I don’t write much any more – partially because it’s hard (and even I can detect a tone of whininess in that statement) and partially because I often feel like I don’t have anything to say. I think I’ve forgotten the reason I started writing this blog in the first place: to tell you about what living and dying with a chronic, debilitating disease nipping at my ankles is like. I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking that if I don’t have something uplifting or instructive to deliver like a pearl on a satin sheet, that I shouldn’t write at all. With some help, I’ve come to realize that it may be the best time to write, though. I don’t know – you’ll have to tell me.
It’s my special conceit to think that my writing is uplifting or instructive in the first place. I can get preachy, I know, and I have an unhealthy attraction to trying to tie the events of my life to universal truths or Hallmark moments. On my better days, I can see that the events of my life are not unique – everyone has similar things going on, and everyone reacts to them in their own way. The pandemic has underlined that basic truth for us all, and I’m no different.
The isolation brought on by the pandemic has been difficult to manage for me. Social outlets that I didn’t realize were so critical to my wellbeing have evaporated, and it’s a banner week when I actually leave the house. I don’t ride my bike anymore, because my balance is so bad that it’s dangerous. Even a stationary trainer setup with the bike is risky – I’ve fallen several times getting on and off. Falls are among the leading cause of death for PWPs, and I’m not ready for that, so riding is out. I’ve started to do chair exercises with YouTube (my closest friend these days), and it keeps me moving even if it does seem a little weird. I’m pretty good about doing them consistently, but apathy is a problem, and I don’t do them every day. It’s an opportunity for improvement.
My world has shrunk down about as far as it’s possible to shrink. I read a lot, but not quality literature – Moby Dick is not on my reading list, and Dostoyevsky is just a Russian name that’s hard for me to pronounce. No, Ive been applying the remainder of my intellect to becoming expert in a field that’s been on the fringe up until recently. I don’t talk about it much, since it would make people think that I’m less “all there” than I really am, but I can tell you, right? You won’t tell anyone.
I’m becoming familiar with the world of UFOlogy. Since the US Navy disclosed that they intercepted and tracked several unknown objects that exhibited flight characteristics they couldn’t explain, I’ve been digging into the subject with the commitment of the recent convert and the skepticism (hopefully) of the hardcore engineer, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there may actually be something unexplained here. I’ve always been a science fiction fan, and willing suspension of disbelief comes as easily to me as falling off a bike these days. This seems different to me, though. In my engineer mind, I know it’s unlikely, but there’s just enough actual mystery to the accounts that I can’t shake my fascination. It occupies my time, at any rate.
So, that’s my life these days – I watch TV, do chair exercises and read about UFOs (we call them unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) now – I told you I was current). I don’t volunteer much. Public speaking is out, since I’m so hard to understand it’s frustrating for both me and the audience. Through a combination of operational instability and the effects of the pandemic, SA Moves (the nonprofit that I led) is no more, and my work with the Davis Phinney Foundation had to come to an end because of lack of energy on my part. I didn’t realize how much my work as a volunteer meant to me, but it was very meaningful, and there’s a void left behind now that it’s gone. I’m running out of things to fill the void with, and it’s starting to look back at me (if I can still allude to Nietzsche, I still have something left, right?)
My situation is not that unusual in today’s world, though. Plenty of people have lost things; livelihoods, sources of meaning and identity, family members. It’s all hard to navigate. My response to all the changes in my life was to go dark for a while; maybe not the best choice, but it’s the one I made. By writing this blog entry, though, I’m choosing again.
At this point, I usually broaden the scope of my comments and explain to you how you should interpret them. Not going to do that this time – its unsolicited advice at best and insulting and demeaning at worst. I’ll just say that if, for whatever reason, your life is going to hell right now, I hope that it’s a round trip ticket.