It’s Monday, and… ugh. I had a pretty lonely and frustrating weekend, with the exception of a small get together to watch the Oscars last night. Is it sad and workaholic-ish that I’m excited to go back to work just to get away from my personal life? (Except also, not excited for work because it has gotten rather stressful with far too much for me to do. I need to clone myself to have any hope of tackling my ever-growing to-do list! It seems there is no respite from stress…)
So what’s up in my personal life? Well, going through a breakup is always hard, and this one is even harder given that the main reason for our breakup was the stupid logistics of living in two different cities. It seems like such a bad reason to break up, but with no solution, what can you really do?
But beyond that, my weekends have changed from how they used to be even before I was dating Adam. Just six months ago, it wasn’t a huge deal for me to be gone during the week; I scheduled every second of my weekends with activities, so it felt like I still got my fill of social time even though it was crammed into just a few days. For the last few months, though, something intangible has changed and now it feels like I spent half the weekend sitting around doing nothing. That’s not why I live in Colorado!
As a result of being bored and lonely on weekends, I’m starting to find myself falling into some of the same terrible patterns I fell into when I lived in New York – namely, traveling to escape. This weekend, I booked a quick trip down to Mexico for some beach time. Sounds nice, right?
I am in desperate need of vacation after working till 10pm on Friday night and then plenty on Saturday and Sunday too. But the real impetus for the trip was because it’s something to do instead of sitting around trying to make plans that continually fall through. I remember feeling like this when I lived in New York, but I’m sad and frustrated to be feeling so lonely in Colorado – I never expected that there. It’s definitely not healthy for me to be booking trips just so I have something to do for the weekend, and I need to solve my loneliness problem instead of just putting a bandaid on it.
So: problem-solving time. I think, moving forward, I need to start planning things further in advance. Part of the issue is likely that I wait until Thursday/Friday to start asking around about plans, which is after the planners have already made plans (and the non-committal people won’t commit no matter when I ask). Furthermore, I think I’ve also been hurt by taking a flexible approach where we’re trying to decide at the last minute what to do and whether to join. That results in lots of flakiness and false expectations, and those really make me sad. Rather than trusting that things will come together at the last minute, I think I need to take a more active role in building the life that I want.
I’m reading a really interesting social psychology book right now called Master the Art of Quitting. (Don’t worry, work, I’m not thinking of quitting!) The first chapter drew me in with an example of a fourth year lawyer who had been doing well in her career right up until she had a change in bosses, and couldn’t seem to please the new boss. No matter what she tried, it didn’t work – and she wasted multiple years thinking that she had to stick through it instead of realizing that she was up against a brick wall. The authors make the point that our society villainizes quitting (“quitters never win and winners never quit”) to the point that it can be socially difficult to quit even if it’s the right thing to do. As someone who’s always valued goal setting and achievement, this really gave me new perspective.
Master the Art of Quitting has a lot of fascinating research around how to minimize regret in various aspects of your life. For example, did you know that the six biggest regrets of Americans, in rank order, are education, career, romance, parenting, self-improvement, and leisure? The study authors posit that opportunity breeds regret – which may be why education tops the list, since there are so many educational opportunities in the US. However, knowing those regrets is kind of useless unless you can avoid it. To that end, one of the big takeaways from the regret section is that people regret inaction more than they regret doing something, even if doing something doesn’t make them any happier in the end.
So, no more sitting around at home watching TV and just wishing things were better. (The fact that I even have to call this out as a lesson shows me how far from my true self I’ve strayed!) I need to get out and try some new things to cheer myself up – and again, this is where I need to get more proactive. If it gets to Thursday/Friday and I have no takers on plans, I’m going to start taking a chance on some local Meetup groups again. I all but stopped going to Meetup groups while I was dating Adam, simply due to time constraints, but I realized lately that I miss them – they’re a great way to get out and about instead of sitting home moping and hoping for something to happen. I’ve found that attending Meetup events is a great way to make new friends (as an extrovert, meeting new people always energizes me), and also has the side benefit of introducing me to new fun activities and places to go. Win win!
Now: time to tackle my work stressors…