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Stuck in a rut; the bad kind.

  1. Nov 1, 2011 #1
    As of late, I'm at my computer nearly all day, watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S and reading stuff on PF. I've also started reading the latest arcs of the Batman comics. There's that and bits of studying thrown in.
    Actually, that's what I've been doing ever since we shifted from dial-up to broadband internet, back in 2006.

    It's somewha...depressing? I don't mind staying in - I actually love reading but there doesn't seem to be anything to "look forward to" and when I do go out, I find traveling a nuisance and just want to get back home asap.

    The solution would be to change my routine. But change it to what? The guys (4-5 close friends) seem to be in a similar situation except that they seem fairly content with nothing happening. I feel like if I keep at it, I'm going to get sucked into by the big laziness monster and I'll end up staying with my parents all my life. Anyway, my friends seem to be happy playing pool but I never really got into it, and besides, the pool tables we play at aren't high enough for me, which means that I have to get into some tantric postures and such to be able to even shoot the bastard.

    The irony is that I used to be very active when I was younger and I gradually stopped spending time outdoors because:
    a) I sucked at most sports
    b) I did love skating but there aren't *any* good areas to skate are where I live, so I lost interest
    c) The people I used to be friends started turning into little Snorlaxes and decided that they'd make better use of their time by napping

    I suppose that's really when I started staying in, not doing any particularly useful. Anyway, my weeks are dull. Watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S and other "happy" tv shows (i.e: not Breaking Bad), makes me think that my friends and I are turning into lethargic, depressed freaks.


    I gotta figure out how to get out of this vicious cycle of nothing-nothing-nothing. The only productive things I've done lately, besides learning some math, is reading up an absurdist play and starting a second.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2011 #2
    I was in a bit of a different rut three years ago. What got me out of it was volunteering. It's an easy way to meet new people and feel good about helping others.
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #3


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    Meeting new people could be an option.

    I've found previously in my life that when you meet people that just want more out of life then it can have a habit of being contagious.

    The issue that has popped up sometimes is that some of your current friends might feel threatened that you are getting new friends: if this is the case, then they probably are not really your friends so to speak.

    Also it doesn't mean you have to "dump" them and never acknowledge them ever again, but if moving on to something new is what you need to do, then do so while maintaining good core values.

    Also I should say that doing absolutely nothing from time to time is ok. We all need time out at some point.

    I think also that when you are in a position where you don't need to manage time as much, then you tend to get lazy: think of it as the least action principle. The people that are really productive often do so out of necessity: they might be juggling uni with a full-time job, or work with kids, or something along those lines. They are just doing these things out of necessity, and chances are that if you had those kind of commitments and responsibilities you would do the same.

    So in saying that if you wanted to change your routine it would be better if you did it out of necessity, because lets face it: most humans don't work harder if they can get away with working less: the least action principle, or human nature at its finest ;)
  5. Nov 1, 2011 #4


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    @OP, do you like animals? It seems that you have enough time to lavish on a dog who needs a good home. If you can't adopt a dog (personal situation/housing/etc), I'll bet you could volunteer at a local ASPCA shelter. They always need help. You'd probably be energized by taking dogs out of their confinement, playing chase, fetch, etc. Dogs give love unconditionally. As soon as they know and trust you, they are SO happy to see you!

    Look at this face! Duke had been at the shelter for 4-1/2 months and was the next in line to go to the overflow shelter (where dogs that don't get adopted in a week or two get killed). I stopped into the shelter to meet him (my wife had already met him), and told the staff that we would adopt him. There was joy and thanks! My wife stopped on the way home and bought him some food, some dishes, and a bed. He had been here for 1/2 day when I took this picture, and he was acting like he'd won the lottery. If this guy couldn't pull you out of a rut, I don't know who could.

    BTW, please don't get a dog just because you are bored and "in a rut". That's not fair to the dog, because you've done it for your needs, not his/hers. Still, dogs are fantastic companions and great ice-breakers. My wife always tells me that if she dies and I'm alone, I should take Duke for walks in parks and other public places so he can pick out a good woman for me. She's right. When Duke and I are out together, people just come up and start talking. Oh, he's handsome! How old is he? When I tell them we don't know for sure because he was a stray/shelter-dog, they are fully engaged. It means a lot when folks know that you have taken in an abandoned dog and given him a good home.

