Day 114

Another night I wouldn’t mind sleeping, but it’s just not happening. 

I spent much of the day yesterday in bed. The hours I was awake were spent suffering a severe bout of heartburn. The day before that I went kayaking with a good friend on the Fox River. 

Glassworks, beading, reading about kombucha, some cleaning, organizing, website work,  and playing video games. Nothing really out of the norm other than instead of thinking, “thank God it’s Friday,” I’m thinking, “How the heck is it already Friday?” 

Dana and I are going to New York next week. I predicted that by this time I’d be itching for an adventure like that. Regrettably I can’t say I’m “itching” for it, but I’m also not dreading it. I count that as a positive. 

I think I’ve been feeling some steps, but I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s some nervousness about going to New York. It might be that I feel fat. It’s possible that volatility in the stock market and this absurd election are feeding uncertainty. 

Stupid. 

I’ve had a couple of moments that I’ve recognized the benefits of having a job. A job provides a focus for stress, which is an easier type of stress to cope with than whatever it is I’ve been feeling this week. But, at the same time, I wouldn’t trade this weird stress for the consistent, building stress of working. 

I just have to figure it out. And, that may very well be what’s causing the heart-pounding anxiety: feeling on edge without understanding why. Is it possibly another stage of transition? I have been having some odd dreams. Past experiences melding together in previously unencountered ways. 

And there it is: a sudden wave of relaxation as I ruminate about the dreams as a cause of the stress. Why is that? In some ways the dreams seem like life flashing before my eyes because of the mix of continuities. Life flashing is symbolic of the moments before death. 

And that is a silly fear to have. I’ve said that I’m not closing a “chapter” of my life, but ending a book to start writing a new one. In this case, “death” should be viewed as the metaphorical tarot and considered as a change – – a transformation. 

The jumbled up dreams could be interpreted as just that. The winding path followed to get to the expected middle-class outcome that has been mostly unexpectedly shortened. 

I’ve got to stop referring to myself as “retired.” That has a connotation to it that isn’t accurate. I don’t think it’s a beneficial frame of mind to hold. 

So I guess I’m a little bit lost. I don’t know how to define myself in social terms. That has never really bothered me before. And maybe that is the root of the stress I feel. I can’t reconcile the connotation of “retired” with what I am. That begs the question then, what am I? 

Of course, that leads me to deeper questions, causing me to toss and turn. I might as well do something: play a video game, read a book, something other than toss, turn, and feel my heart beat. I mean, that’s the benefit of not having to get up for work in a few hours, right? 

1:33am

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Day 104

When I think about all the jobs I had, the most miserable aspect of any of them was the inability to get to sleep at a proper time. That was my biggest problem with school too. While there were plenty of times I would have rather have been any place else than in a class or at work, I don’t recall ever really hating what I was doing. My problem has always been the elusive regular sleep pattern.

Even though I don’t need to, I still take some over-the-counter sleeping pills here and there… not as many at once… and not every night. But, if I have a desire to get to sleep, I need some help doing so.

Take last night for example. I was absolutely certain that I was tired enough to fall asleep at 9:30pm. But, after tossing and turning for a number of hours, I finally conceded around 1:00am that sleep wasn’t going to happen. And, I was incredibly thankful that I didn’t have to worry about waking up for work. That — right there — may have been the barrier keeping me from knowing happiness.

It was blissful having the thought cross my mind during the tossing and turning, “I wonder when those library books are due.” Getting up to check; feeling relief that they weren’t due until next week; thinking, “might as well;” grabbing one, and reading it … all the way through.

The book was Deep Storm by Lee Child. It was nothing more than a popcorn novel: entertaining, action driven, chapter endings begging for more. There was absolutely no character affinity. At the moment, I can’t even recall the main character’s name, and I just put the book down a half hour ago. So what?

I couldn’t sleep, so I read an entire book. The only thing I’ve got to try to remember to do today is take out the garbage(s) and unload the dishwasher per Dana’s request. She won’t be home until late tonight. Theoretically I’ll sleep and be up again before she gets home. Theoretically.

Yeah, I think I should start considering calling this strange feeling I’ve been experiencing as “happy.”

6:37am

89th Day: Labor Day

Some years, I’d be spending today gearing up to meet my students tomorrow. Other years, like this one, I’d have already met my students and would be preparing to get down to business of those first introductions. This year, I’m thinking I should give the truck’s interior a good cleaning out tomorrow since that hasn’t been done since well before my parents passed away.

Dana woke me up today abruptly out of a nice slumber to ask me about some gas coupon. Instead of going back to sleep, I dragged myself into the shower and ftuzed around with my router and modem setting in order to get some stuff working as it should. Next I updated my to do lists. Then I did some glass oriented stuff in the basement.

First I mixed up a batch of kiln wash, then I duct taped together a bunch of cardboard to serve as a spray booth. After setting up some new dam molds to kiln wash, I decided to dump the kiln wash all over myself. Not purposely, of course. I was swishing it around in the glass jar I mixed it up in, and the jar broke covering me in the stuff. No biggie.

After spraying a couple of coats of salvaged wash onto the new molds, I went into the storage room to dig out some banjo picks and a tuner since I recently accidently hit “buy with one-click” instead of “add to wish list” on a teach-yourself-the-banjo book that looked like it might mesh well with my learning style.

I stripped down to my skivvies to get out of the kiln washed soaked shorts I had on, tuned up the banjo, and spent time with the first string. Yup. I like the book, and feel pretty good about my first “lesson.”

Now I’m waiting for Dana to get home from volleyball practice so we can eat some lunch and review some legal documents we need to review. I hope she gets home soon, or I might start muching on something nearby. I’ve got some pillows, a few pair of pliers, Carmex, toes… oh… hurry home Dana. Hurry home.

12:02pm