Uh, hello, is this thing on? *taps mic*
This… writing stuff… it feels weird in my fingers, my brain, my soul, but it’s time to dust off this little corner of the internet and say things again. Writing is how I unravel my brain, it’s my therapy, it’s how I process and analyze and learn from my successes and failures. I took a bit of a break from it for various reasons, and that’s just not working out for me, so here I go again.
At first I stopped writing here because I dove headfirst into writing some fiction, which stretched some really fun new brain muscles. I hadn’t written in anyone else’s voice in a while and it was fun to hide in that other character for a while – his sins, his motivations, his perspective on life definitely bisects my own on ye olde personaltity venn diagram in some aspects, but it’s also fun to delve into the “not me” parts and be someone else for a while. As I always enjoy digging around in my grey matter, in some cases, I found ways to use the “not me” parts in “me” useful ways as well.
Then, I stopped writing because the world fell away. The first week in March, I completed Long Day #2, a 8 hour training day in preparation for my second Ironman 7 weeks later. The second week in March, life as we know it got cancelled for an indefinite amount of time. Many of the plates I worked so hard to keep spinning over the years came crashing down, and I just let them fall on the floor and stay there. It was surreal, it was excruciating, and bit by bit, as every plan I had for 2020 got scratched off the calendar, I felt a bit of my soul die until I just didn’t care anymore. I just learned to work around the shards on the floor. My life has been, and frankly still is just this existence in this four bedroom “space station”, with infrequent “space walks” every few weeks to take care of something I can’t online. I communicate and exact my influence on the world through this portal in my office. At some point, I figure, someone would let me know when I should return to earth and be normal again and that hasn’t happened yet.
Since it’s been *ahem* a few months since I’ve last recorded the history of my life here, it’s worth dedicating a bit of space to the oddity that contributed to the black hole for my words. 2020 was just a blur without specific events like vacations and races and the normal societal pleasures and obligations. Time lost meaning. I can only really describe the period of time as these overlapping ages and eras. Since “July” really didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, I didn’t grab onto it as a descriptor of that month, but instead, I do remember the “pool” era.
In the first era, this whole new stay-at-home life was novel and exciting. We walked a lot and took pictures of the pretty flowers. Later, when this life became less than novel, with no end to the ambiguity in sight, thus began the era where work tested me to the point where I really thought I might mentally break, but I survived instead and learned things. I may have made it through because that overlapped with the age where we got a pool, and that age had two strata – the first where it was utterly awesome, and also another where it was mostly frustrating, and a ton of work to maintain.
Sometime around the eleven hundred and sixty-first of March, we gave up the idea of taking any non-camping vacations and instead sunk our vacation budget into a SUPER nice new pop up. Like the pool, it has saved our sanity as we’ve camped 21 days since mid-July. Though, also like the pool, it has been a pain at time, especially for someone like me who is not a giant. I can’t reach anything without climbing around like a monkey. It’s much heavier and harder to deal with setup, takedown, and storage. However, these camping trips gave me a date to associate with a thing, which was few and far between this year. We went camping on September 10-20th in Colorado. I could not tell you what I did any other specific day that month. These trips were a nice anchor to reality.
The later 2020 ages are ridiculously muddy in my brain, even though they are the most recent. I put myself through power point bootcamp to learn how to create within the confines of that tool. I grumbled the whole way through it, but creating animated demos is now a really awesome weapon in my professional arsenal. Around this era, my back REALLY started to act up, some days making it difficult to do heroic and impressive things like get out of bed, and pick up a sock. This happened just in time for the weather to be beautiful for outdoor activities, which was just a lovely middle finger in my direction. My motivation was back, but my body had already noped out of anything athletic, so we took lots of spooky walks and Christmas light walks instead.
Throughout these ages of 2020, there have been some constants. I played a ton of guitar. I became obsessed with Bloodbowl and our work league. These two hobbies alone may have kept me on the right side of the looney line. I found throughout the year that it became increasingly difficult to focus, this in and of itself may be worth an entire post, but guitar was a bit of meditation and monofocus for me that I wasn’t getting elsewhere. Bloodbowl scratched some of the itch I was missing with triathlon – the competition and camaraderie – and gave me something to be (arguably, depending on the day and the dice) good at when a lot of the rest of my life was just falling apart.
I played and even ran some tabletop games and played a hell of a lot more video games than I normally do. I picked up a phone that has a better camera than my CAMERA, so I’ve been toting that thing around everywhere. I think sometimes I see the world more clearly in photography shots, and I enjoy the power of editing the photo to actually capture what I felt in that moment. I shook something loose in my brain with my painting later in the year and convinced myself that it’s better to finish something imperfectly than to leave it on a canvas, half complete, for the better part of a year. Besides the lack of writing, it was actually quite the year for hobbies and non-athletic pursuits.
I cannot ignore that the things I am cursing elsewhere contributed to this boon. The ability to work from home, the absence of racing as the north star of my personal life, and the lack of almost any sort of in-person plans did give me the space to be able to indulge and nurture these interests. However, one would truly think that it also would make daily activity and staying in shape easier. And for a few ages, it did. For some ages, I actively rebelled against the year, giving it my own middle fingers in return, and drinking whiskey and playing video games instead of riding my bike like it would hurt anyone but me to do so. For some ages, I found myself in a different body, a weak lumpy one that felt really mortal with weird aches and pains. I truly have some empathy and perspective. This sucks, y’all. I’ve got a hill to climb to be even a SHADE of myself as an athlete even just a year ago.
And thus, this is where I’m at right now. I’m certain this is one reason for my writing muse to be so utterly and complete blocked right now. For someone who’s used to having awesome stories to tell, I just… haven’t. On this Sunday the third of January, this beautiful day where responsibilities and *life* have not yet unsullied good intentions, I resolve to return here, to write, on a very rigid schedule of “more weeks this year than not”. I may not have interesting stories to tell right now, but telling the uninteresting ones will at least restore a bit of my identity.