While I'm away, readers give the advice.
To friends who stayed nearby while I withdrew, thank you
Been there: On friends who vanish during a crisis (theirs, not yours): I went through a horrible breakup that really threw me for a loop like no other ever had. Although it was completely contrary to my normal personality, I just needed a lot of time on my own to think and adjust and mourn. I know now that part of my inability to socialize was because the breakup was often the thing foremost on my mind. Not only did I not want to talk about it because it hurt to delve into and openly acknowledge it, I also didn't want to bore anyone else by going on about it. Yet I didn't really have anything else to say because, well, it was all I thought about.
I felt incredibly guilty each time I was blowing people off, but my urge to be alone won out. I had a few friends who were offended and pretty much dropped me (I don't really blame them — I was a crappy friend during that time, and incredibly self-absorbed), and I had a few more with whom I just sort of lost touch.
But I have a couple of friends who stuck by me. They continued to e-mail, call, invite me out — consistently, but not overwhelmingly, without pressuring, with understanding and compassion, and they didn't take personally my inability to deal. They let me know they were there anytime I needed or wanted them, but they seemed to get that I just wasn't capable of reciprocating at the time.
As I came out of that funk over the course of a few months, their reaching out gave me a line that I could grab on to whenever I was strong enough. They helped me slowly climb my way back into the real world.
As I write this, I realize that I'd like to finally express to my friends just how grateful I am that they both kept reaching out and didn't make me feel bad when I wasn't quite strong enough to grab on.
In a ho-hum life, find something to be passionate about
Done that, doing it: On managing the grind of daily life: Sadly, unless you are Evel Knievel or into extreme-anything, boredom is going to be a fact of life — a side effect of endless repetition, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, breakfast, lunch, dinner.
If your job isn't your passion, then find something that is. If your passion isn't your job, your spouse, your family (bummer, man), then how about a hobby?
Think back to when you were a kid. What did you love to do? Then do it. Maybe you'll never be a pro baseball player or ballerina — but I guarantee that at some point in your life there was something you loved to do — so, do it again, even if to a lesser degree. Play in a city league, dance in local theater. Draw pictures, ride a horse, go back to school. Because if you don't? Life, as short as it is, will seem very, very long.