Curiouser and Curiouser

I’ve been avoiding writing 🙂 As you can tell by the time distance between my posts. And my journal can tell by the shortness and quality of my entries. When that happens it usually means I’m either overwhelmed or I don’t want to learn something about myself or circumstances that usually is something I can change — with effort.

I’ve been tired from work and using it as an excuse to socially retreat a bit (or a lot). And I’ve been really trying hard not to think about the fact that I moved out here 6 months ago — well, here geographically to my shithole temp housing, not to the house I have now. Still though 6 months of the unfamiliar on the day to day experience. And not a single solitary phone number of a budding friendship to show for it. Hold that thought.

Image of watery beach at sunset with browns, greys, blues and pinks and an almost full moon as a pin prick in the sky

I was on a call with a friend earlier today from my prior home. She is considering a new job among other things and was thinking that she’s old enough now to just do what she wants. She’s turned down a couple of job offers after getting some details on things she doesn’t want to compromise. Which is awesome. But it’s left her in a place of realizing she has to figure out exactly what it is that she wants that will make a new job feel better than her current one. And then made the comment about how as you get older, it seems so much easier to feel comfortable with the idea that “I’m going to do what I want” and yet figuring out what the hell that is seems so hard. I said it’s because it’s “more”.

When you’re younger, it’s easy to let “them” tell you what you want in a way that it feels like it is in fact what you want. Big salary, particular title, living in a particular place, having kids, being married — whatever your environment prizes as success or even inoffensive normalcy. When you’re older and have tried a bunch of those things and felt how little they actually make you happy or satisfied, I think it’s easier to know those things aren’t the only choice and sometimes actively detour you from a path to happiness. But when you remove all of the superficial or societal opinions about what you should be doing with your life, everything is possible. And that “everything” can seem daunting to sift through as “what I want to do”.

Image: Black around a lit stage of neon stick figures walking and the Pet Shop Boys singing, in Philly; things I want: to go to awesome concerts

Once I figured that out and tried on things for what I might want to do, I found myself still falling into a pattern of needing to measure success at it. Which is a little bit I think what that sort of gross thought that I must be failing at settling into my new life here if I don’t have a single solitary phone number of anyone I know here. That thought leads to me feeling like going out to meet people is now an obligation, not an experience or adventure. And I feel less and less like doing it, and, instead I feel more and more exhausted by all the things. Which feeds into this not so charming circle of not getting out and having experiences and meeting people, and being a little down and low energy, and not enjoying my nonwork time so that work feels like a bigger slog than it is, leaving me tired and super low energy so that I look at the self-imposed obligation of going out and just want to curl up on the couch under blankets instead. So then I can reflect that it’s been 6 months and I have nothing to show for it. Which is frankly just total BS.

I’d like to remove “success” and “failure” from my mindset entirely. I’d like to instead be present and focus on the actual experience that I’m having. Whether it’s being out with a group of strangers for dinner — how is the bar or restaurant, would I come back, am I meeting anyone who has interesting stories to tell or experiences to suggest, how do I feel throughout, did I like it, do I want to do it again or was it enough to do just once and move on? You know when I can’t be present to that kind of experience? It’s when I’m too busy checking it off of my obligations to do list and measuring whether I think it’s successful. Feeling obligations and a need to succeed outright kills my curiosity. It certainly kills my ability to be in-the-moment.

Image of a women in the foreground with Philly buildings in the background; gratuitous pic of me before the concert – doing what I want to do

And when I’m really honest about what it is I want out of my life at this point, it’s to be in-the-moment and have a bunch of experiences with new people and new places. I’d like to stop amping myself up that an evening out or a weekend drive to a new place has to be anything more than just an evening out or a day in a new place. Let it be what it is. Be present in the place and with whomever is around me. Ratchet down my internal-driven pressures. I made them up after all. Get back to feeling the terror of trying something new but also enjoying the sweetness of experiencing the new thing or place or person. It seems like the ultimate way to ensure I’m not “shoulding” all over my life. Be here. Be now.

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