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  6. Nov 1, 2011 #5
    It also worked ok with me.

    Yes, I think that is a very good way to get out of a rut. You start to feel that you are being useful and your circle of friends will extend. Only the initial decision is sometimes difficult. But then one usually says to himself 'Why did not I do this before?'
  7. Nov 1, 2011 #6
    What kind of volunteering were you doing? How different, if you don't mind me asking?

    Same question to you too!

    Yeah, I thought of that but this issue turned up almost immediately. I think the situation has changed a lot since though. As it turns out, I don't seem to be an irreplaceable member of their little group or at least, not one who's absence would be felt too much, so I suppose that practically solves the bulk of the problem.

    I'm not so certain that if I do such a thing, it would be an inherently good one. (both for me personally and with the guys in mind) Walking away looks like too much of an easy choice and if I walk away once, maybe I'll get used to it and I'll walk away whenever things don't go as smoothly as I'd want them. Regardless of my relationship with them now, I've known most of these guys for the past 5 years and a few of them have been there for me in the past. And it's not like there's anything at all happening now...

    Then again, staying any longer does not look like it's going to help at all either. Maybe I should just leave, do other stuff, meet new people and if it works for me, suggest my friends do the same, if ever they still feel unhappy/uncomfortable with their situation.

    Perhaps it is. But doing it all the time gets to you. I don't even enjoy it! :rofl:
    I think doing nothing is cool if you've been working under a crazy schedule for a long time. Ironically enough, I strive under strenuous circumstances.

    I think you're right about me "not needing" to manage my time. I'm lucky enough to not have to worry about certain things which I'm certain other children have to and I suppose I take it for granted. Not much unlike most people in my position...(does not make it okay, though!)

    I also don't think I'm fit to comment on that right now, because I'm still trying to figure certain things. Things like, "What kind of food do I like? Is KFC really that good?", "What do I enjoy doing?" and so forth.

    I actually asked a few people this question: "Think of this particular (hypothetical) situation. You're 20 years old. Anything that money can buy, you can get and this will *never* change. It's pointless to try do things to attempt to increase or maintain your wealth because it is well, infinite. What do you do then?"

    No one but my dad could give me a reasonable answer. He said he'd go travel the world and share it with every person he can. :rofl:
    I have an uncle who owns a couple of businesses and is a uni professor and when I asked him that, he tried to avoid it and directed the conversation elsewhere. I get the impression that whatever it is anyone I know is doing, they're doing it because circumstances got them there and they're "okay" with it. Not because they "love" it.

    That dog is boss. ;)

    I really like animals - thanks for reminding me of this. If I were to absolutely go into health care for whatever reason, I would rather treat animals. Not reptiles though, they scare me.

    Oh, I definitely would *not* do such a thing. I actually know someone who might be able to turn me towards something of that sort (volunteering) and I'd rather do that. I can't get a dog because I might be leaving for college next year and my dad hates animals. But yeah, I think I would be happy to get to take care of a dog. Being on my own for so long (for the most part) led to me developing some quirks. Some quirks I'm actually not very happy about! But anyway...

    They're also very...active? Cats and rabbits can look cute but felines are a sly bunch and rabbits are just weird. They have this funny face, always giving you that weird look and chewing something.

    Thanks a lot guys. I really appreciate the help. :)
  8. Nov 1, 2011 #7


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    You say your friends enjoy playing pool, so they must at least get out of the house. Why don't you go along to the bar/pool hall one day? You don't even need to play, you can just go there and talk. It seems like that would be one easy step to leaving the house and socialising.
  9. Nov 1, 2011 #8
    I'm in a somewhat similar situation, I stay in a lot, I bum around with my close friends, but we don't "do" much of anything besides a bit of a chat, a few drinks, or whatever... but here's what I do to stay sane:

    Programming: well I'm a Comp Sci student so this is not that "out there" but it is a fun hobby too. I'm learning Jquery, JSON and HTML5 in my spare time at the moment. I've skipped over web stuff in my course, in favour of maths, but I'd still like to know how to make a proper website, so I'm filling in the gaps there.

    Music. I'm a fiend, I spend hours and hours finding new music, and I let loose on my (DJ) turntables at least once a week. This is far and away my favourite hobby, it's nice when I can share it with a friend, but I'm perfectly happy doing it all by myself, I find it very fulfilling.

