So I just got back from the big ten-year anniversary shindig for Unfogged, held in DC over the weekend. It was pretty great. I met some new people and saw a lot of people I had met at earlier meetups, and it was a nice break from my ordinary routine. Unfogged has been a big presence in my life over the past few years, and while I’ve been ambivalent about certain aspects of it from time to time I don’t know what I would have done without it. This weekend was a nice opportunity to celebrate and reflect.
May 27, 2013
April 28, 2013
My life has been pretty good overall lately, but socially things have been more difficult. Making friends has always been hard for me, and moving to a new place where I didn’t know anybody certainly didn’t make it any easier. I have actually met quite a few people in the past few weeks, but I haven’t been able to maintain any of those relationships and now it seems like I’m back where I started. It’s very frustrating.
This is all additionally complicated by the fact that I’m not totally sure what I’m looking for in terms of meeting people. I would definitely like some friends, but beyond that I don’t know what I want romantically or whatever. I’m realizing how much easier this all was back when I was in school and there was a ready-made social group right there. I’m sure I’ll figure this all out at some point, but I’m definitely not there yet.
One thing I definitely have learned from my experiences recently is that I really do have to put some effort into trying to meet people. They’re not just going to seek me out, and if I do put in that effort it may sometimes be successful. Not that any effort I’ve expended lately has seemed to ultimately work out, but I remain hopeful. I think I’m finally starting to get a better grasp on how to deal with this stuff.
March 10, 2013
I did my taxes today. It was more complicated than usual because I used my Americorps education awards last year, and they count as taxable “miscellaneous” income, so I had to use the full 1040 rather than the 1040EZ. On the plus side, since I used the awards toward my student loans, I got to deduct some of the interest paid. Overall, though, I had to pay some money rather than receiving a refund. This is the first time that’s happened to me. Still, it wasn’t that much, and with the money I’m making now I can easily afford it. I sure am glad I put off using those awards until I had a decent job, though.
February 27, 2013
This February has been a very eventful month for me. Some of the events were bad and some were good, but there’s been more good than bad, and even the bad parts made me think seriously about some important but uncomfortable things and spurred me to try to take some small steps to help with some big problems. Overall I’ve been very busy in multiple ways, which is exhausting but in a good way.
January 28, 2013
I’ve been pretty busy lately with work. I like the job, but it’s definitely a lot more work than my previous one. On the plus side, I’ve already done as much travel for this job in four months as I did in a whole year with the Park Service, so that’s nice. I also like the work environment more; people generally seem to work harder and have more of a sense of working together toward a common goal. So yeah, things are going well.
December 31, 2012
- Anchorage, AK
- Philadelphia, PA
- Highland Park, NJ
- Homer, AK
- Barrow, AK
- Seward, AK
- Fairbanks, AK
- Port Alsworth, AK
As in previous years, this only includes cities where I spent at least one night, and includes small towns but excludes truly rural areas. The overnight requirement is particularly unfortunate this year, since some of the most interesting places I’ve gone to in Alaska have been on day trips, but I’d like to keep the methodology consistent with earlier years. As the list shows I didn’t travel very much this year, and in fact spent the overwhelming majority of my time in Anchorage. With my new job I should be traveling a lot more in the future, though.
This was a good year. Finding a job that I like in a place where I can see myself settling down for the long term has put me in a position of stability unlike anything I’ve experienced before in my adult life. I’m still kind of adjusting to this, but it’s definitely a huge relief after the twists and turns of the past few years.
December 12, 2012
Obviously there’s not actually any significance to today’s date, but I do think these patterns are cool and this is the last one of this type we’re going to see, so I figured I’d note it.
November 29, 2012
I went to the doctor today. I really don’t like going to the doctor, but in this case I had some reasons that ended up being compelling enough to make me go. For one thing, I had gone off my medication for depression about a year ago after failing to find a psychiatrist to give me a new prescription when my previous one ran out. I actually did fine with the winter and all (I don’t seem to be prone to seasonal affective disorder like a lot of people in Alaska), but I was really not feeling that great overall. Well enough to do all the necessary things in my day-to-day life, but still generally anxious and unmotivated. With the new job, and the much better health insurance that comes with it, I decided to seek out a doctor to try to get a new prescription.
