Taking stock

Once every so often one needs to quiet oneself. Tuck yourself in a solitude spot and reflect on where and who one is in one’s life.

This is something I sometimes do. Every few years, I take stock of my life. I am someone who always strive to improve my life. I also someone who plans for the future. I have dreams and goals I still want to achieve. Yes, even at my age, I have dreams. I know life can throw curve ball, so I usually have different plans, or pathways if you like, to reach my desired goal: Plan A, plan B, et cetera.

solitude

For the most part, I like who I am as a person. I am a nice guy. I try to treat others well and I would never intentionally hurt someone. I am not perfect, but I try to be a good man. I do strive to improve myself. I read a lot. I try to learn from my mistakes and I try to adhere to the motto “Be nice to others.”

I also wish to be a professional writer. To this end, I have been writing for a dozen years, or so. I have taken a grammar refresher course and other creative writing courses. I maintain this blog where I attempt to write often and I attempt to keep the topics as interesting as I am able; however, I write what I write. To be honest here, I write for me and I hope it reflects with my readers most of the time. I figured that if I worried about the subjects my readers would like, well, I would never write. There is no disrespect meant here dear reader, but it is the truth of the matter. This thing called, “Writing,” while enjoyable is a tricky craft. I don’t wish to get writer’s block, or to form some kind of phobia.

I hope I inspire you the reader. I tend to write about life. Although we all have different lives, we are all human beings travelling on our journey. We share some of the same dreams and desires, we share some of the same fears and hopes. None of us is perfect, but we can always strive to improve. I hope I have inspired you to strive to be the best one can be.
—Robert Confiant 19 November 2018

Little changes and lifetime habits

I was out with my partner last night to catch the play Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. We walked, mainly uphill, from the SkyTrain station to the theatre (Something that nearly did me in – energy wise). This morning, I decided to do something about it.

Beautiful The Carole King Musical - June 2015 Playbill with Rainbow Pride Logo

For me, diets and dieting do not work. They never have. I lose weight for awhile and then slowly gain most, if not all, the weight back. I figured there has to be another way. I have decided to try a new way. It will be slower, but I think it could be more lasting. I haven’t gain weight, but I haven’t lost any either and this is imperative at this point in my life.

health-and-fitness

I am going to make a lifestyle change. I will start off small with little changes. Dependent on what study one reads, a habit can take anywhere from 66 days to 2541 days to become established. How much better would it be if one just made it a lifestyle change?

I have cut back on my drinking. As anyone who knows me knows, I love my beer. To be honest, I would have one or two a day after work and more if the day was stressful, and I would drink minimum a six pack on the weekends. All that changed this week. I haven’t had any. Frankly, it been a long time coming. Consciously or sub-consciously, I realized that my health was struggling; not so much the weight thing, but the walking part. I am out of shape. Last night, we the “Eureka” moment – the final nail in the coffin that I could no longer deny.

A few weeks ago, I switched to light beer and I cut back. I just decided one day that if I wanted to drink beer, then that is what I had to do. In-fact, I haven’t had one all week this week, so that is something. I don’t miss it.

The next phase will be more difficult, but I will need to do it. Incorporate more greens in my diet. I don’t mind fruit and some vegetables, but I really do not care for salads. My partner, unfortunately for me, feels the same about salads as I do. Sure, I eat them if I eat out at a restaurant sometimes, but if I buy the stuff and try to eat it at home, then most of it goes into the waste can. Salads are not the only difficult part. I need to get back into moving more. I am finding this difficult. My knees and hips are shot. I don’t notice it as much in the summer months, but in these fall and winter months. I am feeling more pain with my arthritis at this time of year. I have decided that since I cannot yet walk uphill without great difficulty. I can walk downhill okay. I may not start at a fast pace and I may not do so every day at first, but I can start.

Every morning, pretty much, I end up waiting 5 to 10 minutes for a shuttle bus to take me to the nearest SkyTrain station. This is the time that I could walk to the station. It may take me longer at first, but eventually I would be able to walk it that amount of time, so I will. I am promising myself that I will do so at least twice a week and then build up from there once it gets easier. It is not much, but it is definitely a start. At least, it is better than no walking.

Little changes.

—Robert Confiant 17 November 2018


1.      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habit, Habit.

