120 to zero


Zero to 60 sounds so sexy when you think of a V8 engine with synchronized 6-speed shifting under the hood of some hot ‘vette with the top down on a sunny day. Every once in a while, we all feel the need for speed, however that may manifest. Sometimes it’s the feeling of pedaling superfast on your bike like you were a kid and letting go of the handle bars. Sometimes it’s trying to run super fast and get under a 6-minute mile. 0 to 60 takes on different meanings for everyone, but always results in excitement.

120 to zero does not elicit the same thrill. It is pretty much the equivalent of hitting a brick wall. No one wants to be a crash test dummy. Unless you are talking about the band, they are pretty cool. My personal favorite is Afternoons and Coffee spoons. I digress. When slowing down, the key is to slow down slowly, not to come to an abrupt halt. It is true in traffic as well as in life.

I feel as if I have gone from 120 to zero in the past month. My purpose in retiring from 20 years as a college student was to do so gradually so that I could adjust to the change without instigating any sort of crisis – midlife or otherwise. Slowing down slowly did not happen as I envisioned. Once I completed my master’s degree, my life came to a very abrupt halt.

The first few weeks were not too bad. It was similar to being on school break such as the winter break for the holidays or even summer. However, now reality has set in, and I am not really sure what to do with myself. The change in seasons is not helpful. At least in summer, I had the parks and the beaches. I took my schoolwork with me as a necessary evil, but I certainly had plenty to do between leisure reading, my surfboard, a Frisbee, and a few other beach toys. In winter, things are much more dismal.

With the exception of the past week, we have had snow on the ground pretty much every single morning since mid-October. We haven’t even hit New Year’s yet, and I am already going stir-crazy with cabin fever and frustrated with my lack of a game plan. Oh, sure, I now have plenty of time to get caught up on leisure reading and to binge watch certain shows I have checked out of the library on DVD. While I have plenty of things to do, I feel like my life is going nowhere fast. I have hit a brick wall.

This was not my purpose. My purpose was to slow down gradually, not come to an abrupt halt. All of my social interactions were school related, and my phone never rings or dings anymore. If I am not in school, it’s like I don’t exist and no one bothers to talk to me. Quite frankly, it’s probably just as well. A big part of the reason why I have not been online much is that I have nothing to say.

While 120 to zero was not my intent, it is my reality. Now I have to figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on. Abrupt halt to my social and intellectual life was not something I wanted.

People say I should get a hobby. I have plenty of hobbies. What I lack is something to give me meaning, and people with whom to interact. I am not sure how to fix those challenges.

Have you ever had an abrupt change? Even when you see something coming and feel you have planned so well, have you had something happen that completely sideswiped you in a way you could never anticipate? Zero to 60 is exiting. 120 to zero is hard. Hopefully I will find a way to turn this around into something more exciting. When one door closes, another one opens. Right?

Maybe not.

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