Please hold me accountable to this. Whoever you are, bored internet person, bug me about it.
Every year around January and February, I get bummed out. It’s predictable and not a big deal, as long as I take care of myself when it happens. But this year I’m doing things a little differently:
I’m going to work on being less of a grumpy, irritable, reclusive bastard. That’s the focus of 2014, whatever else happens.
(Context: I was heavily medicated for ten years of my life, which included a good chunk of my teen years. I was on antidepressants, antipsychotics and anxiolytics, because of a series of long depressions with psychotic symptoms. One of the most significant problems I developed before and during that medicated decade was an incredible ability to bottle up my feelings. The “numb” feeling you get when you’re on heavy medication, sadly, worked against the simple facts of growing up and learning to handle big emotions. As as result, by the time I managed to get off the meds, I was working long hours with my brain to avoid spending even ten minutes with my heart. Sharing feelings became very difficult because I could barely tell what was wrong with me.)
I’ve worked hard to fight the kind of person I’ve become over the years: I lost over 20kg of the weight I gained from the meds. I learned to open up and talk about feelings. I’ve accepted a lot more of what makes me “weird” than I used to.
The one thing I haven’t learned to do yet is just have some damned fun. I am perhaps the least capable person of chilling out and having fun that I know.
I don’t like Christmas, I don’t like Easter, I don’t like family reunions. I don’t like most gigs by even my favorite bands, and end up wanting to leave halfway through. I don’t like going to the beach. I don’t like skiing. I don’t dance. I don’t like being in bars. I don’t like being surrounded by people, but I don’t much like being alone, either, now that I’ve started opening up. I don’t like going to the theatre as much as it seems I should (and my dream in high school was to be a playwright!). I don’t like rollercoasters.
But the problem isn’t those things. The problem is my general reluctance to stop taking everything seriously and just have fun.
What the hell is fun?
And the most absurd part of all this is that what got me thinking about my specific trouble with FUN was this film:
Las Fucking Vegas. The most pointlessly banal Hollywood kind of film. I saw myself in the Robert De Niro character way more than I wanted to. Sure, there were flashes of me in the other characters, but it’s De Niro I feel like when I am alone, or, God forbid, when I’m with people.
I’m dedicating myself to having fun this year. I need to at least TRY to have fun at a roller-coaster park, and go to the beach for pleasure (instead of out of duty to those I’m around), and who knows? Take a dancing class. I don’t know.
But if I don’t make the time to have fun, I know that I just won’t bother with it. It’s ridiculous to say it, but I find it easier to write a chapter of my PhD thesis than to have an entire afternoon of relaxed and uninterrupted fun.