Finding Happiness in 2020

Even though I don’t socialize much in person anymore, I try my best to stay connected to family and friends. Talked with my parents over FaceTime this morning. My dad had a check up on his heart and he does not need stints or surgery. He is joining a neighborhood gym as he wants to get more active again. I started lifting weights again on a regular basis last week. Even after a few sessions I can feel the strength and endurance starting to return.

In bad news, two of my friends in Omaha tested positive for covid. They are under quarantine for the next two weeks. They aren’t able to work and they sleep most of the time. One friend is a delivery man so he obviously can’t be going anywhere until this clears. Fortunately they seem to be doing better now than a few days ago. I imagine eventually I’ll catch this too. I just hope it’s mild. Even though I’m only 40, I am overweight and mentally ill.

Got some groceries coming this morning. I’m rebuilding my winter supplies. The leaves are starting to change in my hometown. I usually have my windows open during the day but run the furnace at night as it’s starting to get chilly after dark.

I’ve been forcing myself out of my apartment a couple times a day for almost a week now. Sometimes it is as simple as just standing in the hallway for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll even set up a chair in my doorway so I can sit and try to chat with whomever shows up.

I nap more during the days. I am usually my most active in late mornings and overnights these days. My sleep patterns can change with the seasons and they change if my illness changes too. Haven’t had any serious breakdowns for a few weeks. I still have minor flare ups at least once or twice per day. They don’t usually last long. I have gotten to where I can just let them pass and not feel bad they happen.

I have a couple packages from amazon coming this afternoon. I imagine kids growing up today look forward to the amazon delivery man as much as I did going to the mall when I was growing up.

Changed the parts on my cpap machine yesterday. Slept really well last night. I try to change out the parts a few times a year just to keep the machine properly working.

I don’t have much else planned for the rest of the week. My cleaning lady arrives on Thursday afternoon. I like her. She engages me in conversation while she works. I usually just stay sat down and out of her way while she cleans. I supply the cleaning agents and she does the rest. And she at least tolerates my eccentric sense of humor ūüôā

April 1 2020 Social Distancing

Got my social security payment this morning.  I ordered a few groceries and supplies.  Mostly meat and cleaning agents.  I should have those delivered this afternoon.  I have to drop off my rent check and do laundry today.  I do my laundry at least once a week.

Still doing well mentally.¬† I haven’t had a breakdown in over a month now.¬† I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m holding it together in spite the stressful time we’re in.¬† I think it helped that I got prepared earlier than most people.¬† I haven’t even had to leave my apartment complex in over two weeks.¬† I sleep a lot now.¬† I usually sleep at least ten hours a day.¬† I’ve heard sleep helps boost immune defenses and, for me, reduces stress.¬† I was doing breathing exercises in bed yesterday and was relaxed enough I fell asleep for over three hours.

I actually don’t have much problems with aches and pains except for when I wake up in the mornings.¬† I make a point of standing up at least once an hour no matter what I’m doing.¬† I haven’t read much other than online articles this week.¬† I still watch some youtube videos.¬† Much of what I watch are videos on the line of what positives will come from this pandemic and what tech will advance faster because of covid 19.¬† One thing I do see happening is that more companies will allow more work from home options.¬† Another is that grocery and medication home delivery services will become real popular.¬† I also see that fewer people will harass others via social media interactions.¬† I was starting to see this already.¬† It isn’t as bad now as it was three to five years ago.

I started lifting weights every day.¬† I just don’t work the same muscles two days in a row.¬† When I was seriously lifting in high school and college, I usually lifted five to six days a week but worked individual muscles no more than three times a week.

The days are starting to go quicker now.¬† For the first week of the self quarantine, the days felt like weeks.¬† It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t leaving my apartment complex, it was that even that option went away.¬† But, like many things, I adapted within several days.¬† I do still have some minor maintenance issues in my place that could be taken care of quickly.¬† But, for now, only vitally necessary maintenance is getting done.¬† So glad I got my new floor and paint before all this mess hit.

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.

