Changes afoot

Today marks the seventh anniversary of living in my current city. Next week, my mom and sister will be here to help me move, and at some point in the week or so after that, I’ll be moving back to my family’s house about two hundred fifty miles away.

I don’t remember offhand how much I’ve written about my plans here, but change is afoot!

While my sister is going to be renting a house with some friends in this city while they attend university (whatever that’s going to look like in these strange times), I’ve made arrangements to transfer to another store from the store I’ve worked at for the last almost-seven years (it’d have been seven in early August, but I’ll have transferred before then). As I’ve thought before, and probably written here before, I’m thankful that I am able to pull up stakes and move like this while not having to worry about, e.g., a girlfriend’s job prospects or a child’s school (or childcare in general, for that matter). Since I currently lack a significant other (and have been single for two and a half years at this point), fortunately I only have to worry about myself, rather than having to also consider the job market and prospects for a girlfriend/fiancee/wife.

As I’ve been thinking for some time now, I feel like I should probably be packing more. I do have a few boxes packed, and most of my books have already been moved, but I still have school supplies, my computer, some papers, food, dishes, towels, and various miscellaneous clutter (for lack of a better word coming to mind) to pack up.

While my current plan is to transfer to this other store and work there for a few months to at least get through the winter, I’ve also wondered what my next step should be. As I’ve been thinking for a while, I have no interest in working at a convenience store for the rest of my life, and I have no idea where I want to go next.

In other news, last week this city’s council passed a mask provision that took effect Thursday morning, so everyone over the age of 11 is supposed to wear a face mask in public for the following ninety days. It hasn’t been a major problem for me at work, but I also am not at the register by the front doors, and I’ve seen a coworker post on Facebook about how people are being jerks because they’re apparently stupid (or are being inconsiderate or don’t know where the city limit line actually is).

It continues to distress me that the President is, succinctly, an idiot. Probably more could be said, but this pandemic has not been handled well by the Malignant Narcissist in Chief. Surprise surprise, right?

There have been several occasions lately where I’ve thought about how my living situation is going to soon change from “my studio apartment where I’ve lived since September 2015 near the edge of this city” to “my family’s house in the middle of nowhere built in 1934”, and I also feel like I haven’t thought about that enough, as if refusing to think about it is going to make it not happen. Unfortunately, I don’t think it works that way (or else there would be other differences that I can think of that I wish were fact rather than my ideas). On the bright side, as I keep thinking, it’ll be nice to be closer to family (though it will be an adjustment going from my pet-free apartment to the house containing several dogs).

This is my second of three nights off this week (my last night off being Friday, and my last day at this store being Saturday), and I’m not sure what I should do. I’ve already started drinking, so that rules out driving anywhere, and tomorrow I have an eye appointment and some errands, so I should go to bed earlier tonight, but I’m not sure if I should watch something on Netflix and/or Disney+ or play some game or do something else. I probably ought to pack, or do dishes, or do laundry, or something similarly productive, but I also don’t want to.

Decisions, decisions.

Grief

Once again, I’m going to try a slightly more focused entry. This morning I woke up listening to the news on NPR, and of course my state and the next closest state apparently saw new COVID-19 records (number of new cases and number of hospitalizations respectively, if I remember correctly), so my state’s Department of Education is apparently working on guidelines to allow schools to be open this fall. There was a plan mentioned for schools to have some students attend in the morning and some in the afternoon, which sounds logistically complicated and makes me glad I’m not currently in elementary or high school and don’t have any kids. After the local headlines, the national news started, and it was more of the same- the Trump administration wants schools to be open in the fall, but is not really doing anything about the ongoing pandemic (or if the federal government is responding, I think they could do and need to be doing more). This ongoing disaster (for lack of any better word) successfully made me angry for most of the rest of the afternoon before I went to work and got to briefly forget about the disasterous pandemic response by the richest nation in history and the most powerful nation on the planet.

Alright, deep breath. Brief digression aside, now for the real reason for this entry.

I had a friend from high school pass away this past weekend. She was a couple years younger than me, but we were in a lot of the same activities and we were close when I was in high school. I don’t remember the last time I talked to her or saw her. I think I saw on Snapchat that I had sent her something a couple months ago (though I don’t remember what), and I had sent her a funny screenshot of a tweet in a Facebook message back in late 2019, so clearly it had been a while. We exchanged birthday wishes earlier this year (her birthday was in February and mine is in April), but “happy birthday!” “thanks!” does not a substantial conversation make. I imagine the last time I saw her in person might have been a couple years ago, possibly at my sister’s high school graduation in 2018 (or my brother’s in 2014).

