You Thought You Might Be Crazy

I believe that at some point in every person’s life, they believe they might be going mad.


Which one are you?


For the purpose of this blog, I am not using the word “crazy” in the true meaning of mental illness; therefore, please do not be offended. You will see where I am going with this; political incorrectness unintentional, I promise.

Synonyms for my kind of crazy: wacky, off-beat, quirky, loopy, nutty, strange, mad, unhinged, eccentric, and passionate (favorite).

A friend of mine said this yesterday: “Poor people are crazy and wealthy people are eccentric.” I couldn’t get her to quantify wealth.

There are many advantages to getting older, but I think the number one positive is that you no longer care what most people think. To a certain extent you will probably always care, but I think that might apply more to the people in your life that you love and respect. The rest can just fuck off.

Therefore, when your mind wanders to dark places: Am I going mad? Did I just do something crazy? Are these insane thoughts? Do people think I’m crazy? Maybe I’m sane and everyone else is crazy (a sign that you’re not totally sane)? Everything seems distorted.

The Times I Think I Might Be Losing My Mind

  • When I see someone doing something that makes me angry and I think about how I might disfigure them.
  • When I’m waiting on line in a bank and I’m daydreaming about how I might get away with robbery.
  • When I think I might pack a bag and become a Monk in Tibet.
  • When I wonder about an alternative universe and the role I play in it.
  • When I imagine suddenly being wealthy and giving most of it away.
  • When I believe a certain person might be sincere.
  • When the words come faster than the keys can accommodate.
  • When I read my horoscope or give it any credibility.
  • When I rely solely on the mainstream media for news.
  • When Paco gives me a “you’re crazy” look.

You might have chuckled when you read some of these; I imagine because it may have resonated with you. Our brain is a complex organ, capable of so much more than we know. So when your thoughts are a bit extraordinary or when your mind goes rouge, it’s a pretty normal thing. It’s no wonder we keep our thoughts in check; acting on only the more reasonable stuff swirling around our brains. I like thinking that we’re all a little crazy.

Creativity

Most of us are at our most creative when we’re centimeters away from insanity. It’s the out-of-the-box thinking that makes our ideas interesting. There are times when I’m thinking about a new piece of furniture or rug for my apartment and I allow myself to consider colors or designs that do not as a rule, go together — crazy right? When I have done this kind of non-traditional thinking, I usually end up with something interesting and worthwhile. However, I have to almost force myself to draw outside the lines. Societal norms, customs, rules, and our neighbors — all keeping us in check. Fairly innocent stuff, we worry far too much about.

Let Go

If you think about how we define “normal” or sane, you have to admit it would be pretty boring to be just like everyone else and do exactly what is expected of you. Yesterday, instead of walking to the locker room at my gym, I danced the whole way there. I got quizzical looks, some laughs, and even people looking away — don’t want to notice that lunatic. I have to say it was a very minor digression from my normal behavior, but it was fun to see how people reacted. I’m sure several of the people I see every morning just passed it off as me being me and I’m okay with that.

My Point

Instead of working so hard to stay in your assigned box/space, why not just allow yourself the freedom to be who you are? Think freely, be a little crazy, and have some fun. Keep others around you guessing. Most of us cannot and will not veer too far from the straight and narrow, centuries of socialization wouldn’t allow it.

Travel

I think São Miguel Island might actually be happening on Wednesday. I’m getting the government-paid-for COVID test here in Faro on Monday and then I’m hopefully getting away for a week. The weather is supposed to be rainy and cool, but I’m actually okay with that. We get an abundance of sunshine in the Algarve; therefore, I’ve come to love rain and welcome it. It’s all about perspective. Anyway, it’s never good when we allow weather to determine our mood.

Resources:

Am I Crazy If I Think I’m Crazy? Quara

Am I Crazy? Mental Health America

This song from Company has been in my head for weeks, hence the blog topic

Question of the Week:

What were you thinking when you thought you might be losing your mind?

Smile Blog Revisited

Coping With Lockdown

The Western Algarve Coast

This blog is more for me than for you. I recently learned that the Portuguese government will extend lockdown until early April. On top of that, my vaccine is months away and the two jabs could get in the way of travel. It’s been a difficult year, however, I have come to realize that there are several things that I now do and can do, to make lockdown more tolerable. I made a list which I believe is best left in my journal.

When you put it all down on paper, it’s a full life. Last year I read interviews that were done with elderly people close to the end of their lives: when asked, “Is there anything you would have done differently?”, they overwhelmingly responded that they would have worked less and spent more time doing the things they enjoyed. For the most part, I’m doing the things I enjoy, in and out of lockdown. Excellent life lesson, especially for someone who believes that we get one shot at making it count.

I should add that I am acutely aware of those all over the world who are far less fortunate; gratitude helps keep things in perspective. I must admit this all seems a bit trite considering the current condition of humanity.

Spring has arrived here in the Algarve; it’s warmer, greener, and hope is in the air. That makes me smile.

“ALWAYS WEAR A SMILE BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING.”

