not around people I don’t know very well.  I usually save my best material for friends and family I know will appreciate, or at least tolerate, my eccentric humor and thoughts.

Don’t have much to rant about.  I still occasionally have flare ups.  But in most cases I can ride those out with a few minutes of ranting to myself.  I guess I don’t feel much guilt for the flare ups, at least as long as I don’t take my illness out on other people.  If a flare up occurs, I can usually deal with with after a few minutes of deep breathing, ranting to myself in a normal voice, or just stepping back and disconnecting from socializing for several minutes.

February 5, 2019

Saw my psych doctor today.  Mentally I’m quite stable and feeling less anxiety.  Haven’t had problems with anxiety or irritability for months now.  Physically I feel better overall.  I don’t need as much sleep and I exercise a little every morning.  I’ve also started stretching every morning too.  That seems to help with the minor and annoying aches and pains in addition to starting my day off right.

Been socializing more than previously.  Even though I sometimes went entire days without leaving my apartment early this winter, I still socialized some.  Granted, socializing online and over the phone isn’t quite the same as connecting to someone in person.  But I do live in a place where not many people share my interests, so I have to make do or fake like I have a serious interest in things I really don’t.  I’m missing my old friends quite a bit these days.  As much as I loved college, I didn’t realize just how special those days were until I was out in the adult world for several years and without much for an in person social network.  Fortunately, thanks to facebook and twitter, it is easier for me to keep in contact with college and even high school friends then even fifteen years ago.

I guess that winter is now half over.  It has been a long time since I spent hours on end outdoors getting lots of sunshine and fresh air.  Even though this has been a long winter, it hasn’t been an unbearable one.  I think it helps that I have learned to manage stress better and keep myself occupied, even if it is as mundane as playing Civilization or Skyrim for a few hours at a time.

I am also listening to audiobooks again.  I’m currently almost done with The Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku.  I recently started Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark.  The last ones I finished were Foundation by Issac Asimov and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Hurrari.

Continuing my self directed study too.  I enjoy those ‘What If’ channels on youtube that present alternate histories of what could have happened had even slight changes happened.  Interesting thought exercises to be sure.  Still reading online articles though not as much as I had in previous months.  I guess I’m taking some time to allow my mind to digest and process what I had previously learned.  I imagine the human mind, even as powerful as it is, can only absorb so much over a given period of time before it needs a round or two of rest, recuperation and relaxation.

After a warmup over the weekend, we are back into more winter like weather.  Granted I didn’t get the several feet of snow or the 50 below wind chills that much of the eastern U.S. received.  It was cold enough for me and I avoided most of the cold spell.  An old college friend of mine was telling me that it got almost 30 below zero in her town.

Don’t know much else I suppose.  I haven’t written much the last several days simply because I didn’t have much to report as I was just riding out the cold spell and not doing much.  Sometimes I also don’t write much if I’m feeling more stable.  But I imagine when I am stable is exactly when I should be reflecting on the problems I had in past years.  I look forward to the second half of winter.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

Easing Into Fall and Breaking Out of a Depression

Been rainy and cool the last few days.  Haven’t really gone anywhere over the Labor Day weekend.  Pretty much slept in, listened to podcasts, and talked to family a little.  I think my bouts of irritability and paranoia have passed.  Was having some problems with those for a couple weeks.  I find that sleeping more and avoiding rude people helps me.  So does eating healthier.  I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost but I am down one full shirt size since the middle of June.  And I’m not doing much besides eating more protein, severely limiting carbs and sugars, and lifting weights three times per week.

Overall I think I’m coming out of my traditional late summer depression.  It helps that the weather is cooler.  I always enjoyed cooler weather.  From this point of the year until early April I really don’t feel much pressure to socialize if I don’t want to.  Sometimes in summers past my friends and family would want to do things like go camping, go to baseball games, go fishing, or go to the park.  Sometimes I wouldn’t want to go but I’d force myself to in an attempt to break out of the depression I was in.  More often than not I did break out of it, at least for the rest of that day.  I would be glad I went out with them afterward but I would, unfortunately, be a little resentful when first asked out.  But I did make some good memories in the process even when all I wanted to do was stay home and brood.

I’m enjoying the cooler weather and the rain.  Sometimes during these rainy days, I’ll bring up some jazz music on youtube and just relax.  I like to read to jazz and blues music.  Listened to a lot of Miles Davis, Muddy Watters, and John Lee Hooker over the years while reading.  Cooler and overcast weather puts me in the mood to think, read, and write.  I do enjoy this kind of weather.