The Cold Death of the Social Universe

I never envisioned turning 31 and being alone. Thirty, as minuscule as it is, was always enough of an abstraction that it just seemed like an age where many monumental life events already occurred. An age with checkboxes ticked for something approximating marriage or at least being with who I’d probably marry, maybe children already in the mix.

Instead, I’m practically 31 and I fluctuate from being as far away from any of those things as ever to a percent of a single percent away from any of those things — and let’s be honest, it’s usually closer to the children part given it’s a lot harder to accidentally find your way into a marriage through a single bad decision or simple bad luck.

I’ve been in a more contemplative state than I have been in years lately. Perhaps it’s my own temporality catching up to me and scaring me out of my own skin like if you took the movie Scream and and replaced the murderous rampage element of it with an existential carnage that mocked all your time spent without establishing any sort of permanent mark.

I’m not lonely, or rather, I’d rate my own tolerance to loneliness and complete independence higher than most — so being in a state that would leave most lonely reads more to me like “just chillin”.

I’m also not experiencing in an existential crisis in the sense that the entire atomic structure of the universe I thought I resided in is decaying at such a rapid rate that absolute madness might take me to the desert crawling on all fours cawing and mooing until I’m neither seen nor heard from again. At least, that’s how I imagine the average existential dread feels like to most.

I’m not sad or depressed. I’ve done that plenty of times. This last year easily ranks among top 3 in my life thus experienced. And from an isolated metric of satisfaction and well-being; also high.

But I am not impervious to loneliness. I am not invulnerable to other existential crises. And I have no illusions of my proximity from feeling down versus feeling good being even as far as a day trip away. It’s more like a 5 minute bike ride in the wrong direction of thought or events.

I’ve thought tirelessly about one of the most insurmountable factors which places me at razor’s edge width between billowing catastrophe and relative nirvana.

AS you get older, especially if you retain a high level of independence, you experience what I am calling The Cold Death of Your Social Universe.

One reason why I hadn’t yet worked these thoughts out into writing is because the terminology I’m borrowing from is a little bit confusing. Among the currently theories considered most probable, physicists and cosmologists have several which postulate how the universe might end.

The Heat Death or Big Freeze, the Big Rip, and the Cold Death (which I understand to be different than the Heat Death) are all similar enough in that I am kind of borrowing ideas from them quite liberally into my thoughts on a social life through your twenties, into your thirties, and through the rest of your life.

Here’s how I’ve been experiencing it:

Just like the universe continues to expand and likely accelerating expansion, so does my social life.

Friends couple up. They get married. They start families. Their own little solar systems form and they slip a little further away from your social cosmos.

Other friends move away. Some to other states, some to other countries, and even some just 20 minutes further away or closer. And that same physical space parallels the mutual immediacy to our lives.

Meanwhile, my own little system of planets, satellites, and stars (friends, love interests, family, hobbies, jobs) fluctuate into slightly newer orbits. And drift into their own pocket of space.

These social approximations re-calibrate themselves over and over. Day after day, week by week, and years piling over years.

As we all float further and further out, the fabric of energy and memories that makes up the interpersonal bond might still be there — at least within the dimension of time. However, the transfer of social energy within my relationships suffers from social distance. ‘Leaving where we left off’ stays easy and near-immediate as ever, and some have enough transfer of balance from order to disorder that we might be lucky to get enough time hanging out to recapture that feeling of how things used to be.

Simply getting together takes more of the energy and heat transfer. When we do, it takes a bit more just to feel that same old comfort than it did when we went to school everyday or shared a roof or job or city or socio-familial dynamics.

Nothing can be the same in an ever expanding, ever changing social universe. And nothing will be.

These effects compound themselves based on levels of introversion and extroversion; or maybe we could measure it in outgoing-ness versus reserved…-ness. The more outgoing are like a huge star or imposing planet like Jupiter, where the shy-er of us might even register as something that might not even be its own planet like poor old Pluto.

Unlike the universe, we don’t live long enough to expand far enough away that all functional heat and light leaves entirely, but the effects can feel the same at times.

For the more socially energized, keeping their social solar system vibrant, bustling, and filled with satellites and planets is second nature.

For some like myself who have a social side, but are more prone to alone time — I sometimes look at my own social life like I imagine the night sky over the course of a Cold Death or Big Rip of the universe.

When I was in more forced social stages of life, it was like those pictures of the night sky in the Mojave desert; inconceivably colorful, bright and speckled like a giant paintbrush and speckled the black canvas above. Most of all, lined with the distant strokes of the Milky Way, signifying the promise of something more out there.

