Normal Life 5/5/21

Updates with Richard Bleil

Today the concept of a “normal life” crossed my beady little brain. What constitutes a “normal life” anyway? Am I starting to fall into a “normal life”, or is any life with me far from normal as I expect it is.

For the past week, for example, I’ve had a lot of things happen. What is abnormal, at least for me, is that I have also been very blue. Normally, when I’m facing depression, I’m quite sedentary. Things tend to not get done, and it’s really not good. For example, it was rather uncommon for me to even do the dishes, sometimes to the point of getting that mold smell. My apartment or house would end up in an incredible mess, and those times when I had a yard, the yard would go untended. But, since moving into this house, I’ve not let the dishes go undone (I make it a point to clean my dishes every night specifically so I don’t fall back into that habit), and while I don’t mow the lawn as often as I should it’s getting done.

This depressive episode means that some things are not getting accomplished, including my exercise routine, my office work routine, my journaling and so forth (although, obviously my blog is still getting done). But I’ve also been incredibly productive. I called for a garbage bin to make cleaning out my basement easier (it was full of packing material and boxes from moving in), and successfully filled it and had it removed again. I had my driveway extended by five feet as a prelude to having my carport installed. I did get a new electronic piano and have both assembled and been using it. This is all very strange for me while I’m depressed, but there it is.

Therapy, which I have written about previously, is strange. Basically, they’re thirty minutes each, one per week on a video conference. I drove my first therapist on this website off (actually for health reasons she had to step away, but she assures me it’s not because of me), so I’m on my second therapist with the site. I met her for the first time today. She seems to be a good fit, I guess, and I did offer a bit about my background and family information. On talking about my dad, I made the comment that, in my opinion, it seemed like after his retirement life just wasn’t what he was expecting. This is conjecture (based on observation) but I think he had difficulty with the concept that there were no accolades, and it felt as if he just was waiting around to die. My therapist and I discussed this, and the difference between surviving and living. My father was a survivor. With so much skill, he basically did nothing. I get the feeling that, maybe, life just lost its flavor for him.

Me? I don’t want to survive. I want to live. Right now, I don’t know what that means, honestly. If I’m not “Professor Bleil Chemistry Teacher”, then who, really, am I? At the moment, I think I’m comfortable not knowing the answer to that question. I’m having a lot of fun grilling (that half buffalo was an excellent decision on my part) and learning how to smoke meat, and I’m enjoying going out to the gun range periodically and killing helpless and defenseless targets. I think, in fact, this week I might bring some ballistic gel for my friend out there to see if she is interested in playing with it. And I’m learning new things. I’m learning how to write music and play piano, and now that my basement is clear I’m going to try my hand at building a workbench. And it’s not like I’m giving up on chemistry, either. I have plans to experiment with a kind of active insulation (insulation that will literally absorb heat when it’s hot and release heat when it’s cold), crystal growth and distillation of essential oils (for my renaissance fair character).

Maybe that’s why I’m depressed, but still functional. I have to admit, when I went through depressive episodes in the past, it was my dedication to work that kept me going and often helped break the streak. It’s just that now, I’m not reporting to a boss, or bound by a schedule. Is it possible that, thanks to my father’s inheritance, this is what retirement is supposed to look like? I’m looking for a job, but I don’t need one to eat. That will give me the freedom to wait for something fun and walk away if it’s not as fun as I thought it would be. Until then, who knows? I’m just not in a hurry anymore, and it feels great. I hope all of my readers get to experience this kind of freedom at some point in your life!

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