Imposing so many life rules on yourself ruins the fun

Summer is a great time to reconnect with people and catch up. In recent weeks, I’ve been in touch with people from my past. It was similar to the start of the pandemic when many of us scrolled through our phone and/or social media and randomly reached out to people we hadn’t had contact with in a while.

I got together with two of my cousins. Sure, we’ve hung out at the family Christmas gathering or at a funeral but never casually at a restaurant. Why? The usual reason (ahem, excuse): we’re busy with our own lives.

What we thought was going to be a quick hour and a half turned into five hours, with us all getting home after midnight.

Earlier in the summer, I connected with a former boss from 20 years ago, after one of his Facebook posts popped up on my feed. The last contact was 10 years ago when he invited me to an informal staff reunion. (I said I’d get back to him but I never did. Not sure why, that was the end of the conversation.)

We, too, dragged out the night — not in a tedious way — and picked up nearly right where we left off 20 years ago. He, as my cousins did, said several times that he had to get home because he had to work in the morning. As with my cousins, I mocked him and said, “It’s one night. Be reckless.” (I should put reckless in quotation marks.)

That’s been my philosophy since semi retiring two years ago and slowing down in life. It’s taken that and the recent deaths of colleagues and others to make me have that — as cliche as it sounds — new lease on life.

Part of it also came from my parents who, almost militaristically, eat at 5:30 p.m. on the dot. They might have a 15-minute buffer but eating after 6 — gasp — heavens no. (Even when it’s your birthday dinner you must abide by their food scheduling.) It’s nothing dietary or health-wise, just a picky preference they have, as if waiting another hour would damage them irreparably.

I’ve taken a step back as of late and questioned why we put such rules on our life.

Staying out until midnight on a work night is reckless when you’re in your 40s (or 50s in the case of my cousins and former co-worker). But why? The argument was that they’ll be tired at work the next day. My response: Boo-hoo, so what.

At both gatherings it was noted by my respective dining partners that at 41 years old, I still have a youthful energy and happy-go-lucky outlook on life. (They also all joked that it’s because I don’t have kids.)

Overall, I’ve chosen not to focus on the negative. If I don’t want something happening anymore, I change it. People often bond over bitching and complaining (think at work: whining about the boss) and that’s fine if you want your connection with co-workers to be based on the negative but it’s just not worth the time and effort in my world anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.