Hi guys! Before we begin, it’s time for an update. The first thing is that for the past while I’ve been experimenting with a new name…one that’s more gender neutral. We’re testing out the name Alex. It’s not that I want to be a guy but I’m a new person and I like that it could be unisex. I don’t want to be trapped by a name that’s exclusively female. Is this a passing fancy? Maybe, we’ll see. But I’m grateful because at work they’re really trying to call me Alex and to date, I really like it.
I’ve also hit a high and I’ve been riding the wave quite nicely. It was good timing actually because I’ve been particularly busy and there’s nothing like bipolar hypomania to make you uber productive. (For me anyway.) It’s also been a more controlled high because of my Rexulti which is relatively new and working well.
My Dad’s Birthday
I was preparing and finalizing my Dad’s birthday gifts, cards and celebration (just the 3 of us but lots of decor!) while also working on Mother’s Day which is rapidly approaching. I would tell you what I’m doing for my Mom because I’m quite excited but she’s my biggest blog reader/supporter so it’ll have to be a surprise! My Dad was very happy with his wood phone stand that I cut, sanded, glued and carved with a Dremel. Here’s a photo, I’m proud of the result!
I also surprised him with a gift certificate for skydiving so we’re going again this summer…I’m honestly not sure who’s more excited between the two of us!
On Saturday Mia and I did the assessment for becoming a personal and visiting therapy dog/handler. Mia has a problem not barking at other dogs but to my tremendous relief she did pretty well with that aspect of the evaluation. They didn’t give us any feedback at the time so now we’re anxiously waiting for results by email. It shouldn’t be too much longer…they said a few days and now we’re Thursday. Please keep your fingers crossed for us!
A Medical Adventure
My Mom and I also went to a clinic yesterday and the day before for check ups and then blood tests and x-rays; We both have some issues and are waiting for test results.
It turns out I fractured my finger at work which explains the pain and stiffness I’d been having for a couple of days. We were going to the clinic yesterday for our blood tests when driving made my finger swell up. My Mom was already going after that for an x-ray so…hey, 2 for 1 on Tuesdays!
While waited for a blood test (not in the same clinic as the x-ray), I tried to remove my ring, only making my finger more swollen and purply. The entire staff was really kind and even let me use their Italian Salad dressing in the employee room to get my ring off. No such luck but it was very sweet and we had some good laughs. They recommended I cross the street to the garage to have my ring cut off, so I did. I walked into the garage and explained my story. I think each of our days was a little different after that adventure. Everyone wanted to help – two mechanics and a client waiting for their car.
What’s really sad is that it’s my engagement ring that had to be cut. Aaron and I just decided to have an open relationship to see what makes us happiest. Life is strange, the symbolism isn’t lost on me and I don’t like it. (Or I’m reading too much into it.)
An Era of Hurry
This is not me casting blame because I’m learning how much of a slippery slope that can be. I’m reflecting on the state of the world which is a really funny and pretentious statement coming out of the keyboard of a faceless 23 year old. But we all start somewhere, right? I love philosophy and psychology and you know this. I have also always loved reading and learning. Even through sickness, my inquisitiveness has never been fully extinguished. (I thank the Universe for that!) It can be directed harmfully but there’s a thirst for knowledge nevertheless.
Growing Up in an Era of Hurry
I think we’ve been living in an era of hurry. Whether or not though, I believe the hurry-sickness aspect of my formative environment contributed to a personal un-wellness. I don’t think I’m alone. This hurry isn’t linked to my parents; in fact before I went to school I barely spent any time with kids my own age and my life pre- immersion into society was arguably best. Even as I was in school I had 2 good friends and otherwise still spent far more time with my parents. (Not complaining!) I was also an only child, so time outside school was spent with my parents, my imagination and friends on occasional playdates. Wow – that’s a word I haven’t thought of for a long time. My point is that external influence was limited. This all changed at the end of Elementary School when, thanks to my parents and probably a lot of begging on my part, I got the iPod Touch for my birthday. The cool kids had one and I desperately wanted to be accepted by them but scarcely was. My child brain associated a possession with inclusion…I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. I think it might’ve worked for a bit…keeping sort of ‘up to date with tech’ was a big thing to some and so it became a big thing to me.