My Online Confessions

I’m going off subject for this article. ¬†It has been too long since I wrote a just for fun piece. ¬†For this one, I’m going to disclose some facts about myself. ¬†Some will be funny, some may be unpopular, but all of them are true. ¬†So here goes:

  1. My three favorite hobbies are computer games, writing, and weight lifting.
  2. I love nonfiction science books.
  3. I can’t stand dystopic novels or movies (which, unfortunately, is most of tv in recent years).
  4. My favorite pizza toppings are pepperoni and Italian sausage
  5. I can’t stand most fast food. ¬†I haven’t even had a Big Mac in over two years
  6. I get very irritated when people ask me “when are you getting married?” ¬†Sometimes I want to retort to them, especially if they are older than I am, “when are you going to die?”
  7. I don’t like watching sports as much now as I did when I was in my teens and twenties. ¬†But I do mainly so I can have something to talk about with family and friends.
  8. I can’t stand most cable news channels. ¬†I like some business news channels, namely Bloomberg, because they report on things like science and tech breakthroughs more than politics and disaster.
  9. I don’t tolerate rudeness from others in my online interactions. ¬†And I never give second chances to people I don’t personally know. ¬†No exceptions.
  10. I often go out of my way to defend younger people, especially college age and those just starting out in adulthood. ¬†I remember how bad it hurt being stereotyped as a “damn kid” even when I was in grade school. ¬†When I was a teenager I promised myself I would never put anyone else through what I was forced to endure. ¬†Certainly makes me unpopular with my elders and even people my own age.
  11. I don’t understand why it’s popular to be dumb. ¬†Never have and never will.
  12. I don’t understand why it’s evil to be smart. ¬†Never have and never will.
  13. When I write, I find writing in the first person point of view far easier than third person.  Always have.  My best material has always been with myself serving as the narrator.  Even most of my early poems and novel rough drafts were in the first person.
  14. I once had an outline for a science fiction series of novels.  It was mainly about humanity several thousand years with various human settlements declaring independence from an interstellar empire.  Pretty much think Star Trek, Dune, and a touch of the American Civil War.  Sadly I no longer have those notes.
  15. I once had the goal of becoming a best selling writer where half of all my writing and speaking profits would go to philanthropy, namely mental illness research and to the college I graduated from.
  16. High school was some of the toughest years of my life.
  17. College was one of the few places I felt that I wasn’t a complete outcast. ¬†It was one of the only places I met people more eccentric than I am. ¬†I loved college. ¬†Kind of too bad I can’t live in a communal type setting with other researchers, academics, and eccentrics.
  18. One of the few parts I don’t like about being an adult is how tough it is just to spend time with friends.
  19. One thing I absolutely love about being an adult is that I don’t have to act like I care what other people think about me, at least as long as I’m not breaking the law.
  20. I don’t understand the whole ‘Oh God It’s Monday’ and the ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ nonsense. ¬†I never thought it was funny. ¬†Never will.
  21. I don’t understand why it’s funny to hate your in laws or argue with your spouse. ¬†My two best friends I’ve known both for over twenty years. ¬†I can count the number of major arguments I’ve had with the two combined on less than five fingers. ¬†And it certainly doesn’t make our friendships sterile or lifeless or meaningless. ¬†The only time I argue with my parents is during psychotic breakdowns, usually only a couple times per year.
  22. I absolutely despise the phrase “man up.” ¬†I think it’s possibly the stupidest phrase in the English language. ¬†I have never heard anyone tell a woman to “woman up” or an old grandfather to “young down.” ¬†I don’t even hear adults tell kids to “grow up” very often.
  23. I get irritated when I present facts and statistics in a discussion only to be blown off or told I am a lair.
  24. My favorite ice cream is vanilla, simply because it goes good with most toppings and favorings.  It mixes with almost anything.
  25. I like poetry, particularly poems about war, struggle, and overcoming challenges.
  26. I don’t understand why many people can’t see that mental health problems are real. ¬†I mean, the human brain is the most intricate and complex piece of machinery we know about. ¬†Yet, too many people act like nothing can go wrong with it. ¬†Shows a lack of critical thinking on many people’s part.
  27. I am extremely distressed by most education systems not teaching kids how to critically think or be adaptable. ¬†We have known our schools weren’t adapting to the challenges kids would face as adults as far back as the 1980s (at least). ¬†Yet we still teach our kids in 2019 like it was 1919. ¬†I am convinced that is why so many people are anxious and depressed about their lives as adults, simply because they weren’t taught how to adapt to the current realities. ¬†In short, we train kids and teenagers for a local and stable world only to dump them out in a global and rapidly changing world in their early twenties. ¬†And then we have the gall to wonder why they are anxious and struggling in their lives. ¬†We trained them for a world that no longer exists, often to the tune of many thousands of dollars in student debts that will take most of a career to pay off. ¬†If that isn’t child abuse, then nothing is.
  28. I am sometimes lonely. ¬†But I don’t socialize because I don’t want to hear my family and friends endlessly complain. ¬†About the only people in my life who don’t unload their problems on me are my two best friends and my mother. ¬†And it weighs on me and can cause me to be resentful.
  29. I hate being told I’m lucky. ¬†I hate it almost as much as I do being told to “man up.”
  30. I don’t understand why the only manliness most people respect comes out things like war and violence. ¬†Personally, I think Einstein and Newton were every bit as manly as George Patton and Napoleon. ¬†Why is being a thinker considered a sign of weakness? ¬†Hell, if it weren’t for thinkers, there would be no civilization and humanity would probably be extinct. ¬†Think about that the next time you condemn someone for resorting to their brains before their fists or guns.
  31. I don’t understand zero sum thinking. ¬†The idea that someone has to lose for me to gain a benefit is a load of crap.
  32. Don’t discuss politics with me. ¬†Ever.
  33. I have never thought having lots of sex makes a man manly or a woman immoral.  Some people just like sex more than others.
  34. I have lost more jobs and friendships than I can remember because I never gave up on trying to think for myself. ¬†Found out the hard way the world doesn’t respect original thinkers, at least not before they make major breakthroughs.
  35. I am convinced societies love their living tyrants but condemn their living benefactors only to reverse it once their children become the leaders of society. ¬†So maybe there is a sense of justice, even if it’s only in history books and the minds of future generations.
  36. I don’t believe in most conspiracy theories. But I do believe that just enough of them have just enough truth to them to make the entire subject a dark, addictive, and dangerous one.
  37. I believe we live in one of the coolest times in human history, at least as long as you don’t watch the news channels. ¬†News channels report only negative news precisely because that is what we are hard wired to pay attention to. ¬†Good news sites fail, not because they are “fake news”, but because no one pays attention.
  38. I believe we as a human society can solve our problems (or at least adapt so to minimize the impact) and have a really cool future that we, even in 2019, will be jealous of.

