A month or so ago, my friend Victoria wrote a rather interesting post on “The Pursuit of The Not Boring”, as she called it. In case you missed it, you should pop over and read it… it’s a good one.
Her post hit a sensitive note for me. My worst fear is that as I have gotten older, I have not only become boring, but also a bit dumb. I have discussed this at length with a few of my friends. It makes me a bit sad that I once spent my days in Advanced Placement literature and history classes and now… I barely read the news, keep up on current events, or do activities that are remotely “cultural.” And for crying out loud, I live in New York City… the epicenter of culture in a way, with some of the most incredible restaurants, access to the best museums, and so many exciting + cool things to do every night. Adding to that, my grammar isn’t all that great and I had to look at a map a few times to remember where exactly Tulum was on a map of Mexico. My intelligence peaked in high school, so to speak. This depresses me.
In thinking about it a bit more, the problem is that once upon a time we spent 8 hours a day learning. And then another two or three at home, doing our homework… continuing and reinforcing everything learned in the classroom. Now, I spend ten hours a day at work, where I feel pretty great about myself if I manage to set aside time to read a few business-related articles. My nights are comprised of (usually work-related) dinners and/or cocktails, and then coming home to do more work — scheduling posts, responding to emails, finishing up anything I wasn’t able to get done at the office. It doesn’t ever end and it feels like I am becoming not only boring (all I do is work, so all I talk about is work) but also, a little bit dumber every day.
I think one of the keys in what I just wrote is the whole… “It doesn’t end.” It doesn’t. But in thinking about it more (especially while on vacation) I think that is probably always going to be the case. When you work for a start-up, or any job where your team is lean and there is a lot of work, it will never end. That’s just a fact of life. There is always going to be work to be done, ideas to be had… project plans to write. And when you have a blog, well, the same is true. My inbox will probably never be fully in check and I will always be a little bit behind.
But I realized over the course of last week’s trip that I need to be better about making it end. Doing a lot of the things I talked about here but also taking the time to live a little bit more, to find the time to let myself actually be inspired (frankly, I’ve been so tired + burnt out that I just feel uninspired and out of ideas.)
The first thing is that (like Victoria) I have signed up for French classes… one night a week for two hours. I’m really, really excited about this. One of my goals is to be able to travel to France and speak the language enough to be conversational. I don’t aspire to become fluent (though that would be really cool – we’ll see how far it goes.) Once French classes end in February, I am planning on taking a weekly (French… sorry, I’m obsessed) cooking class. So essentially, I will be setting one night a week aside to do something for me… something I can learn from. Not an overly aggressive goal, but one that I think will make a difference. I also need to stop doing the things that I just don’t really want to do. I’ve gotten a lot better at this over the past year, but I still find myself doing things I don’t really want to do.
Victoria and I had a really nice brunch yesterday (we didn’t talk about work at all, I should note) and she said something that really stuck with me… “If you feel resentful about doing something, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” Plain and simple. I often find myself leaving the office and “needing” to stop by this press preview or that blogger event. After a long day I’m usually tired and just totally sapped for energy… but I still find myself scurrying out to go to this thing and that thing and feeling downright resentful about it. But why? Truthfully, I think there is a bit of fear of missing out (Instagram is dangerous as it always makes these events feel so much more fun than they actually are…) and also a part of me feels guilty not going. There is this little voice inside me telling me that I should feel lucky to be invited to this stuff and that if I don’t go, I’m missing out on some great opportunity.
Blah. The next time I feel like I am going to something because I have to (not because I want to), I’m just going to politely decline. It’s that simple. Besides the French classes, I also plan on getting back into yoga, working my way through the Platt 101, going to more museums + galleries and learning a bit more about art. In clearing my schedule from the things I don’t want to do, I’m making room for the things that I am actually passionate about.
What do you think? Do you ever feel boring? Dumb? Out of touch with current events? I think the first step is realizing it… and the next step is doing something about it.
Cheers to leading a selective but interesting life. 😉