Miles, not years

I’m tired. Not from a lack of sleep, though that is a factor. It’s just from wear and tear from the daily grind.

What I’d like to do is walk out the door and never come back to work. I’d then be in all sorts of money trouble, which is more immediate and more severe. Even if I won the lottery, I’d then have other problems. Not that I’d object to winning the lottery, mind you. Leaving work would solve some of the immediate problems and give me more time to solve aspects of those that remain, but it’s not a solution.

I sat at my desk this morning and though, “I’ve got to get out of here.” But I didn’t leave. Sometimes escape allows you to leave a problem behind, and sometimes the problem will follow. If work were the problem, I could escape it. It’s not, however. If anything, I’m very pleased with my work. There are frustrating aspects, to be sure, but it’s allowed me many freedoms.

So how should one act when this weariness strikes? Some accept it and practically wallow in it. Others push it away and pretend it’s not even there. I’ve tended toward the former, even though I know how destructive and counter-productive it can be. It’s one thing to examine your own feelings in an attempt to understand where they’re coming from, but it’s entirely another to let them feed back on themselves and drag you even further down.

I think it’s even more a mistake to pretend everything is fine and try to ignore feelings. Let me make a distinction, however. There’s a big difference between trying to convince yourself there’s no problem, and simply not broadcasting to everyone around you. I don’t advocate hiding one’s feelings entirely, but there’s a line one should not cross.

Let me give you an example. If I’m down in the dumps, what should I do? Pretend there’s nothing wrong and plaster a big fake smile across my face? Or should I mope around, avoid people, and not be terribly nice to be with when in the company of others? There’s a middle ground where you can acknowledge your own feelings, examine them, work through them without allowing them to consume you, while also not dragging everyone around you down. Do not go so far as sticking your head into your navel, missing the world around you, with its wonders and opportunities.

Do your work, be pleasant, and don’t avoid the company of others. That’s the way to go. Smile, but not for anyone else. Smile for yourself.

But you know what? It’s hard. It’s also worth the effort.

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4 Comments

  1. _don
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 16:36 | Permalink

    > Smile, but not for anyone else. Smile for yourself.

    And drink a lot. 😉

  2. Posted January 17, 2009 at 13:11 | Permalink

    Sounds like you’re already wise to this situation, Rick. When I get that way – usually as a result of feeling like I haven’t accomplished certain goals – I try to focus on the things I HAVE accomplished and when an opportunity arises to do something I enjoy, I take it. Even just going to a movie or re-reading a favourite book. Escape is necessary and healthy at times. It can allow you to re-focus on the current situation with a fresh perspective.

  3. Brian
    Posted January 17, 2009 at 21:31 | Permalink

    Make something you care about. For me, this can include software, a piece of furniture, a wood carving, a picture, a meal, or my daughters laugh.

  4. Debbie
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 18:28 | Permalink

    I don’t know how this happens, but the things you are going through in your life frequently seem to relate to mine. We definitely need to hang in there and hope for (and work toward) the best!

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