It’s probably futile, but I wish I had talked to her more recently. Continue reading

Longer apart than together

I think I’ve recently thought about how I should post here again. I wasn’t aware until a few days ago that I apparently haven’t written here since late April, or nearly 2 months ago. While I could probably write about the last couple months (spoiler alert: not much has happened in my life), instead I’m going to write about ancient history!

I’m joking. This entry, specifically, I’m going to try to keep somewhat focused on my ex-girlfriend. While I could probably spill lots of ink on this topic, suffice it to say that, as of mid-March of this year, we have officially been apart longer than we were together. Continue reading

A loop?

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been feeling a bit off today.

Hence this blog post!

But in all seriousness, I’ve been feeling slightly negative for some reason. By all rights, I should be in a decent mood, and I suppose I am- there’s a pan of brownies in the oven, for example, which I finally made after deciding to bake as “self-care” earlier this week- but it seems ridiculous to be feeling anxious, or something like that.

I talked to my dad and grandpa earlier, and I hadn’t talked to either for a bit- I think I last talked to Dad when he visited last weekend, and I think it’s been maybe a week or longer since I had talked to my grandpa.

I was working on homework earlier, but I stopped and have been procrastinating most of the day. Perhaps that’s also part of the problem- instead of feeling productive, I’ve been vaguely ill at ease and not wanting to work on that right now, but also wanting to get it done. Fortunately, the lab exercises that were originally due this week were pushed back to next week.

Physical activity probably would have been a good idea today, but I went to bed last night and, when I got up earlier today, had a bowl of pumpkin spice Cheerios and a “wrap” (ham, cheese, and spinach) for breakfast before doing some dishes, which made me feel productive. Aside from a bit of homework progress, I’m not sure I’ve done much of note since.

I warmed up some leftovers for dinner (rice, sausage, and spinach), which was good, but now I’ll have to plan what I want to eat tomorrow.

I suspect that feeling ill-at-ease or anxious could probably be alleviated, or at least ameliorated, if I chose something (i.e., playing a game, reading a book, reading news, watching YouTube/Netflix/Disney+) and focused on it for sufficiently long enough, but instead I’ve been flitting around, reading open browser tabs, then reading a bit from a library book that’s been on my desk, then pulling out my phone (as if anything new is happening on Facebook or Twitter), then doing something else.

I made French toast for breakfast yesterday after noticing that the loaf of bread I bought a couple weeks ago was starting to mold, and since I had some leftovers, that was good. Overall, despite my lack of a Valentine, I thought yesterday was a good day. Work was busy, of course, and we did have one customer that got slightly upset because his pizza was supposed to be ready and we had to remake it because the person that made it didn’t read the ticket properly, but we managed without any other major incidents, and I had expected worse.

It’s kind of nice having the weekend off, though it’s also weird having Saturday and Sunday off instead of, say, Monday and Tuesday. This next week I think I have Sunday, Thursday, and Friday off.

It was colder here Thursday, but it’s warmed up. I didn’t venture outside today (which seems like something that I perhaps shouldn’t admit to), but I may have to figure something out tomorrow. If nothing else, maybe I can make plans with my sister, I don’t know.

I don’t know what, but maybe I can make a more substantial entry here when I actually have something to report, rather than scattered thoughts trying to nail down why I feel ill at ease.

 

 

Like a rolling stone

I decided earlier tonight to write another post here, and while trying to decide on a title I thought of the phrase “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Originally I had considered “Moss gathering”, as a play on “woolgathering”, before I remembered the Bob Dylan song “Like a Rolling Stone”.

I resolved the lease dilemma (at least for now) by talking to my apartment complex office and deciding to go month-to-month, so that allows me to move on to the next problem. Since I’m not tied down by a lease, this does allow me more flexibility than if I was still tied to my current apartment for another year.

I suppose the next major thing is to find another job. I was talking to my dad earlier today, and I’ve been sporadically saying for at least a couple months now that I need to get back on the job search. I don’t remember when I last submitted a job application, but it might have been like October?

Working on Super Bowl Sunday could have been worse- this is Chiefs country, and I had expected it to be busier, but other than multiple orders that were all due at the same time, for once we had a decent number of people and preparation in place so we were ready for it to be busier. Once the game started at 5:30 and the pre-game rush was over, it was pretty dead the rest of the night. I had thought we might have a half-time or post-game rush, but I wasn’t following the game too closely and that never materialized. Of course, it was also a Sunday and most people would have had work and school the next day, so that was also probably a factor. Continue reading

Dilemma

Should I renew my lease?

