On being young (but getting old)

No, this is not going to be one of those ‘shake my fist in the air’ posts. Nor is it going to be one of those ‘kids today, mumble grumble’ type posts. This is about something completely different . . . well, not so very different: It’s about growing old, yet still being young.

Growing up is optional.

Growing old is mandatory. (Is there a second part to this?)

We grow all the time (duh!), that’s kind of the point of living. You grow bigger, older, more frail, and then you die. All we are is dust in the wind, and so forth. During this time, everything changes, again and again and again. The world changes around you, and you change within it. We’re all shaped by what’s going on around us, as well as personal experience, friends and family. But even with all this happening – are we still stuck? When do we ‘shift’ from young to old? Is it just our age? Can you ever truly change within an already established framework?

Yes and no.

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Slow and steady wins the race

So now that I’ve gone ahead and made a post about depression – which I don’t know all that much about – I thought I’d continue the streak by giving some work-out tips!
I’m not kidding! (Okay, so they’re not exactly tips; they’re just some friendly reminders)

The essence of it is: Don’t try to rush it! If you work out regularly, you can disregard this, but if you’re one of those schmucks who finally decided to beef up or beef down or get a healthier lifestyle or whatever – you need to live by this rule.

I’ve been in and out of shape a few times myself. I grew up the skinny nerd-type in elementary, then evolved into the skinny emo-type in high-school. (I’m a fantasy writer, remember? Of course I was a geek/metalhead in my teens!) In the military, I first grew skinnier and more muscular, then actually gained mass towards the end. (Pot-belly mass, not muscles. Free food and guard-duty is a bitch!) Since then, I’ve more or less been exercising regularly. I started out with a lot of muscle-building, then branched out to jogging and bicycling. I more or less grew into a 50% bigger version of myself, only this time (mostly) muscular and (mostly) healthy. Screw modesty, I’ll just say it: I looked pretty fucking OK for the most part. Then I graduated and started working, and my work-outs faded into obscurity. I’m still the same size, but things are . . . softer now.

Now that I’m getting close to the right track again, a few things occurred to me. And though every ‘professional’ out there can tell you the same thing, I thought I’d try to make it more poignant: You can’t expect results overnight. Nor over a week. Maybe not even two weeks, or a month! This is the part everybody knows, but not everybody lives by. And why is that? Because people do expect rapid success and quick change, that’s why. Because people work out for external reasons and rewards. Many a work-out starts with ‘I’ll show those assholes!’ and that’s a good thing. If being called fat, even in a jest by friends, is what gets you off your ass, that’s fantastic. But here’s the rub: You won’t show them. Not right away, at least, and maybe never. The only person you can prove anything to, is yourself. You can prove it to yourself that they were wrong about you. They might not even be there to see your change. It takes time.

Everyone wants to be able to buckle down for a week, eating granola and yogurt for dinner, working your ass off every single day, then see a definition or two pop up in the mirror. Or a few numbers knocked off the scale. But not everyone will! And the people you’re trying to prove yourself to certainly won’t! Not before you’ve been at it for months! (And by then they’ve probably forgotten about the jokes concerning your size or health anyway.) Working out is a lifestyle, no matter how much you want it not to be. It’s about healthy change over time, and habitual processes. It’s like brushing your teeth: You don’t brush them once you already have holes, hoping to make them go away. You brush them every single day because that keeps the holes to a minimum. You don’t see or feel the effects of a single brush, but imagine how you’d feel if you’d never used a toothbrush! And in time, people, including yourself, will believe that million dollar smile has always been there. Just like your mega-pecks and your rock hard abs and whatnot.

