“I know one thing for sure; what we dwell on, is what we become” – Oprah Winfrey
So, you’re in a funk. We’ve all been there. It starts small. Maybe with an event that triggered stress, which led to thinking about how to overcome it. That sometimes leads to dwelling over it, especially when it is something that’s out of our control. This can even paralyze you, making you not want to be social because you’re in a bad mood.
Maybe you’re in a funk because you’re in a stage of your life that you desperately want to escape – you’re ready for a new job or you’re tired of spinning your wheels with dates that seem to be a flop every time. Because of that, you’ve given up on dating altogether, saying no to almost everyone. Or possibly, you’re in a funk because you’ve lost yourself in your routine. That seems to be the case for me, almost always.
Regardless of what led you to land in a funk, you’re there and it’s time to get out.
Typically, it’s when I get out of the funk, I realize the steps I took that got me there, and more importantly, what kept me there. I am a habitually routine person. I love the comfort of routine. Sure, I like the idea of spontaneity, and luckily I have many friends who ensure I partake in being adventurous, but it certainly doesn’t come naturally for me. It’s easier to be in a routine. Wake up, after hitting the snooze button a few times, take the dogs for a walk around Cole Park, watching the leaves fall and making up stories in my head about the other people in the park who are also there early in the morning. There is a particular couple who are consistent Cole Park participants. They always have Starbucks coffee. I imagine that the older gentleman drinks his coffee black and she sips on some sort of girly drink like a white chocolate mocha. They hold hands and softly talk; some days laughing other days more serious. I think that’s something I’ll do with my husband one day. I’ve seen them so often over the past two years that we always cheerfully wave, even from across the park. Sometimes I wonder if they ever get in funks. They seem to have their lives together. I mean anyone who makes it to Starbucks before their 6:30 am walk has something going for them, certainly routine. But my guess is yes, they do.
I even approach work with a certain routine. Routing my day from the comfort of my home office. Watching the dogs eat breakfast and cuddle next to my desk, periodically looking toward to me to see what my next step is going to be. They should know by now, really. After work, I head to a work out class and then run by the grocery store before heading home to make dinner. I play music while I cook, dancing around the kitchen as if I were good at it. I’m not. Then after I spend time catching up with friends, I take a bath and read a book for a couple hours. I love to read. I think that goes back to my imagination. But this daily routine eventually creates a barrier between real life and simply experiencing life through others. It can land you in a real funk. One day you look up, and realize the life you’re living isn’t surrounded with activities that keep you alive – vibrant, challenged, energized.
Donald Miller helped me come to that realization when I was reading his book, Blue Like Jazz.
“I am somewhat of a recluse by nature. I am that cordless screwdriver that has to charge for twenty four hours to earn ten minutes use. I need that much downtime. When you live on your own for a long time, however, your personality changes because you go so much into yourself you lose the ability to be social, to understand what is and isn’t normal behavior. There is an entire world inside yourself, and if you let yourself, you can get so deep inside it you will forget the way to the surface. Other people keep our souls alive, just like food and water does for our bodies. I was so used to living alone it was very hard for me to be around people long. I would leave parties early. I would leave church before worship was over so I didn’t have to stand around and talk. It was terribly unhealthy.”
You see, Donald was onto something. We need people, daily. Not just interactions at the gym, conversations over the phone, or coworkers throughout the day. We need deeper connections. People we can sit across the table from and share our restlessness with. Friends we can rely on and who can rely on us. We need laughter and events. We need experiences – new restaurants and concerts. We need to be outdoors, sometimes alone and many times with friends. Ride your bike. Play tennis (even if you’re terrible like me). Sit on a patio. Explore the city. Travel. If you spend all of your time focused on yourself and your routine; focused on your own thoughts and bad days, you will spiral into a funk. It’s inevitable. Once I changed that; making the decision to get back in the habit of being social during the week and not just on the weekends, my funks went away. Being 30 doesn’t mean you should become boring.
What Oprah Winfrey and many others say about what you focus on becomes who you are, is true. If you focus on the essentials of your daily routine and let it end there, you will become that. If you think negatively, you inevitably become more negative. If you give life to matters that don’t deserve attention, that becomes the focus of your entire day, seeping into your outlook on yourself and the world around you. What you do and what you think, is what you become.
Decide today to make a change. If you’re in the middle of a funk, get moving!
Take your mind off your habits and comfort zone. Try something new. Call an old friend and go make some new ones together. This life is beautiful, yet short. Start living; passing through the hard moments. It’s the movement that gets you through the bad days and onto the best days. I promise when you start living and enjoying the company around you, there won’t be space for a funk to reside. Trust me on this one; I’ve tested it out – relentlessly.
Cheers with friends,
photos by: Melissa Fay Photography