December 19, 2008

A great big ‘poor me’ complaint that you’d probably be better off skipping

I’m pretty down since getting back from Hawaii. I mean, I know Hawaii is way more exciting than New York… but it’s not just that. I’ve always been more of a suburban girl, but with all my friends in the city and seemingly all the high-powered high-status jobs here, it would feel like kind of a downgrade to move elsewhere. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t sound too snotty.

But then I get comments like this while talking with one of my friends who works in banking: “I’m off work today. ‘Off work,’ even though I’ve already been called three times and worked for an hour and it’s only noon. That’s why I’m glad I’m going to Peru. It’s a third world country, so there’s no way I can check my e-mail.” Boyfriend has said something similar – one time when he needed a break, he told his boss he was going camping in the mountains where there was no electricity. Pathetic, huh? It’s so true though – we live to work instead of vice versa.

Lately I just feel very lonely. I work long hours, and when I’m not working, I’m trying to see Boyfriend during the few hours he’s not working. My friends have kind of fallen by the wayside – when I was traveling, I was only home a weekend or two a month, so we didn’t get into a regular schedule of getting together. When I was home, half the time I just wanted to lie around and be lazy, so I’d cancel whatever plans we did make. Now, I’m just at the point where I really hate calling people, because I don’t want to harass them. Stupid? Yes. My fault? Yes again.

I know you’re all going to point out that I run marathons, but somehow, it just seems like I don’t really do much. I work. I cook and eat. I watch crappy TV shows or read. I go to sleep. Even working out has kind of fallen off my radar, except when I have a marathon planned, and then it’s 4-5 hours of cardio and nothing more until the next one.

When I was little, I was highly scheduled. Not because I had a pushy mom at all (on the contrary – she was often trying to convince me to take a break from my activities), but because I loved being busy. I would go to school, stay after for whatever club meeting was that day, go straight from there to ballet class or my voice lesson, eat dinner in the car on the way to rehearsal for whatever play/musical I was in at the time, do my homework in my downtime at rehearsal, and get home with just enough time to change my AIM away message to “sleep” before doing just that. (In those days, I was a compulsive away messager, putting up my entire list of activities for the day so you always knew where to find me. Today, I shudder to think that kids might be posting their lives online like that). Anyway, I loved it. I’ve always been so much happier when I’m busy and highly scheduled, and right now I’m just not. And my lack of activities/to-dos has made it harder for me to get done even the few things I do have to do.

The end of December is always a time for reflection for me as I start to think about goals for the new year. In 2009, I really want to transform my life, and I’ve decided to set one goal for each of the major areas of my life. My ideas aren’t fully fleshed out yet, but here goes:

1. Family – call my dad at least every other day. My mom and I have always been very close – I usually talk to her multiple times a day – but my dad and I speak very infrequently, which I know makes him sad. We’ve had our differences in the past (actually, I stopped speaking to him from November 2007 to May 2008 because of a major blowout), but I want to strengthen our relationship now.

2. Friends – haven’t figured out the specifics around this, but something about staying in better touch with people and making an effort to see people more often. I’d really like to quantify this with a ‘get together with at least one friend a week’ sort of thing, but with the unpredictability of consulting, it’s hard to do that. Will keep thinking.

3. Boyfriend – this is going to seem strange, but I actually want to try to see him less. Our relationship is going very well, but I’m finding myself relying on him more than I think I should. He’s always the first or second (sometimes it’s my mom) person I call with any news, but I’ve been abandoning my friends partially because I’m so content with him. That’s a must-fix.

4. Work – there is a lot I want to fix here, but I haven’t decided on specific goals yet. Today is my mid-year consensus meeting (all the senior practitioners sit around and assign ratings to the junior practitioners), and I’ll be speaking with my counselor in a few weeks about my strengths and development needs, so I’ll prob wait till then to figure stuff out.

5. Running – run 1000 miles and complete as many marathons as necessary to stay on track to run all 50 states by my 25th birthday (July 10, 2010). I’m going to be sure to log all my miles (yeah, see that status tracker in the right sidebar that hasn’t been updated in eons? That’s not happening in 2009), and also try to run more frequently during the week so I don’t get injuries from never running and then suddenly doing 26.2.

6. Working out – in 2009, I’m going to get some form of intentional exercise in at least 6 days a week. That gives me one day of leeway for when things are really tough. But otherwise, there is no excuse for me not to even drop and do 10 pushups before bed or wakeup and do a quick round of 8 Minute Abs. I think if I just make it a requirement to do some form of exercise, hopefully the intensity and duration will follow.