Start today, people! But start slow and keep a steady pace. That’s the only way to get there.
Sincerely, ‘I’m gonna be super ripped by next week’ Bishop.
Dumbbell

I’m just gonna lift this a couple of million times and call it a day

A few pick-me-ups

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first. I’ve never been thoroughly, clinically, mind-numbingly depressed. But I have been down . . . way, way down. And I know that once you see that darkness coming, you quickly learn to fear it, and you quickly become complacent and passive. It’s almost impossible not to let it consume you. I also know very well that it’s not something you ‘shrug off’ or just ‘get over’ – but there are some steps i find very helpful when I contract ‘the blues’ so to speak.

Get active!

I know that’s harder than it sounds, and it’s impossible even for thoroughly un-depressed people sometimes. But you don’t need to run a marathon or even jog around the block. Just jog in place for ten seconds or shadow box for half a minute. Once that blood gets going, it reminds you that you are still, indeed, alive, and perhaps even that you like it that way.
Into each life, some rain must fall

Into each life, some rain must fall

Second, and more importantly, get out! Whether you live in a huge castle or a tiny cardboard box, it’s too tiny and cramped for just you and your mind. Your mind, especially when feeling down, is the loneliest place on earth, and when you are alone in a room, your mind extends to that room. Hunkering down might feel like a good idea but it will rarely make things better. Go for a walk around the neighborhood and see that the world is full of weird beings. For some, being reminded that others are happy might be a let down, but I’d rather feel like I’m the only one feeling this way, rather than  know everyone else is feeling just like me.

Third, and this is even more important, talk to someone. Anyone. Not people who’d bring you down, of course, but just people! You don’t need to ask for help – see my final point below – but just hearing another voice makes you remember that you are not alone. I have a very good friend that I’m like 93% sure is a sociopath. He couldn’t care less about my well-being – or how I’m feeling. That’s why he’s the best person to talk to in these situations for me. He doesn’t want me to mope, or share – he just wants to have fun. And he always manages to pull me along, even though it’s slow going sometimes.

Fourth, and most important of all: If you are depressed, for real. Proper depressed. (Screw the terminology: If you feel utterly like shit, like nothing is worth it and that the world is a black hole) GET. HELP! Professional help is never that far away, and there are always someone nearby who actually cares about you. Even if you’re all alone in a new town. Your neighbor might be that person, even though you’ve never been introduced. Even though I never talk to most of the people living around me, I’m quite sure they’d all help me out in an emergency. (And the world being about to swallow you whole is a fucking emergency!)

That’s all folks. These are just some lonely shower-thoughts I wanted to share, seeing as it’s -17 degrees Celsius outside and black as night, my wife is away and our house is empty and forlorn. (There’s a cat here somewhere though)

I’m not an expert, not even a layman, but I do get close to the blackness sometimes . . . we all do. Sometimes it’s worth remembering that.

Sincerely, Bishop

 

A new novella – The Floor Above

New year, new story! Like the previous one, this one is mostly set in the colder reaches of Noman. Enra Vadir, an unsuccessful entrepreneur from the far west, gets a shot at his big break one day when he’s invited to a fancy party way up in the Brend mountains. Sogen Valley, the invitation says, a place he’s never even heard of. Ushered on by his friends, Enra decides to go – but quickly realizes not everything is quite as it seems. As it turns out, the biting cold will be the least of his problems up there.

The Floor Above

The Floor Above – click to read!

The Floor Above establishes one of the new characters in Frostbites (book II), and also sets the stage when it comes to the climate and weather. (It’s gonna get cold, if you didn’t understand that from the title) Apart from that, this novella is also an incredibly meta piece of storytelling, packed with references to myself and a few colleagues at work. I suppose in an extreme sense, you could say it’s based on a true story: A friend of mine did indeed get invited to a ‘party in the mountains’ as it were. He also planned on going, and the exchange between the four friends in the beginning is almost piece by piece taken from our own conversations. Thankfully, my friend never left, and Robert didn’t follow – no colleagues were harmed during the writing of this novella!

If you want crime, fantasy, murder and a good dose of comedy – this novella is definitely for you.

Sincerely, Bishop