Gracie Gold

I want to smile more. I do. One would think that this would be an easy goal, but trust me, if you’re not inclined to smile, deciding to do so, just like that, is a difficult objective. I was born cynical, but coming up in my world, how could I not be. I also believe this is one of those nature/nurture arguments. Was I cynical because of my genetic makeup or did growing up in a tortured household make me cynical. For the purpose of this piece, let’s call it a draw and say that both factors are the cause. The point is, I have to work at smiling and how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

“Love yourself for who you are, and trust me, if you are happy from within, you are the most beautiful person, and your smile is your best asset.”

Ileana D’Cruz

Some Ways/Places to Practice Smiling

  • Tell yourself to smile every morning. You can do it when you’re brushing your teeth. It won’t take any more time out of your busy day. Soon it will be as routine as brushing; you won’t even think about it.
  • Add a little caveat to practicing your smile:  make it so that you cannot smile unless you add something you’re grateful for. For example:  this morning, before I brushed my teeth, I thought about how grateful I was that I slept well and then I smiled.
  • Practice while you’re doing something mundane — like when you’re on the treadmill at the gym or while you’re riding in a bus or on the subway.
  •  Look straight into a mirror and keep smiling.
  • Practice with a friend or family member. Let them tell you what they think of your smile and accept the feedback. Is it genuine? Too broad? Too big?

Be Your Own Motivator

I have a friend whom I met at a gym in Portland, Maine. He was struggling on an abdominal machine near where I was working out. He saw me watching him and asked me if I knew how to use the machine. I hopped on and did a few reps (gym lingo for repetitions just to show you how cool I can be). Chomba is from Zambia, he studied in Europe, he’s in his 20s and he’s quite a specimen; naturally I was pleased to show him how to use the machine correctly. Like any normal man, I preened and walked away triumphant. A few days later I saw him using the same machine and he was smiling ear-to-ear. Honestly, Chomba has the most genuine and beautiful smile I have ever seen. I noticed him using the very same machine on a regular basis. I finally approached him and asked him if he used any other equipment at the gym. He shared a big laugh and thanked me for showing him how to use the machine. I said, “Chomba, because I always see you on this ab machine, I am naming it the Chomba Machine.” From then on I when I would see him I would ask if he had done his ab reps on the Chomba machine that day.

Weeks went by of just saying hello in the gym and I thought it was time to become friends outside of Planet Fitness. I approached him and invited him over to my place for dinner. I was having a dinner party and I thought he’d be a great addition to my guest list. Chomba was delighted and came to my place with a nice bottle of wine. Everyone at party fell in love with him. He’s the kind of person who lights up the room and makes everyone feel special. That night I learned that he was a motivator working out of Boston. His firm was hired by companies to motivate their staff (Chomba if I’m getting this all wrong I apologize). What I loved more than anything is that he did not boast about his work or his life. We had to poke and pry before he came clean. Chomba is a modest fella. By the way, Chomba models now (lives in Portland, OR — fairly new) and always stays in touch. I’m grateful for his candor, his loyalty and his beautiful smile.

What Chomba has taught me is invaluable. Essentially, you can be your own motivator. You can do what he does, but in your own head. You can get yourself charged-up and energized whenever you feel yourself needing a little boost.

Experiment

Having been a sociology student in college, I often love to go back to my roots and do human interaction (behavior) experiments. I occasionally spend the day smiling all day just to see how people respond to it. I also enjoy seeing if it affects my mood.

I have to say that I get pretty amazing results:

  • People almost always smile back.
  • It sometimes feels like you’re waking someone up and suddenly they seem to come alive.
  • It makes me feel lighter.
  • The results make me want to do it more often.
  • Sometimes it makes strangers laugh; especially when I smile really big. I’m thinking, they must think I’m crazy, but who cares.
  • There is a reason for the saying “A smile goes a long way.”
  • I am in the middle of a very frustrating experience with an upgrade to my apartment. The person responsible for getting the work done has been slacking off and it’s sort of driving me crazy. The project began 14 months ago. I decided to give him an ultimatum knowing that he might walk away from the job. Instead, when I saw him I smiled. It appears that is not what he expected and I believe he may be close to finishing the job. Yesterday, I received a call from a man who will hopefully complete the job this week.

Current Mood

One of the interesting things about blogging is how your mood and thoughts change as you work through a particular thread of thoughts. I woke today in a non-smiling mood. You may relate to what I’m feeling, except that I don’t quite know what I am feeling. What I do know, is that I don’t feel like smiling. I had an interaction yesterday that was troubling and it’s still on my mind. I’m pissed to put it bluntly.

I am going to work through these feelings and thoughts by forcing a smile and see where it takes me.

The next day:  the left home for a bed & breakfast about 90 minutes away. Sometimes it helps to be away from your familiar environment. I found myself smiling just as soon as I boarded the train.

Smiling is one of those things you can do to brighten your day and/or someone else’s day, and it cost nothing! Nada! Zip! Zero cents! In fact, studies have shown that it’s good for you too.

Image result for is smiling good for your health
Why Smile?

http://www.waynedentalarts.com The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. … The feel-good neurotransmitters — dopamine, endorphins and serotonin — are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well (4). This not only relaxes your body, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.Jun 25, 2012

There’s Magic in Your Smile | Psychology Today

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge…/there-s-magic-in-your-smile

There’s Magic in Your Smile

Surprising Health Benefits of Smiling

Two things that help me smile: Giving when I can and volunteering my time. Never underestimate the power of compassion and charity.

Question of the week:

What makes you smile?