Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Getting Out of the Funk

The only local blogger I follow, Jeffery Simpson, posted a link to Rivers Cuomo's blog (from Weezer). Rivers' introspective look at unhappiness and the creative process got Jeffery thinking about what he needs to do to be happy, leading him to a number of resolution-like ideas for lifestyle changes.

So why link to a couple of bummed-out dudes in Lifestylism? Because I think these kinds of course corrections are essential in creating the lives we want. My mental space hasn't been great this summer, so I have been thinking along similar lines. When anyone goes through an extended period of not feeling happy, they start looking around for things to change. Do I need to quit my job, move, drop a course, take a course, do something creative, make a bunch of to-do lists, spend more time with friends, or just relax? Maybe all of those things, but you don't just want change for change's sake.


tfoxfan said...

I've been thinking about that last statement, "But you don't just want to change for change's sake", for a few days.

I struggle with this in exactly the opposite way you express it. I often exchange the word 'change' for 'routine'. I know it's a little jostled if you directly exchange it with the word change in your sentence, but you get my drift. I think familiarity and comfort have their place. But change is a force. People either choose it or resist it. Essentially, it is a force that needs to be reconciled. If staying the same perpetuates ongoing frustration, change is neccessary - even if for change's sake. One just needs to be objective (or completely spontaneous if one is willing to live with the potential mess) about the process and then the decision to make change will present itself. Clearly.

I am plagued by the routine of life (mine and others)- it is my greatest weakness and also my greatest point of pride. My measure of pride, and ultimate success, is calculated by desire to experience uncomfortable situations. Can I do it? Can I develop myself it this situation? Can I feel let down by myself and thus, make myself better the next time around? Can I let myself make a mistake and laugh at it (or shake my head) later on?

I am uncomfortable with school now, because it's new. But, after a year, it will be synonymous with my person. That's when I have to question if it is still a place of change versus a routine that has momentum, but not success (according to my measure, of course).

Jeremy said...

It is true that sticking with a routine for routine's sake isn't the best strategy either. Interesting way to look at it from the perspective of personal growth. Doug Manning says sometimes that if you don't make change happen, change will happen to you.

You mention being uncomfortable with school because it's new. I think another aspect of school is that it's a time of reduced choice -- your activities are more structured, with specific deadlines and schedules. It's more like work than what you've been doing for the past eight months...no wonder it's not entirely comfortable.

tfoxfan said...

I'll think about what Doug Manning said. Hmmm...

I need to mention that I'm really uncomfortable in school right now. I wonder if it will ever become synonymous with me and my comfort zone. The last two assignments have been excruciating! I think I'm on the right track, but I'm not. The feedback is difficult to take - a form of change. I'm used to taking wee amounts of constructive feedback. I was comfortable and good at my job, right? I'm not comfortable with only critical feedback - a form of change. I want positive feedback - you know, the feedback sandwich - and it's not there.

You're right about being in an awkward stage after 8 months of 'self-realization'. I also know I will continue to choose school, despite its seemingly insurmountable difficulty. It is the newest change I continue to choose. Maybe it did choose me.

Jeremy said...

School is interesting in terms of our ongoing discussion of dreams. School is more like a set of obligations and opportunities that match a set of ongoing values, rather than a dream in the pure sense. It's enabling, rather than a goal in and of itself.

Doug's also wrote about this potential conflict between our dreams and our values or true selves:


"This movie highlights a common conflict for people who proactively pursue a life. It would be nice if life construction was as simple as commonly heard advice like 'follow your dreams'. Unfortunately, some things we dream to do don’t wear well. They conflict with our natural inclinations."

More on this later...