Are you drifting?

It’s a gray Friday afternoon and I just sent the magazine to bed this morning, like a recalcitrant child who’s on a sugar high…not that I have any experience of stubborn children other than my nephews who by and large like to do my bidding anyway coz I’m the cool Tita and I bribe them, but where was I?

So the issue’s done and I thought I’d indulge in a bit of downtime (hey, it’s Friday!). In Terrie-speak, that means reading magazines, blogs, surfing, and generally staring at my messy desk, instead of actually clearing it up.

At Slate I came across the blog, The Happiness Project. I had been meaning to check out this blog for awhile now, but just haven’t gotten the chance until now. I haven’t really explored the rest of the blog yet but I thought the tagline was pretty on-point: How to be happier. It totally resonated because I’m of the opinion that to be happy, you have to work at it. It’s more of a goal, not a state of being that magically happens. Believe me, it’s taken me this long to come to this conclusion, having gone through my 20s moaning about why I wasn’t happy.

(Wait, I’m not totally discounting clinical depression, OK? I’m just talking about everyday angst by healthy people who have everything going for them, but instead choose to wallow in misery for some reason. I was like that in my 20s, but a wise friend once remarked, “Angst for its sake is only cool until you’re about 28 or so, after that, it’s just pathetic.” Truer words and all that.)

The current blog entry at the site was all about, you guessed it, “Are you drifting?” And again, it struck me because well, I’ve been asking myself that a lot and I know that a lot of my friends are also wondering.

The author, Gretchen Rubin, defines drift as “the decision you make by not deciding or by making decisions that unleashes consequences for which you don’t take responsibility.” The problem with drift is that people either deny that they’re doing it or don’t realize that they’re drifting, especially if they think they’re doing something to improve the situation.

Read the rest of the blog and the article here, but let me just copy the checklist of how to know if you’re adrift.

Take this quiz: How many of these statements apply to you, in your current situation? The more checks you make, the greater your risk for being adrift.

__ I often have the peculiar feeling that I’m living someone else’s life.
__ I often think, “This situation can’t go on,” but then it does go on.
__ I spend a lot of time daydreaming about a completely different life as an escape from what I’m doing now.
__ I find myself getting very angry if someone challenges the values that I think I’m working toward. (E.g., working like crazy as a fifth-year associate at a law firm, and furious if someone argues that money and security aren’t important.)
__ I complain about my situation, but I don’t spend much time trying to figure out ways to make it better. In fact…
__ I fantasize that some catastrophe or upheaval will blow up my situation. I’ll break my leg or get transferred to another city.
__ I find myself having disproportionate reactions. (For example, I have a friend who wasn’t admitting to herself that she wanted to be an actor, and she decided to give it a shot after she started crying when someone started talking about acting.)
__ I feel like other people or processes are moving events forward, and I’m just passively carried along.
__ I find myself doing or getting something because the people around me are doing it or want it.
__ There is something in my life about which I used to be passionate, but now I never allow myself to indulge in it. In fact, it makes me uncomfortable even thinking about it.
__ I’ve justified certain actions on my part by assuring myself, “I might as well,” “It can’t hurt,” “This might be useful,” “This will keep my options open,” “I can always decide later,” “I can always change my mind,” “Nothing is forever,” “How bad can it be?”

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Well, happy weekend, everyone. I know that the last thing anybody needs before a relaxing weekend is to think about where their lives are going and how they’re headed there, but hey, it could be worse. I could have posted this on a Monday, haha!

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pinxwitch

My name is Terrie. I write for a living and blog for pleasure. Some days, I get up in the morning and know precisely what kind of day it is. At other times, I get knocked over for a loop. People seem to like confiding in me. When I was younger, I thought I knew everything and can tell you what you need to do if you ask me. Now that I'm older, I realize I don't know anything. That's been my motivation for the blog and for writing. To figure out the unknown and unknowable.

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