That is the dilemma of the title.

When I moved into my current apartment in September 2015, I originally signed a 6-month lease, which I’ve renewed several times. I’ve been getting lease renewal offers from my apartment complex since mid-December, and my lease ends at the end of March. I’m supposed to give 60 days notice if I am going to vacate, and I have been guilty of trying not to think about the decision, which anyone could probably tell you is not the best way to make a decision.

Fortunately, I don’t have anyone making this decision for me! For the past 2 years, I have been single, and aside from my job and friends from work, I don’t really have any ties to my current city. Sure, I got my bachelor’s degree here, but I don’t have a girlfriend or fiancee with ties to the area, which would be a factor if it existed. Of course, I also remember my ex talking about living together, once upon a time, and if I did have a girlfriend or fiancee and we had been together long enough, I’m sure that would be a consideration! “Oh yeah, my lease is expiring in a few months,” “well, we’ve been together about a year, wanna live together?” Not sure how my family would feel about that, but of course I don’t have a girlfriend, so I don’t even have to worry about that!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem clear-cut either. Maybe I’m overthinking things, but moving back in with my parents and looking for a next step seems like failure. It’s not, objectively- sure, culturally we Americans are usually not fond of moving back in with parents after high school/college, but I think The Great Recession of the late 2000s/early 2010s may have sort of changed that, or at least made it less of a stigma. I know about 10 years ago was, or at least seemed like, more of a failure considering I quit going to my college classes, but right now I can’t think of any negatives in my life. Sure, I’m single and occasionally lonely (though that hasn’t really been a problem this year, fingers crossed), but being single seems better than being in a bad relationship. I don’t have any entanglements with my ex- she did ask me for favors before she left this city, but among other things I think that was due to her not knowing anyone else, and very possibly not wanting to get to know anyone else, whereas at least she knew me (even if she thought I was a jerk for breaking up with her). That digression aside, as mentioned I don’t really have anything tying me to my current city. Moving back home to the country wouldn’t mean that I was stuck there forever either- it seems generous of my parents to say that they’ll help me, but that may be due to my reading or imagining horror stories where parents are like “nope, sorry, you’re 18 now, figure it out yourself.”

I thought maybe I had more to offer here, but I feel the proverbial well running dry- maybe I’m just distracted. Anyway, I’m not happy with the current stagnation and I want a change, though I’m also not sure what the future holds, and I’m not keen on diving into the unknown- I’d rather know, for example, that I would be able to find a satisfying job or at least some sense of progress or success, rather than “oh, the future is unknown, and you might find a better job quickly or it might take you another year of living at home working in an unsatisfactory job and filling out job applications with no clear result.”

I dislike being so far from family, but I also like doing my own thing and not having to share space with anyone (whether that’s a dog in my lap or my mom going to bed at 10 PM while I stay up until 4 AM).

I should decide, but every time I’ve mentioned it to someone recently it seems like they just say “well, you’ll just have to decide” which is true, but I’d rather have something more tangible and specific, even if it’s not strictly “here’s what I think you should do.”

Lonely thoughts

The semester did not end on the best note, but maybe in the future I’ll learn from my mistakes and begin the final project more than 4 days before the due date.

I’m trying to think of what else has happened since I last wrote here- I don’t remember when that was, and I haven’t looked at this blog for a while, so I don’t remember offhand just how long it’s been.

Anyway, I decided to write because, as the title of this post says, I’ve been thinking about loneliness lately. When I went home for Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago I was feeling lonely at one point, which seemed ridiculous as I was sitting in bed in my family’s home, but this holiday season usually features a lot of talk about seeing family- cue the jokes about political discussion at Thanksgiving, or Christmas gift-giving, among others. This morning I went to bed about 5 AM and woke up about 8:30 AM, which is a bit earlier than I had expected, but my guess is that waking up early is related to the dream I had. I don’t remember many details now, but I do remember the dream including seeing several couples kissing and “making out”. I didn’t wake up feeling particularly lonely or otherwise negative, but I wondered if, on some subconscious level, I woke up because my brain was signaling “Wake up to make sure the family/tribe/pack hasn’t abandoned you.”

