Reflections On My Birthday

Today is my birthday (the day of writing this, not the day of posting it) and, after waiting my entire life for this moment, it finally arrived. My Golden Birthday (or Champaign Birthday or Lucky Birthday, depending on where you’re from). I turned thirty-one on the thirty-first of August. I was always very excited as a child about the idea of a Golden Birthday and always a little sad that it would take me so long to experience mine. As I got older, I comforted myself by saying at least I’d be able to have a real party. In the last decade, though, I’ve stopped caring. I don’t really like to make a big fuss about myself. I like it when other people fuss over me, of course. Who doesn’t love attention from the people you care about? But I also don’t like people making a fuss over me when I’m in a bad mood and, as I mentioned in the post that actually went up on the 31st, I’m usually not in a good mood during the month of August. This year has been no exception and, in fact, might be one of the worst in the last decade thanks to everything else I’ve got going on.

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A Turning Point In My Relationships

One of the side effects of leaving behind the trauma of my youth (along with all the places and peace I associate it with) is that I don’t have many relationships that are more than a decade old. I have a few friendships that have finally hit that age, but I wound up losing (or ending) contact with a lot of the people I was close with in my first few years of college and I didn’t really get close to most most of the poeple I’m still friends with until my final year, so most of them are only just now hitting the 10-year point. I have only one person I knew in high school that I’ve spoken to in the last few years and our current time zone difference means we’re pretty much never awake and online at the same time, which would put a damper on reconnecting even if I was so inclined. The only people I’m still in contact with from further back are two of my siblings, and that’s a weird situation to bring up in this context given my complex feelings about family and the life my siblings were a part of. Most of the people who are still a part of my life are from just the most recent third of it, despite the prevalence of social media, and that list seems to only ever get smaller with time rather than bigger.

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Progress Takes Effort, Which Kinda Sucks

The longer that 2022 goes on, the more I see how my mood on any given day is effected by more factors than I could ever account for. I’ve been working to get into better habits this year and while I’ve made some progress, I don’t feel like my average mood has gotten any better. I feel more productive for sure, but I also feel more tired. No matter what I do, I seem to always wind up trading one thing for something else and making almost no net change to how I’m feeling. For instance, I recently changed my wake-up playlist to music that engenders positive feelings in me, but now I’m having a more difficult time feeling awake and alert because the old songs did an incredibly job of rousing me as the playlist played through. I’m getting out of bed later than usual, but I do feel a bit better in the mornings.

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Slow Progress And Daily Walks

Every day that I go into the office, I go on a walk. Rain, sun, snow, sleet, whatever. I take my daily walk unless it has a significant chance of being incredibly detrimental to my physical well-being. Even during the peak of tree pollen season, I take my daily walk through my workplace’s parking lots, down the road, through a park that borders my workplace’s property, along a path, and then back up the street to my workplace again. Nothing can stop me except lightning or rain that is heavy enough that I’ll be soaked no matter what I do (I gotta stay at the office after the walk still, so being soaked isn’t really a choice I’d enjoy). I follow the exact same route, pass all the same places, see all the same sights. It is the rock around which the rest of my day is built.

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Walking Away From Pokémon Go

For the first time in what might actually be years, I logged into Pokémon Go. Once I updated the app, remembered my password, and waited several minutes for it finish loading up on a phone that wasn’t new four years ago when I got it to play Pokémon Go (my previous phone overheated and died within an hour of starting the app which made it intolerable for the special events), I was in. Before I could do more than register that the app had forgotten my preferences for zero volume and no vibration, I was inundated in notifications, pop-ups, and notifications that there were activities to explore that didn’t exist the last time I opened the app. It was a truly harrowing five minutes as I felt like my phone was going to melt through its case because the game was demanding so much from my poor “old” phone, but eventually I cleared everything and the app settled down enough for me to look through the many Pokémon I had collected in a surprisingly bittersweet stroll down memory lane.

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Slow Change And Matters Of The Self

There are moments in a day, as I pursue my usual routines and common pastimes, that I find my mind at rest and my head empty of thoughts. These moments frequently arrive on the tail of simple thoughts, small ideas bouncing around my head as I direct myself toward some goal or task. A reminder to thoroughly scrub my scalp in the shower. An errant consideration about skipping the current song on my playlist. Some spark of imagination or creativity ignited by the podcast or audiobook I’m listening to. A recollection of something I meant to do earlier in this room I just entered but had forgotten until just now. As my body responds to the thought, taking action, or my mind files the spark of creativity away until I can focus on it, I become aware of the sheer size and emptiness of my mind in those moments.

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Challenging Assumptions

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the habits and knowledge in your life that you don’t realize are arbitrary. All the things you “know” or do because that’s just what you were told or the example you had to follow and then never really thought about again. For example, you can just eat the whole dang apple. It doesn’t really have a core and the seeds can’t hurt you unless you eat a huge number of them, so you are wasting a whole bunch of apple if you eat around the center, fibrous bit and throw that away.

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As Soon As I’m Ready

Some days, as I go through the ordinary tasks of everyday living, I find comfort in the humdrum moments of the life I live. Much can be said about the power of the familiar and the comfortable. Like a cliche in a pleasant movie, we enjoy the familiarity as much as we might decry the sheer normalcy of it. Everyone wants change, and excitement, and for the world to respond to us as we seek to interact with it, but few want it constantly.

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Musing About Being Thirty

Day 2 of my stay-cation is here and I wonder how it’s going. Writing things a week ahead of time and trying to reference the actual days that pass or will pass makes for some odd verb tense problems at times. I usually catch them all in editing, but it’s easier to avoid the problem by not writing about the day the post is going up. Today, though, as I’m going through my last full day of work for the week prior (I have a 4 ten-hour day schedule at work, with some overtime on Friday if I need/want it), I’m imagining being able to rest and relax. To sleep in. To lose myself in a game coming out on the day this posts…

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