It took a few weeks longer than usual to settle over me, but June Gloom has arrived. Buckle up, this is going to go in a bunch of weird directions.
It’s been a peculiar month. It feels like every day there are one or two extremely small things that trigger my anxiety. I feel unsettled all the time and I don’t know how to deal with it right now. I’m not a fighter and I hate conflict. I’m not usually a flighter either. I just freeze, as a negative psychic energy compresses me inside my own mind.
My career is diverging. I have little to no work to do at my office, so I spend my days doing random crap. When an actual tasks shows up, I blast through it as if it were a drop of water in the desert — it’s never enough to sustain, nor fill the time. That’s no way to have a career. I’m also not current in a great mindset to present myself in front of folks who would desire my services, so that’s not helpful either.
I’m starting to feel a little less at home in my home, even though everything is basically the same. It’s possible living where I’m at has naturally run its course, but that’s also crazy talk. I adore my spot and my garden and everything around it. I know I (probably) can’t stay here forever, and that nefariously recurrent career uncertainty absolutely factors into my foggy future outlook, pun intended.
There’s also this bizarre feeling, like the sun is setting on this part of my life. The mornings aren’t as bright as they used to be. Things feel like they’re working toward an ending. I don’t know what to make of it. It’s probably nothing.
Concerning my career and home life: I’ve been thinking about money too much. I feel like everyone around me is so much better off than I am. That’s incorrect, amongst all people, of course; among my peers, I’m not so sure.
It occurred to me yesterday that I haven’t been listening to a lot of music lately. I’m not sure why that’s started to happen. As I drove home (an extra long day on the road for absolutely no apparent reason; thanks Bay Area traffic) I threw on a shuffle playlist and it felt awesome. My troubles faded away.
This morning I can barely listen to any song without feeling a strong sense of nostalgia, longing, embarrassment, regret, or frustration. No, my life wasn’t perfect in 2006, so why does this song make me feel like it was? Can I ever listen to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool without spiraling into depression because of an overwhelming yen (again, pun intended) for a time and place that I can’t go back to?
And then there’s this other notion that keeps coming back over and over, triggered today in part by this musical foray, where I again don’t have the same excitement for the future that I once had. I hear a song from 2013, a wild year full of the highest highs and unexpected lows, and I wonder where my optimism of old has gone.
I remember when I was starting out in California back at the end of 2011. I don’t know if I’d just been so repressed before I went out on my own or not, but, just looking back on here, it seems as though I treated every experience as novel and interesting, even if they’re not exactly so. Nowadays, all of that is so banal. I don’t write a thousand words about a hockey game or a concert anymore. I haven’t decided if this is a bad thing or not.
I feel so many things are trending in the wrong direction. I cannot even begin to voice my thoughts on politics without fighting an uncontrollable rage. A few days ago, I conducted a Twitter-specific social media purge — while it’s important to stay informed on issues, and there are few sources as immediate and varied as Twitter, I just cannot deal with the incessant flood of bad news that has been pouring into my brain since 2016. Some places I looked to for news have found themselves in the rubbish because they’re redundant or misery reinforcing.
I cannot listen to him.
Speaking of social media, I deactivated my Facebook profile in January. It had been a long time coming, and it was at time that I felt I needed to make a statement to the company that I did not approve of its conduct. Life without Facebook is fine. In fact, I’ve just gone ahead and purged a few accounts on other platforms that, for whatever reason, consistently made me feel less than.
The only downside this has had so far is that social encounters have been harder to come by without a centralized network of people and events. I haven’t even seen most of my closest friends in the city since the year began, and that lack of everyday social contact is weighing heavier. I’m not good at maintaining relationships in absentia (read: texting, calling, emailing etc.) so it’s no surprise that curtailing social media usage has caused them to suffer.
That’s not to say I’ve been alone though. I’ve been fortunate to see my lovely girlfriend every weekend for months. No, not that one. That’s another anxiety-inducing thought that will have to fade away in time. It’s not gone yet, and that’s understandable given the length and sheer global scope of the relationship, but it’s easy to push away when I’m feeling rational. i.e., not at this moment.
Ironically, I’ve done more with more people on the weekends than at literally any point since I’ve moved to California, and it’s fantastic. My girlfriend and I have been exploring the city, finding great restaurants, going to comedy shows, hanging out playing games with friends, and whatnot every weekend. Enter the anxiety that comes with the thought of losing that. Sure, there aren’t any immediate threats to any of this, but hey, we’re not feeling rational right now, are we.
Perhaps this is a painful part of a life transition. With increased social life on weekends comes a lack of attention to my numerous solitary habits. The old piano bug has largely left my mind. I’ve barely touched my guitars in years. The extremely time consuming, yet rewarding hobby of creating and recording piano arrangements of whatever song I feel would sound cool gathers dust as my backlog of pieces lengthens. Forget composing new music; I haven’t felt that rush since 2009. I’m creatively blocked and I don’t have time to spend clearing it.
Except I do. Every weeknight. I come home from work at a reasonable hour and play videos games almost until bed time. That’s kind of a waste of time, isn’t it? This could be a real problem, actually.
But that’s not even half of it. There’s all this other stuff. I’ve got a shelf full of books I haven’t read yet. But they take a back seat to the TV shows I have queued up that I haven’t seen yet. But they take a back seat to the constant influx of content that’s aggregated for me every day: news articles, tweets, YouTube videos, podcasts (especially the topical ones). Update after update after update after update.
There’s a simple solution to the above: another media purge. I don’t need this much stuff in my life. My small environs have constrained my ability to accumulate physical things, but The Cloud has no such bounds. I need to take a look at what I’m consuming and decide what I can live without. I’ve already gone ahead and deleted a handful of TV shows that I don’t feel I’ll miss out on. I regularly unsubscribe from podcasts and YouTube channels that don’t mean enough to me. I’ve unfollowed folks on Twitter, even ones whose work I adore and have been following for years, because their tweets don’t receive anything more than a passing glance.
I think I need to be bored.
There’s so much stimulus, so much noise that it’s impossible to even take a moment unless I actively work to suppress it. And once the noise is gone, and I find myself sitting around waiting for another gorram update from somewhere, that’s the time to strike back into one of those things that’s been slipping away.
I feel better already.
This has been the most stream-of-consciousness, introspective writing I’ve done in awhile. I think I’m just going to leave it up here as is, even though I started with summer depression and concluded with unsubscribing from excessive content. I could probably write a post for everything I mentioned on its own, but right now I think I just needed to write anything at all. Thanks for reading, if you ventured all the way down here. I’ve got work to do.