One of the real underrated parts of growing up that no one told me about was that it’s really nice to get some confidence in your tastes. It’s nice to know the books you like, the movies you can go to, the music that gives you joy, and the other stuff you can go to entertain.
For years I tried to get into adventure sports like rock climbing and downhill skiing. I just never particularly liked them. I’m not exactly sure what it was. Maybe I don’t have the upper body strength, or I just don’t enjoy going down or up hills. Whatever it was, it just wasn’t working for me. I remember when I had an opportunity to go do one of those things and I said, “No thanks.” I had given those things a fair shot, but I knew it wasn’t for me. It was nice to give a hard pass to something and not pretend that I liked those things.
I’ve always been a people pleaser. There are both good and bad things associated with that characteristic. I’m reliable and people usually enjoy being around me. (At least I like to think so.) But this means I can also be a little bit of a pushover. I’ve started to realize how annoying that is to myself.
I was lying on my couch on Saturday after running a 10K. I didn’t want to do much. Nothing on television was really speaking to me. I knew I just wanted something to space out to. So I turned on Parks and Rec, and then to my favorite episode. It’s called “Two Parties” in season five. It’s where Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt have their bachelor and bachelorette parties at the same time. The group of guys realizes that none of them ever had a proper bachelor party, so they go on to have a bachelor party for each guy. I related to the “all-time best man” Chris Treager. He organized every guy’s party. I really liked that. I felt kind of like the same as him.
For some reason, I’ve just felt a little bit calmer about things these past few weeks. I don’t know what it’s been. Maybe it’s because I deleted some of those dating apps from my phone, or that I’ve quit Twitter, or that I already voted, so I don’t have to pay attention to any of that political crap anymore. I’ve started to embrace things that I enjoy and love. I’ve been going on longer runs. That feels really good to know you can crank off five miles without getting to anxious about it. I’ve been shutting off my phone and cooking bigger meals, and trying to do bigger projects.
I don’t think life is all about swinging from thing to thing. Sometimes you just know and you gotta stick to that. In a culture that is perpetually outraged about something or other, it’s really nice to fall back on things that make you happy, or sad, or make you feel something other than that fear that you’re missing out on something.