Today, I might sit down in an open field of my own thoughts at night and gaze up at the landscape of my social cosmos and it’s just a lot darker.

There are still plenty of specks of light twinkling, but it feels like less and less each year. The intensity they glow slowly fades when I compare memories distant and memories present. And by some perceptual sense that our human bodies don’t have that our feelings do, it’s colder.

I sit on my rock and watch it all recede and take the warmth that the idea of ‘with’ brings. And then I see I haven’t done much to the place in my own neighborhood.

When I transit to the solar systems of my friends and loved ones who have built something different with theirs; families or still booming social lives, I feel good. Then I make the long, solitary trip back by myself and it all sets in.

Even for someone more extroverted, the amount of energy to maintain it all grows until. And we all expand away. The human life cycle is fortunately different enough in that it allows us phases to build out in our observable social universe at different points in time. That’s family, if nothing else. However, there is definitely a time in between in which is feels like the expansion just carries on to infinity.

For moments, the mind catches hold of that and convinces you of a future of heat-less black. And for a sleepless night you might see the Cold Death of the Social Universe.

What Stays Personal? Thoughts on Personal Blogging

I am an endangered species – a personal blogger

The blog. A web log. In Internet years, these things have become antiquated. When blogs were new, the concept was mostly personal. You didn’t have news entities or people making a living off of the thing, people just wrote about what they wanted and put it out there. I’d wager that most anyone doing such a thing in the early days of blogging never did this with the idea of anyone else really reading it, we just did it because we could, so why not? It was the same principle as building your own website in the 90’s. You probably had nothing of worth to really share or create, or if you did, you didn’t stick with it long enough to get that good at it, but it was something cool to do online, so why not? There’s no better reason to do anything!

Closely associated with the birth of the blog were services like Xanga and Livejournal, which turned into everyone you knew having one. This was kind of an unfortunate time for the Internet. At least with Tumblr, everyone can just post stupid

Xanga - The reason why we all shouldn't share our thoughts and lives with everyone.
Xanga – The reason why we all shouldn’t share our thoughts and lives with everyone.

pictures and quotes, because as soon as most people (kids) start putting down words, it just gets messy. Either way, the public, digital diary — everyone was doing it. It’s something I’m no stranger to. I was effectively doing it with our websites at the time GTAMAC — which was a precursor to SwB Crew, and all early iterations of our SwB Crew websites were as much about us writing about whatever we wanted as they were putting our movies online.

Needless to say, as soon as I discovered you could write these entries without having to manually update .html files and upload them via ftp, I was convinced there was nothing more bitchin than that.

Basically, what I’m getting at is that I’ve been writing a personal blog for a long time. It is part of me. To me, it’d be weird if I didn’t have one. And to this day, I have no expectation of anyone ever reading anything I write and publicly nail to what is effectively the digital town square, but people do. People I know do. People that I write about do, and people I write about don’t. People that I will never see again have been characters in my writings, and people that I have to see everyday have been.

That’s kind of a tough line to walk. If you are reading this, then you likely have read something else I’ve put on here, so you know how personal I like to get. I don’t know why, exactly, but for some reason it is very comforting to me to bare all on here, and when it comes to myself, I try to, but I have to expose other people to do that. There have been dozens of occasions where I’ve hit that PUBLISH button on WordPress right before I’ve gone to sleep, with a moment of hesitation as I wonder to myself — Continue reading “What Stays Personal? Thoughts on Personal Blogging”

The HyperZone

When I turned 6 I got a Super Nintendo for my birthday. With it, came two games. Super Mario World, and an obscure F-Zero-esque space shooter called HyperZone. In my near 20 years of owning it, I’ve never beat it.

Today, my nephew came over and played SNES with me for the last time before he moves to Hawaii. He couldn’t beat the first level and I kept telling him if he keeps trying he will be able to. So he kept trying, After an hour on his own, he was beating it.

The story doesn’t end here because that game is nutsy hard, and he couldn’t quite conquer level 2. So he begged me to beat it and the next level and the next. Finally, I threw down everything I did and resolved to beat it for him. Unfortunately, he had to leave right as I was about to beat the 6th level (there are 8).

He left, but I was only more determined to keep trying for him. I can finally say that after 20 years of never beating that blasted game, I just beat HyperZone. The fact that he couldn’t be there to celebrate with me makes it a sad victory, but I couldn’t have done it without him teaching me to keep trying.

I’m going to miss that little guy, as well as my niece, as well as my sister (you don’t count, Michael, we’ve already been missing you). They are moving away in a couple days. Love you guys.