It is going to be one of those winters

I haven’t done much of what I should be doing I should be writing. I claim to be a writer, but I haven’t done much writing lately. I been doing a lot of YouTube and some reading (there is that at least – reading), so it hasn’t been a total waste of time.

VanRain

I am not too sure why I am in this rut, but I definitely in a lethargic mood. I don’t seem to want to do too much other than surf the net. Pathetic really when one thinks about the amount of time being unproductive. I can’t blame the work load either since before today I have been off for four days. Perhaps it’s because I still have a bit of congestion and I feel not a 100%. It still feels like an excuse though. I know I will go home and other than cook, I won’t do much else. Actually if truth be told, I just want to sleep. I think it’s the time change.

Last evening, time felt off by an hour off. I kept thinking that the clock was wrong. Every hour on the hour felt later than the clock was showing. I dislike that it gets darker earlier. Is not quite “Dark when you go to work, and dark when you go home from work,” but it is close.

I find the late fall and winter months very trying. We’ve been generally lucky with the weather thus far, but I know the rain season is near. I guess it could be worst. The weather and time change shouldn’t bother me, but I think this year might be the exception – these get to me every five years, or so – this year is that year.

I will get through it. I always manage. I just won’t be my “happy” self. I may be more of an isolationist and a little bluer. It happens. I have the SAD light at work. I think I will start using it; that will help me.

Here I am plodding onward.
—Robert Confiant 14 November 2018

I’ve been quiet

Lounge

I’ve been quiet for want of a better word… On reflection though, perhaps the word ‘quiet’ sums things up rightly.

I did nothing this past weekend. I hadn’t felt like it. I just wanted to cocoon. Don’t get me wrong – I am not depressed. I just wanted to be alone. I am still in a reflective mood. The only thing making me leave the condo is work and work has been very trying this week with the work load picking up and the department being shorthanded (It always gets busy this time of year). So at the end of the work day, all I want to do is go home and have a beer.

I have been reading a lot. I should be writing, but my heart is not into it. Well, at least reading is sort of related with it being the other component of writing. This is where I find myself: Me wanting to hide out and chillaxing.

I guess some times we all need some alone time. I am off on vacation for two weeks starting next week. For you Americans, it is our Thanksgiving on Monday. I will cook the feast. It will kick off a much needed break.
—Robert Confiant 3 October 2018

Depression and life

I just listened to a TEDx talk on suicide and life. Once upon a time, I could not do this.
I am told quite often that I am a strong person. They say this because I have dealt with having a disability, so well. And if I am honest, in some ways they are correct. I am a person who happens to have Cerebral Palsy. Back when I was younger, I didn’t let my dis-ablity stop me from doing what I wanted to do. My dis-ability (sic) is not who I am. I am not defined by my dis-ability. I live with it. To me, it is not brave, nor heroic, nor anything special. I have always had a bum leg. I don’t know any different, so this is my “normal.”

Somewhere on this path of life, I lost my confidence. I stopped believing in myself. I developed a low self-esteem about myself. My depression resulted because I believed that I couldn’t do anything. I was told, by kindly meaning professionals, that I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t do that. I don’t blame them for what resulted. It just I took their statements to be realistic about my career choices to heart. I felt that I couldn’t do anything. It’s strange, how my all or nothing attitude played a factor even back then. I am an “All or nothing” kind of guy. I don’t like to admit it, but I still am. The result is that I suffered from depression in my late teens and early twenties. The fact that I was gay didn’t help. I was closeted, gay young man who grew up in the projects. I was supposed to be tough. I was also a strict Catholic and these two aspects were “polar opposites” in their views. I still joke about going to hell (I don’t believe it, but I still joke about it). So really, my depression stemmed from my lack of confidence in myself and the loathing I felt about being different. I gave up. I stopped living and I couldn’t see a good future for myself. I was depressed.

After I hit rock bottom, I went to counselling and I sought out help. I wasn’t working because of the recession at the time and because I felt I couldn’t do anything with me having a dis-ability. I got work eventually after I went on some job training course. It helped boost my confidence again. I later returned to school to upgrade my skills. The success I found there also contributed to my confidence boost. Step-by-step, I began to snap out of my depression and my confidence returned. It was a slow process, but one that built a strong foundation on which I could stand upon.

