Many people measure their lives by their mealtimes. Breakfast is the kickoff, lunch is the major break in the day, and dinner is a daily debrief and a closing out. This can be a good way to psychologically parse out the day and mentally check off the phases of our days as they go by. But for me, it’s more about the drinks and mainly a function of alcohol and caffeine. Coffee is a key psychological ingredient for me. It kicks off the day, is medicinal, and marks a transition. Water and other hydrating drinks follow and serve to wash down lunch. Tea in the afternoon marks the transition to the final phase of the working day. Last are the evening cocktail, wine with dinner, and a nightcap, during which I officially close out the day and my time is my own (more on that later). Though it is not conscious or intentional on my part, the drinking phases of my day are a critical aspect of how my days are structured and measured. This has good aspects as well as harmful ones.
I’ve given notice at my job, but I have to be honest—moving on scares me. When I find circumstances or people that feel special to me, I feel like I want to hold onto that forever. Part of me thinks that if I have something good, I shouldn’t make any changes in my life. But there comes a time when I feel I have given all the energy I’m able to give and have explored everything I’m able to explore and need some new or different challenges. That involves coming to terms with the fact that I won’t be an expert in the next thing I try. I won’t have a day-to-day presence in the lives of the people I’ve worked with for many years.
This is all true, but I’ll also have the opportunity to become an expert at something else and become part of other people’s lives, even if I become a memory to the people in my life right now. We all experience changes in our lives—big changes and little changes. The effects of some of these are hard to anticipate and can be challenging to fully comprehend and assimilate.
We all have those days. Days when we wake up, get our coffee, sit down, and don’t feel like doing anything else. We begin to feel guilty, but inertia is fully in control. We may struggle with the battle between our need to do nothing and our responsibilities all day long. Why does this happen? It can happen because we had a terrible night’s sleep or because we drank too much the night before. It can happen because we’re upset about something and our emotions have immobilized us. It can also happen when we’ve been stressed or overwhelmed for an extended period of time and our bodies and psyches are shutting us down to reboot and recover. Whatever the reason, we should give this feeling the space it needs. We should consider why we feel like this and learn from it. On many, if not most, of the days when we feel like this, we should succumb to the feeling and go with it. We should veg out and give ourselves fully to going into standby mode. Our bodies and minds are often wiser than we are. When they speak so forcefully, we should listen.
Do you ever go through periods feeling that you’re just not satisfied?
We all have times when we’re not happy about the way our lives are going. Everything may be fine, or even good, but life can still seem mundane or ordinary. When no milestones are happening, when we’re in the doldrums between vacations, or when there’s nothing but routine, it can seem as if our lives aren’t special or extraordinary. Life satisfaction doesn’t mean settling for a life that is less than what you want it to be—it means accepting and living in the moment to the fullest. It means making the most of what you have while being open to opportunities and potential change. It means acknowledging and being grateful for the good things in your life and having a plan for addressing the aspects of your life that aren’t what you want. Life satisfaction means choosing to be happy now—not at some point in the future.
It can be hard not to take things personally.
There are many situations in which we feel insulted, belittled, or attacked. People act in ways that don’t align with our most deeply held values or strongest beliefs and we feel it’s an affront to us personally. It doesn’t even have to be part of an interaction with us. We might see someone on TV or read about them spouting ideas that insult or offend us. Social media is another culprit. We see things all the time that make us incredulous. We can’t help but to leave a scathing comment in reply. Finally, we will invariably run across people who just don’t like us. So what can we do? How can we respond or react to these people appropriately? How can we not take it personally?