Breaking out of a rut : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

What can I do to make my life more exciting?

Since I wrote that last entry, I did do one wild and crazy thing: I made cranberry sauce! Usually I only have cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I like cranberry sauce, and I'm going to make it any damn time I feel like it! And I put apples in it!

OK, I admit, it's pretty pathetic...what else should I do?

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2001


What's pathetic about making cranberry sauce? Maybe you're expecting a little too much movie magic out of your life? Christ, I can't make cranberry sauce...

To make your life more exciting like how? I mean, you could drop your academic career and hitchike across America, living off your wits and the sleazy kindnesses of strange guys. That's kind of exciting, right? Right. Kinda too exciting, really.

Uh, how about you go snowboarding? It's that season. Or, I know!: get way too into the arcade game "Dance Dance Revolution"!

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2001

Making cranberry sauce isn't pathetic, but it's a pathetic attempt to break out of a rut.

And I'm too lame to do most of that other stuff. Except maybe Dance Dance Revolution. That sounds like the kind of dorky fun I go in for...

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

These days, with the sun setting at 4pm, I consider my day productive if I manage to hold off on watching TV until 7pm.

So, we're packing the car and leaving for Mexico. We've sublet the apartment, made arrangements for the cat and the mail, and are getting the heck out of Dodge (or NYC). And our stay is open-ended. We're staying in Mexico, eating tacos and mangos and soaking in the sun, until sometime in February or March, playing it by ear. How's that for beating winter blues? Olé! ...

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

I -ate- cranberry sauce for dinner! My favorite foods are cranberry sauce and stuffing.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

I think that most people live their lives as a series of "ruts" , some even feel safe knowing that their precious routine won't change in the future. So if you feel like you're in a rut its probable that you are not happy with something that you are doing. So my advice is try to figure out what you don't like about your routine and try to change it. Otherwise, you'll get sick of cranberry sauce very soon...another piece of advice, don't pay attention to incoherent babble from strangers.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

I guess getting into a screaming match and quiting is one way out of a rut, but usually if you feel in a rut, it is time to do something you have been thinking about doing for a while.

Take a class (is there an advanced wine tasting you can take), read a new book, or try doing something that has been tickling the back of your mind for a while that you felt just wasn't worth it. Maybe now it is.

Either that, or write a cookbook entitled "101 Ways to Use Cranberry Sauce" or "Cranberry Sauce for Dummies".

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

you're a physical and cerebral sort. how 'bout rock climbing? base jumping? get your scuba certification. yes, only boring people are bored. chance favors the prepared mind, as einstein said. i like you. ya got moxy. good luck.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

I sort of have the same problem. Also, because its december, the holidays are coming, so why start a new project right now?

I got out of it last time by getting up earlier than usual and doing something for myself before I went to work: either reading or exercizing, and it was the "early" part that helped.

I'd say trying something new helps too: taking a class, going somewhere new. Maybe go walk around downtown at night one night. Or go to some part of SF you haven't been to. Rock climbing sounds like something you'd like. Pottery? it didn't work for me but at least you have a product by the end of it.

I find getting rip roaring drunk on a weekday always puts me on a heightened state of alert for the next week, because I have to make sure I don't fall asleep at work or something.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

Hi again. Here are some really good ideas courtesy of Jessamyn ( from 2/7/98. I also think taking different routes to your workplace helps, but you live very close to work so that's not an option for you.

I'm not going to paste them in here: try this link

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

Jen...Write a poem. Darken your room, lay on the floor with pillows and stare at the night sky through any available window. (This works even better during a thunderstorm.) Go to a playground and watch kids play for awhile. Learn how to cook something exotic and invite someone new (and brave) to eat it with you. Burn a new CD - of an entirely different type of music than is your norm - to listen to while you run. Contact an old friend that you haven't spoken to in awhile. Make a list of 10 reasons why you are really happy with your life right now...and 10 things you would change if you could. Be blissful about the first list. Pick ONE item from list two and actually change it.

