July 15, 2009


Posted in Darth Vaguer, Guilt, The Why at 8:42 am by Dagny Taggart

I sometimes (often) read advice columns.  I’m not sure why – it usually seems as though the more interesting problems, the ones picked by the columnists, bear little relation to the concerns going on in my life.  Every once in a while, though, it seems like the answer to a question is more universally applicable.

One letter was from a woman who was dating, and who was starting to resent the process.  And the columnist’s answer was something along the lines of, “then don’t go out until you find someone who makes you really want to go on a date with them.”

For a while there, I was seriously resenting every single family gathering that required yet another trek up I-95.  It seemed like there were so many demands on my time, so many people having showers of various types, christenings, birthdays, holidays.  I would become irritable as I saw the candy aisles change in CVS, wondering if this heralded yet another holiday for which I would be expected to make a trip.

I haven’t been up since my uncle’s funeral, and not since Christmas, before that.  I’ve been waiting until I had a reason that made me really want to take the trip up, so I haven’t really been in months.

And yet, I still don’t want to go.  Not only do I not want to go, but I don’t want them down here.  And this has me worried.  I’m not sure what’s going on with me, but it seems like the things I want short-term (to just have a nice long stretch of time without obligations or interruptions of any sort, so I can hit “reset” on my life and rebuild it from the ground up), directly conflict with the way I want my life to look long-term (with my people, my family and friends, involved and engaged and in regular contact).

I need to start looking at my life with binoculars, lest I blindly push people away as I stumble around without my glasses.



  1. I do that with advice columns, too, ha!

    You’re allowed to take time for you. Sometimes being selfish is healthy. But if you’re starting to notice you’re entering “now I’m just being stubborn” territory, find small ways to reenter the arena. Start with a small day-activity invite (it sounds like that’s feasible) and build up from there …

  2. Brian said,

    The short and long term goals are not necessarily in opposition. You can maintain contact from here, with the myriad communication options available, without it creating obligations, and meanwhile take the time out that you need to. Later on, when things settle a bit, you can then make whatever trips or invitations seem like the thing to do.

    Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but It think it’s possible. But ultimately, the short term goal has to take some kind of priority, because what kind of long-term damage do you risk by not satisfying it?

  3. Lisa said,

    I think this is totally reasonable. You have had these constant social demands on your time, when your normal life already demands a lot of you. I totally support you taking some Dagny time. I don’t think you’re going to blindly push people away, but I do think you consistently need more you time than you get.

    Also, I’m not huge on advice columns in general but I love Caroline Hax.

  4. Brooklyn Boy: Thanks for the suggestion. They’re about 4.5 hours away, so a day trip is less than ideal, but I’ll figure something out soon, I’m sure.

    Brian: I agree, and that’s why I called a moratorium on trips in the first place. I think I just expected to be ready to go back up sooner, and am wondering why I still dread the thought.

    Lisa: That’s a fair point – especially about consistently needing more me time than I get. I sometimes forget that I’m an introvert. Also, I think I need a couch to put my me-time on. I hate waiting!

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