Every time I make plans further out than a few weeks it gives me pause. Especially during a year like 2020. It just, well, reminds me of lying in the hospital knee-jerking to my defense mechanism of making lists and reciting my work schedule. One of my nurses told me that I needed to stop and focus on getting through the heart attack first. “You are thinking way too far out right now” were her words as I recall. I guess that’s why I have tried to loosen up as much as I have. Recovering Type A personality disorder as I like to joke about it with friends. But yeah, it’s a topic I see a lot of other writers taking up. Two articles caught my eye earlier this morning on top of Sugarloaf Mountain. This is my weekly Sunday morning 2-mile training hike. Folks are talking about this mass loss of motivation. A hit to our collective self-respect as it were. What it makes me wonder about, however, is the force of connection to other human beings and how it actually improves us to share and to be a part of other people’s lives. Which is what the other article touches on, the loss of friendships.
- “How to Deal With a Friendship ‘Quiet Season’ You might emerge from 2020 with fewer friendships, and that’s OK.”
- “Quarantine Has Forced Me to Confront How Little I Care About Myself; My sustained lack of motivation has forced me to question what that motivation was made of in the first place”
Obviously we are dealing with the opposite of connection this year. First hand? My motivation just tanked as depression took hold and only with great effort was I able to crest the wave… finally. It feels like a temporary win though as the root cause was not solved. I miss people. I feel lonely. Just as the second article talks, and paints a rosier picture, around losing friends. That’s something I, of course, have experienced, but it’s never without grief for me.
I have to admit, Social Media, in all it’s forms, is not for me. I decided long ago that those poison bubbles are not connection either. In fact, the deafening noise of those echo chambers got so loud for me, particularly on the horrible FaceBook platforms, that I decided to jettison and hard delete all my accounts well before the Pandemic of 2020. I, and the authors above, are talking about true human physical and emotional connection with other living breathing human beings. We may not always agree, we may criticize, there might be shoulders to lean on and arms to fall into as they wrap around us and squeeze us tight, but that’s the energy that is wholly absent this year. And part of the underlying reason for this post.
But yeah, solo as I was this weekend as always, this post is about a feature of Great Seal State Park that I took the time to explore last night from camp, the Spring Run Fitness Trail. Given that my health, both mental and physical, along with millions of other folks in the Country and around the world, has suffered. I dunno, I used comfort foods, and wine, to kind of ease the experience of such a dramatic lifestyle downgrade in the aspect of living, working out, working, and (in part early on) “outdoorsing” from home this year. But yeah, that period of time aside. I didn’t gain any weight so there’s at least that. Still, I have no idea what my arteries look like right now. So it came down to some conversations, and self-coaching sessions over the past month and a half now. The only way back up is to get off my ass, move, eat better, get out of the house. The out of the house part has been something that has been limited to my Sat/Sun overnights at Great Seal where I can safely distance in a non-overcrowded campground of just 15 sites. Also, the trails are equally spaced out that keeping your distance is not as difficult in some metro, State & National parks in the region.
So the fitness trail, it was cool. I’ve been running up to 30 minutes solid for a few weeks now and doing some light but steady weight lifting again. This trail however is about 3 miles, perfect for a trail jog interspersed with these exercise stations. Chin bars, push-up bars, monkey bars, parallel bars, leg up boxes, plyometric planks for explosive jumping, and more. It’s something I plan to build into my workout routine weekly in the coming weeks and months though. I miss the interaction of going to the gym. But working out from home, while I was lucky to have leftover equipment and the ability to score a Schwinn spinning bike, well, it’s in my dining room. Kind of great but also kind of uninspiring.
There’s a local Scioto Audubon Metro Park that I can bike, run or walk to fortunately which has some of this same outdoor gym equipment. Plus a climbing wall should I ever get a wild hair on. However, the first thing I am thinking about doing it putting together a pull-up routine. All I need is a Rogue pull-up assist strap to help me strengthen my back and arms again.
Beyond diet and exercise, I am working on getting my meditation schedule back on track now. Got my cushion back out, right smack in front of my balcony doors, after rearranging my room to be a little more simple and a little more open. I’m starting with morning sessions of 10 minutes per day. When I did that in the past, over time, I really felt a subtle but noticeable shift in my mood and energy levels. Given that we are headed into Winter after the wonderfully warm but cool section of fall, I’m gonna need as much of that as I can manage, plus some solid routines to keep me from losing a wheel, or two, again.
Lastly, and this is the long-range planning here that I mentioned earlier. After talking this over with Eddie, I think I am going to buy my own truck next year. We have been a one-car family for many years now. We just never needed an extra as he was either in school, teaching at OSU, or I was able to use public transit to get to work, or for all of the years we’ve been back in Columbus, I could just walk to work. These days, my walk to work has been from my bedroom to my kitchen. But what this will allow me to do is to get out to hike/camp at any given time. My office plans to remain remote for the foreseeable future so, if I plan right get a set of larger solar panels, a decent capacity battery, an internet hotspot if I need more than my phone plan provides (which is pretty substantial), and maybe a router for other devices, I’d be kind of set for up to a week of remote living. Possibly more.
I’m not daunted by inclement weather, so it’s something that I could put to use year around here in Ohio and the surrounding area. Possibly branch out to places like North Carolina, Utah, and Colorado. Again, either as vacations or working remote, pending internet access, and whatnot. Stocking up on a week worth of food and water would be simple enough making buying gas the only real place where I’d have to be careful about bi-directional exposure COVID-wise. Another side benefit would be the what-if scenario that one of us might have been exposed to. I would have a place, any place, to go out for two weeks and hunker down through that process. Today? We don’t have that option.