Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Do Something Fun This Weekend...

"Do something fun this weekend."
Those were the final words from my therapist yesterday. I promised her that I would. I really have to dig back in my mind and remember what it is like to have fun. I'm sure that I have had fun recently, but couldn't accept the fact that I did. I'll go ahead and dig anyway. I remember the things that I used to do, stretching back about 10 years ago or so:

Camping with friends
Writing and producing music, as well as experimenting with my equipment
Building electronics projects
Running and operating a pirate FM radio station
Hanging out at the beach
Going to bonfires
Going out to clubs in the city
Riding my bike and motorcycles
Building and driving my tricked-out Ford Ranger (street racing it too.)
Drawing on paper and the pc
Sitting around for hours playing music with friends, drinking heavily, and coming up with some of the craziest stuff we could think of.
Producing radio imaging IDs and commercials
Doing a radio show

I think that list is a pretty good start. I'll admit; I don't do alot of things in my life that I consider fun. It seems to be pretty utilitarian for the most part. It seems that stopped once I had to move back home with my parents the first time. I couldn't spread out and work on multiple projects anymore. It was a downward spiral from there.

I was 22 years old and had this quad-level house all to myself - just me and my dog. At the time, I was just working and not going to school, so I had alot of free time on my hands. At the urging of a friend, I bought a little FM stereo transmitter kit and put it together. First it started off as just a wireless extension for my stereo. Eventually it became a dedicated transmitter-and WANK Radio was born (more on that in later entries.)

I had done something like this a while back, but not to the extent I was going to take this particular project. I most certainly had more than enough equipment to do it. With the help of a few friends, and some small investments (and I mean like a few dollars here and there) I got WANK radio on the air. It was mostly homemade stuff.

Trial and Error...
I have vivid memories of making my own commercial carts. I bought a hundred or so old 8-track cartridges, opened them up, and removed the tape in them. I took the tape that I had previously recorded on an open reel machine and proceeded to thread it (in a loop) within the 8-track cartridge. I took several tries to get it right - the first ones had the tape facing the wrong side out; the later ones had the tape facing correctly, but were put in backwards (everything played back was backwards) ; the next generation ones were done correctly, yet they were too tight. The converted 8-track machines that I used would slow down and sometimes come to a stop because the loop was way too tight! It took a few more hours to get it right, and I remember just letting them play over and over to "break them in." I didn't realize that the tape thickness was too much for the application. Somehow it all worked out and everyone was pretty impressed. Needless to say, I was too. I loved that feeling of accomplishment that I had in those days. I came. I saw. I conquered. SUCCESS!!! Most of all, it was FUN!

Fast Forward 10 years later...
If I had opened up one of those things today, I would probably go into a panic just trying to figure out how it worked. I'm sure I could do it, but it would take much longer, because that element of fear is there. It seems that I have lost my spirit of adventure and curiosity - the part of me that was saying "how does this work? I bet I can do the same thing if I tried it." To try anything new now is very stressful and seems to be more trouble than it's worth. I blame this on the "I can't do it" factor. It's a combination of old age and mental illness.

Old Age
Is it old age? I'm really not that old and I realize this. I guess I just let myself get out of shape so much that I feel older than I am. How old, you say? I would say in my mid-40s at least. I have tried on more than a few occasions to reverse this process, but each time I fall off the bandwagon and end up pretty much where I started. Am I resigned to being an old fart? I hope not!

Mental Illness
It's amazing how much being depressed will take from you. Hard to believe that 10 years ago I was functioning pretty much normally (with the occasional bout of depression) and could do alot of things. Over time, I seemed to allow myself to be consumed by the depression and began to believe that I couldn't do these things (or completely forgot bout them altogether.) I look at it similary to being phsyically handicapped. Through proper therapy and constant application of learned techniques, one can rise from the ashes of self-doubt. One thing is sure, however; it never feels the same the second time around. You already know what you are going to experience, which takes the "newness" out of it. I think this is one reason why I choose not to go back to it. The negativity rears it ugly head again. Drat!

Finding Fun Again
So now the next step is to find something fun to do - not necessarily from my past either. I think it might be a good idea to try something entirely new. I will admit also that I have a problem with trying new things; I am afraid that I won't be able to catch on to them fast enough, which in turn makes me feel like a complete idiot. This is why I try to avoid playing games with friends (card games) and even video games. I don't want to appear stupid to them because I'm having such a difficult time grasping what is (to others) a simple concept. They don't make those special exceptions in their mind; therefore it's much easier for them. It's such a damn shame.

Any Ideas?
This is where audience participation comes in. Truth is, I'm fresh out of ideas and would gladly love to hear what anyone (who reads my blog) would consider fun. Maybe you have something really exciting that you like to do; maybe it's just something that is very relaxing for you; or maybe it's just plain silly - who knows! I am open for ideas and will evaluate each one fairly. Just think of it this way - you could be helping someone who really needs it.

Wish me luck!!!


Flash said...

LEGOS!!! They're my therapy and my fun :) I can't get enough of them. And there are so many different sets that you can get... it's never boring and when you're done, you have something cool to show for it. The Star Wars series is a lot of fun to build.

Danny said...

Hey, Flash! I totally forgot about LEGOS! I'll dig them out and build something cool. Thanks! :-)