Sometimes I wonder if my world will ever change.
I mean, it's always change. Most things do not stay the same.
Yet others? Seems like they will always, forever be immutable.
(img by aruvizard)
It seems a lot like I'm just going through the motions these days.
Rearranging and cleaning things has helped a lot for my mental state. I've been going through and getting rid of things I never, ever use in the living room/dining room. Took down the sheets I had for curtains. (Those are actually the next thing I want to upgrade.) Moved my desktop and one monitor to a corner that used to have a bookshelf, so the desk is much, much cleaner.
I'm also using my latptop as my new primary development machine. Just upgraded to 16gb of RAM, with an 8 core processor and a 1080p screen - that's enough to do almost anything I could need to do for the forseable future. Getting used to using it as the main machine opens things up more to just simply travelling with a laptop. 3 panniers and the top racks for gear, and one for the laptop. I already have one that it fits in, looks like a briefcase when off the bicycle. Not sure how the computer would fare over thousands of miles of riding, but I imagine that if it's in plastic to keep out dust and has an SSD instead of a regular hard drive, it will be compltely fine.
The bookshelves that were where the desktop is now are moved into the living room, and a chair that took up too much space has been moved to the bedroom to make space for them. Half of my books turned out to be completely obsolete computer books. They were recycled, and that opened up a lot of space on the shelves for other things. There was a little cart on wheels with 18 inches of two inch thick, 4x4 dvd binders full of media from years and years ago and a non-functional printer. Totally gone. Bike parts and tools were consolidated into the space left by the cart. Extra chairs that aren't being used were taken to the basement.
Over the last few months, I've been working on getting a lot more just general things for the apartment. Soap tins, real kitchen towels instead of using my bike shop towels. Slowly but surely focusing on the 'presentability' aspect of my home.
The bedroom now actually feels 'safe' as opposed to just a place that I stumble into at the end of the night. Turning the orientation 90 degrees made a huge difference, I think. I had to go through and get rid of a lot of clothes for it. That was kind of crappy to do. Trying on shirts and clothes and going "OK, I'm not even close to fitting into this anymore." Then putting them in bags and taking them off to the basement. Then I could get rid of a whole pile of wire cubes, because there was so much less cloth to hold. The things in my dresser that weren't clothes? Put into a trunk, thrown out, etc. Then there was room for everything I can wear. And then the whole idea of what I can do in the room is changed.
I sleep on the other side of the bed now, too. Since I can pretty much only sleep on my right side, that means that I'm now facing the other side of the bed. So if I had someone to share it with, there's space now. I wouldn't be turning away due to the uneveness of my bones and my habitual nature. It's nice to know that. But not all that comforting. Now I can just reach out and feel that empty space next to me. It's not behind me, something that often can be ignored...
Food is good for you
I've been cooking a lot more, too. That's been happening for awhile, but it's become a lot more intense the last few weeks. It's good, healthy food, almost completely organic and fresh ingredients. It goes a long way to keeping my mind clear and my body healthy. This weekend I actually picked up some new kitchen stuff, a thermometer, wine saver stopers, wine glasses.
I'm trying to hit farmer's markets instead of the coop, and trying to figure out how to make more complicated dishes. Trying to challenge myself. It's a bit hard, because there are a lot of things that you can't really make for just one person, and that won't keep if you do make them.
Work, work, work
The freelance work is also starting to get rolling, too. I have a great feeling about how that will go. Marketplace sales have been up, too. Still trying to get that totally figured out, but It seems like it will keep growing. I know that I'm putting out some really high quality code, and that's only going to keep getting better. Knowing that I'll be able to support myself without a 'job' is a great weight off my shoulders. Knowing that from now on, it's only my own desires that guides where I go professionaly.
I'm really looking forward to being able to focus more on the abstract aspects of coding. About process, scaffolding, etc. Thinking deeply about code, obsessing on ever character of the code. Not just to make sure that it works, but to make it actually readable, and even beautiful. That it's easy to debug. That it allows excellent integration and APIs for other developers.
So, yeah, I'm fine. Everything's great. Don't call or email or anything asking to hang out just because you read this. I won't take it as sincere at all. Call me when you actually want to hang out with me, not because you feel guilty or concerned.
A lot of people won't get that. There's this mentality that if things are good, you're good. But it's not always the case. For people like, me that's often not the way it is at all.
You look at everything, and how in every objective sense it is absolutely great... You have no legitimate reason to feel anything other than happy.
