What to do when you feel lost (or, how Parks and Rec always helps)

I was talking with my therapist yesterday, and I was describing how off-kilter I had felt recently (as if that wasn’t clear enough with my latest post). I said that it felt like if “normal” me is at True North, my inner compass is somewhere…off of that. I haven’t felt like myself, I’m not sure what direction I’m going in, and so on.

And she said “So, you’re saying that you feel lost?”

Oh. Well…yeah, I guess that is what I’m saying and I just hadn’t realized it before then. No wonder I feel so weird recently – I am lost. And confused. And maybe a little bit scared (or maybe a lot scared). I’m trying to sort stuff out for my future but there are some things that I really truly have no control over at the moment. I know I’m going to Seattle in September but beyond that? No idea (and I hate that).

So me being me, I’ve been researching and talking to people and becoming more and more discouraged because damn, grad school and career stuff is hard and everyone kind of points in a different direction and I’ve been more confused than when I started. Mm, perfectionism (eye roll).

Once I realized this, I realized how I felt mirrored a Parks and Rec episode where Leslie wants to come up with her next “big idea” after the Harvest Fair. She’s scared that the Harvest Fair will be the only thing that she’s known for, so she takes everyone camping so they can help her think of something. She pushes them and pushes them and also pushes herself, and when they finally relocate to a B&B down the road, Ron locks her in a bedroom and eventually she falls asleep for double the amount of hours that she usually gets. When she wakes up in the morning, she feels refreshed and full of ideas – because she rested. 

Image result for parks and rec leslie knope camping episode

I’m going to take some time this summer to rest. My job ends in July so I’ll have all of August to sleep, decompress, and try to do fun free things in Boston. But because I’m me, here are some bullet points of stuff I want to do for the rest of the summer:

-Read tons of non-fiction: I love non-fiction. I love books about religion and feminism and society too, but sometimes I just want to read fluff and I’m okay with that.

-Re-read the Harry Potter series: I’m starting this now actually, and I’ve been listening along with the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast while I do it. I’ll be done reading before they finish the podcast (it goes for 199 weeks – one for each chapter of the books), but it’ll be done for my next re-read. It’s been so fun reading as an older person now, because I can see so many of the themes and the foreshadowing I missed when I was younger.

-Spend no money in August: I’m going to try really, really hard with this one. Come September, I’ll be getting a very small monthly stipend, and the money I have now is hopefully going to last me throughout the year. I want to get into the habit of living simply, so this August I’m going to aim to spend as close to nothing as possible, with the exception of a monthly bus pass and supplies for my trip.

-Exercise: I love to exercise, but I haven’t been feeling like it lately and my schedule has been pretty tight on time as well. I’ve been swing dancing more recently (which is SO FUN!!), but I miss doing other cardio and weights and yoga. I’ll have plenty of time in August, so I’m going to try to work out more consistently and listen to what my body needs.

-Cook more: One of the biggest ways I spend money is on food. Sue me, y’all. It can get stressful to prep breakfasts and all of that – and that also feels like a very American thing to do – but it is really helpful when it comes to the week. I also just really enjoy cooking for myself and others!

-Journal – My friend Heather gave me a lovely journal for “all of my adventures”. It’s been so nice to write my thoughts out, so I want to keep going.

-Be mindful – Ah yes. Mindfulness…something my therapist repeats often, and something I need to work on. I multitask, like most of us, and my thoughts are usually elsewhere when I’m doing something else. I’m going to try to work on being in the moment and knowing that I have enough time and memory to do the things I need to do.


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