Today, this is all history. I have had my bouts of depression, but I have figured out tricks to help me snap out of it. My depression now stems from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). With this realization, I find that my depression is manageable, if I caught it. Sometimes it can be a week before I realize I am in a state of depression. When I finally do come to realize this, I do the opposite of what I feel I want to do. Namely, I go out, instead of staying in; I socialize, instead of shutting myself out. For me, this doing opposite works. I also purchased a light for the winter months. It helps.

I am at a good place. I can’t say I never get depressed, but when I do, I can deal with it. For the most part, I am happy with my life. I no longer worry about the past, and I don’t fret about the future. I stay in the now. This was another issue back then, I couldn’t stay in the now.

Most of the time, I am that strong person I appear to be, but sometimes I am not. For those times I am not, I work on it. Over all though, life is good.

For those of you who are struggling. I am reposting this image:

Mental health continuum-mobile

Get to know the signs and if you are in any phase other than healthy, seek help. There is no shame in asking for help. We all need a hand up occasionally.

My life may not always be exactly what I want, or I wish for, but it is a good life. I have my health. I have a good family, partner and friends who are always there for me, and a decent job. A hobby that I love – writing, contrary to what our income obsessive materialistic society wishes to sell us, these are what truly matter.

Peace and love.
—Robert Confiant 15 September 2018

The hardest task

The hardest task for me to do is fine motor skills, for example, working with tiny tools.

I love computers and computing. I found this out when I got my first computer (I was late to the game). It was a 286 IBM clone withe 512Kb of RAM and a 40Mb hard drive (a low end computer at the time, but it was good for me). I wasn’t getting the computer thing until it dawned on me that it was an idiot machine without its software (An obvious observation, but I was slow at first). I got it for university.

After I scraped by a degree (I picked the wrong major and I was too stubborn to change). In hindsight, I should have chosen social sciences or English literature (Either of these would have served me better). I digress, once I obtained my degree, I moved back home and worked, but I still wanted more, so I went to college and got a programming certificate, which lead to work in IT (A job for life, or so I thought). I loved working in IT.

repairing computer

My first computing job was “Presales.” I tested software while it was still in development stage and tested scenarios our clients were experiencing with previous editions of the software (reproduce the bugs they were experiencing). I loved it I would reconfigure computers to match their own machines by taking apart and rebuilding computer to closely match the test machine to reproduce the bug). It was fun, but for someone with Cerebral Palsy, it was tricky too. I got the shakes doing the finer aspects of the job and the more I would concentrate on doing the job, the worst my shaking got. I couldn’t help it was an aspect of my CP. I did it, but if the shaking got too bad I would need to step away until the shaking decreased, or ceased all together (This didn’t take much time. Sometimes all it took was the idea of getting away and a deep inhale and exhale). Overall, I was good at my job. I went on to just quality assurance (software testing with no taking apart and rebuilding machines), and eventually, I went on to work in a non-computing field; however, from time to time l still get IT request from friends, and the fine skills of working with small tools still cause me issues, but I manage. I love to dabble in computer stuff. It helps me keep my feet in it.

I can even teach others about computing. This wasn’t always the case, but I got better at it, although this is another article for another blog post.
—Robert Confiant 14 August 2018

I did not want to go into work today

I did not want to go into work today.

For the most part, I love my job. The people I work with, my immediate co-workers are great. There is the coffee club (or remnants of it), the group I work with and the front line workers – all good team players (mostly).

We have another shortage in our department and I am starting to fall behind on my regular work because I am working on filling the gap. Without going into great detail, it is really no one’s fault. People retire and people leave it’s as simple as that. The first gap was due to retirement and the second gap was due to someone leaving. What I fret over is how long it took to hire the second person after the first person retired: A long time. I don’t think I can deal with this situation again. I don’t have the will, or the determination to do so again. It’s frustrating. I am already feeling the pressure.

frustration

I am sure I am not the only person experiencing this issue of people leaving and being short-handed. I just wished they would hire a replacement more quickly. The process takes so long. I just know I am going to have an ‘F’ it attitude about it this time. I just cannot do it anymore. I feel work doesn’t support me anymore and I feel I am being taken advantage of and no one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of. I keep reminding myself that I now only have a little over three and a half years to remain.

I will work hard. It was how I was raised – to do a good honest day’s work (I know, I am a dying breed – a dinosaur – LOL). But, I will no longer “kill” myself doing so.

What can one do? Nothing.

I will go into work and I will work hard, but it is not as much fun; it is not the same.
—Robert Confiant 11 July 2018