Reflections on Vacation and Growth

After spending almost two weeks away from work, traveling around the US, flying to Spain, traveling around Spain (and Barcelona in particular), I finally understand why people use multiple social media accounts. Most of my pictures don’t really make sense for Facebook or Twitter, with their more connection-based platforms, so I might finally put some stuff up on the instagram account I’ve had for who knows how many years. I’ve got some nice nature and architecture pictures, along with pictures of my friends and I, so I’ll probably post those there. I’ve got enough pictures I want to post that I can probably put up a decent selection on all three of those platforms, plus Cohost (which is basically me shouting into a void still) and here, which is more of a text experience than a picture one so far as I’m concerned. I’ve still got to figure out how I want to use and balance all of these accounts, but I think I have some ideas after my friends suggested things. Who knows, though. Social media is kind of actively decaying these days, so it’s mostly just a way to share and collect the photos I took on my first cross-Atlantic international trip.

I don’t know how much is going to change going forward, now that I’ve had a group of people express a genuine interest in my social media presence (admittedly mostly because we all took a bunch of pictures and are sharing them around), but I think I’m going to try to be more active and less self-defeating (still working on the negative self-talk part of this, but I’m pretty good already at the “doing it anyway” part). It was honestly a pretty significant confidence boost to meet a whole bunch of new people and get along well with them from pretty much the start. Sure, I’d spoken or texted with most folks at least a little bit prior to the trip, but it was my first time meeting everyone in person except for the bride and groom in this wedding party (and I’d only met the bride once, six or seven years ago, when she came to Wisconsin to attend a New Year’s Eve party I was throwing with her then-boyfriend, now fiance, soon-to-be husband). I was nervous, but everyone proved to be welcoming, warm, and friendly. I had a great time, I think I got along great with everyone, and I had a great time doing it. I was not the reclusive, boring shut-in I frequently feel like I’ve become over the past three years of the pandemic.

The main thing I’ve learned from this trip is that I need to be less reclusive in my daily life and that I’m (surprising probably no one) way too hard on myself. I’m at least mildly interesting and decently funny. I’ve got wit and charm and, as one of my coworkers said, I’m “great in conversation.” I had a lot of fun, I bonded with new people over a variety of hijinks, and just generally felt more like the way I used to before I started retreating and reflecting back in 2019 after my grandfather passed away. I think I needed that time of reflection and chosen sollitude, as I worked through my feelings about my family, the grief of my grandfather’s passing, and then the grief of finally setting aside everything I’d hoped I could someday get from my biological family. I would not be the healthy, well-adjusted person I am now without that time and effort. I just need to stop retreating and isolating myself for reflection now and finally get back out there again.

You know, on top of everything else. Job hunting, apartment hunting, thinking about moving, my friends’ wedding, and so on. Plenty of stuff for me to be doing these days and while I’m having a difficult time imagining how I’ll get any of it done right now, I’m sure it’ll all look a bit more manageable once I no longer feel like crap from the traveling and the stress cold I’ve gotten following the end of my trip. It’s not COVID, thankfully, based on all the negative tests I’ve taken so far, but I’ll keep monitoring it. It’s probably just sinus issues due to the humidity, frequent elevation changes, and shifting weather. I always get sick when the weather and pressure rapidly change a bunch, so it stands to reason I’d get something similar when all that stuff changes because of travel rather than just the local weather shifting a lot.

At some point in the coming week, I’ll have a complete write-up about my trip, complete with some nature and architecture pictures. If you want to see what any of my friends or I look like, you’ll have to go check out my other social media accounts. I’m pretty sure they’re linked from somewhere around here. Enjoy your scavenger hunt!

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