    SKATE!!! I'm not sure how inaccessibly skating is for you, I live in the suburbs, and I don't have a local skatepark, but I have a car and I like to get out at least once a fortnight for a really good roll. I'm a bit old and fragile now, so I like to skate ramps but I can always find one within a half hour drive. I think the day I stop skating is the day I die (at least on the inside). Skate or die! <3

    I ride my bike a lot too. Sometimes I just get out on the road and ride for a few hours. On better days I drive out to a national park or w/e and do some serious offroad riding. My old riding friends don't ride anymore, but I do it by myself and it's great.

    I think the key is to DO THINGS. Challenge yourself. Learn something outside your prescribed learning. It's nice to have friends that share your passions and are enthusiastic about doing things, but if and when they aren't, just do them anyway.

    I love pool too :P My friends HATE IT! lol which is damnably annoying, but every here and there I coax someone into a game. ^^

  10. Nov 1, 2011 #9

    I like Serena

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    At one time I was basically waiting for university to start.

    Then my brother suggested to start already.
    He went to the university I was planning to go to, got the books, and wrote me up for a couple of resits.
    Then I got a call at home from the study advisor, not to discourage me, but to help me make it work!
    It was awesome!

    I relished studying for what I was going to do anyway and got off on a good jump start.
    And it helped to enjoy my time at university even more!
  11. Nov 1, 2011 #10
    Skating is very, very inaccessible. But I should look around again, perhaps over the last couple of years, some skate park could've been built but I highly doubt it. I should look into water sports - I hope they aren't too expensive.

    Yes, I do agree that music helps a lot. My main problem was "focus" - I just didn't have it. I'm trying to build up patience and see where this takes me.

    Haha, I ride a bicycle! Alone too. I'd be happy if I could plug in my earphones when cycling but that's not very advisable...:P

    Yes, doing things is key. Figuring out what to do is the tricky part. I really should just start picking stuff I could do randomly and then proceed to do 'em.


    IlS: It's funny you mention that 'cause I've been waiting to go to uni for a loooong time now.

    I'm not so sure I understood your story. Did you go to uni earlier than you were supposed to?
  12. Nov 1, 2011 #11
    Yesterday I called up a friend to play basketball. He said he wasn't busy (just Facebook - duh) and we could go in the afternoon. Told him to ask the other guys, considering they live pretty close to each other. Two hours before we were expected to get to the court, I get a call from another of them, telling me that they're at the beach and if I want to come. Nice. :rofl:
  13. Nov 2, 2011 #12

    I like Serena

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    I've heard of people going to uni early, but no, not in my case.
    Perhaps you could?

    I just studied at home for 2 resits that I took before uni started.
    The study advisor called me to explain that I shouldn't fill in the dates, since officially it was not allowed to do resits if you were not registered.
    After the official examinations, we filled in those dates.

    It gave rise to a few funny situations.
    I was doing the resits in the introduction week.
    People from my introduction group asked where I was, and were flabbergasted to hear that I was taking resits! :wink:
    When some people at the resit heard that I was doing it without having followed colleges, they were quite impressed too, especially since they had of course trouble completing it.
    To top it off, I was done first, and I had the highest grades (since I had studied pretty hard at it).
    During the first year it gave me some extra time that I used to do a couple of 2nd year examinations.

    The morale that I got, is that it does not pay to wait for something you want - just go out and do it!! :smile:
  14. Nov 3, 2011 #13
    What do you mean by resits? Here, a resit is doing the exam for a module you got a low grade in or did not pass. I'm gonna take a guess here...you mean that you self studied a few topics and did the exam directly?
  15. Nov 3, 2011 #14

    I like Serena

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  16. Nov 3, 2011 #15


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    I was going to suggest that you'd get better advice by writing to Dear Abby, but it appears even she gets into a rut and just can't take it anymore.


