This has been a difficult six months. Covid19 has ruined the lives of us all. Fortunately, there were no sick people in my family. But, there were acquaintances and friends who more or less overcame the encounter with this virus. Unfortunately, one friend lost the battle with this disease.
In addition to my physical health, the corona at times led me to a very mentally unhealthy state. For someone for whom cycling, the open road, the wind, the mountains and wandering are food for life, the days spent in isolation were mentally very harmful. Suffice it to say that I didn’t write anything in months, looked at any photos, or planned a trip. By any means, this year was a complete waste of time.
Unfortunately, we have all witnessed that the mental health of all of us was very easily sacrificed for the sake of maintaining the physical one.
But what ultimately prevailed in my psychological sinking was definitely the impossibility of the usual rhythm. My daily routine is anything but staying outdoors or in nature. I do a stressful job that involves hours spent indoors. Part of my daily routine was to blow the valves off at the end of the day by riding my bike. At least once a month, and sometimes much more often, I gave myself a weekend spent in the wild without much contact with civilization or everyday problems. And finally, twice a year afford what I consider to be the essence; going to a new place, off the grid, wandering, discovering and enjoying the beauties of nature.
Life in Serbia certainly has qualities and positive sides, but as the years go by, I find it increasingly difficult to place them as a counterweight to the madness and nonsense that life in Serbia brings with it. One of them was a series of police weekends in which it was forbidden to leave the house. It was strictly prohibited to go out, including short trips to nature. Measures imposed by incompetent and corrupt governments were tightly controlled. Although some risked paying high fines and staying in custody in exchange for weekends away, I determined that I should stay in.
I spent two months in isolation, without cycling, travelling to new places, even without walking on the relatively isolated hills and valleys around our home.
After two months, I concluded that I had gained 15 kilograms and that my mental state is worst than ever. I reluctantly admit that in five decades of my life, I have not learned to eat healthy. Unless I spend enormous amounts of calories on activities. Also, I reluctantly admitted that business and family successes, an orderly life, a good job, a comfortable home, children, material security and everything I worked hard for in the previous decades are not worth as much as they should if I erase cycling and nature from the equation. Despite everything I achieved, I felt empty.
My mental health was weak. I think a lot of things were seen on me, even without the fact that there was almost no part of the wardrobe I could fit in. So no one was surprised when I said that I had enough. Even if it means imprisonment, I can no longer spend days and nights inside.
Fortunately, a good part of Serbia has reached the same point as me. After mass demonstrations, curfew measures were lifted. I spent June and July trying to regain at least a part of the lost strength, to lose at least a few kilograms, but above all to improve my psychological profile.
In August, I felt like I was ready for a big ride. I was wrong, but I somehow pushed 65 kilometres of canyons and mountains in the very south of Serbia. Honestly, I think my right knee still hurts from that ride even today, but the views of the beautiful landscapes of this almost absolutely desolate part of the country triggered back some little switches in my brain. Today, two months later, I can say that I am on a path to get out of the depression. Depression I have plunged into by ignoring my self.
I am still on my way out. With age, almost nothing is simpler despite the accumulated experience. I am on a long journey of reviewing and adjusting numerous decisions and habits. Although there are days when it seems to me that I could not choose worst times for change, I know that I will not give up until I can look to the future with a smile. Whether that future is full of viruses or not.
Life is Beautiful!
Anno Domini 2020