Ruts are kinda like shit...they happen. Good luck and glad you're back.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

Making cranberry sauce or baseline jumping or cough medicine IMHO are all self medicating. Making cranberry sauce is not bad and you are not pathetic, just searching. Make or do whatever you want but do it cause you want to, don't attach any reason to it. Trying to fill something that you feel is missing by distracting yourself with temporary fixes never works. Think of temporary fixes as one nighters. They can be a whole lota fun {oh yes they can} but usually you wake up in the morning and say oops or in extreem cases say AUGH FUCK! and run. Best advice: Search within the source and run. A good time to find the answers you are looking for is when you run long distances. Once you get into that set pace and your breathing becomes rythmic it can be just like meditation. When you get to that point it is easier to listen to yourself. Just let go of your thoughts and let your running pace (and your thoughts} fall into autopilot. Sometimes the first thing that pops into your head is what's causing the rut, sometimes it is just rambelings, it also might be just one word or a feeling. If nothing comes up don't force it, something will come. Don't try to analize any of it while your running just listen and figuer it out later maybe on your cooldown or when stretching. Most times you already know the cause and solution, it's that you just do not choose to see it {conciously or unconciously}. I thought since you like to run you might already know the state I'm talking about and this would be an easy thing to try. By the way do not try this in heavy trafic!!!! Try a quieter place without intersections. Sometimes you end up in an unplanned location. If this doesn't work go to plan B: Start drinking heavily. Something interesting is almost guaranteed to happen. Usually the afore mentioned one nighter where once again you end up in an unplanned location.

What? I know these are completely opposite sugestion. You asked for options. Hope one might help.


-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

Try the running sugestion in the rain {as long as it isn,t to cold}.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

I've been running in the rain every damn day for the last two weeks!

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

You're probably suffering from water on the brain. Has anyone been near your head with a trephine lately?

You know you could become a "Big Sister". I know you wouldn't like a pet, but some little girl that you could share mice killing tales with might be more your style.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

Stop concentrating on the rain.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2001

In Spain

The rain falls mainly on the plane.

(as opposed to Jen's puddin head)

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2001

Hi Jen!

I have a great suggestion for how you can make your life exciting. I obviously don't know you personally. But someone does not get into a Ph.D. program or write so elequently without being extraordinarily intelligent. Someday, after graduation, when you are a highly celebrated scientist making tons of money you will realize how painful it is when the government takes more than 50% of your annual earnings. And now, according to the Democrats, taxes are unreasonably low. When Jimmy Carter was President, federal income taxes alone were over 70%, and during the days of President Johnson they were over 90%. All that money was spent trapping your fellow citizens in the state of dependence and helplessness. Just where the Democrats want them. So if you want to do something new, it would be great if you would become a Republican. Then you can contribute your considerable talents to the effort that I and many others in our age group are part of, finding innovative ways to help create opportunities for our fellow citizens, protect our environment, and create for our children a legacy of freedom and dignity. Because with really smart people on our side I think we can find a way of doing this without confiscating more than 50% of our neighbors' income. I hope you get our of your rut soon!!

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2001

Holy cow that was funny. Especially how you managed to vent about taxes under the guise of caring about Jen. I, on the other hand, do care about Jen and have only her best interest at heart when I suggest to her that the best way to break a rut is to start up an online love affair with someone that she'd never think about dating in real life. Someone much dumber than her.

Of course, to actually break the rut this someone she begins a steamy online love affair would have to be an attractive male close to her own age. And he would need to be someone who lives close enough, that were it needed, a quick weekend trip by plane to rub cranberry sauce all over each other's naked bodies would not be much of a hassle.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 2001

I hear wedding bells.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 2001

Be like Milli Vanilli and "blame it on the rain." And then hunt down the one that's still alive and ... well ... hmmmm ... I think by the the you've expended weeks and even months of energy to hunt him down, you'll have forgotten why you're in a rut. On the other hand, you'll have that stupid song stuck in your head for time and all eternity ... which, of course, is the worst rut of all.

My favorite rut-rupturers:

1. Do something measurably selfless. I hang out with a group of people, who, once a week, pack up coffee shipped here from an island in Nicaragua, and distribute it through our non-profit network so that all proceeds can be shipped back to the poor waifs in the war- torn province. Plus, the coffee rocks my personal casbah to no discernible end. I also volunteer as a stagehand at my local community theater ... a great way to meet a cross-section of humanity you might not otherwise encounter in your fisheye-lens life.

2. Do something harmlessly criminal. I once played numerous practical jokes on my community as a way of making myself feel better after an apocalyptic breakup. My best was when a huge 500-acre section of old- growth forest lost a popular ballot vote locally to be publically purchased and thus preserved in pristine perpetuity. The day after, I painted a huge 6-foot-by-8-foot sign in the right colors and typefaces and hung it from one of the biggest trees, easily visible from the highway. It read: "Home of the next Wal-Mart Supercenter!" The liberal populace had a collective involuntarily but entirely metaphorical bowel movement on the spot. The letters-to-the-editor section was filled was howling outrage and prophecies of Biblical portents. I sat back and cackled in evil and fully rut-free glee as the region-wide rumpus unfolded in raucous fashion.

