Things I Learned In The Adult World I Wish I Learned In School

With graduation being only a few weeks away, I thought I’d compose a list of things that I learned as an adult that would have made my life easier had I learned them while in grade school and high school. Here goes:

How to invest in the stock market

How compounding interest works

How to have an argument without resorting to insults and violence

Sometimes being “just good friends” is better than a romantic relationship

How to spot biases in news stories and journal articles

How to really listen to people

How to convince people of the validity of my ideas (Hint: facts and statistics almost never work)

I wish I paid more attention in junior high home economics

I wish I paid more attention in shop class

No one is going to ask to see your grades unless you’re trying to get into grad school, law school, medical school, etc.

Things change

Take care of your knees

The only language some people understand is force

There are truly wealthy people who dress in Wal Mart clothing and drive Dodge Ram pickup trucks

There are lots of people living paycheck to paycheck who drive BMW and wear Louis Votton

If you are wrong, apologize and move on. Don’t keep bringing it up.

It is possible to pay too much attention to a love interest. What you call being attentive, they may call being clingy.

Adults don’t know everything. They are just better at bluffing.

Having a job isn’t as bad as your parents and 7th grade teacher told you it was

You probably aren’t being judged as much as you think. Most people are too busy with their own lives to notice.

Eye witness testimony isn’t always reliable.

Sometimes bad people really do get what they deserve.

Some of the most admired people are sometimes the worst human beings in private

You can have just as good a time with pizza and cheap malt liquor as you can champagne and caviar.

You can have an even better time at your nephew’s sixth birthday party then you can any frat party.

No, it doesn’t make sense that a wedding takes a year to plan but a funeral can be planned in less than a week. But it doesn’t matter. Roll with it

It is impossible to predict human stupidity

Most people don’t read books or even newspapers after leaving school

Most people can get through life hap hazardly. But it won’t be a life that makes a difference to even your friends, family, and coworkers

Some people are better off not marrying

Some people are better off not having kids

Some people are better off not working a traditional 40 hour a week job

First impressions do matter but aren’t always accurate

Being a liar and a hypocrite works only when most people aren’t liars and hypocrites.

And, most people aren’t liars and hypocrites.

I have more in common with the working class of rival nations and religions than I do my political leaders and business tycoons

Life is a competition and a game, but in the end it all goes back in the box.

Money in itself isn’t evil but can be easily abused.

Poverty in itself isn’t virtuous.

Long hours and obsessive commitment won’t insure riches. They are the bare minimum.

You can be rich in money but poor in free time.

The graveyards of the world are full of people who could never imagine the world without them.

There will always be people who fight against progress.

The past was a real lousy place for anyone who wasn’t rich or in the religious or cultural majority.

Progress isn’t guarenteed

Machines and robots will eventually take most jobs

Time speeds up with age

I Don’t Socialize Much In Person, But I Don’t Feel Lonely Or Isolated

Spring has finally sprung. I’m glad to see the end of winter. My aches and pains have been essentially non existent the last several days. Most days I’m asleep by 10pm and up for good by 5am. I’m back to listening to audiobooks again after a few weeks of vacation I still have no desire to socialize in person. I do talk to friends and family a few times a day. But I spend most of my time alone.

I’m still losing weight, at least as far as I can tell. I can stand for longer periods of time now. I have fewer aches and pains. Things are going alright on that end.

I’m still afraid to socialize in person. I’m also scared to leave my apartment. My paranoia keeps me at home most of the time. I’m just scared of people anymore. I just don’t know how to read them anymore. It’s far easier for me to socialize over the phone and online than it is to socialize in person. The pandemic hasn’t been as tough on me as most people. I love that I can socialize online and on the phone. I love that I can get my groceries and medications delivered to my home. I love that I have a cleaning lady comes to my place once a week. I love being able to make payments online. I enjoy streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Absolutely love my Audible audiobooks. Sometimes I can spend hours at a time listening to audiobooks while playing computer games. I even love doing my doctors’ appointments via Zoom calls. I have too much sensory overload to be a safe driver anymore. Haven’t driven a car in almost three years. Saved me lots of money and headaches. I now know that my car accident several years ago spooked me real bad. It killed my love for driving.

Even though I’m afraid to socialize in person anymore, I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on much. It’s always been really tough for me to find people with similar interests. It’s gotten tougher the older I got. Most of my old friends have families and careers, so their ability to socialize with me is at a minimum. I haven’t seen my friend Matt since 2015. I haven’t been to a family reunion in probably ten years. I’ve been outside of my town only once since the start of the pandemic. While my physical world has gotten much smaller the last few years, my mental world has gotten much bigger. I probably spend six to eight hours per day reading, watching documentaries, and just learning new things. I’ve learned more history, economics, philosophy, science, etc. since 2015 than all the years before that.