Also, I decided to look into doing something about the mild but persistent shortness of breath that I’ve been experiencing for a while now. This has been so mild that it hasn’t actually impacted my daily life at all, but it’s still been worrisome, and even more so since I began doing some internet medical research and seeing all the potentially awful things that shortness of breath is a symptom of. Stemming from that, I think, I began to worry about my heart. Over the past week or so, I began to experience what I interpreted as palpitations, although I’m now thinking that was probably mostly a result of my freaking out over the shortness of breath combined with my general level of anxiety. Also I happen to have a cold or something right now, which is exacerbating my feeling generally unwell.
So anyway, I looked up the providers supported by my insurance and made an appointment with one that has a nice online patient portal. I made the appointment for a general physical, figuring that I’d ask about this other stuff in conjunction with that. So I went in this morning and it went quite well. The doctor was very nice and friendly, which is important to me because I’m so nervous around doctors. He wrote me a new prescription for my antidepressant, and sent me for an EKG to check on the heart issue. The results were normal, which has made me think the issue was mostly in my head. As for the shortness of breath, since the EKG was fine he thinks it’s probably asthma and prescribed me an inhaler to try out to see if it helps. I did have some bloodwork done as well, and the results of that might indicate something else, but I think asthma is the most plausible answer at this point, and I’m very relieved that my heart is fine. Hopefully getting back on the antidepressants will calm me down a bit and keep me from worrying and obsessing so much about this stuff.
October 24, 2012
On Sunday I went over to this place (warning: link has barnyard animal sounds) and bought a bed. I had been sleeping in a sleeping bag for the few weeks since I moved into my new place, because I needed to build up some money at the new job and I had other things on my mind that I had to take care of before starting to buy furniture. I had done this before when moving into my apartment in New Jersey, but not for as long. This time I was definitely ready for a bed by the time I got one.
I had noticed Mattress Ranch before, since it’s just right around the corner from my new apartment, but I hadn’t gone in before Sunday. It’s pretty much like a regular mattress store except that both the inside and outside are decorated with ridiculous farm animal illustrations in a style similar to that of their website. They have plastic cows sort of scattered around the place, but most of the decorations are just on the walls. Anyway, the mattresses are quite nice, and pretty cheap. Some of the cheaper ones come rolled up, which was super-convenient for my purposes since it meant I could get one and move it into my apartment by myself, which I did. They also sell these “platforms,” which are sort of super-simple bedframes that also take the place of box springs, so I got one of those too. The bed is quite comfortable, and getting it in was remarkably easy compared to what I remember of acquiring and moving beds in the past.
September 29, 2012
Today is my birthday; I’m 28. This general time of year also marks the one-year anniversary of my arrival in Anchorage. It’s been a pretty amazing year, one in which I finally managed to settle down a bit and figure out where I’m going to live and what I’m going to do with my life, at least for a while. After moving every year or two for the past ten years, and frequently having major changes in my everyday lifestyle associated with those moves, it’s an enormous relief to be in one place, doing one thing, indefinitely.
Of course, most of the past year I was still in that same pattern, since my NPS internship was only for a year and I still needed to figure out what I was doing afterward. That added a layer of stress to that time that was somewhat unfortunate, but it all worked out in the end since this time my frantic efforts to find a job actually paid off. And I did definitely enjoy my life other than the job-search stress during that period. The Park Service job was helpful mostly in showing me what I didn’t want to do with my life, but that was in fact a very helpful thing because I had previously been thinking that something like that job was exactly what I did want to do with my life.
The new job is much more in line with my interests, and I’m quite happy with it so far. It’s a pretty different type of working environment from the previous job in a number of ways, and that has made adjusting a little tricky at times, but I think I’m getting the hang of it and I’m excited about what I’ll be able to do going forward. The whole program I’m working with is new, so I have the opportunity to have a lot of influence on how it gets set up, which is nice. It’s also nice that it’s very easy to see how this sort of work can help to improve people’s lives, which is not the case with a lot of jobs that I might have ended up in. It’s also by far the highest-paying job I’ve ever had, which is also nice because worrying about money is awful and I’ve done way too much of it over the years.
So yeah. Things are going well. I don’t know how long I’ll stay in this position or in Alaska, but I have no intention of leaving any time soon. It’s nice to be in that position at last.