I actually feel a bit better after writing that. And then I glance out the window, and see the snow coming down, and want to call my friend Barry and tell him I don’t feel like going to my company holiday party anymore (it’s tonight, and I invited him as my guest). And I want to e-mail all my girlfriends and tell them I don’t feel like hosting the holiday baking party I had planned for tomorrow afternoon that was my attempt to reconnect. And I just want to lie around and watch TV and be a hermit and do nothing.

I suck.


24 thoughts on “A great big ‘poor me’ complaint that you’d probably be better off skipping”

  1. Girl, I know what you mean. I have moments where all I want to do is reconnect and be busy and have things going on, so I fill up my calendar. Next thing I know, I want to cancel everything and not care and stay home on the couch. I don’t know where that comes from. I find that when I make myself go do things even when I don’t feel like it, I usually find later that I’m glad I did. And if I’m not, then I cut out early to go home and get in my pj’s! I’m especially struggling with it right now since I’m no crutches. I don’t want to let them ruin my holidays so I’m still making plans, but then I also don’t want to go out because of how hard it is to get around. I hope you have fun at your upcoming activities AND that you find some time just for you to enjoy staying in and taking it easy.

  2. I suck too. All I want to do is catch up on sleep, but I have all this work on my plate and friends I never see, etc, etc.

    I hear you. Good luck with it all. Remember to enjoy the holidays.

  3. Sometimes, you need a little break from life. And hide out. It’s ok. Your friends and family will be there for you when you’re ready to reconnect. Sorry to hear that you’ve been in this funk. It’s probably post Hawaiian vacation withdrawls! But you got some good thing planned for 2009. Which is great!

    Have a great time at your company holiday party tonight! At least you guys are having one. Ours got cancelled!

  4. hang in there girlie – sorry you are in this funk but they definitely happen to all of us. just try to enjoy everything you have going on right now and then regroup for 2009. you have some awesome goals, but dont forget “laura time” is a necessity also 🙂

  5. Been there. Felt that. Have a t-shirt. From my viewpoint, it’s a perfectly normal state. It’ll pass. At least you can identify it and reflect on it. some can’t even do that. Hang in there.

    I’ll run with ya when you run in Nebraska!

  6. I know exactly what you mean.I do the same thing…make plans because I truly do want to hang out, but get so worn out by the time said event rolls around all I want to do is sit at home on the couch. Kudos for writing down your goals, that should set you up to ring in ’09 on the right foot!

  7. I think reading your post and reading everyone’s comments.. that balance might just be the name of the game for you…balance in all areas rather than all out then complete halt.

    I cold be wrong but for me I knew I’d found the right guy when I could share the good and bad wit hhim first because he was the one that mattered most. It doesn’t make your friends less important or you less strong to know that you have someone who cares in your corner.

  8. Laura,
    It’s always difficult to come home from a vacation, and particularly from Hawaii to cold and snowy New York. This funk may pass in a couple of days.

    Having said, that, I think you are seeing the the glass 1/2 empty. How about all the things you do well? Being succesful in your work, your romantic relationships, your marathoning, your relationships with your mom… These are all important. Things are not black and white, there is lots of gray and this is where you are at the moment. This is where most are – some things are going well, others are not.
    I wish you luck with the changes you want to make. Mostly, I wish you to be content with who you are, no matter what!

  9. Hey Laura, you don’t suck, but I know how you feel. Sometimes when things don’t feel right it just seems easier to say “I give up. Let me crawl in bed and hide.” I know, because I do that sometimes too.

    I totally agree with your goals/ideas for 2009. Several of them are things I want to work on. I am trying to think of my new year’s resolution(s) within the next few days b/c we are going to post them in our organization’s monthly enewsletter. Scary…

    Trust me, you’ll feel better once you’re at the holiday party and baking away with your friends. Happy weekending!

  10. I can relate.

    I’ve got a lot of self-improvement I want for next year and mainly they reside around family and friends.

    Good for you for lying it all out there. They all sound realistic and attainable!

  11. Intentional exercise I love that idea. Even if it is only a few minutes.

    My #1 goal for the days leading up to 2009 is to get injury free.

    All your goals sound great! I like your categories.

  12. Dude, you’re the furthest from suckiosity.

    Great goals, great support network to tap into as well ;-). You have an entire internets to rely on as an accountability party :-).

  13. I know what you are going through. This is something that happened to me a couple years out of college and like you traveling all time, etc. It is hard to stay connected and feel connected especially in a big city and when you have such a time consuming job. This will pass and if they are friends they will understand! It’s cool to chill at home but make sure you get out there once in awhile! Good luck figuring it all out.