One of the things I enjoy about being in my forties is that I no longer feel pressured to conform to others’ expectations. If I don’t want to leave my apartment for days at a time, I don’t leave my apartment. And I no longer feel any shame for wanting to stay home. I didn’t use to be a homebody. When I was in my teens and twenties, I preferred to spend time at my friends’ houses. I went roadtripping with my college friends every summer in my twenties and early thrities. I started becoming a homebody about five years ago. And the pandemic has accelerated this trend. I no longer feel like eating in restaurants or going out in public. I know many people feel like I’m missing out on life by not going to movies or sporting events or restaurants. But I don’t feel that way. I just hate being forced out of my home.

Even though I don’t have a paying job or a family, I don’t feel incomplete or a failure. I have, on average, written one blog entry per week over the last nine years. While it doesn’t have much of an audience, I still love doing it. I see no reason to quit doing this. It has given me more meaning in my life than any job or dating relationship ever did.

December 27 2021

Another Christmas has come and gone. I spent this one alone as I was afraid of having my elderly parents travel several hundred miles to see me on Christmas. First time in my life I spent Christmas alone. My cleaning lady was kind enough to drop off two plates of traditional Christmas dinner. She does this for all of her clients who are shut ins. I stayed home, listened to Christmas music while playing computer games, and watched the old movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ It could have been worse. I friend of mine and her spouse spent Christmas sick with the flu while their neighbors suffered from covid.

This month has been warmer and drier than usual this year. We’ve had snow only twice in the last eight weeks. So it’s been drier too. Supposed to get cold this weekend. New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Something about the old ending and the new beginning has always appealed to me. I used to go to local concerts on New Year’s Eve. I always made a point of leaving well before midnight to avoid drunk drivers.

Still lifting weights three times per week. I’m starting to sleep less too. Most nights I go to bed around 9:30 pm and wake up at 5am. I got a new cpap machine so I’m good to go on that for at least several years. I’m still losing weight as my clothes are looser and my endurance is increasing with each passing week.

I still talk to friends, neighbors, and family at least once a day. Even though I spend most of my time at home, I’m not lonely. I drop in on my neighbor across the hall once a day on average.

Been lazy about reading the last several days. I guess it comes and goes in cycles. I’ll probably start back up by the end of the year. I still have the Audible account. I probably won’t give that up anytime soon.

Been more paranoid than usual the last several days. Probably from the lack of sleep. My illness seems to get worse when my sleep patterns change. Sleep has always been good therapy for me.

December 12 2021

Started lifting weights again a few weeks ago. I’m starting to notice a difference. I’m taking vitamin C and fish oil suppliments. Still fighting off a cold but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was last week. I can stand for longer periods of time without pains. It’s easier to do chores around my apartment than even three months ago.

Changed up my diet some. I’m eating more burritos these days. I hadn’t been getting much for fiber in my high protein diet lately. I was needing a change as I was getting tired of the same routine every day. I’m going to go easy on restaurant delivery. That stuff is getting expensive, like everything else.

Sleeping in my recliner for the time being. My cpap machine finally broke down and I’ve been having chronic stiffness in my legs most mornings. I’m currently trying to get my machine replaced. But I’ll probably have to sleep in the recliner for at least the next few days until I can get a replacement.

Haven’t had bad flare ups of my mental illness in months. I’ve had a few minor ones and sometimes get kind of irritable. I’ve been stable for the most part this year. I see my psych doctor every two months via teleconference. I still spend most of my time alone. I still contact friends and family on a daily basis. But a lot of people are on edge lately, more so than usual. I just try to avoid the drama. Kind of sad it feels like I’m hiding out. But what’s the point of socializing with people who are going to make you feel bad? I no longer have time or patience for drama and nonsense.

Listen to audiobooks at least one hour a day. I’m getting close to finishing a couple of my recent purchases. For some odd reason, it’s just easier for me to focus on audiobooks than traditional books anymore. This wasn’t the case until a couple years ago.

I still do computer games some every day. I love the Civilization and Total War series of games. I’m also spending some time on Cyberpunk 2077 and Skyrim on my PS5. I still can’t believe my brother found that console. There are still shortages from what I’ve heard.

