Wednesday, a quiet morning, both the early morning after returning home from the wonderful dinner Mary Anne prepared for me last night. I sat up for a few hours thinking about our conversation, and again this morning before arriving here at work I was doing much thinking about my plans for the summer.
My first personal goal is to get out more, do more things with more people, and not just business networking events where I am in a suit and tie, with a nametag, and am collecting business cards. Mary Anne's upcoming potluck this weekend is a good start, the benefit I will be working the night before is another. Either later this month, or at least a couple of times in July I will also be planning a number of events to do with friends.
The key factors are: easy to get to for everyone, cheap (or free), a variety of stuff to do (across the different events), and events that could encourage conversations, meals, etc after, during, or before. One that I am already planning is to get a group together to listen to Anne Harris when she is playing at the Borders in Evanston in July. Great music, free event, afternoon in downtown Evanston - all characteristics of what I am looking for - those who want can sit around talking and then perhaps continue over dinner somewhere on the north side.
Events I am thinking of, in no particular order:
Taste of Chicago and/or Fourth of July Fireworks;
Men in Black II - seeing it soon after it comes out;
next installment of Lord of the Rings (fall/early winter);
other upcoming summer movies;
Chicago International Film Festival (possibly multiple screenings);
DOC films summer series?;
First Friday art gallery openings;
Summer Solstice celebration at the MCA (museum open 24 hours);
Peggy Notabart Nature Museum (to see the butterfly garden) and then perhaps a picnic in Lincoln Park
Air and Water Show;
"Too Much Light Makes the Baby go Blind" - at the NeoFuterium - late night comedy, inexpensive theater
Dinner party at my place (forcing me to clean)
Barbeque somewhere - I'll cook if friend can provide the grills and baked foods;
Around the Cayote art festival (whenever it is happening - not sure of the date);
Free day at Art Museum (Thursdays? they also stay open late that same day ...)
the day that the Chicago Symphony center is open for 24 hours (winter?)
the day that the Old Town School of Music is open for 24 hours (also winter? tons of fun! all types of music, very cheap, drumming circles and more)
Getting out of Chicago to someplace where at night stars can be seen - and having a late night barbeque and bonfire (preferably someplace not too far, cheap to stay are)
Bristol Rennaisance Festival sometime this summer? (okay not sooo cheap..)
Probably enough there to keep busy... and hopefully more to come.
I am also trying to figure out about my body - my mental image of myself is still, even now, of the skinny, scawny, physically weaker than everyone else kid that I was in high school and even into college. However clearly this is not an accurate self image (but then who has one) - I am not a small man - 5' 11", not as tall as my dad, but close.
My weight is something I am always puzzled by, my ankles are skinny, my calves are large (but all muscle), my upper legs are also mostly muscle. My qaist and stomach are clearly the area that needs to lose some pounds - which would be a very good thing - but even so, I will never be very slender as I have bones that are wide. My upper body - well loosing some weight would cut the roundness of my face and neck. My arms too are like my legs somewhat odd - my forearms actually almost have muscle definition, but my biceps while strong could clearly be more defined.
All this said, I am not one for weightlifting and indeed great amounts of exercise - not exactly sure why, but somehow it feels (at a very deep level) to me like wasted time and energy - that there are many other things I would rather be doing - and yes, I know intellectually that it is a "good thing", and that people seem to enjoy it etc - but it is probably in part at least related to my general strong dislike of anything associated with modifications of the brain.
I.e. I have a deep seated dislike (which is too weak of a word really) for drugs of any sort - wether drinking, smoking, or indeed even aspirin I find the concept of taking something to change who I am deeply troubling. Indeed I frequently have a moral discussion with myself over the fact that I drink coffee. If I did not need to once in while use an inhaler for my asthma or take Claratin for my allergies, I would live a life nearly completely drug free.
Yes the scientist in me appreciates the powerful effects of medicine, and I know at one level that all these natural substances have been consumed by people for millenia - especially alchohal - but on another level I very much never, ever, want to not be in full control of myself.
For one, I would not accept anything less than full responsibility for all of my actions - so I make a conscious choice not to drink more than one glass or bottle if I am drinking at all. So I avoid all other drugs.
I am a 28 year old American male, of Irish and Jewish descent, not particularly religious at all, and I have never once been drunk.
For a minor outpatient surgery I was once "under" for the procedure (something I am still annoyed at, but clearly had to happen). For dental work I have had novacaine, and after all four of my wisdom teeth were pulled in one operation, I was given a presciption for painkillers and told to take some - however I did not take any of the prescription painkillers but did in fact take some Tylenols (I think, could have been aspirin but I don't think so).
I may have about 5 or 6 other times in my life taken a painkiller, perhaps a few more times as child when it was a liquid tylenol or the like for a time I was home sick.
But for the most part I do not take anything.
I do wonder why this is such an important issue for me, why it is so core to my self-identity. My sister and her boyfriend have long conversations with my parents about wine, beer, and various other drinks. I have perhaps one glass of wine with dinner (which I often don't finish) and am then left out of the conversation.
At some very deep level I don't "get" the attraction of being out of control. I don't get the attraction of being drunk or high.
To bring this back to exercise, which is where I started, I suspect that at some level the talk that "exercise makes you feel good" or phrases like "a runners high" or "after a few weeks you want to exercise" or "you get hooked on it" etc are all phrases that are so loaded with meaning for me that they completely and utterly make me want to avoid it all together - I do NOT want to be addicted to anything, I do not want to want anything - indeed the concept is deeply worrying and troubling to me.
Yes, clearly this it not entirely a "good" attitude - and one I should be able to overcome. But is a very real concern of mine. At some level I know that I have the potential to be addicted to things - that I fall easily into habits and could be at risk of using something as crutch - so rather than risk that at all, I avoid the substances entirely - I never want to have the temptation.
I have certainly considered - why have I completely avoided ever being drunk. Certainly it would have been easy at somepoint, whether in college or after (never saw drinking throughout all of my high school, nor anyone ever even talking about taking drugs) but somehow too I did not.
Anyway, I hope I have not offended my readers, but it is something that I keep thinking about, one of the many things about myself that I still wonder about.
I do plan on some modifications to my eating, and while I will keep to doing lots of walking, especially on the weekends, I am also looking for some other type of exercise that I can do - preferably something that I can combine with another activity that I want to do as well (probably some form of exercise that I can do while also reading - which is basically what I spend most of my time doing in any case - somehow writing and exercise seems an unlikely combination). I would be open to the possiblity of doing something social while exercising - so perhaps playing a sport or just having someong to exercise with, but too it feels like too much of a hassle to coordinate, indeed the last time I tried this it never happened because each time we tried we missed each other due to scheduling changes.
My current thought is to use my building's cycling machine - probably either in the mornings before work, or very late at night in place of my current habbit of watching very bad television - if I can indeed get some reading done at the same time it won't be too difficult, and if I am also modifying my eating habits to cut calories a bit, hopefully the combination will be a noticiable weight loss by the end of the summer (yeah, just in time for Chicago winter when everyone is all covered up anyway...)