(Thanks to Kasi for this one.)
I recently discovered that guitar chords are the same as ukulele chords, which opens up the repertoire of available songs considerably. It’s a shame that most online sheet music is in the form of guitar tabs, which don’t translate to the ukulele. Still, I have enough songs to practice that I can switch to another when I get bored with one. I find it interesting that since the ukulele requires two hands doing different things, I run into a bottleneck in hand dexterity; I can pluck or strum well enough with my right hand, but I can’t get the chords with my left hand fast enough, or vice versa depending on the song. I have to practice each hand individually, which is so unlike any other instrument I’ve played before.
I have a telescope now. My instructor was able to get a great package deal for students in his astrophotography course for a 114mm reflector, along with a tracking motor1 and illuminated reticule2. I put it together today, and it was really exciting to be assembling all these precision parts to make my first telescope, a moment I dreamed about since I was a kid. Astronomy is much more complicated than I expected. Much of it is similar to photography in terms of the equipment used (although the terms and controls are different), but now you also have to know your subject, your orientation, and your weather conditions, not to mention being at the right place.
I’m feeling better about things. Maybe it’s the promise of warmer weather. I’m waiting for the day I can drive my car with the windows down and sandals on. Those are the days of house parties, camping, drinks on patios, and first kisses. Soon, it will be the time of stargazing, barbecues, and who knows.
A few people have suggested my depression may have been due to a chemical imbalance, which I never ruled out. Even though it was one e‑mail on that Thursday morning that triggered all those bad thoughts, I normally would have been able to handle it better. There wasn’t an immediate impact. Just a gradual sagging that got worse and worse throughout the day until I was completely dejected at night. After that, I got a blister on my neck from standing in the shower for too long with water that was too hot. Now that I think about it, I completely understand why I felt that way, but it seems kind of silly.
Joe Lencioni also recommended to me a free program called Flux — appropriately headlined as “Software to make your life better” — that gradually changes the colour temperature and brightness of your monitors to mimic the setting sun. It’s also localized, so it knows when the sun sets for your area and changes automatically. I’m pretty sure it’s made it easier for me to fall asleep at night.
I’m in such a strange phase right now. I don’t know where I am. When I look back on this time in my life, I wonder whether I’ll look back with nostalgia, pity, or regret.