Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Thoughts from the Highway...

I spent a little time on the road last week and the highway can provide some good head clearing time.
While riding a motorcycle never really provides you with "down" time, it can give you time to ponder certain situations in life or think about absolutely nothing at all. The 1100 miles gave me plenty of time to do both when I wasn't in traffic or dodging raindrops.

I was thinking about some of the lessons that I've learned recently and how I wish I had learned them earlier. While I have never been a big worrier nor one to live in the past, neither have I been one to live in the moment. And by that, I mean that I rarely stopped to appreciate the moment or be fully aware of life as it is happening.

According to the wisdom of Ferris Bueller -- "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Maybe life has slowed down in retirement, or it could be that I'm learning to look around more often.
In any case, life is moving along and there are some pretty good things happening.

And that brings me to another thought from a post a few days ago -- depression and suicide.
Did you read those demographic indicators?

Men are much more likely to commit suicide than women (every age demographic). Check
Whites are more likely than any other race. (Although I'm mixed, I'm generally identified as white) Check
And LGBTQ persons are more likely than cisgender persons.
People with strong community ties are less likely to commit suicide, making loneliness a contributing factor. (pretty much a loner) Check
Retired and unemployed persons are more likely to commit suicide than working people, Check
and childless or empty nesters are more likely than those with children living at home. Check
Women that are suicidal are more likely to seek help than men and often exhibit signs and have failed attempts. Oftentimes, men show few signs and their deaths come as a complete surprise to the people that know them.
According to the World Health Organization, globally, someone dies of suicide every 40 seconds.
Unfortunately, teen suicides sometimes spike after a celebrity suicide and the media coverage that follows.
Russia and the former Soviet Bloc countries have the highest rates of suicide, while the Caribbean islands have the lowest rates.

I'm not depressed nor suicidal, but looking at these demographics one can't help but wonder -- What little thing might shift the balance? Maybe I should start building those community ties or at the very least, move to the Caribbean! 

To be fair, I am working on the community thing a little bit, but it is a slow and unnatural process for me. I'm pretty much in the middle of my comfort zone when I am alone -- even when I am with people! At the UFC fights last Saturday, we were in the sold out United Center. Sitting next to me was a guy that had come to the fights by himself. I didn't think it was weird. I thought -- "That could be me." 
Although I have never gone to a UFC event by myself, I'm a regular at attending baseball games alone. Tonight I'll try to make some new friends as I go to a Springfield Cardinals' game with a bunch of people I don't know from a new church we've been attending. 
I'll need to remember that when people go to a game as a group, it's generally more about the group thing than about watching the game -- a trait I normally find annoying.
It should be interesting. 

It looks like the morning showers have passed through the Ozarks and it will be another hot, humid day. Maybe I'll spend it looking for a tropical beach home -- you know, just to be safe!

John <><


John Hill said...

In re-reading this, it struck me that I apparently think its more work to build community ties here than to pack up and move to the Caribbean!

Mike said...

"...but it is a slow and unnatural process for me."