Day 800: Difficult News

Running late this morning as we were up in the night with some upsetting news about a friend possibly passing away Stateside; even in the age of social media, you can still get caught playing Telephone when people who only half-know the situation are texting and the only people who know what’s going on aren’t saying anything about it.

Which is understandable; we’re remote and they have things to deal with.

It made for a rough night, though — the people are in question are friends of my wife’s for 20+ years; one of only a handful of people invited to our wedding. We aren’t in constant contact, but still feel close.

So a pretty sleepless night and a stressfull day ahead as we wait for more official news.

Day 749: Late! Snow! Dungeons!

SUPER late today!

First, I was up till 1 a.m. playing D&D with friends online. So I slept in.

Second, SNOWPOCALYPSE! It came down last night, and the location of our house and the direction of the wind meant I got about a street’s worth of snow in the driveway, so exercise today was a killer arms-and-shoulders shovelling workout. HIIT starts tomorrow!

Day 748: Staying on the Path

A good, solid resistance day yesterday — no snacking, sticking to the food plan, the whole nine yards. Gearing up for a frigid weekend with proper Canadian cold in the air, which honestly I kind of like.

My morning has been very… stuffy. It’s hard to describe, not like “have a cold” stuffy, but a kind of settled-in muzziness that’s difficult to articulate. I haven’t had a cold yet this entire season, that I recall, but it’s a possibility. Still, drinking a ton of water and eating right/exercising is definitely the best hope I have of fending something off.

Exercise wasn’t really want I wanted it to be this morning, but there’s nothing to say I can’t incorporate some pull-ups or something into my day.

And tonight: friends for dinner, and then much much later a late-night online D&D game with friends internationally. Looking forward to both.

Day 675: Lunch With Friends

I was thinking I didn’t have much to write about today, but then remembered I’m having lunch today at a pub with friends; drinkin’ friends. And it’s nice to have the feeling that this is no big deal.

A year ago this would have been more of a nervewracking thing. But now, it’s just no big deal. I’m’a go and hang out with friends and they’ll drink and I won’t. That’s just how things go now.

It’s nice.

Day 535: Friend Runs

Back to running with my friend Andrew in the morning — motivating, especially when I’m not feeling super into exercise. Having somebody waiting for you gets you out of the house!

Social contact is… good. I socialize plenty at work, and sometimes I convince myself that that’s all the social life I need. But Marisa and I had a great time with friends on Saturday, and just running and chatting is good. I’m a kind of introvert, married to another kind of introvert, so we tend to cocoon.


Day 507: Ready to Rock!

Big road trip today! I’m heading to Toronto, then to upstate New York, to watch heavy metal with old friends. Here’s the kicker: it’s a gift sobriety gave me!

Long story short: my friend Pete, who I haven’t seen in a few years, and had a prolonged conversation with since I don’t know when, was bemoaning the fact that he wanted to see a Mastodon show, but also wanted to drink at the Mastodon show. And it was a must-drive situation.

“I don’t drink,” I say.

So Pete’s buying the tickets, we’re meeting up at his place, and driving down to Buffalo to rock out with our mutual friend Dan. Pete and Dan are going to get drunk. I’m going to drink caffeine.

This’ll also be an experiment from another angle: while I have the technology to podcast remotely, I don’t think I’ll be awake early enough to do it tomorrow. So I’m going to schedule my first Jerkpod. Tomorrow’s episode is being recorded right after this one, and I’ll have the experience of listening to it tomorrow morning just like anybody. Well, I’ll know what it’s going to be about. But you know what I mean.


Day 387: Personal Static

Going through this morning “tracker” is interesting, especially the part that tracks my general mood and work, volunteer and home stress. I’m not sure if first thing in the morning is the best or worst time to check these things.

I’m not batting 1000 on the “home stress” front right now. Close, but not there. And it’s nothing to do with home… more an unfortunate circumstance that somebody I’m close to has, for want of a better term, decided that I’m their enemy. There’s a lot of paranoia involved, and attempts to reach out only seem to make their feelings toward me worse. I’d encourage the person in question to talk things out with a professional and get a third-party read on the situation, but that wouldn’t make things better.

I tend to think the worst of myself in these situations. It’s not the first time I’ve had a friendship end, and each time I go through months of exhaustive mental inventory wondering if it’s me. Should I be more forgiving? Do more chances need to be given? What if I haven’t tried hard enough?

