I find that’s more important these days, what with the state of the world being the way it is. I’ve still adhered to my “no discussion of politics and religion”, as it’s always been the socially advised thing to do, but I also like providing a “safe space” for friends visiting my little digital corner of the web where everyone can feel comfortable regardless (though I think my thoughts are fairly apparent).
In any case, it’s a tough place to be right now, the state of the world. There’s only so much to be said about politics, and no matter where you stand, it’s a total mess. World matters aren’t much better, and having to make decisions for the sake of global relations is perhaps my own largest consideration. Dad always taught me to think of the “greater good”, so no pressure there, right? A lot of people mad at us, both externally and within. We need to sort that out.
The reason I bring any of this up at all is that it’s fair to say this is weighing on everybody in some form right now. I’m guilty of pouring over news sites, and dredging through comment sections (and not liking the answers that I find there – Holy shit, people, really?). It wears on you, and as someone who dreads stressful situations, I have to build a shield from it, and step back. This is a tiresome election. To date, I’ve not lost any relationships over it, but I’ve needed to step back a few times. It’s not an election. It’s a superbowl.
I think my 40′s are starting to change me. I’ve been talking about “simplicity” a lot, and needing a slower pace. Jen and I had a few dinners with some friends of ours from New York this week, and he referred to me as “nostalgic”, and “sentimental”. It was meant kindly, and I took it as such, but he is right: I do look back a lot.
We all have our “Good old days” when things were “great”, and you know, sometimes, it really was. Other times, our perspectives may be skewed, remembering things a little differently, or only positive for us. I grew up in a household that, while there were problems at times, was governed by love. I ended up at least twice having a “dream job”. I’ve taken trips all over this country, living in some prominent areas, and visiting what has defined the engendered good feelings that we have about “home”. And I’ve met a lot of people, from the more profound influences and world-changers to just cool, easy-going folk that do their day to day the same as everyone else. We don’t need people to tell us how the world is or isn’t. That’s something that we should leave to ourselves to decide.
My past is my building blocks to create the kind of future that I want. I consider myself fortunate that I still have opportunities to revisit, albeit updated. It reminds me what I want out of my own life, and it doesn’t “trap” me. It inspires me to do more to add on to those events. I don’t believe that anything should be a “one off”. If you like it, revisit it and make it more.
I’m in the third chapter of my life now. I have started thinking about things like mortality and legacy and all that comes with those phrases. Mom passed when she was 53. Dad was 70. I figure that I’m likely somewhere within that median. So it becomes a question of what do I want to do with this time? It’s why I’ve made some changes in my life, and why I’m planning to make more soon. I’m not good at routine. I may want simplicity, but there’s still so much more that I have to see out there, and so many new people to meet. I love stories, and I like hearing others as much as I like telling my own. But my fourth chapter is calling right now, and I’m setting up plans to answer it.
I mentioned the phrase “relax” in my header. A few entries ago, I talked about “resetting”. I have a lot of things going on right now, but I am still making times to do things that take my mind off of more pressing issues: Jen and I are planning some travels soon. I have plenty of afternoons where all three dogs curl around me to either nap or get belly rubs.
I read, I watch movies, I still play video games. I’ve been starting Star Trek Online, and “playing that straight” in the sense of being a hero, a diplomat, and explorer. I’ve been playing Lego Dimensions as when I’m stressed, I build Lego sets (I have a lot of Lego sets, by the way). It gets my mind focused on something creative, and my imagination sated (How can I say “no” to a Beatles set?). At my sister’s behest, I started tinkering with Pokemon Go (not “Poke Mongo”, much to my disappointment), as it adds a little something extra to my walks (even if it took nine attempts to catch that first stupid Pikachu).
2016 has been a disturbing “angry” year, and it is so easy to get caught up in that. While there are a lot of external elements that affect your own life on vary levels, it’s important to keep the focus on what’s going on in your own day to day. I take breaks. Not because I’m “lazy”, or “unmotivated”, or “lack coping skills”…. I just know better. It’s another perspective my 40′s have given me. I don’t expect to slow down and stop doing eccentric things. I just plan to bring more elements in that are positive to me, and start pushing the other things out to what they really are: Background noise. There is no prize awarded for being outraged at everything you can’t control, don’t like, hate doing, working around the clock, sacrificing time with family and friends, missing out, putting up with garbage, and so…. I have to do what’s best for me and mine. My two year “Quest For Happiness” has reminded me that what I’m searching for has already been a well established part of that journey.
I have plans. They’re crazy, they may make sense only to me at times, but they’re mine, and I plan to take it in stride. The fourth chapter is about to start, and I’m at peace with those initial decisions that have taken place to get it there. I’m not out to win marathons anymore. I’m just here to enjoy the race. I’m looking to build a better world to enjoy.
What do you enjoy? How do you relax? Do you make the time for both?