It may be a mistake, but I’ve also been thinking sporadically over the last few days about the impending 2nd anniversary of the end of my first relationship, which will be tomorrow. In a few months, assuming I don’t somehow find another girlfriend, I’ll have been single for as long as the length of that relationship. Last I heard from my ex (September, I think?), she and the guy she’s been dating since shortly after we broke up (i.e., for nearly 2 years) are going to get married in April.

I was watching some YouTube videos earlier today about loneliness, and at a certain point they didn’t seem especially helpful.

I’ve thought before, and was thinking again earlier, that there seem to be several stages. Of course, it’s not strictly an ordered list with a straightforward progression, since most people probably move through the stages multiple times in their life, but the way I’ve thought of it has been in several stages.

A: Singledom (where I currently reside)
B: “talking”/early dating (from first introduction to, say, the first date)
C: Dating (before “defining the relationship”)
D: New relationship
E: Established/comfortable/intimate relationship

I’ve thought before, and I’ve thought recently, that I’d like to simply skip from A to E (as jarring as that would be), so I would have someone to talk to, make plans with, etc. and not have to mess with, say, leaving my apartment to meet people or deal with all the effort and weeding out that is required to meet people. Sure, you can swipe on Tinder or your dating app of choice all day long, but fact remains, as a male, online dating is not exactly in my favor. Maybe it’s the general biological fact of women being selective and men usually pursuing, and I think I’ve read before about the user base of online dating apps and website being mostly male, but I bet if I made a profile as a cute girl I’d get a lot more interest than making a profile as yet another guy. In my admittedly limited online dating experience, there’s finding someone who’s interested (that is a real person and not, say, a camgirl or bot or other scammer), then making plans to meet up, and proceeding from there. It’s been over a year (nearly 2, come to think of it) since I’ve made any kind of plans to meet someone that I started talking to online. This past summer, I guess, I was talking to a girl for a while, but then she sent me a message at one point that she was interested in someone else and was getting off the app.

Historically, my issue with apps like Tinder and Bumble has been the fact that most people don’t write much in their bios. I’m somewhat aware that’s kind of the point, and it’s supposed to be superficial (they’re cute, swipe right! Not interested, swipe left!), but I’d like something with a similar level of effort but where they actually write something about themselves. Sure, originality and creativity is difficult (or so I’ve heard), but it’d be nice to see a profile that said something original (“I’m not a Star Wars fan, but we can watch them togther” or “Star Trek > Star Wars” or even “I’m a dog momma”) that isn’t something I’ve seen countless times.

Online dating may be like Facebook, in that nobody wants to appear boring and write something like “I usually only leave my apartment to go to work, so frankly I’m somewhat boring” rather than “I love to travel and drink! Let’s get coffee!”, but, as I’ve thought before, I also am probably not in the best position to be seriously dating. When I was with my ex, we were both undergraduate students, I was working, and so my situation may have been more understandable. Now, however, as a graduate student inching closer to my 3rd decade of life, I occasionally feel like I should be more impressive. It could be worse, though. Haha.

Still, I haven’t been using online dating apps much of late, since the constant sameness of either blank bios or unattractive people (and maybe I’m just bored, depressed, and negative) does not interest me. “Grab my butt and buy me tacos” was funny to see the first time, and fortunately it’s not super common, but I’ve seen it several times (as well as bios that reference being a “dog mom” or having “fur babies” or the even more direct ‘I’m just using you for your backyard for my puppy to run around in”).

Mostly, and again I’m probably not looking in the right place, but I’m also not sure that I’m interested in single mothers, cosmetologists, nurses, drug users or people who have tons of tattoos and piercings, and somehow Tinder (at least) seems to have tons of those people! I don’t think I’ve seen any profiles yet that check all of those boxes (being a 420-friendly cosmetologist nurse single mom with a lot of tattoos and piercings would be kind of impressive, though- how do you have any time in your day?), but seeing or finding more graduate students and/or people who are closer to what I’m looking for would be kind of nice.

I have thought before that Tinder probably has a lot of people who are more “open to experiences”, in the sense of the Big 5 personality trait theory, which probably explains the piercings and tattoos and drug users, or at least that’s what I’ve thought. Of course on a certain level there’s probably also people who are just there to try it out (hence the “just got out of a relationship and looking to make friends” or “wanting to meet new people”) or people who work odd hours and don’t get out much (like the profiles I’ve seen that mention working night shift, or working a lot, or the nurses/cosmetologists/others that may not have much opportunity to socialize outside of work).

