Monday, January 29, 2007

Old and Boring

I said yesterday that sometimes I feel like I'm running out of things to write. Part of the reason, I think, is my rapid descent into old and boring.
The evidence?
I'm the only person I know who goes to sleep earlier at weekends than during the week. I barely drink any more. I don't smoke. I don't have sex. I don't date. I have started listening to classical music to help me relax. I drink fruit tea. I can't remember the last time I went to a nightclub. The highlight of my weekend is experimenting with a new vegetable. Most of the clothes I've bought recently have been jumpers. I rarely go out apart from for runs, or a quick drink after a race. I don't watch much tv. I go to the cinema once or twice a year. I don't like films with sex or violence in them, or no-thinking required family entertainment on the other end of the scale, which rules quite a lot out.
While this clean living is probably good for my running, it's a bit sad that I go and do cross country or go to running club because it gets me out of the house. And it doesn't help my natural tendency to be an introvert. The less I go out, the less I want to go out and sometimes it feels like I'm retreating at speed into my shell, and I'm not sure what it will take to get me out again.
I'm not a natural conversationalist. In the kitchen at work, or the changing room at the gym I struggle with small talk (and my natural tendency to say nothing if I don't have anything interesting to say doesn't help). I have a land line phone and two mobiles, and never make calls on any of them. Who would I phone? And what would I have to say to them if I did? (My grandfather tends to be about as talkative as me when I call him). My family must think I keep stuff from them, like Eve and the marathon (both of which they found out about after the event), but it's just that I can't think of the words to tell them, and the opportunity passes me by before I work out how to do it.
At the moment I'm feeling kind of torn. I mean, I'm not unhappy with my life. I like the balance of stuff I've got going on. Mainly running, healthy eating, and getting myself to work and through the day. But should there be more to it than that? I'm not interested in shopping, or flashy restaurants, or smoky bars so I don't feel like I'm missing out not being out there more, but equally, I can't help feeling that it's doing nothing to help me actually connect with other people, and that the more I retreat into my hole, the harder it's going to be to get out again. I'm never going to meet anyone coming in from a run and spending Sunday afternoon reading the paper in my pyjamas.
I look at the cinema listings and nothing appeals. I worry about meeting up with people for a drink because what happens if I can't think of anything to say? I don't bother going shopping because there's nothing I really need that I can't buy at lunchtime or on the internet. I have big ideas like parachute jumps and activity weekends, but I never get round to doing anything about them.
I try. I went out with a friend for lunch a couple of weeks ago when I was at my lowest about this (it's improved a little since then, which is why I'm able to write about it now). I'm going for a curry with some people from running club on Thursday. The rugby season is starting soon, and I might bump into someone I know at a game occasionally. But still, it sometimes feels like I really should do something to get out of this before I completely forget the art of being sociable.
I don't know. Maybe I'm making a problem out of something that isn't an issue. I don't mind being dull, so what's the problem? But sometimes I just wonder whether it wouldn't be nicer to be dull in company, but wonder where I'll find someone to be dull with if I never leave the house in the first place.
And in other news, head on over to the running blog to read about The Truncheon of Glory.


Blogger kathrynoh said...

What happened with the Spanish classes? I think it's much easier to meet people when you are doing something together rather than meeting for the sake of meeting.

10:33 PM  
Blogger K said...

Oh, this sounds so very familiar.

The last couple of times I've been out for a drink, it's been my brother and sister and their SOs (and my sister organised it). Last time, I drank diet coke. I don't watch much TV or many films either, or go to gigs much. And if I lived alone, I'd spend Sunday doing exactly what you do. You're not alone.

If only you lived a little nearer, we could come to each others' houses and be quiet at each other...

Actually, it sounds as though you're making much more of an effort than I do. Which is probably healthy. But if you are genuinely happy not socialising, I wouldn't worry about it. I begin to go crazy if I don't have a certain amount of privacy, and you have to be with people all day when you're at work!

11:13 PM  
Blogger Sushi Penguin said...

I think the first question you need to answer is whether you really want more people, more social life, whether you want more of something or anything new. Whether you really really really want it. Do you really not feel quite happy with the way things are and do you want to change them.
Not easy, I know. Why am I writing this?
I've been there, and I am there just right now, in fact. And sometimes I feel horrible with it - lonely, social outcast, not liked by anyone, that noone cares or wants my company, and so on. It's this low that comes every now and then.
But there is this question: is it the real me feeling this way, or am I just made to feel this way because the standard is to do all those various things I don't do (and actually have little interest in - and this lack of interest actually contributes to me feeling inadequate/abnormal/too different).
I guess the whole issue is not to let the visible part of society make us feel that we should do certain things just because 'most people' do. Not easy, and I still don't quite know how to achieve that - it gets so awfully hard during those lows.
But screw them. Who says we need to go to the movies more than a couple of times per year (i.e. just to see something we really want to see and have an interest in, not just for the purpose of mindless entertainment)?

12:39 AM  
Blogger Liezl Hesketh said...

I did a bit of surfing this morning as I needed some inspiration for my diet ... and came across your blog. What an incredible inspiration. I can certainly continue for another day ... (or week or month!).

And then I came upon your post yesterday, and it made me think of something I read in a book I am currently reading ('the motivated mind' by Dr Raj Persaud), where people often, when they have achieved what they set out to, get that 'what next?' feeling. So firstly, you're not alone - you have achieved so much and it is natural that if all your focus has gone into a certain area of your life, other areas can feel quite bland by comparison.

I often don't feel like going out, or seeing people (or exercising for that matter!), but I try to 'force' myself, and then I feel all the better for it afterwards.

I bet if you looked through the Cinema listings, didn't really fancy anything, but went anyhow to the film that seemed 'least off-putting', you might even enjoy it?

How about going along to something like a Salsa class. Believe me, it is a bit of an effort to get there to start, but after that it is brilliant fun - and so many people that go along are single, so there is no pressure. (Besides, it would be easier if you're fit already!)

And live for the fact that on 1 July the smoking ban comes in, and all of us that hated smokey bars will be able to discover a new world out there.

But, in the end life is about choices, as you have discovered. You have to choose whether you want more from life, or whether you're content with it as it is. If you choose 'more to life', you have to stick your neck out. You have to venture into areas that might make you uncomfortable at first, but eventually it will get easier.

Good luck, and thanks for the inspiration your provided me today.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Xena said...

This may or may not appeal to you, but I personally get a lot of satisfaction out of volunteering. It allows me to socialize when I want to (I'm also introverted), it gives it context (eg easier to have something to talk about), and I feel as though I've contributed something back to society.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Chris H said...

I agree with most of the earlier comments... I used to be so shy I would stammer in social situations! You have to live a little to be able to take part in conversations, have some life experiences to share, be they big or small. so if you are not that happy, you need to make the effort to get yourself out there, join some more groups, sport teams? etc, so you are able to hold a conversation comfortably. It is up to you, and obviously you have the determination to do this if you really want to.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Assuming you are happy the way things are, I think you are just not shallow!

7:05 AM  

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