- What have you done lately for improving or maintaining your mental health? What more would you like to do?
I’ve done a lot toward degrading my mental health for absolute sure, with crazy sleep habits and my bad knee keeping me from taking the long walks that mostly kept my sanity a year ago when we first locked down. These last few weeks, and especially this past seven days, I’ve taken myself to Makiki District Park for walks around the park just before sundown, through dusk, into the early evening. It’s 75 to 90 minutes of non-strenuous movement, and I walk pretty slowly because I’m reading my Kindle nearly the entire time, but it’s been good for me. I’ve gone two or three times a week. I feel myself integrating slowly back into society. I love the fresh air and sun on my face. And the book time is great, of course. I’ve been hitting the beach once a week but I’ve got to up that for swims at least twice a week. Before the lockdown I was going three or four times a week, swimming nearly an hour in the mornings before work. I need this back!
- When did you last eat something specifically because it was good for you?
Because my potassium levels were low-normal the last time I had bloodwork, when they’ve never been a problem before, my doctor recommended some additions to my diet, so I’m downing about seven dried apricots and three clementines every day. Most days. Some days I just don’t want them or I forget, but most days I do it right after I take my daily meds. I don’t dislike the apricots but I don’t particularly like them either, so they are just for the potassium and fiber.
- These days, what are you learning about, and what would you like to learn about next?
Besides the usual assortment of recipes, I’m reading a lot about the blockchain these days. I’ve got most of it, but there are some important holes I can’t seem to fill. Like, I could explain cryptocurrency to just about anyone so they’d get the gist of it, but I’d have to admit where a couple of holes are. And how NFTs work in the blockchain is still puzzling to me because the blockchain is supposed to be decentralized and I can’t seem to find an answer to where, in a commercial NFT venture such as NBA Top Shot, the ledger exists and how it’s kept. Argh. I’ve also spent time learning about car stereos because I want to work on a few DIY improvements to mine, so that’s probably my next focused effort. My car stereo already sounds good, but I want it to sound gooooooooooooood so the ladies at the bus stops can sing along with my ABBA playlist as I cruise slowly past. Sorry ladies: I’ve got somewhere to be, but I’ll be back to pick you up later!
- What’s positive about your physical appearance lately?
This is a sore spot with me so why did I write this question? Maybe because I need it. I’ve put on a lot of weight this past year and it doesn’t bother me too much except I don’t like what I see and I know it’s unhealthy. I’m having hair issues, too, which stresses me out big-time. My hair, even on its best days, looks ridiculous (I’ve not cut it since 2002), like the midlife crisis everyone knows it is, but I’ve worn it this way because it pleases me. My hair is a kind of outsider identification that makes me feel good, and the one place where people compliment me on it is at metal shows — another outsider affirmation with deep meaning for me. Sooooooooo ugh. I’m not feeling good about my appearance these days. However, among my weird purchases this lockdown year has been a fairly pricey beard trimmer, to replace the small arsenal of cheaper (shorter-lived) devices I get from Ross (the discount clothing store, not my math-teacher friend) every so often, and it’s been a good buy. When I bother to clean myself up, which is usually Saturday or Sunday night, I feel good about the way it looks, and it takes a lot less time and effort with the new gear. I’m also considering a major change to my professional wardrobe which I shan’t detail yet in case I don’t do it, but I’m ready to shift gears with my look, as I did several years ago when I first left the classroom. There will still be plenty of black and dark solids, but I want to put it together differently. Send a different message in the office.
- What will you do this weekend to bring joy into your life and a smile to someone else?
It begins with taking a vacation day today, Friday, to catch up on reading and a few nagging tasks I don’t want to worry about Saturday and Sunday. I’m picking up food for me and my parents for dinner with the folks on Mothers Day, and in case I see my sister, I’m picking up something really nice for a late birthday present. We don’t give each other birthday presents, but I want her to know this year I’ve been thinking of her. If I don’t see her I’ll bring it over to her house, which is something of a trek. And of course: beach time.