July 25, 2018

It’s been pretty quiet and uneventful the last few days. ¬†I’ve been on my new medication routine for almost a month now. ¬†I think things are working out quite well. ¬†I’ve been getting out of my apartment and socializing in person more, so I haven’t been online as much for the last week or so. ¬†I’m now usually going to bed by midnight and waking up by 8 am. ¬†I’m apparently back to normal hours. ¬†I think the weather being cooler than usual the last two weeks has helped. ¬†It hasn’t been an unbareably hot July in my town this year. ¬†I can tell the days are getting dark sooner. ¬†Won’t be too long and school will be starting again. ¬†Haven’t been watching as much baseball this summer. ¬†I guess I got hooked on World Cup soccer this year.

I think I’m starting to lose weight again. ¬†Changed my diet and started lifting weights three weeks ago. ¬†I eat mostly high protein foods, keep carbs to a minimum, and have cut out most sugar. ¬†I even need less sleep too.

Summers are usually a tough time of year for me.  But I have been able to avoid real problems this summer so far.  I guess we have about another five to six weeks of warm weather before things start cooling off.  And the foliage will start turning as well.  Summer is winding down.  I can hardly wait for cooler weather and longer nights.

Changes

Been going through a few changes the last couple weeks. ¬†I have finally gotten over the need for 10 to 12 hours a sleep every night. ¬†I now usually get 6 to 8 hours anymore. ¬†This has been going on for a little over a week. ¬†I’m still getting used to the new found extra time. ¬†I was so used to being rushed during the winter as I had only a few hours window of when I could run errands and schedule doctor appointments. ¬†So I think my sleep issues are cured. ¬†And I didn’t even have to take sleep pills for it. ¬†About the only thing I can think of I’m doing different is limiting my caffeine. ¬†When I do have caffeine it’s usually soda pop and only once or twice a day. ¬†I haven’t drank coffee in weeks. ¬†I’ve noticed I’m less jittery too since I reduced the caffeine.