My clothes are fitting really loose these days. I’ve even had cases where I get snagged on dresser handles and door latches because of how much more loose my clothing now is. I have simple tastes as I prefer t shirts and sweat pants. I like hoodies but don’t wear them unless I’m outside as I’m more sensitive to heat than most people. Colder weather doesn’t really bother me, at least not as long as I have central heating, fleece blankets, and hot coffee. I’m going to start saving my money so I can buy new shirts and sweat pants. The ones I have right now are getting real loose. I know I have lost at least 80 pounds between December 2019 and October 2021. If the way my clothing fits is any indication, I’ve lost some more since October.

Christmas is coming in a couple weeks. The big thing I want this year is a new microwave. The PS5 was my blockbuster gift last year. As much as I appreciate my brother being able to find it, I appreciate spending time with family and friends even more. Christmas is more about spending time with family and celebrating the birth of Jesus anymore. Even though I haven’t regularly attended church services in several years, I think there is a great value to things like spirituality, community, and just treating other people with kindness and empathy. There will probably always be aspects of the cosmos and human experience that can’t be explained by even the best science.

In spite staying close to home and keeping physical contact with people to a minimum, I’m doing alright both mentally and physically. 2021 has been better for me than 2020, even with spending three weeks in the hospital. That time in the hospital allowed me to address health issues I neglected previously.

Beginning of Fall 2021

I’ve been having problems with insomnia lately. I fall asleep but usually stay asleep for only 30 minutes at a time. I usually get my best sleep between 7am and 11am these days. I still go to bed around 9pm most nights. But I usually lie awake for a couple hours before I drift off for the first time.

As far as I know, our complex is still on lock downs. I usually make a point of not talking to people much, at least in person. Most people I know are really on edge. I am too. Just saw in the news that the official death toll from covid in the US is now higher than the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago. Naturally, some people will say that Spanish Flu was a totally different virus and that the US has over three times as many people as we did in 1918. To me, this is a heartless and ugly attitude to have. I’m through with arguing about mask mandates and vaccines and social distancing. I’m convinced some people will never get the idea even if they themselves wind up dead. I’ve had to cut a lot of people out of my life because of toxic and heartless attitudes like this. I’m glad my grandparents aren’t alive to see this mass insanity.

Disasters and Mental Illness

Staying closer to home again lately. The cases of covid are increasing again. It’s only a matter of time before it hits my hometown again. With the bad heat waves the western part of the country has experienced, we have had more rain the normal. It too is only a matter of time before the heat waves hit my hometown. We don’t have the water shortages that places like California and Arizona have. But I think if my state gets that level of drought, a new Dust Bowl will result.

Being prepared for disasters is extremely important. If wildfires, freak blizzards, and chronic flooding can’t convince some people, nothing will. Growing up in a rural farming community over an hour’s drive away from the nearest Wal Mart and Home Depot, it was necessary to have enough supplies to be able to fend for ourselves for at least a few days in the event of a bad blizzard or flooding. Growing up around farmers, I personally know several farmers who have lost entire corn crops to hail storms and floods.

When the covid disaster relief payments came, I made a point of buying extra food, over the counter medications, and clothing. I also bought a new computer. My old one was starting to die and I was afraid prices were going to go up with the shortage on microchips. And prices are going up. I certainly pay more for food than I did even two years ago. Clothing prices have increased. And gas prices are on the rise. When the Colonial pipeline in the southern states was shut down by hackers, I remember thinking if I was an Uber driver in Atlanta who had a Tesla, I’d probably have more work than I could handle. As it is, I no longer have a car. Sold it two years ago. But, since I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment and I don’t road trip anymore, it made little sense to keep a car. If I really need to go anywhere, I can hire an Uber driver or sweet talk one of my neighbors into giving me a ride and offer gas money in return.

In addition to natural disasters, many people are more on edge than usual. A friend of a friend had a gun pulled on her a few days ago. My friend in Denver said she’s dealing with far more rude and angry customers than even a few years ago. My brother and his family moved out of their suburb and bought a place with a large lot just outside of the city right before housing prices skyrocketed. I have two friends in Omaha, both college educated, working two jobs each barely just scraping by. Gone are the days when a father could support a family of six kids with a factory job. Lots of people are hurting. And we are turning on each other instead of working together to solve problems.

Our science, tech, medicine, etc. are what’s keeping us afloat. Other institutions, namely politics, haven’t kept up with the changes in tech and world affairs. I can’t imagine how much worse covid would be if we still didn’t have vaccinations or work from home options. People who were saying this covid isn’t as bad as Spanish Flu was 100 years ago may have to back track those words. They certainly would if not for the efforts of scientists, doctors, nurses, farm workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, truck drivers, merchant marine sailors, etc.