    Try doing some things you haven't done before. The volunteer idea is a good one - even better if it's the type of volunteer activity that a lot of girls like to participate in. (Or would that just put you into a completely new rut?)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  17. Nov 3, 2011 #16


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    Nudge, nudge! Volunteer for the nearest ASPCA shelter. Years back, my friends' younger daughter wasn't a "joiner", nor was she a jock like her older sister. She was an animal-lover, though, and she volunteered at the local animal shelter during HS. Typically, dogs at the shelter would be let out of their enclosures, maybe 2 or 3 at a time, and be let into the exercise area while their enclosures were hosed out. That was their exercise-time for the day, and it was all the shelter could manage with their paid staff. She would go to the shelter in the afternoon/early evening and take the dogs out for play-time one-on-one. She was a smart and attractive girl (still is), and any hetero guy would have loved to work with her.
  18. Nov 3, 2011 #17
    Or lesbian. They have feelings too! I think*...

    I don't live anywhere near America but we do have something akin to the ASPCA and I will look into that. I think it's best if I call them - they haven't quite gone all the way to maintaining their website, it would seem.

    Somebody told me of a restaurant/cafe w/library which has recently opened. Apparently it's really great and they screen movies there and people can get to have some nice banter after/before the screening. The only downside is it's expensive. WOO!

    And today, after my physics exam (a lab), I talked to these two guys who used to be in my class a couple of years back. It was fairly nice and now I'm certain meeting new people *is* actually the right thing to do.

    *@mentors: tongue firmly planted in the cheek
  19. Nov 3, 2011 #18


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    Certainly. I don't think she would have swung that way, but if she had met another female hottie that absolutely loved dogs...well, who knows? Her parents would have been fine with it, anyway. It would be hard to imagine a more supportive and open-minded set of parents (at that time of her life).
  20. Nov 4, 2011 #19
    OP, careful what you wish for.
  21. Mar 6, 2012 #20
    I thought I'd let you guys know how this panned out.

    I didn't end up getting a pet, although I do think having a dog would have been great. It's more for reasons of me not being so sure where I'd be in the following months/year. Maybe when/if I get my own place someday? Would be cool to live in the countryside, near a river, with two huskies!

    I looked into volunteering and didn't find much to do with animals *but* I started teaching some children at some "centre" (hate the prick who's behind it; looks/sounds like too much of a phony; won't get into it; but I'm staying for the kids although I considered walking away and focusing on the children near home) and also right down the street where I live. It's a rather satisfying experience. I've had very bad days where even getting out of bed feels like such a drag but when I did get to them, it was great. I really have to be on top of my game if I want them to learn anything and I like that about the job.

    I also can't seem to be able to manage my studies very well. I feel pretty bad about it. I don't find it particularly engaging and am only sticking with it because I have to. The good news is that it will be over by the end of May. I also have some days where I study a sufficient amount but it's just "sufficient". Eventually, I'm getting things done but it's just the bare minimum.

    A friend of mine told me a "story" of someone who dropped out of uni/college and went to China to teach English to kids there. I actually think quitting everything and doing something like that (perhaps get some kind of certification first; might help me in getting re-acquainted with English in a formal manner) might make me much happier but in the long run, I think I will regret this and think to myself that I should have just gone on to college and majored in physics/maths like I planned to. Nothing is happening. Nothing at all. It's all a lot of "dittos".

    I used to write a fair bit (simple fiction with crude, juvenile "humour" - have a post on a blog, if anyone's interested) but having no adventures does not seem to help me with not "writing the same stuff just using different words". For the past few weeks, my plan was to go to college, figure out how to be rich, retire at 50, then go to grad school and do science till I drop dead. Right now, I think maybe not planning at all, going to China or Japan, teach English instead of trying to be rich, meet lots of cool people (heck, the last time I met a nice girl was nearly a year ago...and she asked me for FB, which I didn't have), have fun, learn new things and then start college. (or maybe do a degree part time with the Open University!)

    My apologies if that's too explicit and boring. I'll try tl;dr it tomorrow morning if no one has replied.
  22. Mar 6, 2012 #21

    jim hardy

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    Take an eveming education course. That'll surround you with people who are improving their lot.
  23. Mar 6, 2012 #22


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    I am replying, just to let you know I read your post. And I am glad to hear you were able to change something in your life :smile:
  24. Mar 7, 2012 #23
    I was in a rut too. then I had to get a job cos I had no money left and so I worked in a bakery. It turned out to be a hellhole and made me realise how bad I could have it if I didnt sort myself out. I didnt want to be stuck there my whole life so I start studying again. and now its good.
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