I’m getting more active. ¬†I try to leave the apartment a few times a day just to get out and about. ¬†I’ll get out even for something as simple as going through the drive thru at McDonald’s for a couple cheeseburgers. ¬†I usually keep my windows open until noon. ¬†Since it’s almost summer now, it gets too hot to leave the windows open all day. ¬†We’ve had a nice and long enough spring I was used to leaving windows open most days. ¬†Started lifting arm weights a few days ago. ¬†Too soon to tell any real difference. ¬†Started taking multi vitamins again. ¬†I’ve noticed my aches and pains are not as pronounced now. ¬†I knew vitamin deficiency could lead to problems. ¬†I probably wasn’t getting enough as I tend to eat low carb and high protein diets.

But, not all the changes I’ve experienced have been positive. ¬†Found out my best friend’s mother is on hospice for cancer and isn’t expected to live much longer. ¬†Sad deal. ¬†So we’ve been chatting back and forth via Facebook quite a lot the last few weeks. ¬†She’s understandably sad and shaken by the whole deal. ¬†I wish I could do more for her. ¬†But she lives out of state and there’s only so much I can do over the internet.

As the seasons are changing, so are many aspects of my life.  Besides my best friend soon to be losing her mother, most of these changes are welcomed.  I wish my best friend nothing but the best as she works through the grief of losing her mom.

First Day Back Exercising

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Today was the first day I did any real exercise since I threw out my back six weeks ago. ¬†I can tell I have gotten real rusty and out of shape in the six weeks I spent mending my back. ¬†I walked for only ten minutes, enough to get the blood moving but that’s about all. ¬†I’m not sore from walking but I can tell I am out of practice. ¬†It is quite hot in my hometown as late July and August are always the hottest times of the year. ¬†I’m still not quite adjusted to the heat as I haven’t been outside much while my back was mending. ¬†And it was quite a cool and wet spring this year, so I was used to exercising indoors this spring.

I’m going to start lifting arm weights again. ¬†I’ll start that tonight. ¬†It has been kind of an odd tradition for me to lift arm weights and do stretching while watching Star Trek reruns. A friend of mine got me started on that last summer. ¬†I’m most of the way through Season 3 of Star Trek: Enterprise. ¬†But when my back was healing I didn’t lift any arm weights or do much for stretching. ¬†I’m sure I’m going to be just as rusty with the weights as I was the walking. ¬†I’ll have to use the light weights for a couple weeks until I’m back to normal.

I also starting tracking what I eat again. ¬†I got discouraged for the last few months and was lazy about tracking. ¬†I was especially lazy when I couldn’t exercise outdoors and then after I hurt my back. ¬†Before I hurt my back I had some unexplained foot pain that limited my walking for over two weeks. ¬†So I haven’t been able to exercise hardly at all since the weather warmed up. ¬†And I had to exercise indoors this spring because it was chilly and rainy almost every day.

When I was at my psych doctor last time, I had gained twenty pounds since the start of the year. ¬†That was one month ago. ¬†I’m sure I’ve gain some more as I was not exercising because of my back. ¬†But my back is good again. ¬†I can sleep in a regular bed again after weeks in a recliner. ¬†I get more sleep in a regular bed but I fall asleep faster in my recliner. ¬†I can’t figure that one out.

Because of my back pain and lack of activity I’ve been more depressed and irritable than usual. ¬†I’m sorry I don’t make a very good patient. ¬†But in the handful of times I’ve been in a hospital I make it a point to never get irritable with the nurses and doctors. ¬†I force myself to be on good behavior I suppose. ¬†When I’m healing on my own I can be more short tempered and depressed than usual. ¬†I got angry with two of my best friends over a week ago. ¬†I’m still embarrassed about that. ¬†One of these friends I got mad at I hadn’t ever had an argument with and we’ve been friends for fifteen years. ¬†Another was my best friend from high school and we have raised our voices to each other only a handful of times, mostly when I was in the grip of a mental breakdown. ¬†I’m embarrassed I let those things happen. ¬†I grew up in a family where we rarely yelled at each other and never had instances where we stopped talking to people. ¬†We may not talk to each other every day but we will drop everyone for one of our own in crisis. ¬†Even my extended family is like this to each other.

I’ve mended from my back issues, finally. ¬†It was one of the longest six week stretches I was ever part of. ¬†I’m beginning to exercise again. ¬†I’m starting to socialize again. ¬†I’m beginning to track what I eat again. ¬†I haven’t yet got my blinds fixed but that is coming. ¬†I might even get new carpet by summer’s end. ¬†After months when almost nothing seemed to go right I think I’m starting to turn the corner. ¬†Maybe things will start to get better.