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Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022: Time

 Can you teach me 'bout tomorrow

And all the pain and sorrow running free

'Cause tomorrow's just another day

And I don't believe in time

(Hootie and Blowfish, Time)

Seeing as though this is New Year's Eve, and my regular gig of being off the grid at Ricketts Glen State Park fizzled out, I think it's appropriate to reflect on the year that was (or will be, depending on when someone happens to be reading this).

One of the things that became very apparent to me over 2022 is that my very perception of time is changing, literally right before my eyes.  You see, in the past, things like seasons took forever to change, and some seemed to last forever.  Now?  Things seem to be changing in the blink of an eye.  What where hot summer days seem only like yesterday, and their return will seem like tomorrow.  I'm smart enough to understand that the actual passage of time is, relatively speaking, a constant.  What's actually happening is wholly inside my head, and I'm not sure whether this is a good or a not-good thing.  Time, as they say, will tell.

I've come to understand something about myself that probably requires some work, specifically in the area of communication.  What might this be, you may ask?  Well, outside of my wife, I probably spend more time talking to my cats than I do my fellow humans.  They have the advantage of either being very good listeners or are even better at pretending to listen to me.  While either way works for me, this may be a sign that I need to get out more often.

I am increasingly becoming aware of the fact that I am not, in fact, indestructible.  This is another thing requiring something of a sea change inside my own head.  One must understand that over the years I have been something of a walking accident waiting to happen.  In addition to THIS posting, over the decades I have managed to gash the top of my head, filet my leg with a box cutter, stab my hand separating frozen hotdogs, shatter a drinking glass while cleaning it (and shredding my hand in the process), fracturing ribs after slipping on ice and probably a few other things that I won't share (out of fear that I will sound even more ridiculous).  Shy of encasing myself in bubble wrap, I just need to be more careful out there.

There are many things I seem to tolerate less and less as the years go on, such as cruelty to animals and bullies.  It's to the point where I really can't elaborate much more on this point, as it is actually starting to bother me just thinking about the subject.

In 2023 I will turn 59 years old.  Clearly, as I sit and type this, my physical health needs work.  For example, I have the diet of an 8-year-old that hates vegetables and has uncaring parents.  In addition to making grown-up food choices, I also need to exercise more.  Yet though, there has been some progress.  I have spent more than a fair amount of time over the past several years focusing on my mental health.  With a lot of work, I think I have made some progress.  There is still work to be honest, there may always be work to do in this area...but it feels like some of the things I've struggled with for a very long time are now better managed.  

I only have one superpower:  Persistence.  While clearly not as cool as the ability to fly or having lasers shooting out of my eyes, I'm still grateful for the gift.  It has served me well.

* * * * * *

My wish for all of us in 2023?  To remember that life is short and time is fleeting, so it's time for more kindness, less conflict, and less fanaticism...about everything.

Monday, December 26, 2022

All this, and a bag of chips

It's been an eventful few weeks.

First, my right hand went from this... this....

The actual healing process continues.  This was an entirely self-inflicted wound, in the truest sense of the word, resulting from my failure to wear work gloves while handling lumber.  Whatever my co-pay ends up being from the surgery will be worth it.  I will note that Dr. Culp and his staff at Geisinger in Pittston were nothing short of terrific.  My only complaint, if you want to call it that?  Getting the stitches out was a bit of a trial, but again, I basically did this to myself.

Second, there was COVID-19, where I went from this... this... .

...over the course of about 3 weeks.  The ironic part was that I had an updated vaccination the Sunday before I actually got sick.  The actual sick part wasn't all that terrible and maybe lasted about 5 days.  As someone with asthma, I was a bit worried about having this negatively impacting my breathing, but all things considered, I did okay.  It didn't actually impact my sense of taste either.  Ditto for Ms. Rivers, who got sick around the same time I did.  As to where/how we got sick, well, we think it happened around Thanksgiving.  

Lastly, we had my taking a bit of a tumble down some steps last Wednesday.  Where "little tumble"
actually means landing on my hip, then my elbow, and then my head.  I now have the honor of having the largest bruise I have ever actually seen on a human being.  It's literally bigger than two of my hands put together (and I have giant lobster-claw-sized hands).  The brush burn on my head actually hurt more than my hip, and if I were a betting man, I'd say there was a mild concussion at work.  Again though, I consider myself lucky in that it could have been worse...and my bruised hip deserves credit for breaking my fall.  

All of the above though is trivia when you think about it.  Life is the ultimate contact sport, and I'd rather suffer some of the inconveniences of trying to live life to some degree of fullness and getting hurt (once in a while) than the alternative, namely sitting around and turning into some kind of gelatinous pile of physical, mental and emotional goo.  I sadly see that alternative all too often, and it truly makes me sad.  All of us have reasons to live, all of us have talents to offer the world, and all of us have important work to do.  If that results in a scrape, a bump, or a bruise the size of Rhode Island, well so be it.  

In the sum total of our lives, the actuality of getting hurt (physically or otherwise) is always less dangerous than what happens when we take no chances.