mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Long December, err, November..

(with apologies to the Counting Crows)

I can't say that I've been particularly happy with my life in general. I suppose I should be - I've got a decent job, a house, a truck that is visible from space, a good relationship with my family, and an obese cat who at least occasionally prefers my lap to the floor. But I also have a certain emptiness, a feeling of being unfulfilled. Most of that is because I seem to be chronically alone - whatever it is that normal people have in them that lets them meet other people, date, have relationships, marry, raise families - seems to be lacking in me. I don't know if it's looks, attitude, personality, natural selection working to keep my genes out of the gene pool, but it seems that I'm doomed to being alone, to spending my evenings at home wearing sweatpants and balancing a laptop and the aforementioned obese cat.

It's not that I ever forget that I'm alone in a world of couples and families - I'm reminded of it every time I hear my coworkers talk about what they did this weekend, or ever time I'm at the gym or Target or driving around and see happy couples doing things together that I do alone. But this time of year, as the leaves fall and the weather gets colder, always makes me feel worse.

I suspect part of it is that I've got more free time to think, and nothing good ever comes from thinking about the things in your life that you don't like. During the summer, I tend to be a little more occupied - I sell at hamfests, swap meets for computer and ham radio geeks, and most of them fall between Memorial Day and Halloween. I shop yard sales and flea markets, which abound in the summer and are all but nonexistent during cold Baltimore winters. I ran a couple road races this year - another spring/summer/fall activity.

But there's more to it than just more free time - I think the cold, the dark, just makes things worse. There is something about walking out of the gym at 8pm on a cold, dark windy night that just makes me feel sad and alone in a way that walking out at the same time to the warmth of a setting sun doesn't, something about driving home waiting for the heat to come on that seems to bring out the melancholy, while making the same trip with the windows down seems pleasant.

The holidays don't help either - I love my family, but giving up my privacy and routine for several days to be trapped in a modest 70's rancher with them is an adjustment, and seeing them get older and have health issues doesn't help. I find myself feeling guilty I moved away, but not guilty enough to actually leave behind the life I've built 4 hours away - it may not be a great life, but it's become familiar.

And adding to things this year, I've got a project at work that is far more complex and difficult than I had anticipated - and that needs to get done faster than I had expected.

Obviously, the solution would be to figure out why the average single woman would rather sit at home staring at the wall than let me buy her dinner, but given that I've spent the last 15 or so years pondering that with no luck, I probably shouldn't count on a Eureka moment anytime soon. The other thing I can do is keep busy. For normal people with social skills, that would probably mean going out and doing things with other people, but I'm not quite sure what those things are - I have no sport skills, can't dance, and I tried going to grad school for a second master's degree but quit - all I was doing was trading being miserable and bored for being miserable with several hundred pages of reading about things I didn't care about.

I guess i could spend more time at the gym, or go back to the late-night treadmill sprints I'd added to my workouts, but given that the next race is about 6 months away, that's a hard sell. If losing 100 pounds hasn't made my life significantly better outside of clothes shopping and climbing stairs, it's hard to believe that dropping another 10 will.

I've also been trying to get a handle on the messiness of Casa De Mad, my 1200 square feet of townhouse, constructed of the finest pressboard. One of the side effects of running a moderately successful eBay/flea market business is that I have a ton of crap, combined with the usual lack of cleaning that you would expect from a bachelor who doesn't have people over. I've made a very small amount of headway, and and while I hope to make quite a bit more, it's hard to be motivated when you know it's really all in vain, that almost nobody will care that I've got a couple printers sitting in my hallway, because almost nobody will see my house.

So it looks like the way I will deal with the blahs of November is pretty much to wait until April.


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