But there is no joy. No sense of accomplishment. And you wonder why. Try to figure out what is wrong with you.
If any of your friends had a life like with the societal objectives of success, they'd be overjoyed. They tell you what a great place you have to live, how they envy what you can do at work, how they wish they could eat like you.
It's gratifying to hear those things, but there's still the other side of it...
If my life is so awesome, why is it just my life? What is it that drives people away? What is wrong with me?
Doubt creeps in. I look around at a spotless apartment, and wonder how long it will be until I start letting it slip again? Really, what's the point of keeping it clean if it's always just one person there? I almost want to start slacking, to let it become a pigsty so that at least there's an excuse why nobody ever comes over. It scares me a bit, because back when I was a whiskey drinking man, that was a lot of the reason why I drank so heavily. Partially to numb the pain and keep myself from thinking about it. And partly so that I would have a plausible reason for why things are the way they are. And then quitting drinking, trying to prove to myself the reason for it. Was it me? Or the booze and my environment?
It was so depressing to finally end that experiment with the realization that it was just intrinsic in who I am. And to know that it will never change.
Even if I do keep my home clean, I look around and realize how different it is from everyone else's. Almost too neat and clean. Almost no personal items. No photos of my with lovers or friends. No nick-nacks. A few things from bike races, a few from the days of bikelove. I look at it, and it just feels fake. Like I'm just pretending to be a real person. I guess, back to that 'presentability' aspect.
Thoughts lately have been turning to leaving, as they often do. To just getting the hell away from everything. And it's finally a real possibility. There are no real ties anymore. The responsibilities I have are only the ones I make for myself now. Week by week, I'm paring down the amount of 'stuff' that I have to only what I really need, and things that others would be interested in if I chose to sell or give them away. One closet and the basement are left to go through, and then things are somewhat clear and 'ready to go.'
Really, it's only the fear of going out and being alone that drives me to stay. Fear of starting over in a completely new place. Or in no place at all, only travelling, the things I can carry on my bike the only real possessions I have that aren't in a storage locker somewhere.
I want to do those things, but I don't want to do them alone.
It's going to take some time to acclimate, I think. Leave for a month, come back. Leave for two, come back. Repeat. Eventually, maybe I'll find some way to be different. Maybe a change of place will do what simply rearranging the minutae of my living situation can't. Eventually, I won't need to come back to reconnect. Like dipping a piece of salmon in water over and over to glaze freeze it, you build the shell a piece at a time.
When I do try to go out and see people, I typically find myself one of the last people to leave. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is my brain chemistry. A slow, steady stream and eventually it just opens everything for me. But because I use so slowly, I hit that point hours after everyone else. They're all going home to pass out, and I'm getting energized and wanting to just talk and talk and talk. Alive. Aware. Excited and enthused.
You know, the exact opposite of me sober.
It's also because I don't want to face that ride home. The emptiness of this place once I get here. The knowledge that the next time that I head out to see people, it will be the same. That I'll always be outside of things. An observer, not a participant.
I wonder sometimes if that isn't more isolating. This feeling that the world is for others, trapped on the other side of my ice prison. Even accidental or casual contact with another human is like a shock to my skin. So unusual to touch anything that is animate and sentient. How many other people is that true for? I really wonder sometimes. There are so many instances in literature and cinema of the angst and frustration of the dead, watching a world they can't touch or participate in any longer. I sometimes feel that way. I'm not really there. Just a brain. Maybe the real world isn't even there, I'm just observing the whole thing while plugged into a computer in some other reality. That's why it's so shocking when I actually touch someone. That third wall is broken.
It's all stupid, I know.
But it's true. I'm not sure why I even bother writing things like this. There have been a great many posts in the past, there will probably be many more. I guess it's just help me to process and think about things, and to make it seem less important by looking at it externally and in text. For me, the world is changed by words. Everything I do is somehow related to language. Programming, it's basically writing how I want something to work. Sometimes I try to do that with prose. That's far harder. But when I think about what I really want to do with my life? It's just writing. Often writing with pictures. Writing about how to do something instead of doing it. Trying to empower others to be able to do what I can, and in turn letting them do far, far more. Still, everything is words.
So when I need to think, it's through a keyboard. It used to be a pen / pencil / brush. But now, it's a keyboard.
I guess, I'll just try to take solace in the fact that things are mostly OK. That I have a roof, good food, good friends.
Life could be far, far worse.
It could also be far, far better.
Heading one of those two directions.