Well, as usual I wrote more than intended, but oh well. Maybe in the near future I’ll write something that seems a little less pathetic and emotional.

Thinking about old news

It seems that about a month has passed since my last entry. Offhand, I can’t think of any major events recently. Sure, we got a new manager at work after about a month and a half, and perhaps other major events could come to mind, but at the moment I can’t think of anything major that personally affects me.

Last week I was able to get several days off work and go home for fall break with my sister, so that was nice. It was nice seeing family (including my brother and his wife, so I sort of got two road trips in one week) and being away from the daily grind. This week I somehow have 3 days off work, which I should make use of by looking for work and working on schoolwork and cleaning my apartment, but thus far today I haven’t been especially productive. I did cook dinner earlier tonight- I made rice, cooked some frozen corn, opened a can of baked beans, and combined that with chopped onion, green pepper, homegrown jalapeno pepper, and tomato that I fried in bacon grease. It was good, though I wasn’t very hungry (probably due to not doing anything today).

The night is still relatively young, though I don’t expect to do anything exciting the rest of the night. I might boot up a game and play Stellaris or something, though.

I’ve been thinking about my ex lately, which, as I’ve said, I probably shouldn’t be. Continue reading

Late night thoughts

I’ll begin by saying I should probably keep this brief. A more comprehensive update can come later. Whenever I decide to write that.

I don’t remember offhand if I’ve written it here before, but I am in a rut. I’ve had the same job for 6 years (7, if you count the year I worked for the same company at a different location), I’ve lived in the same apartment for 4 years as of yesterday, I broke up with my first girlfriend 1 year and 9 months ago, and I earned my bachelor’s degree 9 months ago. Aside from my ex no longer being in the picture and the changes associated with that (no needy girlfriend to entertain, but also no ex asking for occasional favors), I’m not sure my life has dramatically changed recently, which is both sort of good and bad. On the bright side, of course, my brother did get married just over a month ago, so technically I gained a sister-in-law, and I could get further into the weeds, but suffice it to say I’ve been unhappy. Sure, I make do and try to find some satisfaction, but the daily grind is irritating at times, and I’ve been burnt out, at least professionally, for what seems like a while. Probably at least a year, possibly a couple.

Recently, the beginning of the new semester, the anniversary of starting our relationship, and other things have made me think of my ex. Continue reading

Interesting times

Like the old Chinese curse says, we sure live in interesting times, don’t we?

It’d be nice if President Trump’s sudden cancellation of the military strike resulted in increased dialogue and deescalation of tensions, but I don’t quite expect that. Honestly, I’m surprised we haven’t invaded North Korea, Iran, and/or both yet- that was close to my first thought after hearing that Trump had won the election, “where are we invading next?”

Politics aside, there haven’t been many changes in my life, which may not be annoying, but sometimes I wish there was slightly more excitement. Maybe not “arguing with significant other” excitement, since I’ve been there and have no interest in returning to that any time soon, but having a romantic interest sounds slightly more interesting than my current state of “why would I leave my apartment if I don’t absolutely have to?”

I did have a phone interview last week for a job that I recently applied for, but it’s been over a week and I haven’t heard anything since. I need to resume my job search, I guess- getting out of my current and recent rut would be nice. Promising news on the job or romance fronts would be better than the alternative, which is to say no news.

In other news, I’ve been playing Stellaris, Crusader Kings 2, and Empire: Total War recently. I might write more about those here later, but I re-installed Empire: Total War a couple days ago and, for some reason, decided to play as the Ottoman Empire in a grand campaign. Much like the last time I decided to try it, I’m now at war with Russia, Venice, and Austria, so basically par for the course for the Ottomans throughout their history, though I’m crap at naval battles in that game, so I suspect I’m probably worse than whatever the Ottoman navy was like in 1703.

It’s not the first time I’ve had the idea, but writing about my Empire Total War game here suddenly sounds interesting- unlike my writing on the Paradox Interactive forums I don’t know if anyone would read it here, though the usual notifications I get about people liking my post may belie that.

I went to a coffee shop for breakfast this morning and got a breakfast sandwich, a ‘bear claw’ pastry, and a double shot espresso. I was expecting more coffee, I don’t know if I’ve ever had straight espresso before, and I didn’t feel fancy enough to be drinking it.

Today’s the first day of summer, and I suddenly wonder what I’ll be doing in 3 months. I hope to find out (and hopefully it’s not surviving the aftermath of World War 3, but I digress).