Putting things away.

Sugar-Free Me Update:  The first few days of being sugar-free have passed.  Unfortunately for me, my doc has me on a course of Prednisone for a hip problem and it is making staying away from sugar REALLY hard.  I want to eat everything in sight.  Fortunately, potato chips are sugar-free, so I’ll use them to battle the munchies until I get through this roller coaster of hunger from the steroids and then ease off the snacky foods.  It is likely that even those cravings will subside once I get through another day or two without sugar.  

One dragon at a time, my friends. One dragon at a time.

On to bigger and better things…

I was silently lamenting the other day that I feel as though I don’t have any “interests” anymore.  All the things I used to love and care about just don’t “do it” for me anymore (except maybe school.) For instance, I used to be really into music.  My life revolved around it.  While I still enjoy music, I am just not obsessed with it like I used to be.  I listen to the same stuff, repeatedly, and I am OK with that.  Most of my favorite artists or bands have either parted ways or just aren’t as good anymore, and nothing new really excites me.  Same goes for TV.  I will watch the episodes of Frasier or The Big Bang Theory all the time.  I like it, it makes me laugh, so why look for something else?  There are some new shows I like, but if I miss an episode, who cares?

Something I do still enjoy is watching movies.  While I also tend to repeatedly view the same films, I do like new movies, too.  Since the local theater does $5 movie day on Tuesday, methinks that will be my new “me-time” pastime.  Checking out a movie, when there’s one I want to see, on Tuesdays.  It fits in the budget, it lets me disconnect from everything, and still feel like I’ve accomplished something.  Perhaps I’ll even write about the movies on occasion.

Beyond my newfound pastime, this whole “I feel like I hate everything” thought process really made me contemplate why I feel this way.  We live in a world full of depression and other forms of mental illness, and one of the first symptoms of depression is “losing interest in things you normally love.” So, am I depressed?

That is a large, emphatic, NO.

I have a background in psychology and I am very self-aware, so I assure you, if I felt like I was battling depression, I would simply say so.  But I think this is different.  It doesn’t come and go, and it doesn’t come along with the other score of depression symptoms.  It’s simply an overall feeling that I don’t fit where I used to.  It is scary and a little disconcerting.  It is different.  But I think I have discovered exactly what it is.

Sometime over the last year or so, I grew up.

Things I used to find funny aren’t funny anymore.  Sounds like depression.  However, it’s not that NOTHING is funny, but that the vulgar, childish, stupid humor I used to find funny doesn’t make me happy anymore, it turns me off.  A quad of super-smart guys who have ZERO social skills trying to deal with the world outside their circle?  That is funny to me.  I identify with that.  Movies like “Dirty Grandpa” or from years ago, “Borat?”  Nope.  Not anymore.  And that’s OK.

If I spent a lot of time checking out new artists and listening to new music, would I likely find something I really like?  Sure, but I just don’t care.  I have other things to do.  I’d rather put my words down on paper, or sit and do a jigsaw puzzle to relax, do some homework, or be a homemaker and take care of things around the house.  This doesn’t make me “uninterested,” it simply means that my priorities are different.  And that’s OK, too.

There is a Bible verse that puts it all into perspective:

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Read it again – I put away childish things.  I grew up first, then I put them away.  Everyone always says you need to “grow up” so “put away those old interests and you’ll grow up.” Not true.  Paul tells us here that you have to grow up first.  You need to think differently, act differently, speak differently, and then, put the old things away.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  

In a way, you need to grow up to even know that you want to put away these things, and that can be difficult.  I spent a lot of time hanging on to the things about which I used to be passionate because I thought they were who I am.  I’ve reached a point where I realize that I am not my interests, my interests are a reflection of me. I no longer find vulgar humor appropriate, so of course I don’t want to watch it anymore.  I know longer need a band to make me feel like I belong, so of course I don’t spend hours poring over web pages and music magazines trying to find the latest and greatest. I grew up, and I put those things away.

Try not to get too hung up on the word “childish.”  Loving music is not childish in and of itself.  In fact, some people make great careers out of it – it is still a part of who they are.  But I guarantee that for the nameless, faceless music lover I am describing, there is something the old self loved that the new self does not.  It’s not necessarily (though it may be) that the interests are not appropriate, it’s simply that they are a reflection of the old self, and so they must be cast away to make room for the new.

Does this mean that I don’t still love some of the things I used to?  Nope.  I will still go see the new Transformers movie and likely cry if something bad happens to Optimus Prime.  I will still maintain the child-like wonder I have always had.  I will always be wide-eyed when a truck transforms into a robot and fights for the ultimate good of the world on the big screen.  I will always cry when Sam carries Frodo into Mt. Doom to destroy the One Ring.  I will always be filled with a sense of admiration when Drizzt Do’Urden comes to a moving and powerful realization on the pages of the next (or previous) R.A. Salvatore book.  Like I said, this makes me childlike, not childish.  There is a difference.

I think it is important to maintain awe and wonder in one’s life.  It should start with the awe and wonder of Jesus, and carry that wonder over into all aspects of life.  Becoming too jaded or cynical is not good for anyone, and it takes away life’s joys.  There is a fine line, and it is important to walk it gracefully – learning to be the “grown up” when necessary – putting away all of the childish things – but also knowing how to look at things through the eyes of a child.  Once you make terms with the balance, you realize that you can let go of the old you and take the good stuff with you into the new.

There is a peace that comes from this realization.  A peace in understanding that you have not lost who you were, you just became something else.  And while this feeling of contentment can help ease into the new, grown-up you with whom you are now faced, it can also feel a little like you no longer have anything about which you can be passionate.

This may be true, for now, but look at it like another adventure.  Another chance to find a passion or hobby or interest that reflects who you are now, instead of who you used to be.  This is where I find myself currently, seeking the passions that reflect the new me.  Jesus is first, of course, and perhaps I will find this blog where I talk about His love will become my new passion. Perhaps it will manifest in other ways.  One thing I do know is that, like Bilbo Baggins, “I am quite ready for another adventure.”

God bless and good health!

“The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can.” -J.R.R. Tolkien


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