I am now in my second year of graduate school. Christmas has wound down and now I am in that odd time in-between semesters. You know, that time when you should be doing something that will make the next semester easier and recognizing that you just don't have the energy yet to face it. I am Halfway though my program and now am applying for jobs is on the immediate horizon.
This is our second year in Iowa. It has been nice to finally feel like we are home in Iowa. Although we left so many humans in Utah who we are fond of and miss terribly, we don't miss passive-aggressive and smug Utah culture. We have really enjoyed being allowed to be adults. Iowa normalizes adulthood. You can buy your hard liquor in bulk at the Costco if you choose. Wine is sold on the aisle ends by the checkouts at Hy-vee. Almost everybody drinks coffee. You can find a wide variety of personal lubricants on the shelf at Wal-Mart.
I have found that being away from Utah and specifically Mormonism, has resulted in fewer conversations about the religion and its negative impact our our family. I have less of need to be surrounded by "like minded people" to insulate me, intellectually and emotionally, from Mormonism. I have unplugged from all but two ex-mormon groups on Facebook. I still visit the A Post Mormon Atheist/Agnostic group and a group that discusses the issues of sex and sexuality in a Post Mormon Context. I have still been know to challenge assertions made by the faithful and occasionally in a dick-ish way. One observation I made over the last year: It doesn't really matter if you are nice or a dick when you challenge the delusional beliefs of others, the net result will be the same. You will be unfriended, ignored, and pitied by them. I have not put up a post related to Mormonism specifically for a little over two months now.
With John Larsen's exit from the Mormon Expression podcast, I decided it was also time to stop listening to the ex-mormon related podcasts and deleted and unsubscribed from all. I have hid most TBM's from my newsfeed. While I am interested in them as people, I can't really stomach the delusion that one must engage in to believe any of it is real. It doesn't mean religion is safe from my criticism.
So what is important to me?
I still rant about alternative medicine and pseudoscience. I openly and unapologetically challenge vaccine deniers and woo pitchers. I will continue to do that because I think it is more important than religion. The harm is immediate.
Michael will graduate from West High School in in Iowa City this year. Kiera is a freshman at the same school. They both seem to be doing well. They are great kids and we are proud of them.
I turn 50 this year. With that milestone, I recognize that I am on the downhill side of mortality. I might make it to a 100 (if I stay off Facebook and manage my stress) but it is unlikely. So it is my desire to seize the moment... each and every precious moment. I am no longer 10' tall and bullet proof. I have had friends and colleagues see their time cut short by genetics or poor lifestyle choices. I can control one of those factors. I need to control what I can because both of my parents were dead by 70. I have lost 22 lbs. since August. I would like to loose 10 more. I need to find a away to continue to exercise through the cold Iowa winter. Although through discipline I have avoided the holiday weight gain. Lisa is on a similar path. We want to hold off the health effects that come from poor lifestyle choices.
The plan for 2015:
- Colonoscopy scheduled for the first week in January.
- Physical scheduled for March
- Drink less alcohol: Make it a social event or an occasion. Avoid daily consumption.
- Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol: Eat less meat and salt and more veggies. This has resulted in appreciable weight loss.
- Manage stress: If you know me at all this is my achilles heel. I am an obsessive thinker and a worrier. I have tried deep breathing and relaxation but the narrative in my head always seems to dominate.
- Have plenty of sex!
So there it is. I may find the inclination to write a little more as the ever evolving me finds something else to say. We'll see where this year takes me. I do know that I have grown quite a bit in this experience. We are looking around and trying to determine where the next move will take us. What we know is that we are only in Iowa for another 16 or so months. That time will go quickly