I was having drinks (over FaceTime, but it still counts) with my best friend, talking about where we were 10 years ago and what we wanted our lives to be like 10 years later. We realized that we’ve each achieved one major goal or another, starting first and foremost with successfully leaving Oompa-Loompa-esque spray tans in 2007, and second, landing our dream careers. What was most surprising about the conversation however, was a mutual, reflective feeling of, “hmph” about a year into each of those dream roles.
I remember the “hmph” period all too clearly as it wasn’t that long ago that I first experienced it. I did what I set out to do. I had it in my hands. I molded it into something I was genuinely proud of. Why the sudden feeling of insipidity?
After talking about it some more, I realized it was because I had hit my goal and had no goal of comparable scale to work toward thereafter. I was coasting. I mastered my every day, and I was simply existing as a major component of what became a well-oiled machine, both in the context of my job and my newly acquired routine since moving to New York. Get up, go to work, get home late, make dinner, watch re-runs of Real Housewives, go to bed, repeat cycle.
What was lacking, aside from excitement, was my next “dream job.” I needed something beyond what I became so used to doing both during the day and at night. I dug deep. I thought, I want to feel challenged in a way that I’d always get better, but never quite master, because what a restrictive scenario it must be to be the “best at” or the “most of” anything. So, I got back into Soccer.
Soccer and I parted ways when I got more heavily into Cheerleading and Martial Arts, but it was something I had always wished I had stuck with. Getting back into it, and doing so in a group of 30+ year old men is and will always be a challenge, but it’s something I look forward to every Thursday night. I’ve tried bougie workout after bougie workout, and while I’ve truly enjoyed some of them, there’s no greater feeling than nutmegging a big, burly dude who could probably kill me otherwise. Running for 90 minutes in the cold on a pier overlooking the Statue of Liberty might be the goal I never knew I had, and while I’m doing it every week, each time brings a new team, a new challenge, and yet a familiarity I’m elated to have reencountered.
For a little resurgence of your own for when things start to feel just a little too routine:
- Join a Group With Similar Interests: When I moved to Charlotte, Meetup.com was my go-to for finding groups of either people within my industry or just people who loved wine. Being around similar-minded people who may be exactly at your level or even a bit beyond can really help not only in furthering your career but in opening new doors. It also makes a mundane Tuesday feel like a Friday.
- Get back into a childhood interest or hobby: Have a hobby you used to love as a child but haven’t done in years? In the words of Shia Labeouf and/or Nike, just do it.
- Look up Volunteering Opportunities: Because volunteering a) puts things into perspective, b) is the single, most feel-good thing you can possibly do with your time and c) refer to a and b.
- Take skill-based classes: Whether looking to develop a professional skill or even for that one skill that’s totally irrelevant to your job but totally relevant to your out of work interests, sites like Coursehorse are a great resource. I’ve attended a class here and there for HTML and CSS coding and while I might have been the only non e-mail marketer in the class, I can say that it was well worth it.
- Explore fitness classes: I think just about anyone in New York has at least taken up the free trial of Classpass, which is a really amazing (though expensive) service that allows you give any kind of fitness class a try or three within the area. Classes range from rowing (seriously) to cycling to bootcamp (also, seriously). Through Classpass, I found and fell in love with a couple of different classes that were equal parts challenging and fun.