3. Make an unattractive person feel attractive with the simple and relative superior charisma of your presence. These people are usually more worth knowing than the pompously pulchritudinous among us. You'll feel good ... and ego-re-charged.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 2001

Get a hamster.

-- Anonymous, December 09, 2001

Sit on a hamster.

-- Anonymous, December 10, 2001

Stop messing with rodents.

-- Anonymous, December 10, 2001

NO!! Get a hamster, play with him. Don't sit on the poor fellow.

Shit, I think I remember you mentioning something about doing bad things to hamsters.

Nevermind, I take the suggestion back.

-- Anonymous, December 11, 2001

Please leave the hamsters out of this. They are living creatures and should not be considered guick pick me ups no matter what you do with them. I'm sure Jen can find something else to pet, play with, sit on, or kill.

-- Anonymous, December 11, 2001

Hey Jen- Ruts happen. That is a truth. I am in one myself and flailing wildly trying to get out of it. Some things I've tried:

Joined a book club listed on The Corrections (if you think your life is dysfucntional in any way, this book will make you feel normal)

Tried NaNoWriMo...and failed to meet the word count but am glad I've started a novel.

Obsessively looked up squash recipes on and tried to cook one, but butternut squashes bewilder me!

And I am still looking for new things to try...what would really help is a wider circle of friends to introduce me (and I them) to new interests. Anyone want to start a knitting circle???

-- Anonymous, December 11, 2001

So, has Jen broken out of her rut?

-- Anonymous, December 12, 2001

If/when you do break out of the rut, please share what did it for you.

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2001

Well Amber, I'm assuming, since Jen is wicked smart, that she will no doubt delve head long into the only plausible escape from her temporary bout with dreariness. However, because members of her family may read her journal, I'm not sure she'll feel comfortable publishing anything about our first rendezvous as most likely it will be a tale of filled with scorching passion, hot naked flesh and melted cranberry sauce.

Ok. Fine. Maybe it'll never happen, but maybe, just maybe, it wi... Ok. Fine. You're right. It won't. But maybe... ;)

-- Anonymous, December 14, 2001

Try playing tourist in your own city - visiting all the museums, galleries, parks, landmarks, etc. you've never seen. Pretend you're planning an exciting weekend for a visitor (which you already are, in a way, with the JournalCon bid) and make yourself that visitor.

-- Anonymous, December 17, 2001

I don't think getting a hamster is the answer; there are enough rodents in her life already.

My suggestion? Be a different person for a day -- Don't go in to work next weekend. Eat a burger. Smoke a cigarette. Go to a dive bar and exceed your 2-3 alcoholic beverage limit. Run off at the mouth. Flirt with someone who's absolutely not your type (but make sure this person isn't someone you ever have to see again). You'll wake up the next day feeling refreshed (not counting the hang over), and relieved to be your old responsible self again.

-- Anonymous, December 23, 2001

As 2001 dawned, I found myself in a small rut. I'd concluded the major 'missions' I'd set out to accomplish. I'd finished graduate school and found myself well-established in a career (in spite of my best efforts to the contrary) that seems to satisfy most of my intellectual and material needs. But, everything wasn't sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops. Quickly approaching the back end of my 20s, I had to find some reason to get up in the morning.

Looking around my apartment, I noticed that I'd been satsified living amongst the same furniture I'd accumulated by begging, borrowing, and stealing after graduating from college.

It was time for a trip to Ikea.
Well, many trips actually.
Alright, about 20.

The results, however, are fantastic. It's a whole feng shui thing, I guess. When I have friends over, it really generates feelings of accomplishment and the new layout and storage space "maximizes positive energy".

So, that's my first suggestion for you.

Now that that's done, I'm moving onto other things. I've joined the Appalachian Mountain Club -- I'm looking forward to getting out into the woods now and again. I've started going to a lot more live theater -- I saw "Chicago" last night on a whim.

My second suggestion is to reduce the amount of planning that goes into your social activities. Spontenaeity is the key. If it means hopping in the Golf and heading to Vega$ for a night with some friends or driving out to Napa for a quiet weekend in the vineyards.. just do it.

-- Anonymous, January 06, 2002

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