Today I read a few blog posts penned by friends. For both of these FB friends (hopefully they will be more than just FB friends before the end of the year but more about that later,) they were personal experience posts because they are personal experience blogs. I go back and forth about whether My Zen Brain should be all about my personal experience because who the hell cares what I think?
But then I remember that I personally have a unique perspective from other people because of my life experiences, sure, but I like to put them in an easily accessible and user-friendly format on this blog and hopefully people like it. I mean, that’s the whole point of a personal experience blog, right?
Can someone who clicks on the link to my blog count on a humorous take on current events or insightful musings on whatever particular predicament is plaguing me that day? Probably, but I do have a tendency to go over to the dark side, probably more than the average bear.
That’s what happened last spring. I checked the stats for this blog yesterday and it was almost a year since my last post. Which honestly doesn’t surprise me in the least. I kind of put my tail between my legs and hunkered down for the pandemic. I ate crap and gained weight. I stopped going to the gym (that was a necessity because I probably wouldn’t have been permitted to see my parents if I did. That permission came at the hands of my mother who is slightly less neurotic than Tweak from South Park.) I did start bicycling to compensate but that avenue went south when I had a minor crash when I tried to bike one of my normal routes when there was still winter ice and snow on the ground and I had a pretty nasty wipeout and broke one of the handbrakes and bent the handlebars all caddywhompus. I did up my reading regime which was going along at a steady clip already. I have been going to only one meeting per week. But it’s a meeting that focuses on the 11th Step (Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him) and the folks at the meeting adhere to social distancing. I took up piano again and, wouldn’t you know it, it is like riding a bike. And I hatched the plan for the newest manifestation of My Zen Brain, the podcast.
And I guess now is the part of the post where I impart some form of folksy wisdom or inspiring rhetoric.
And I got nothing.
I mean, I did come to some personal truths through the pandemic. I ended the long distance fling I had with my ex-girlfriend, which taught me pretty definitively that what I want out of my last 30-40 years on this planet is more of the same. First, I want, nay need, calm and serenity. We say the serenity prayer all the time in the Program and the pandemic taught me that the level of kerfuffle that I currently tolerate is about the maximum I can or want to handle. And as much as I am a fan of playing the “I could totally make this work” thinking, it behooves me to acknowledge there’s a whole shitload of outside factors that I can’t control and so I need to exert control over the factors I can.
And as much as I am a huge fan of cursing and the F-bomb in particular, in my heart of hearts, my level of tolerance for F-bombs coming out of anyone is not much higher than my Mom’s limit of 2 per encounter. Much more than that and my anxiety, despite my efforts to control it, skyrockets. And my ex loved the F-bomb and dropped it every third word and made no bones about the fact that she would never budge on the topic.
But my marquee truth, the thing that matters most to me post-vaccine, is that though I am an introvert and enjoy doing many, many things alone, the time I spend nourishing social connections is absolutely crucial to maintaining a sound mental balance. I’m about 70-30. 70% of the time, I’m just fine doing things by myself. But that other 30% when I step outside myself and, y’know, interact with others and ask them how they are doing and, y’know, care about the answer? Yeah, turns out that is pretty goddamn integral to keeping this freighter afloat. The list of people I know who’ve been vaccinated continues to grow and I have started making plans for a trip out East. It seems like me and the rest of world are slowly emerging from our caves, eyes blinking from the brightness of the sun. I can honestly say that this pandemic has taught me a lot about myself. I hope its done the same for you.