The clouds are there, but only I seem to see them.  One seems to be following me today.  My plans for the day became afterthoughts.  From active participant to observer, from structure and idea to abyss–the downward path I feel I have followed since morning…

I suppose this started last night, when I determined that my body has conspired to penalize me for every type of food that I love to eat.  Ate dinner, paid the check…and then around 4am I paid the second check, and again around 6am I paid the third check, and again around 10am I paid a fourth check.  Last weekend, I experienced similar issues with another favorite–and the long wait at the airport and the flight that followed, well into the evening upon my return.  Italian Beef?  Better than a 50/50 shot at triggering a gout attack.  Stuffed pizza?  Digestive nightmares.  Stir Fry?  Sour stomach for hours.  BBQ brisket?  Sour stomach and digestive nightmares.  Coke/Pepsi?  More issues.

Of course, the other price I have paid–watching my weight increase by 15 pounds over the past month.  Nothing lowers your spirits like the sinking feeling when you put on a pair of pants that used to fit six weeks ago, but now can’t be buttoned.

Everyone has their solutions to offer.  “Try this powder diet miracle cure!  It’s only $160 for a month’s supply!”  “What about this diet plan?  I only pay $15/week plus special diet foods.”  Why is it that every solution begins with serious weight loss to my wallet?

I woke up this morning and challenged myself to lose that recent extra 15 pounds, plus ten more, before my summer vacation trip, five weeks away.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do it.  I suppose I might go back to a mile or two walk every morning, maybe go back on my soda-free diet, try to reduce portion sizes and overly fried/fatty food.  Maybe I can convince my brain to go back to undereating when I get depressed instead of constantly snacking.  (I know, neither one is healthy.)  With the level of stress I expect during the month of June, a little undereating might work wonders.

Meanwhile, I find myself sitting at this computer, listening to the sound of my own breathing.  The daughter is out to the theater with friends.  The wife is out at a friend’s party.  I’m sitting here making sure no one breaks into our house to steal the chair I’m sitting on.  Not a chair thief in sight…

I’m wondering if I need to take a vacation from social media.  It seems like every time my mood dips and the skies around me darken, my timeline fills with everyone else having a fantastic time with friends and family.  Every once in a while, Facebook will deliver an extra gut-punch with a photo or video of Micah smiling, playing hockey, singing, playing with friends.

I look at the list of “friends” and wonder what happened to some of them.  For some, I wonder why they were ever a Facebook friend to begin with.  Part of this is a feeling of self-fulfilling prophecy, I suppose.  When I made the break with most things youth hockey, I thought the silence would become deafening.  I knew there would be people to whom, once I no longer served a useful purpose, I would become a memory.

I guess I can start by thinning the herd by dropping off those “friends of convenience.”  They’ll never notice.  Micah hasn’t played hockey in 18 months now.  He’s not anyone’s goalie.  I’m not in a position of current knowledge or authority any longer.  Just one less person posting liberal “nonsense” about how horrible 45 is, how little our representatives actually care about all their constituents, rich and poor, white and minority, Christian and non…

Maybe my second step should be what I’ve seen many other friends do: tell people to post something on my timeline that shows they’re actually a friend, or to ask me in a message to not unfriend them.  Yeah, that’s not really my style.  If I unfriend someone and they find that they need my friendship still, they can always re-request it.

Loneliness sucks, even if it’s only temporary–or imagined.  The silence acts as a reminder of what loneliness feels like…

David

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