This cycle was a recovery cycle. At the end of Cycle 8 I came up with the idea of labeling each cycle as being either manic (M), depressive (D), recovering (R), or normal (N) on the “My 108s” page. Of the 14 cycles I’ve recorded 4 were normal, 3 recovering, 3 depressive, and 4 manic. Things are “normal” to me roughly 29% of the time. The rest of the time I’m experiencing some kind of transition away from or towards “normal”. I mean… I suppose, mathematically speaking, normal isn’t normal! I haven’t felt consistently normal since the beginning of Cycle 5 (May 1st, 2020). Thinking about it now, has anyone felt normal since the start of the pandemic?
I really wanted Cycle 9 to be the beginning of maintaining normalcy kind of permanently. That’s why I titled that cycle “So it Begins…” I suppose I need to ask myself a question. What do I mean when I say normal?
Sitting here reflecting on “normal” with data is making me realize that normal is a goal I have. It’s obviously not what’s actually normal, it’s what I want to be normal. I have a page called “My Flow” (currently Ver 1) which is supposed to have what an ideal day looks like along with the tools I use. An ideal day for me is essentially getting enough sleep, having a morning routine, spending time during the day working on my projects, leisure in the evening, and a nighttime routine that sets me up for a good night’s sleep. Life obviously throws you curveballs that get in the way. Since 2020 my primary source of income has been a regular curveball because it involves traveling out of the country and then a mandatory hotel quarantine when I come back. This started in Cycle 6 (the end of 2020). Between the job, the pandemic, the George Floyd Rebellion, and my energy cycles it’s no wonder that I haven’t had a “normal” cycle since Cycle 4 (beginning of 2020).
I’m also realizing that “My Flow” is one-dimensional. It’s a goal for normal, but it doesn’t include any insight for when I’m in a state of transition. These are things that I should add to “My Flow” along with tips about bringing myself back to “normal”.
Balancing My “Self”
I titled Cycle 10 “Just Casey” because I’m working on combining two personas I created, miltownkid ZEE and Casey Abbott Payne. When I created miltownkid it was just the virtual representation of myself. When I created a viral video miltownkid took on a life of his own and overshadowed whoever existed before miltownkid. Casey Abbott Payne was created in an attempt to fight miltownkid more than balance myself out. During Cycle 8 I retired miltownkid ZEE and at the end of Cycle 8 I decided to retire Casey Abbott Payne as well.
I was supposed to be reflecting on these two personas in Cycle 9, but that never really happened. I tried to do it during this cycle but… it also never really happened.
Bringing Back miltownkid ZEE
The day I wrote that brief section titled “Balancing My Self” I ended up having a long conversation with a friend who is working on creating a mockumentary about his life in Taiwan. He said he wanted me to be in it. The conversation pivoted to sharing deep insights from my early years on YouTube and how creating a persona can quickly start to impact who you are and the lines between what is a “character” and what isn’t the character become blurry. Talking this all out made me want to reboot miltownkid ZEE, but this time with some clear boundaries about where “I” end and miltownkid begins. I don’t have all of the answers about how I’m going to do that and what I’m going to do with miltownkid, but they will evolve as time goes on.
One of the best effects of creating these 108-day cycles is that I recover from manic episodes WAY faster than I used to. Having a planned time to “restart” life three times a year has been amazing for me. The real goal was to recover and recovery happened.