July 11 2021

Been quiet the last few days. Staying close to home as it’s been really hot when it hasn’t been raining. Looking forward to fall again. Only 50 days until the first college football games. It was so strange last year watching games in empty stadiums. I see the Olympics won’t allow spectators this year. I hope we can get enough people vaccinated that we can open up all over the world again.

While covid hasn’t been as rough for me as most people, it has been quite lonely at times. Glad I can do my psych doctor appointments by teleconference. I haven’t been to a general practice doctor since the pandemic started. I managed to get vaccinated in early May. A home health service sent two nurses to my home, had me answer some questions, and gave me the Johnson & Johnson shot. I didn’t even have to leave my living room. So thankful such people and services are out there. Internet shopping has been a godsend for myself. I can’t imagine how much worse covid would be had this happened back in the early 1980s. As far as loneliness goes, if my grandparents’ generation had to fight a world war, the least I can do is stay home.

Still lifting weights three times a week. Noticing some of my strength starting to come back. I force myself to stand up at least once an hour. If I sit for too long my muscles get sore and I have issues walking and doing chores.

Haven’t read much for traditional books lately. I am watching the Dune mini series that came out in the early 2000s. I’m not normally much of a science fiction fan, but this series is done alright. A friend of mine has been talking up the Dune and Foundation series for years. I read the first Foundation book last summer via audiobook. I have grown to love audiobooks. My college roommate’s dad was a truck driver who used to listen to audiobooks when he was on the road. I can understand why he liked those so much.

Don’t have much planned for the next few weeks. Cruise Night (a rally for classic cars) will be in my town later this month. And one of the main routes run right by my home. Since I’m on the top floor of my complex, I get an amazing view and I don’t even have to brave the hot late July temperature or the large crowds. It should be a huge deal this summer as the country is opening back up. I’ll just watch out my window and have the American Graffiti soundtrack playing, like I do most years. For my Independence Day, I replayed the Revolutionary War on one of my computer games.

I think I’ve finally gotten over my coffee addiction. I’ve had only five cups in the last month. For the first several days I was sleeping more and kind of irritable. I was probably going through caffeine withdraw. I am back to more normal sleep. Most days I’m up for good by 6:30. I usually go to bed around 11pm. Was up until 3 am a few nights ago. Haven’t stayed up that late in months.

I’m doing well overall even if I stay close to home. I usually have visitors in my cleaning lady and a couple neighbors a couple times a week. My neighbor is kind enough to help me with chores like laundry and mail once a week as long as I provide laundry soap and change for the machines. I guess after years of helping out others, I need the help now.

Routines During Pandemic

Been a few days since I wrote.  An update is in order.  Had groceries delivered Thursday afternoon.  Frozen meat is now in short supply.  My supermarket is limiting how much people can buy in one purchase.  I was able to get soup and cheese.  Been craving vegetables a lot the last few days.  I’m probably not getting enough in my new diet.

Got my meds refilled a few days ago.  I hope those don’t get in short supply.  I do have reserves but I hope I don’t have to resort to that.  Been sleeping more lately.  I have been stable overall though.  Maybe the extra sleep is keeping me this way.

I see that some places are starting to reopen.  I understand why places need to reopen, especially small family owned businesses.  But I am still worried, at least for myself, that this could start a second wave of infections.  I’m glad I have the option of staying at home even with the lifting of some restrictions.  I see that some of the big soccer leagues in Europe are reopening.  And there are talks here in USA about colleges being open for in person classes this fall.

It’s been an odd last several weeks for me.  It seems like time slowed to a crawl the day the covid 19 was officially declared a pandemic.  So glad that I and most of my friends and family got prepared early.  I feared this could become a major problem as early as late January.  It is encouraging that restrictions are being eased.  Sadly, I fear there simply is no way to keep mass quarantines in place until vaccines are mass produced.  Either way, we are going to take a beating.  Doctors have warned for years this was only a matter of when.

Been keeping in contact with friends and family more.  I call my parents several times per week.  I talk to old friends usually once or twice a week.  I call my brother a few times a month.  I guess if I can’t see people in person, I have to make do with phone calls and video conferencing.

Easter Sunday, Self Quarantine, and Mental Illness

It is Easter Sunday as I write this entry.  Happy Easter to all my Christian friends and readers!  Even though I haven’t been a regular attender of church services for several years, it just felt odd this year that attending Easter services and then going to my aunt and uncle’s farmstead for dinner and having my cousins’ kids hunt for Easter eggs and candy in my uncles large back yard wasn’t an option this year.  I heard even the Pope delivered his Easter Mass to an empty Vatican this morning.  But we are living in trying times that people will still be talking about even a century from now, much like we talk about the Spanish Flu outbreak of one hundred years ago.