But you also have to have a check-out point: there has to be a finite amount of outreach, and trying, before you stop living a life and start just being servile to somebody else. Which is easy to understand in your head, but hard to stop worrying about. There’s a whole messy tangle around what’s supportive and what’s enabling, and at the end of the day I think we all just have to make that call for ourselves.

This is compounded by the fact that I know I have a large and fragile ego. I know that part of this is me not liking the fact that somebody out there doesn’t like me, even if their reasons aren’t super rational.

So that’s where the stress is these days. Letting go of people is hard, even if you’ve done the work, tried your best, and are sure (well, I’m never sure, but it’s hard to see more that could be done) you’ve done your best.

No threat to sobriety, but definitely moves me up a few ticks in life stress. Something to keep an eye on.

Day 332: Back in the Saddle

Back on exercise, and it feels good! 10k row today, my first in a loooong time, and about to start doing the whole deal: food logging, the checklist tonight, all of that.

I know I do like routine, and I think there’s a kind of sideways thing happening here. I make behaviour I don’t like part of my routine, force myself to do that stuff I don’t like for a persistent period of time, and bingo bango, routine. Now I feel more comfortable doing it than not.

The other recent thing is being invited by a friend to join him on a fitness app thing. MyFitnessPal. Which is probably fine! I’m going to do it, because it’s a new thing, new things sometimes work, and it doesn’t cost money. I’ve tried LoseIt, which is okay.

So why not?

(Actually, I can immediately think of about eight Why Nots, but that is not what this is about. I’m supposed to do and try, not duck).

A new app today, then, and seeing if the social pressure of being answerable to a friend for staying on track — as well as the support I’m getting at home — can convert into some gains.

Lots of BUSINESS now: food logging, install an app, set up the app, all the things!


Day 196: Gratitude

Having an old friend stay over on her way through town. And catching up in the way you do with people you haven’t seen in 20-plus years. It’s amazing, when I start breaking down the last two decades of my life, how much gratitude I feel for how well things have gone overall.

It’s a good piece of perspective. Being able to lay out the arc of two decades and see that it’s a steady trend upwards. Even if there are stresses and distress from time to time. It’s been a general upward swing.

So I’m feeling a lot of gratitude this morning, which is not something I’m good about feeling or expressing. It feels kind of mawkish and self-congratulatory. At the same time, I think knowing you’re doing okay is an important thing to check in on every once in a while.

I’m doing okay. I’m grateful for that.

I think it’s also important to bear in mind how much of what I’m grateful for is gratitude for my own skills and abilities, and how much is gratitude for support I’ve received from others, and how much is gratitude for luck.

Because I’ve been more lucky than anything, I’d venture. I’ve had a lot of good breaks and been helped by a lot of good people.

Exercising gratitude in real life is tricky.

Again, I feel weird sharing stuff like this. I’m on the atheist end of agnostic, so I’m not even sure if “gratitude” is the right turn of phrase. To whom? For what?

I think the best I can do with that feeling is try to use it to leverage myself into being better at empathy for people who aren’t doing well. I get caught up in uncharitable thoughts a lot. If I can take this gratitude and convert it into being more understanding toward people who are struggling, that seems like a pretty good use for it.


Day 168: Mourning and friendship

A university friend of mine passed away a few days ago, and it’s taken me a few days to process it. Cancer; it had been known for quite a while, and he had been in hospice for a bit. So not sudden, and not astonishing.

But it took me two or three days to really let it sink in. Not a close friend, but a lost opportunity, I think, for a close friendship. Driven by geography and a natural inclination to be a bit of a hermit.

So I’m trying to figure out how to come out of this with something better. I know that I wish I’d been a better friend. I know that I should be… friending more gooder.  But I’m not sure what that means. And at the end of the day, I’m not sure if I’m good at friendship.

Sometimes I’m not sure I know what friendship is.

I have a wide circle of good acquaintances, and some people I really get along with, but I don’t know that I have, like, that cinematic idea of a friend in terms of somebody I hang out with a lot. Share intimate secrets with. All that stuff. I go running with a friend. I stay in touch with people I used to play role-playing games with. I know people from university. I get along well with people I work with and volunteer with.

So I’m trying to wrap my head around this idea that I need to make a very sad thing less sad by making it worth something. That something is being a better friend to people. But actually enacting that is something I don’t really have an intuitive grasp on.

Mourning means building, for me, in some important ways.

I guess I just want to know that I’m making a terrible thing mean something. Figuring out what that meaning is, and how I can actually do it, is going to take a while.