Ennui: a lack of spirit, enthusiasm or interest.
Are you suffering from a case of ennui-enza?
- Do you feel resentful of others’ adventures and successes?
- Do you seriously (we’re talking dread) lack motivation to do one more errand, one more carpool run?
- Are the outdoors merely something to rush through from car to door? In other words, do you forget to go outside for the sake of: just because? (It’s nice out, the season’s changing, etc.)
- Has your attention span noticeably shortened? (Does a 22-minute episode of Modern Family feel too long? Does the idea of reading a book make you laugh?)
- Do you neglect to practice self-care, doing things you enjoy—maybe even in the middle of a weekday?
- Do you feel guilty if you take an hour to go for a walk, without the dog?
- Do you cringe when people ask, “So, what do you do?”
- Are you irritated with family members?
- Are you irritated with friends?
- Are you irritated with everybody?
- Have things you normally enjoy (spiced lattes, chocolate, Modern Family) lost their flavor?
- Do you wonder what’s the point, or rather, what’s my purpose?
- Do you hit snooze over and over again?
- Do you feel like you’ve “ceilinged out” in your career?
- Do you feel trapped by your routine?
- Do you live for the weekend?
- Do you have a mile-long, non-negotiable to-do list that MUST get done by bedtime?
- Is the event you’re most looking forward to the next season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette?
- Do you find yourself living in the past or the future, anywhere but the present?
- When asked your hobby, do you say laundry?
- Are you placing extra stock in your child’s success at school and in sports or activities? (Does it ruin your whole afternoon when your kid’s Little League team loses?)
- Do you automatically pick up your phone when you have a minute of down-time?
- Have you stopped daydreaming?
- Do you have nothing you’re particularly looking forward to?
- Are you spending inordinate amounts of time on social media?
- Do you walk through the grocery in a daze and not notice who rings up your items?
- Have you stopped making a point of looking people in the eye?
- Have you stopped playing music (loud) you’re crazy about?
- Have you stopped trying new things?
- Do you feel like meeting new people is a waste of time?
- Does 4 o’clock in the afternoon have you counting the hours until bedtime?
- Do you overindulge on caffeine just to make it through the day?
- Do you take zero time to self-reflect?
- Do you fill quiet with noise—with the TV or radio always on?
- Do you fall asleep with the TV on?
- Do you find yourself looking desperately for something highly stimulating that’s outside of you, like seeing a movie in the theater—preferably in 3D—to wake you up, make you feel?
- Do you grab a magazine at the store or scroll through Pinterest, thinking: good luck sparking a modicum of inspiration. I dare you.
- Do you exclusively wear pants with an elastic waist?
- Do you listen to younger folks talking plans and dreams and want to slap some cynicism into them?
- Do you wish something, anything, would happen?
We all experience some of the above at one time or another. But if you answered “yes” to, let’s say, ten of these (25 percent), you’re probably pretty thoroughly bored right now. Listless. Blah.
So I have an assignment for you, two baby steps to start clearing the network of cobwebs growing between your ears and removing the lead someone snuck into the soles of your shoes while you slept:
- Make a list of five things that make you you. These can be anything, from family to a hobby to a trait, like empathy. Now. Pick the item on that list that means the most when it comes to how you define yourself. Write about this for ten solid minutes. (You can do it, I promise.) Go for twenty minutes if you’re on a roll. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling—no one will see. Explore the last time you felt grounded in this thing—and inspired by it. Write about the time you expressed it to the utmost and how that made you feel. This exercise will have the effect of emphasizing your purpose to yourself. A cheerful note: I didn’t make this up. It’s real, with Amy Cuddy street cred. So get to it, either with a pen and paper or a keyboard.
- Look at the sky. That’s it. Simply look past the traffic and the dumpsters at the corner of the Chik-fil-A parking lot and the cell phone tower poorly disguised as a tree and notice the sky at different times of day, in different kinds of weather. There may not be much natural beauty in your daily grind, but the sky is always there, and it can conjure up thoughts of vastness, purpose, God. Plus, it’s purty. So look up.
More here in a day or two… in the meantime, send me your thoughts. How did you do on the writing exercise? What’s the sky looking like today?