Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
🎵 The song for this post is Let Me Down, by Fea. 🎵
I've slowed down blogging! Bad Pablo!!
Really, I've fallen back into old patterns that I was trying to avoid. About once or twice a year I get so fed up with Twitter and I look in the mirror and say "what the fuck man, you get one life" and delete the app and when I'm about to open it out of habit again for those micro-seratonin doses guarded by the alligators of News Tweets of Despair, I remember the pain and say "no, that shit is how you'll piss away your life," and open an ebook or play with my dog or stare at the wall. And for a while, I start to feel good again. It's hard, but I eventually disengage enough to breathe a bit and see how life operates for the non-Perpetually Online.
…but then I peek a week or two later, you know, just once, because I hear of a news event that speaks to me, and I want to see the memes. Or I get bored enough and the book I'm reading isn't quite doing it for me. Then I do it more and more, and by the end of the week I'm back to my bullshit.
I remember someone telling me the experience watching American daytime soaps: they got into them really hard, then a life event pulled them away from watching Days Of Our Lives or As The World Turns and they came back a year later and realized so much happened while they were gone and none of it mattered. They plugged back in and could get swept back into it if they wanted to. Twitter drama is a lot like that: when I take these breaks, I realize there's a month of narratives that I missed, but none of them really impacted my life.
I got a bit of surprise hard news last week, when it was already a stressful week of preparing for travel I'm feeling mixed about, and it shocked me hard enough to want out of many complacencies of my day-to-day life. I just can't keep doing (gestures wildly) this. Doomscrolling on Twitter and "wearing the human suit" socially while being too tired and afraid to feel, sincerely, to myself and others. Or to pursue a dream or two.
Odds are I will, of course, go right back to my old bullshit. I've many friends who resolve to "make some changes" about once a year and make exactly "some" changes. Epiphanies feel powerful, but our shit runs deep, and one can't blow up their life and come out whole (I've tried, it really hurt). But the weight-loss/body-shaping initiative taught me that the hardest part of any change is being committed to it; I started with an experiment in counting calories and am now somewhere unrecognizable from where I started. I can shape the rest of my life too.
But goddamn it's hard. It takes time. And I wish it didn't hurt so much to get there.
I'm in California now. It was Sapo's first time flying!
He was an Emotional Support Animal. Because I'm on the brink, guys! Without this creature, I might blow my lid on a flight!, you know? It's in the airline's interest to let this too-large-for-my-lap sniff machine sit with me, since without him, I just might not make it!!!
ESA's are a scam, of course, but it'll let your dog fly free. My therapist was kind enough to fill out an Alaska Airlines form saying yes, Pablo's brain is broken, and he'd crumble like the most delicate orchid without his wizard's familiar.
The airports (EWR and SFO) are extremely empty. The traffic getting in and out of them was the least I've seen them. Most people are wearing masks. I'm still worried I got The Bad Thing.
I have many conflicted feelings about this trip. It's objectively a Good Idea to have a change of pace after being in our apartment for 5 months. We didn't have anything to look forward to, really: festivals and events were all cancelled, and we'd had no vacation plans besides them. "Working from home" becomes "living at work" pretty quickly with young startups, and we're working ourselves pretty hard.
I think Karen and I are still doing pretty well (we'd heard about the Wuhan divorce rate after their lockdown and wondered if we'd learn to hate each other. Not yet!) but other friends provide good stimulus and we were missing that. A fun Group House is still a bit of a dream for us (stronger on her end than mine, but this was the idea behind Cichlidia), so she and a friend coordinated and rented a house in San Luis Obispo, where we'll stay for a few weeks at least.
On one hand, California rules. The weather is great, there are bird calls, and this house has a hot tub. But there's a lot that makes this a challenge for me. Getting here was a major COVID risk. The friend we're staying with doesn't "get" Sapo, and vibes way more easily with Karen than I. A lot of my mental health is well-regulated by the rituals I have being home (the cooking, the bodyweight workout, the setup I created for working remotely). I'm still working during these two weeks and I suspect it'll be harder to keep up my output for my job, myself, and as a partner. You want to come out of something like this refreshed and/or inspired and/or invigorated but a lot of ingredients here usually leave me tired.
I'm very lucky to have done foreign exchange growing up: I did YFU to live with a family in Japan for 5 weeks when I was 15, and CISV to do 2 weeks with a family in Norway when I was 19. It feels a bit like the first days of those: energy-intensive and seemingly interminable, "this was all the first day, how will I get through [duration of the trip]?!?" But those were also some of the biggest growth experiences in my life, and I can say whatever the outcome (sans a bad COVID story), I'll be glad I took the plunge and came here.
I'll also try to blog more, since I was happier, I think, when I wasn't back on my bullshit.
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