Single Status Update
Before I begin with the status update, I want to say that I am sorry for tinkering earlier this morning with this update. I was seeing if I could post a status from another website I used (it has a weight loss tracker) here. But well, as you can see, it didn't work out like I hoped it would.
What's been going on in my world:
In the academic world where I work:Spoiler
Over the last month, I've not been as active on the forum for several reasons. I'm 51 years old and am looking at the very real possibility of a major career change. Since 1999, I have been involved in education as a vocation. With the exception of three years I spent as a District Executive with the Boy Scouts of America, I have been a public school teacher (seventh and eighth grade history and civics) and the community college/university level teaching courses in both history and foreign policy.
The university that I teach online graduate courses for has been understanding for the most part. There have been semesters where I have been asked to teach a night class or a Saturday morning class that's more of a once-a-week traditional lecture course on campus. It happens about once every two years. The course in the rotation is one that's required for the M.A. where the emphasis is in American history and the concentration is on the Early Republic (1763 to 1840). Many students who take this course are older and prefer a more traditional setting than an online course. And I am fine with that. There are some semesters I will teach three courses for this university and then there are other semesters where, if I ask, I can have a semester off. They never make me feel guilty for taking a semester off to simply take care of myself. I've been working here since 2005 and have never had any issues.
In 2009, I took another part-time professorship at a local community college. I've not taken any sabbatical semesters since 2004 because of being a "niche" professor (courses are in high demand, most of them are core courses, and the administration keeps moving the goal line). A "niche course is a course that always has a high enrollment and normally a waiting list for students wishing to get into the course.
There are a lot of changes which have been brought on because of COVID-19 and the political/social environment on campus. There are other changes in administration, changes in student academic performance, their expectations, and pressures from the administration to find ways to reduce the high failure rate (I currently have a 37% average failure rate in my World Civilization courses). Most of the failures in my courses come from students not showing up or not completing assignments - or a combination of both.
I'm beginning to lose faith in higher education. I no longer feel as if I am contributing to the greater good.
I am starting to brush off my resume/CV and find out what else is out there for someone like me. I'm hoping that my time in higher education will be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
In my social circle and family:Spoiler
I have a small social circle for a variety of reasons. When I was in the military, I met many good men and women - and a few became friends for life. In August and so far, five of my Army buddies have passed over to Valhalla in the first eight days of September. Three died of old age and combat-related health issues (aged 70 years or above), one died from complications from infections and wounds from Afghanistan in his last deployment in 2014 before retiring. One, the same age I am, died back in the early part of August due to suicide - PTSD-induced severe depression.
It hits you hard as you watch those who mean a lot to you pass over to the other side. As I share this, my father has been in and out of the hospital with Agent-Orange-related cancers. He, too, is a Vietnam veteran and served four tours in that war. He also has dementia and Alzheimer's, and half of the time either thinks I look like his older brother, Robert, or doesn't know who I am. My stepmother and I have come to terms with it. The hardest part is watching nature run its course. And sometimes, nature can be cruel. When it comes my time to go, I want to go before my mind does.
This past month we have a new cat added to our family. We found her on our back porch, and she was nearly starved to death. The picture I'm sharing is from the second day in our home. We named her "Stevie" in honor of "Steve" in the movie, Over the Hedge, and the name fits well. If you know Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, well, Stevie can get loud and cry pretty well!
My daughter, who turns 11 later this month, has informed me she either wants to go into law enforcement, become an astronaut, or videogame designer when she grows up. A few months ago, she told me she wanted to work at Wal-Mart to get an employee discount. This is now a good thing. No, one does not work at Wal-Mart just for an employee discount.
The COVID-19 lock-downs and restrictions have been unkind to me. I do not do well when my schedule is tossed on end. The lock-downs, the mask mandates, and the other COVID-19 related social changes have profoundly impacted my life. I already suffer from depression from my chronic hemiplegic migraines, the depression related to combat-related PTSD, so this just adds to the mental stress I am already feeling from everything else I've shared above.
When I get stressed out, I munch. Doritos and Cheetos are my preferred means of self-induced indigestion and uncontrolled weight gain. And I did just that. I managed to gain nearly 8 pounds (3.62 Kg). Not good for someone with Type II Diabetes. So, in the middle of August, I decided to get back to being more healthy. I've now gotten rid of the sodas - I now only drink water, tea, and coffee. And I have quit the binge snacking (as in no more uncontrolled munching on Doritos and Cheetos), and the multiple snacks between mealtime. Since the weather is starting to cool off, I am also back to walking four miles a day (also since mid-August). I've now lost a little over 3 pounds (1.36 Kg) and still have a long way to go. It's funny - it wasn't hard to put the weight on; so why is it so hard to take it off?
Mentally, I have been in a bad place where I haven't cared about much. The uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the impact it has had on my job, the general frustration I have on the campus, and watching my child's frustration in dealing with COVID-19, watching my wife's frustration with her employer, and COVID-19... yeah, I've bent myself into mental pretzels.
With all that said:
I'm the silent type and let a lot of stuff build up before I get tired of things and say "enough." And as much as I hate conflict, I often retreat and withdraw rather than stick around. If you've noticed, I haven't been as active on the forum in the last month as I usually am. In fact, I have not been as active on the forum as I usually have been since COVID-19 raised it's ugly head in 2020. There's been no other excuse than I let things get to me way too much.
I've let my fellow moderators down by not being active here or on the KSP Discussions page where I also moderate (if you've not friended me there, my user name is the same, adsii1970). Over the past few weeks, there have been days where I have not logged onto the forum at all. It's not right to the team and it has not been fair to the Kerbal Space Program community. It also hasn't been fair for those newbies who have had their posts stuck in the queue for several hours waiting for a moderator - ahem - for me to do my job.
I'd like to apologize for not maintaining both Kerny's Journal and the sandbox challenge thread. As I move out if my mental funk this will get somewhat better. I will say that Kerny will be making the transition to 1.12 with Chapter 101; once KSP2 comes out, Kerny will not be making the transition but will remain in the original KSP. There's a lot of rebuilding I am doing to bring Kerny into 1.12. I can say I am toying around with doing a new story in KSP2, but it will be stockTM.
Making the decisions to get off the junk food, to get out and exercise, and to lose weight has helped my mental health some. Making the decision to begin to look for a career change outside of higher education has helped, too. Now all I can do is to see where this new adventure will take me.