As the weather cools and the height of the pandemic season looms again, I know that I need to get back out into the community and be less of a hermit. Being isolated does not do well for me and it results in decline of the work that I have done in recent years.
It is not like it is dangerous to get out into the real world for me. I have been boosted for the season along with the annual flu shot and am truly thankful for the opportunity to be able to do so and not be sick from it or be prone to illness. Since being in the new environment, I have been the king of all excuses for not wanting to leave my home, even though there are vast opportunities for social networking and things to do.
I often relate trips out of my home with food and nourishing myself. Oftentimes this is not the best way of taking care of myself and can have a negative connotation. However, as small as something as going to a food or other similar establishment in a small town such as mine, just leaving the isolating 4-room home of mine and doing something like that is very valuable to me.
It’s more than food to me, although it is a primary attraction and can make me feel satisfied to be out and about. It is the nucleus of why I head out many times and it makes me happy to be out among the populace even if it is making minimal interaction with others in order to seem somewhat happy. It can also be walking down the streets of my small city listening to music in my headphones and jamming to the sights around me.
It is the memories that I have from the first experience that are not there anymore partly because of the pandemic like my first home (as it was closer to everything), the AMTRAK trains coming in daily, a bakery that is no more there and a independent grocer that I shopped at my entire life that downsized and is way past its prime.
It’s also about enjoying the other small things in town like the public art displays. I was a little distraught when one I watched being created before the pandemic was demolished this year because of poor planning by those that made it come to fruition. It’s helping in any way that I can by giving to the Little Free Libraries or Community Pantries in town. Its about being in the moment, being kind to others and being happy with yourself in unison with the world around you.
It’s about the continued renewal of my town, the increasing tear and build, the more places that are developed because of the tourist trade and the resources that served as an economic driver to bring them here and as such there’s new businesses that bring residents and visitors alike to the city. All while getting me out of the house.
Last week, as I have for all but one of the past four years, I have participated in a community Chili Walk, visiting several businesses, churches, and other venues sampling chili (and occasionally their opposing springtime soup walk) and seeing my downtown thrive.
Its about learning about the community that I was raised in, went all but one of my 13 years of public school and graduated from when I thought that would never happen because of my history with the school system. I had to prove them wrong and still do today by living in the community, out among the town and proving all those doubters who remember me as a spoiled little brat become the savvy, independent person that I am.
I connect with old friends, classmates and peers, some of them that were not nice to me in school. They see my life evolve and I see theirs do the same. They see me differently than that young teenage kid that was known by those in authority as the “problem kid”. I’ve also had online connections to others, including those I have met over the years at my weight loss group, my first residence, work, family friends and more. They see me be the person that I am thriving in the community. I was once a spoiled little brat and now a mature man that can conduct himself well.
I prove them wrong by beating the odds and dealing with the hand that I have been dealt and overcoming the challenges and rising above them. Isolating myself in this small apartment is something that is unhealthy and has taught me that there is life outside the four walls and that I am a smart and intelligent man and can not beat myself up for how bad I perceive my life to be.