Nick And His Opinions

I've written this blog since I moved to Chicago. I've sprinted and written multiple times a day, and let it languish on the highest shelves of the Internet for year-long stretches.

But it's dusting time.

I barely recognize the kid who started this blog nearly ten years ago. The kid who thought professional improvisor was a career possibility. Freshly rejected from PhD programs the world over, I took my amateur-hour armchair philosophy to the unregulated streets of the Internet. I was late to the blogging game in 2010, and now it feels almost comical to continue. I made my therapist a laptop, and played racquetball against a mirror.

During the years I've neglected this blog, my mental health has suffered. Gone were the days of bravely digging into my intentions and motivations. I got distracted by playing games on my phone, pinball, and fell into the tempting tranquilization of inauthentic existence. Hey look, there's still some Heidegger in here somewhere.

And, dear reader, before I lure you into a false sense of hope, I've not solved anything.

That's not entirely true, but we'll get to that. It's an absolutely bonkers time, but I'm not interested in talking about COVID-19, which incidentally I tested positive for and have lived with for the month of April. I'm interested in what it did to me. Not physically. Psychologically. This pandemic is a kind of low-grade zombie apocalypse. And the strength of exaggerated situations is that they cause who we are to emerge. We are the sum of our choices under pressure.

I've never seen a therapist, despite the tireless urging of nearly everyone who cares about me. For me, staving off despair was manageable with a solid friend group, fulfilling creative projects, and healthy eating/workout habits. One by one, I've let them all slip out the door at 4AM so they didn't have to sleep over.

Lately, it's become a running joke that I refer to my past self as "Nick and His Opinions." Up his own ass, idealistic, opinionated Nick. He can be intolerable, but it turns out I really miss that kid. Because I'm intolerable now, but just in a cynical, lazy way. And if you have to die on a hill, you might as well choose the idealistic one. It's prettier there.

I'm not going to list all the stupid shit I'm doing to try and improve myself. Ain't nobody needs your IG stories about how you're eating healthy and crushing your quarantine body. But, privately, between you and me, we are making some changes under the hood over here.

Despair creeps up on you. It isn't a jump scare from a movie. It's a gentle haze that slowly obscures your vision. Soon you don't recognize who you used to be. And what's worse is you don't miss them. You turn them into a joke. That's the criminal part. We rationalize away the self we used to admire. Because it's easier than admitting we're a worse version of ourselves.

Nobody blogs. No one gives a shit about philosophy. My armchair investigations amount to nothing. And yet, here we are.

Nick and His Opinions -- welcome back. I've missed you. Even if it's just for a bit, I'm happy you're here. The place wasn't the same without you.


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