A few days ago I watched a fascinating documentary about the Voyager satellites that were launched in the 1970s into space. They took photographs and readings of many of our solar system's planets and then continued into the cold depths of interstellar space. It will be another 40,000 years before Voyager II reaches the next star in our galaxy (it's moving at 50,000 miles per hour).
Of all the things that the various scientists and talking heads had to say, the one that blew my mind was that they can STILL communicate with the Voyagers, with regard to camera movement and turning equipment on and off. What got me thinking though was when they said that they will soon turn off all other apparatus so that the transmitter can keep sending signals back to Earth for as long as possible.
About 3 years ago I had a dramatic and spectacularly unpleasant change in my personal life. It left my ego trodden on, my self esteem in tatters and my faith in human nature badly tarnished.
One week before this "event" I had started working as a postman, a job I expected only to be doing for a few months at most. While reasonably well paid and with a decent pension it also means sometimes taking orders from cretins and walking around in the freezing fucking cold and rain. The vans are only ever clean and tidy if they are new or rented. Older ones tend to look like Wurzel Gummidge has been dossing in them.
The job turned out to be the PERFECT answer to sudden and wrenching change of circumstances where I'd gone from feeling I could conquer the world to feeling the world was one big dog turd.
However, being a postie is not a vocation for me. In January of next year it will be 3 years that I've done the job and I haven't enjoyed it. Reason I've last so long is that, like Voyager II, I've shut down most things except my transmitter, or to give it another description, my reason to live is staying alive.
The superfluous instruments that I dialled down from 10 to a lower setting or shut off completely could be best described as follows:
Pleasure- Dialled back to about 1.5. I ceased to reach for fun things to do and would sit and wallow in a Pink Floyd-esque state of comfortable numbness punctuated by very brief spells of drinking or maybe watching a movie.
Fitness- Once proud of my lean physique and younger-than-my-years looks, I let my Yoga lapse so I became a stiff limbed, sore grouch and neglected my core muscles meaning I (for the first time in my life) now have a slightly flabby belly and shake like a leaf when I try to sit up. I also got lazy around Krav Maga (a sport I absolutely love) a fact that was noted and remarked upon by my chief instructor. I passed my last grading with a margin of just 3%.
Creativity- I still write books but got lazy and pull most from my blog (3 so far) and was merely the editor-in-chief and prologue writer of 2013's The Cockroach Effect: The Tampico Drug Wars. My first kids' book was written in less than a year but the (smaller) sequel took over 2, mainly due to laziness and lack of discipline on writing.
Social Contact- Again at a minimum with friends being kept back for times when the self induced boredom and isolation really got to breaking point.
So...I had basically closed off all non essential sides to my life, indulging mainly in making money and staying alive.
I think it's time to switch the extras back on again. After all, my batteries are solar powered.
As the Stranglers said "there's always the sun."