This has all been to set the stage for technology becoming an increasingly larger aspect of my life. I’m sure we all felt some kind of similar pressure. Perhaps it was the fact that technology was now essential to a large portion of our schoolwork. The reasoning is evident; a shrinking world progressing towards paperless. Technology really does save us time, energy and money which can be used for other things. I’m sure it was and continued simplifying teacher’s lives, to remain within our academic context. It was reinforced, verbally and circumstantially, that technological know-how was essential to growing up. From continuing to University education to entering the job market immediately after high school, tech is somehow related even if it’s on a purely logistic or social level. The degree to which technology is made use of by the individual is something that makes us unique. I also think it’s something that shapes us.
A Childhood of Trees and Imagination
It certainly shaped me, anyway. I grew up playing outside. I hadn’t been inundated with the same imagery many other kids had. But I got caught up to speed. Not in time to relate much and spare humiliation though. Do I seem bitter? It’s difficult to write this without sounding bitter. That’s not my intention though. I’m presenting myself as a case study of sorts, to demonstrate my point. The bitterness is towards my paradoxical feelings over the situation. I regret the uncomfortable feelings brought as a consequence of lack of exposure to kids my age. Simultaneously I wouldn’t want it to have gone differently. I love and loved my home-life childhood. I also don’t wish I had been glued to kid’s channels or playing video/computer games with friends all day.
A Perfect Storm
Now you see a major factor in the set up of my illness; entering high school, going through puberty, losing people who turned out to be fake friends and the newfound freedom of technology. I think it’s a piece of independence now-a-day, and I went full steam ahead. I quickly became enraptured by the capabilities. School of course also involved technology. I was motivated to become good at it.
It’s funny because I believe playing games on an iPod is not as harmful as the consequences of extreme technological productivity. We need to be unreachable sometimes. The lines between work, school and recreation have never been blurrier and it only seems to be moving further in that direction. As we discover more, we’re pushed further and feel compelled to apply new knowledge.
This however is where practical/scientific meets moral. Should we do things because we can? I’m not saying we should give up our tech. I’m saying we should dial back the speed of tech advancement. We might be moving beyond necessity and we will end up with even more screen time than already.
Again, bear in mind that this isn’t a direct criticism of technology; It can work wonders and I’m not diminishing that. However I think it has become a new threat we must guard against. Half our waking lives can occur through a screen. It’s our intermediary. If it was left at communication and to work and ‘play’ separately, (to put it into simple categories) it would be healthier. Instead we are to a degree ‘on call’ almost whenever and wherever. Teachers answer on weekends, we get grades back at 7:30 p.m., occasional work emails became texts and group chats, etc. Even when we’re ‘off’, we’re not.
Possibilities are great, but a lot of possibilities can be confusing. The world has never been more accessible, and yet it seems so much harder to pursue ONE thing. I want to do it ALL, and tech makes me feel like I can. I cram my life full of more and more STUFF of all kinds. This doesn’t necessarily mean bad things, just too many to allocate the necessary time and attention. The result, for me anyway? A contribution to my scattered, over- yet under-stimulated attention span. What I do makes me stressed and it isn’t even enough action to satisfy my inner hamster.
I think is a humongous topic, so here are some of my views in point form:
- Answers to questions are a few keys or a voice command away. This discourages us from seeking a personal answer first. Don’t get me started on false information.
- Tech has become a shield for people to communicate from behind in safety. We can lose interpersonal skills including verbal communication, picking up cues from body language, etc.
- Reachability allows for less rest and mental recuperation. We can and do answer messages that would otherwise wait until a weekday. When we don’t get real mental rest this puts a strain our health because there’s no separation; stress is more constant which is a large contributor to many physical illnesses.
- Moments are interrupted, memories lived through camera lenses and in person interactions have, by necessity of COVID, been largely reduced to video calling. Even prior to COVID, interactions were losing personal flavour.
- The speed of technology can be wonderful but I think it’s had an impact on the rythme of our brains. Information moves so quickly that we either can’t process all of it and/or we become largely desensitized due to sheer volume. This images a huge variety of subjects including the way we interpret the world around us.
I’ll end things here though there’s just so much to expand upon! I’m pretty sure this topic will come back around. Talk to you soon, have a great week!