What NOT To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

walker percy

I have been feeling a profound entropic malaise lately. A disordered feeling of mental uneasiness, if you will.

In layman’s terms, I’ve got a bad case of the blahs.

This feeling has been happening with more frequency of late. When I wake up, I generally feel pretty good. I have a positive outlook about the day ahead. But just give me 30 minutes. By the time I set about conquering my to do list for the day, I become inert.

You ever have one of those dreams where you just can’t run? Where you know you need to run and you will your feet to work faster and you get like maybe three or four steps into a run and your body just won’t cooperate? All you can manage is a kind of fast walk-hobble?

That’s where I seem to be right now. In some kind of fast walk-hobble, willing myself to move forward but my spirit just won’t cooperate.

I would love to share with all of you how to get out of this mess. I know I can get out of it. I know I will get out of it, sooner or later. I’ve traveled enough times around the sun to know that this, too, shall pass. But I haven’t found the medicine for this particular strain yet.

In an effort to continue to move forward, I figured I would at least share with you what DOESN’T work. These are all scientifically tested (by me!) methods of assuring that you WILL NOT figure out what to do. At the very least I can save you some trouble, should you find yourself in this situation.

Do Not Eat Too Many Peanut-Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets

You know what I’m talking about. I don’t even LIKE pretzels, but somehow these little crunchy pillows of peanut butter are IMPOSSIBLE to stop eating. Don’t buy them at Trader Joe’s. Don’t even buy the unsalted kind! They aren’t as good, but you still won’t be able to stop yourself from eating giant handfuls of them at a time, with utter reckless abandon. And for the love of god, DO NOT buy the giant plastic tub of them at Costco. You KNOW how you’ll feel when that tub is empty two days later. Don’t even talk to me about the calories and fat and salt you (I) just ate. Take my word for it – STEER CLEAR OF THESE EVIL BASTARDS. I’ve done the required research. They won’t help. Or any other kind of food that can easily turn into too much of a good thing (which is pretty much all of it).

Do Not “Nap It Off”

Sometimes naps are awesome. Like, when you’re in grad school and you’re sleep deprived and you suddenly have three hours free one afternoon and you let yourself fall into a deep, soul-replenishing, outlook-refreshing sleep.

But if you’re inclined to take a nap every day because you don’t know what else to do – DON’T DO IT. What should you do instead? Like I said, I don’t have the answer for that. Put together a puzzle? Shave the dog? I don’t know. Just don’t nap. If you take too many naps too many days in a row, you aren’t going to feel good about yourself or be any closer to figuring your shit out. You’ll probably just have one of those dreams where you know you’ve slept too long and you dream that you’re on drugs and really out of it and can’t quite come to. Haven’t had one of those dreams? Lucky you. RESIST THE URGE TO NAP OFF YOUR MALAISE.

No napping – even with balloons. Especially with balloons!

Do Not Watch Daytime Television

In the history of television, have they ever had good programming on during the day? If you do not know what to do, I’m begging you PLEASE do not turn on your television. Especially if you’re like me and don’t have cable anymore. Do you have any idea the kind of mind-numbing crap they air between, say, 10am and 4pm? Jerry Springer, anyone? How the hell is this guy still on the air? And now it’s all modern with #JerryJerry! Good god. While it may seem like watching nearly illiterate low-lifes slugging it out on national television may make you feel better about your life choices, let’s just make this clear – IT DOESN’T. At least those people are out there doing something, even if they don’t realize how truly awful it makes them look. Guess what – they got one over you because YOU are watching THEM. And god forbid you’re in your pajamas on a weekday morning when you’re doing it. For shame! Seriously, TURN OFF THE TV.

Do No Beat Yourself Up

Seriously, though, don’t get down on yourself. So you got a case of the blahs. So what? It won’t last forever. You’ll figure something out. Or at least keep trying until you do. Slog through it, and know that it is completely normal. Even the most accomplished people have had their moments of malaise. Okay, I can’t think of a specific example, but I’m sure they’re out there! You’ll get through this, too. And still be awesome.

So, there you have it. If you don’t know what to do, I have at least eliminated four choices for you. What else can we eliminate? Anybody got any ideas?