Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Resist ex-boyfriend's insistence about going on double date
TX: At my ex-boyfriend's insistence, he and his fiancee will be double-dating with me and my boyfriend this weekend. Our relationship went badly and ended worse, and it's probably a bad idea, but we're committed to it now. Any words of advice?
Carolyn: Yes. Don't go.
"Insistence" doesn't mean you have to do it, nor does agreeing to it mean you can't change your mind and cancel. It's a dinner date, not a blood oath.
I can see why this relationship ended badly; your power distribution with this guy is all off, and it still has you twisting yourself into someone you neither like nor respect. Call it off. Stand up for yourself.
TX, Again: Sigh. Yes, yes, yes. But easier said than done. Sometimes even "just doing it" is paralyzingly difficult.
Carolyn: Anything we know we should be doing but nevertheless aren't doing is, I think by definition, paralyzingly difficult.
So the choices are limited to accepting that it will never be done — a real self-worth killer — or finding some small purchase on getting it done, and hoping that's enough to break the pattern logistically, emotionally or both. Sometimes that little opening to success is technical (e.g., finding the easiest task, making a list, calling and saying, "I changed my mind" … ) and sometimes it's emotional (e.g., figuring out why you're so resistant to change, so fearful of being honest, so reluctant to look inward, etc.).
What I'm trying to do in these "easier said than done" cases is provide a nudge that breaks the deadlock, even if it's just a nudge toward realizing it's going to take more than giving oneself a nudge.
Plenty of opportunities exist to find deeper meaning in life
Washington: I don't have a terrible problem like some readers, but this does bother me a lot.
I feel very "gray." Nothing is exciting, and my job is okay (pays well and is challenging enough to hold interest, but not overly strenuous). I look at my life and think: "Is this all there is? Another 30 years of getting up, going to work, just getting through until the weekend, and then retirement?"
What's wrong with me? I am serious. Is this normal or should I get help (from somewhere)?
Carolyn: There are so many purposes waiting for someone to find them, particularly someone with time and means and untapped passion.
Please look around you, see what is really meaningful to you, or has been meaningful or inspiring to you before but that you've let slip away over time. Art, craft, cause, sport, faith, cuisine, culture, club, game, pet?
Investing yourself in something larger than just self-sustenance can make even the dullest workday look brighter. It can even start you on a path to more rewarding work, or more rewarding relationships.
If you find you can't think of anything that matters to you like that — if you see no beauty in the mundane — then I would take that as your signal to get help in the form of screening for clinical depression.