We had a bad ice storm this morning.  The power went down for over three hours.  Luckily, the water still worked.  I wrapped in blankets and read some while I waited for the power to return.  Did some Skype with my mom and dad this afternoon.  Their church hosted Easter services online.  I heard that one of their church’s members died from coronavirus earlier this month.  I called a college friend of mine today too.  He said they had over twelve inches of snow in his hometown in South Dakota.  Both he and his wife are teachers at the local high school.  They are always busy with teaching their students online and taking care of their very active two year old daughter now.  He and I are both missing baseball right now.

With the exception of today, the weather has been pretty decent and typical of early spring in Nebraska.  It’s sunny during the days but still kind of chilly at night.  I usually have my windows open during the daylight hours.  Even though I don’t leave my apartment much besides picking up deliveries, I still get some sunshine through my open windows most days.

My neighbors made Easter dinner for me and a few other tenants this evening.  Had ham and cheese.  I don’t usually cook anything extravagant as I mostly cook only for myself.  I am still good on non perishables like soup mix, peanut butter, honey, ramen noodles, and canned vegetables.  I broke down and ordered some frozen meat through my supermarket.  That’s supposed to arrive Monday afternoon.

My cleaning lady arrived on Thursday.  She was wearing a mask and surgical gloves while she worked.  I wore a facemask while she was at my place.  I wear masks when I have guests or when I pick up deliveries.  So far, I’m holding good on supplies even after a month of self quarantine.  Back in early February, I was talking with my best friend and she mentioned that she was doing early preps in case things got bad.  She lives in Denver and works in an essential industry.  She’s out in this mess most days.  But she keeps a constant supply of hand sanitizer on her person.  A friend of mine who works in a pharmacy had to take a leave of absence from work because she was fighting sicknesses and has preexisting conditions that would have made coronavirus even worse.

I’ve been self quarantine for over a month now.  I am still holding pretty well overall.  While I occasionally have moments of flare ups and irritability, I haven’t had a full psych breakdown since before this mess started.  I still take my psych meds every day.  And I meditate and sleep more these days.  I still lift weights most days.  I eat healthy and avoid sugars for the most part.  I have weathered the last thirty days well.  Looks like I can look forward to at least another thirty days of self quarantine.  Yet, I still feel hopeful overall.  So far, we haven’t had mass unrest or civil problems, at least not here in the USA.  I am also encouraged by how people are helping each other out more.  I suppose the best I can do is stay home, stay sane, and write about my experiences.  Hopefully I can be an encouragement to those not managing as well as I am.

March 29 2020 Self Quarantine

Talked to my brother and my parents for quite awhile this afternoon.  Found out they are having church over the internet during this crisis.  My brother teaches Sunday School and did so over webcam this morning.  Made some barbecue chicken for an early lunch.  Spent much of the day playing computer games.  Haven’t had any guests since my cleaning lady came on Thursday.  Been watching youtube.  Saw a couple movies on Amazon Prime this weekend.  Saw a documentary on the history of the British Navy this weekend.

Been reading more this weekend.  Talked to my best friend over the weekend.  Said she doesn’t get out much other than going to work and walking her dog.  She said she’s going to be working on a new painting in her down time.  Sleeping a great deal this weekend.  I lift weights every other day.  I also do breathing and mediation twice a day.  I’m still holding good on my food supplies.  I get my disability pension in a few days.  I won’t have to really buy much as my supplies are still holding out.

Haven’t left my apartment other than to pick up deliveries for two weeks.  I am so grateful for internet and delivery services right now.  I’d be in real trouble if this would have happened when I didn’t have easy access to internet or delivery.  Saw a video on youtube this morning that said to the effect that had a pandemic like this happened in the 1980s, many people would have already lost their jobs as most places didn’t have the ability to work from home.  My friend in South Dakota is teaching his classes online.  Said he spends a couple hours a day answering emails from his students.  And his wife is expecting their second child this summer.

Overall I’m still holding good mentally.  I’m pleasantly surprised at how well I’m holding up.  This is definitely a time of crisis when history is being made every day.  It’s a stressful and sad time for all of us.  I doubt the world will be the same once this pandemic clears.  I have no idea how long I’ll have to self quarantine.  Hopefully effective treatments can be discovered soon.  Even with a possible vaccine going under trials right now, it could be over a year before it’s ready.  Yet, it’s quite amazing how fast our scientists and doctors have been able to move on this.  The first cases appeared in China in early December and only a few months later we are testing at least one possible vaccine.  It’s amazing what can be accomplished with collaboration and easy communication.