  14. It’s weird how much better things can feel after just writing down what you intend to do. Don’t let this time of year get you down, you seem to be taking on all aspects of your life at once, I’ve tried that and it can be really overwhelming! Enjoy the Holidays!!

    I’m not kidding…my word verification is “phalic.”


  15. Laura,
    AHH! I know what you are going through. At least youve managed to keep the blog going..that was something I couldnt even handle anymore. Lately I have been routinely going to sleep before 9 o clock. Its been ridiculous!! But I have been working out quite abit (not running tho..haha) and just helping my Mom out around the house..oh and not to mention moving every 4 weeks. Take it from me…definitely take time to patch up the relationship with Dad.That was one thing I was so grateful for when my Dad passed…that I never said “I should of….” “there was so much more I wanted to say..” etc. I managed in the last 5 years to make everything good with him…and when he passed…I had this calmness over me because of it. Can’t wait to see you in Disney..although we’ve talked about running the half marathon as bandits and just enjoying ourselves on Sunday? !? should e mail me so we can make definite plans to meet up ( hang in there girl!!

  16. I would say to you that is part of getting older. It is hard to go from college, where you are constantly surrounded by friends and people your age, to adult life, everyone now has many responsibilities and very little time to just hang out.

    I used drive myself crazy trying to make sure I always hung out with my college and high school friends (by going to bars) and did certain things, because that is what I thought I should do, when I must preferred to do other things or nothing at all. And then I asked myself one day, why am I forcing myself to do things I don’t really want to do? Now, I do what I want and while I may not see my friends as much anymore, they are still my friends and I have other people in my life from all the other activities I do.

    My suggestion to you is to try to get involved in some other activities on the weekends, where you will be surrounded by like-minded people. You could always volunteer (see New York Cares) or join a running club, for example.

  17. Hey! Great blog! Did you really go from running 2 miles to running marathons in less than a year?! How inspirational! I LOVE health/fitness blogs so I’ll definitely check in more often 🙂

  18. I second, third and fourth what the crew here has said – it happens to LOTS of us! I loved the AIM away message addiction reference – total flashback for me, too.

    I find being social and keeping up with friends to be similar to excersizing – sometimes you plan to do, and it’s great. Sometimes you plan to do it and bail, sometimes regretting that. Sometimes you plan for it, MAKE YOURSELF GO, and thank yourself later, knowing that you can cut it short if it really sucks! And balance of friends and alone time is like needing to get cardio and strength training taken care of – both important, balanced/spaced properly!

    As for the boyfriend thing – been there, too. I found when I took a step back our relationship got better, and we got over a difficult hectic time in life that way (as a side note, he eventually proposed and we’re now stuck in the awesome fun/nightmare of wedding planning). So if you think that’s something you need to try – I recommend it. 🙂

    Take care, and keep us posted… lots of healthy change starts with writing a list!


    PS – a week or so with very little vitamin A foods seemed to do the trick – or at least a serious placebo effect took place!

  19. Hmmmm, “suck” comments. OK, I’m reverting back to my childhood years. Ready?! “There is no gravity, the earth sucks.” “Vacuum cleaners suck.” OK, corny, but I hope you got the Grinch smile at least! You don’t “suck.” You’re bummed because you were in Hawaii, warm and sunny, relaxing, and away from the “rat race.” Now you’re back in the real world of work, crappy weather, and too much overpriced holiday cheer. Like gas, it too shall pass, and all will be well in the world of Lauraland. I met you back in October during the Hartford Marathon, as you may or may not remember. You helped me get through 5 tough miles just by being yourself and running and chatting with me. I found you to be an inspiration, and still continue to read your blog. You are not a “sucky” person. You are a corporate burned-out, over achieving, perhaps ADD or OCD person.I’m 52, and can tell you that not always being in contact with your friends is ok, and not always being a “social butterfly” is also ok. I won’t even try to give you relationship advice, since you’re young enough to be my daughter…lol. BUT, please do say “Hi” to your Dad, tell him and your mom that you love them, and appreciate them. Same thing with boyfriend and anyone else you care about. Happy Holidays Laura, and go watch “A Christmas Story.” You think you have it bad?! Check out Ralphie’s problems!!

  20. I agree with what a lot of people said. The minute you feel unhappy or out of it, your out of balance. Take a look at what you do, whats important, and balance based on that. remember when youre looking at balance to look at how many hours are in a week, so you know you’re not doing too much. And don’t forget about sleep:)

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