Exit 117. But what will I fill the void with?

I’ve said before that my time off work this summer seemed way too short.  I feel like the last year has been emotionally draining, for a number of reasons, most of which are not related to work, and many of which I have not shared here.  I was hoping that having seven weeks off work would give me time to clear my head, so that life would feel normal again.  But this has not happened.

I’m starting to wonder if it might be time for a more drastic step, and the message I heard at church this morning tied in with this.  Maybe it’s time to become a bit more isolated.  I’m starting to wonder if some of the things I do and people I see might be causing more harm than good.  I feel conflicted about this for a number of reasons, though.  For one thing, most of these things aren’t harmful 100% of the time.  And, for the most part, no one is actively trying to hurt me.  This is not a situation where I’m being bullied, or threatened, or anything like that.  I’m just realizing that certain parts of my life that used to make me happy in the past aren’t making me feel that way so much anymore.

But what will I fill the void with?  Part of the reason I haven’t cut things out of my life is because I have nothing with which to replace them.  That means more time spent at home moping and being alone, and that seems just as unhealthy to me.  But maybe I should be filling that void with God, spending that extra time in prayer and Scripture and meditation, to get some real direction on life.  And this doesn’t have to be forever.  When I feel ready, I can gradually add things back into my life provisionally, so I can better discern who and what are and aren’t worth my time.

I haven’t decided for sure that I will be doing this, but it’s something I’m thinking about.  We’ll see.

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7 comments

  1. I think you are on the right track. As we age, our tastes change. Activities that were very pleasurable earlier in life seem more of a drain now. For example, I used to go to 60+ baseball games a season. Now, if I make it to 10, that’s huge for me.

    As for finding a substitute for the activities you’d eliminate, here’s a thought: how about spending time alone? Not alone moping and aimless, but alone with a purpose. As you mentioned above, this could be time spent in prayer and in Scripture. This could also be time reading, either for pleasure or for guidance, personal or professional.

    I am not advising that you become a hermit. Just that you carve out time to yourself for different activities. That way, you can be alone, but not moping or bored.

    1. Yes. Exactly this. Thank you. I’ve kind of already started doing that, to some extent; I rarely venture out to swing dancing Friday nights anymore, preferring to unwind alone at home after treating myself to fast food. It’s not quite as purposeful as your suggestion, but down time serves a purpose as well, because I often have things in mind I want to get done on nights like that, and I end up not doing any of it.

  2. I completely understand your struggle and agree with 80isenough. That question has been lingering with me for the past two years and I found that maybe being by myself isn’t such a bad thing. It’s given me time to focus all of my energy on myself which has honestly, done wonders!

    Maybe this is your time for discovery and self love and just working on the person you want to be & the things you want to achieve. Taking a break from the world and focusing entirely on yourself may be best thing you do. I wish you luck!

    1. As I said in my reply to 80 above (by the way, he is someone who has known me well in real life for over twenty years, although we don’t see each other in person as often because we’re a car trip of almost two hours apart now), I’ve kind of started doing that to some extent. I used to go swing dancing every week on Fridays, but these days I’m so tired after an exhausting and demanding week of finding that balance of serious and silly that will convince 12-year-olds to learn about math that once I get home, I don’t feel like venturing out any farther than some yummy, but not optimally healthy, fast food restaurant nearby. I’m down to once every month or two for swing dancing. I have more thoughts that I’d rather not share in a public comment, and I’m not sure how to contact you privately.

      You’re right, though, and so is 80; being alone doesn’t have to be unhealthy, and with all the big questions swimming around in my head right now, this may be the only way I can sort them out.

      I have decided two important things related to this, though: (1) I’m not going to make any big changes like this for at least two weeks. I have a birthday coming up, it’s a big milestone birthday, and I don’t want to spend it alone. (2) I’m not going to back out of anything that I’ve already said for sure that I’m going to, because that makes me no better than all the people who have cancelled on me over the years.

  3. I had this problem too. My life felt empty and boring because I had stopped going to bingo and the casino and I was finished babysitting my granddaughter. I had nothing to fill my time and got really depressed. I started to spend much more time talking with God and reading Christian books and blogs etc. online. I then asked God to help me find activities I would enjoy. I knew he could do something so simple. I don’t know why I didn’t ask him before. Anyway, I tried a few things and now have a new hobby – woodworking and carving. I love doing it. Also, my mother became ill and moved in with us. She is easy to look after and I’m so glad I am here to do it.

    God can make a galaxy. He can fill your life with good things. If you have lost the taste for certain things, that can be very good for your life. I’ve lost the taste for a great many things I used to love like TV and movies. I’m just not interested anymore. I’m glad, because it was taking up too much of my time.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. 🙂 I feel like it’s not entirely the activities themselves that I feel like I’ve lost the taste for… there’s something else going on too that I’d rather not discuss publicly.

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