I think I may have laid things on a little heavy at the start of this thing. So let's talk about a little bit of a lighter subject—fun!
Why do we work five days a week? For most of us, it's so that we can have money to do fun things on the days we get off, right? I mean, there's the small matter of paying the rent and eating, but other than the essentials, hopefully there's a little bit of cash left over to do the things you want to do.
For me, working long hours, a lot of times I just want to chill out, play with my dog Sully, and relax. These are all certainly fun, but a lot of times I feel like I can get stuck in a "fun rut." You know what I mean—you watch the same episode of Seinfeld over and over again while playing the same tower defense game on your computer for the eightieth time, trying to get just a few more points than your high score. In other words, "living the dream." It gets old after a while. Is this really what life is about?
How can you get out of these fun ruts? In short, be open to and have as many new experiences as possible. This can be difficult for someone who is naturally introverted, like myself. Oftentimes, it is much, much easier to just stay at home and watch more shitty TV, and avoid the (in my mind) potentially embarrassing experience of meeting new people. What if they think I'm an idiot (I am)? What if they don't laugh at my jokes (people often don't)?
One of the things that has been deeply ingrained in my mind since I was young is a fear of failure. But it is difficult to learn and grow without failure. Lately, I've been working on taking more chances. Not of the Ben Roethlisberger variety ("Why do I need that helmet? It makes me look like an asshole. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading over to that bar and then I'm going to relax in my hotel room. The TV's broken, though—better call someone to fix it…"), but rather intelligent risks that are meant to improve my life. It can be tough at times, but the payoff can be worth it. Failures make ultimate success much sweeter. You have to be willing to risk a little bit if you want to hit it big, and this includes having fun.
We'll see how it goes—I'll keep you all posted.
Questions? Comments? Wondering why I'm still typing this from my couch and not out at some wine festival somewhere? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.