Nah, I’m not gonna make you look it up. Ennui – a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. It’s a far greater threat than simple procrastination. Let me walk you through my never-ending battle with ennui.
But first, a word from our sponsors…
Before I get started, know that this blog, the first in about a month, could exceed the limits of most people’s reading tolerance. As I begin, I really don’t know how long it will be.
It’s not my intention for this to be a never-ending post, so I’ll just keep typing until I’m done and, if necessary, split it into two posts to save your sanity and not make you late for your next meal. Now, read on…
The beginning of the middle
When I first was fired/laid off, it was not my intention to be retired. In fact, I spent the next year feverishly searching for employment, only to be beaten back by ageism and salryism (yes, that’s not a word, let’s just move on).
After some reckless decisions on the stock market actually paid off, I eventually got comfortable with the idea of being retired, but I didn’t just laze around.
Over the next several years, I spent a lot of time playing sports and writing books. That capped out with the release of the final book in my Jeremy Shuttle Adventures trilogy.
The next year, I went on my big GNABRT, a two and a half month journey to watch a baseball at every stadium in the major leagues (including Canada).
And, right after that, began my now never-ending battle with ennui.
The plan to battle my never-ending battle with ennui
Whether it was burnout or just plain laziness, it’s time to put a stop to this multi-year slide into banality. That means I need a plan. Here it is, in all its complexity:
Get off my butt and start doing things again.
Top notch plan, eh? Let’s see what ennui does when I take on these challenges…
The lady or the tiger
Or in this case, the lady or the fruit. Only two things on this big, blue marble can make me eat healthy and exercise regularly: a girlfriend or grapefruit.
Yes, those might not seem the most congruent items on the planet, but, then, I’m not exactly your average bear.
Since the former hasn’t existed in (not-coincidentally) six years, it’s the latter that will now drive me. Or, more pointedly, the loss of the latter.
See, my recent blood tests said my triglycerides were too high. My (new) doctor gave me my first-ever “regular” prescription – atorvastatin. You might know it by it’s other name…Lipitor.
Well, cost isn’t such a big deal ($9 a month from Walmart), but the cost in quality of life is catastrophic…no more grapefruits.
You may not see this as a tremendous problem. There are dozens of fruits to eat. Big deal, you miss one.
Forgive them, O citrus gods, for they have taste buds, but they do not savor.
Short version: Born in Florida. Grew up with grapefruit tree in backyard. Eat grapefruit, drink grapefruit juice almost daily. My favorite fruit for my entire life.
THAT grapefruit is what I’ve been told I must relinquish…forever.
I say thee nay.
It is my belief that regular exercise and dietary restraint can bring my triglycerides down to a serviceable enough level to return to my beloved state’s beloved fruit. Game on!
Take a walk on the wide side
And, I suppose, fight off the ennui that has constrained my exercising and the elimination of my little bit of roundness. Returning to regular exercising will also mean bringing back the daily walks
I’ve been sputtering somewhat on those walks, so vital to a variety of physical health improvements. Beyond the waistline expansion, there is stamina, muscle and respiratory benefits that all add up…but only if I reach consistent distances and repetitions.
The time switch puts the days in perfect alignment for walking. The sun comes up around 6:30 am, which means I’m just about beginning my big turn on the way back as the sweltering readies itself to descend.
I’m currently stuck at 3 miles, but that’s only because of the irregularity of my walking schedule. Once I get back to seven days a week, I should be up to four miles quickly. I haven’t decided if five miles is worth the time investment yet.
Can’t get it out of my head
The other big benefit to those morning walks is that I’ve come to recognize the increasingly important role they play in my mental health, too.
Those walks, peaceful as they are in the mornings before most people are off to work or school, allow me to find my “center”, if you’ll allow me a moment of “new age crap”.
I can clear my head of noise and clutter (which is not to be confused with being empty-headed). Often times, I do nothing more than admire the sunrise, trees and animals along the way.
Other times, that cleaning out of extraneous thought frees me up for more creative concepts. Concepts that have suffered the most in my never-ending battle with ennui.
My writing has really paid the price during this period of nothingness. Not only the book writing, but even this blog.
It’s not like I don’t have ideas, good gorsh no, I got me plenty. It’s that they’re not coming out of my fingers. The discipline to sit down and type them up has been missing.
That’s over, starting today.
This post signifies the return to daily blog posts (none on the weekends, though, as always). For good or ill, that process begins again. We’ll talk about reasons and constraints in a future blog post.
As for the books, well, that’s beginning right shortly as well.
While I had made a post of some sample prose for a new Jeremy Shuttle Adventures trilogy, it didn’t fire me up the way it should have. I was missing something. I’ll be telling you what that was in a future blog post.
But, before I get into that writing, I think I’m going to finally write up that GNABRT trip into a full-fledged mini-autobiography story. The anticipation of my next big road trip (next year, to coincide with my roundy birthday) has ginned up my enthusiasm.
There’s too much to say about that project, too, so that’s grist for another blog post (see how quickly the days will fill up?).
Yup, this post is too long. You can read the rest of my never-ending battle with ennui tomorrow. If this part hasn’t already put you to sleep, that is.