As previously announced, my days of flying from England to Florida are over. I had a good run, but I’m done.
I’m not finding it particularly hard. I’ve unsubscribed from all the WDW- and UOR-related YouTube channels. I’ve unfollowed all the Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Instagram feeds. It’s like Disney and Universal never existed. Except for the epic amounts of merch covering every surface of my house.
(Stuart, sadly, has only just begun his journey and is constantly talking about wanting to go back.)
But what now? I’ve obsessed about trips to Orlando for over five and a half years, when you people sucked me into your enablers cult.
With 2022 nearly gone, too, my mind is naturally turning to the future and what I plan to do. Here are my thoughts.
My plan to win a £2.5 million house has not worked out and I need to make my peace with the fact that I have two and a half years on my current lease and I should (re)make it my home. So Mission #1 is to give my apartment some love. Paul is coming over on Saturday to start the process with a huge clear-out. (I love throwing stuff out. It’s so cathartic.)
A Big Decision I need to make is whether or not to re-open the study; I used it for in-person teaching, but closed it last year when I finally admitted to myself that those days were gone. It’s now a bare room, filled with junk that keeps the rest of the apartment tidier. Because of the layout, and this weird thing I started doing when I moved here of propping all the doors all the rooms fully open, closing off the study has made the place feel a bit claustrophobic. But it’s also saved money on heating: it’s a whole room that I don’t heat at all. I still haven’t decided whether to start teaching in person again. I reckon I have COVID PTSD and I’ve become fearful of being around other people. Getting sick during my June trip and after my December trip (one COVID, one RSV) hasn’t made me any more inclined to let diseased children into my home. But I also worry about the mental health implications of spending days and days where I never talk to another human being in person.
The primary reason for stopping my trips to Orlando is money. The economy in the UK is the worst I’ve known it in my adult lifetime. I’m also somewhat aware that Calvin is 12 years old and his life-expectancy is, erm, 12 years and I’m not sure I want to be spending time away from him. So I need to figure out a whole new way to relax and vacation.
What to do with my day-to-day free time that used to be spent planning my WDW schedule in military detail? The answer, I think, came to me last night when I started watching a series of YouTube videos about exoplanets. I need to remind myself of the things I really enjoy doing. And then do them. Like learning about exoplanets. @JJT recently tweeted about the B&N hardback book sale, and I joked about wanting to rush out to buy loads more books to add to my beautiful pile of unread ones. No, I’m not going to suddenly start reading them. (Quite the opposite, actually. I’m going to stack at least some of them up and donate them to the local library.) Rather, it reminded me that I often do nothing because doing the thing I want to do is blocked by guilt at not doing the thing I think I should be doing. There’s a reason I haven’t read those books. I don’t want to. I thought I did. But I don’t. (I say the same to my students when I recommend reading to them. It’s fine if you don’t do it. But realise that this means that you’re just not into that subject. So don’t pretend to yourself that you are and apply to college to major in it.)
So doing more stuff that I like. And less stuff that I don’t. I have specifically in mind the consumption of news. This is actually something I’ve already started. I realised that my apparent addiction to news was really bad for my mental health. It made me angry and fearful and gave me, I think, a distorted view of reality. I justified it sometimes by persuading myself that I needed to be well-informed. But why? The harsh reality is that there’s almost nothing I can do (or am willing to do) about almost all of it. We have the government we have. I can try to vote it out of office in two years. In the meantime, there’s no use in getting angry at it. Putin is a monster, but I am powerless to defeat him. Best leave him under the bed and forget about him.
2022 saw a resurgence in the quality of a number of my friendships. These need to be worked on and maintained. Stuart and Anthony live 15 miles away. We don’t need to plan a trip to Orlando for two years just to meet up. We could do it more often. Paul lives just over a mile away. We’ve been good at hanging out. We should do it more.
If I do decide to go away on holiday without Calvin, it is Paris that’s calling me. Yes, DLP is a thing and I probably want to go back. but the city itself has so much to offer. I want to spend a day — maybe two? — in the Louvre. I’ve never visited it properly. It’s enormous. I so enjoyed my visit to the Royal Ontario Museum 2021. And the Louvre is three times bigger. Then there’s the d’Orsay and . . .
What are your plans / goals / ideas for 2023?