Friday, July 1, 2016

Chapter 23 (7/1/16)

I moped for an entire week.  I rolled out of bed at the last possible second every morning, flirted with “acceptably late” every day, and refused Rachael’s pleas to go to lunch with her.  I was so relieved when Saturday rolled around again.  I slept in super late, lazed in bed for way longer than was socially acceptable, and then managed to make it down to the couch, where I spent the afternoon.
I got hungry eventually and surveyed the kitchen.  I’d never made it to the grocery store.  I’d thought about it a couple times, but then I remembered sobbing in my car in the parking lot and decided against it.  Wrinkling my nose at the lack of options, I pulled a can of soup from the depths of the pantry and dumped it into a bowl.  The bowl went in the microwave, because even heating it up on the stove seemed daunting. 
I was just making myself comfortable on the couch again when someone knocked on the door.  Sneakily, I moved the curtains as little as possible to peak out.  Kelly and Erica were standing on my front porch.  With a sigh, I set my bowl of lava hot soup on the end table and got up to answer the door.
I knew better than to protest their presence, and to be honest, I was kind of glad for the company—as long as they didn’t try to make me leave the house.  Not today.  I pulled the door open and stood aside as they came in, stamping the snow off their boots.  “We miss you,” Erica said, looking worried.
“And we brought pizza.  And wine!” Kelly said, grinning at me. 
Despite my commitment to being a miserable human being over the last week, I couldn’t help but return her smile.  I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed them until they were there.  “If you would have called, I would have at least showered,” I said, suddenly aware that I was still in my pajamas. 
“If we would have called, you would have told us not to come and then ignored us when we knocked,” Kelly replied, and she was probably right.
“At least let me change,” I said, heading upstairs.  Erica and Kelly were already walking into the kitchen and I hurried to my room.  I ditched my baggy flannel pants with the hole in the crotch and pulled on a comfy pair of yoga pants.  A little deodorant and a clean hoodie was good enough for Kelly and Erica.  I ran a comb through my hair and pulled it up into a messy bun, then went back downstairs. 
Kelly and Erica were sitting on my couch with wine and pizza, and there was a plate and glass for me on the coffee table.  They had made themselves at home and were flipping through Netflix options, arguing good-naturedly.  We finally settled on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, because when is that movie not perfect?
They didn’t say a word to me about my self-imposed isolation.  They didn’t scold me, or pity me, or make me promise to go out with them next weekend.  They just hung out, fed me, and watched stupid movies with me all evening. It was exactly what I needed, and it was perfect.
Almost 3 bottles of wine in, I suddenly declared, “I need a hobby.”
“A hobby,” Kelly replied skeptically.
“A hobby,” I repeated.  We all looked at each other and started giggling.  “Seriously, though.  All I do is work and go on terrible dates.  And hang out with you guys, but you have husbands and stuff.”
“So?” Erica said indignantly.  “That doesn’t make us less fun.”
“Well, actually…” I teased her, ducking the balled-up napkin she sent flying in my direction.  “But I need something to do that I enjoy.  Something that brings me joy.”
Kelly looked legitimately concerned now.  “Have you been reading self-help books again, Jenna?”
I rolled my eyes.  “No!  But don’t you think I could do better than working, going on meaningless dates, and moping around for a week at a time?”
“That’s a stupid question,” she said. 
“Then support me in my quest to find a hobby,” I instructed her.  I looked at Erica, who nodded her support with a mouthful of pizza. 
“What do you want to do?” she asked, after she had swallowed. 
I frowned.  I hadn’t thought that far ahead.  “I don’t know,” I admitted.  “I…I don’t really even know what I like to do.”  Kevin and I had played tennis, hiked, camped, fished, gone wine tasting…but now that I really thought about it, those were all things that he had originally suggested.  I had enjoyed doing them to spend time with him, but I wasn’t sure I actually liked doing any of those things.
“Oh!” Erica exclaimed, startling me and making me knock into my wine glass.  Kelly caught it, shook her head, and moved it safely out of reach of my flailing arms.  “You should do a thing where you try something new every week until you find something you really like!”
“You can’t decide you like something after doing it once,” Kelly argued. 
“Well, you can find out if you like it enough to try doing again,” Erica insisted. 
I held up my hands.  “I don’t know if I want to do anything that regimented, or whatever,” I said.  “I just want to try a few things and figure out what I like to do.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” Erica said encouragingly.  She glared at Kelly, who nodded quickly.
“You know I’ll support whatever you want to do,” she said, and though she was completely skeptical, her words were sincere. 
Kelly and Erica and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, and then we crashed hard, right in my living room.  As determined as I had been to be grumpy and miserable, it felt so good to spend time with my friends again.

Over the next few weeks, I spent a lot of time searching for new potential hobbies.  I combed through the community education offerings, deciding I’d love to learn French, become a photographer, and paint pottery.  A Google search brought options such as rock climbing, dance classes for adults, and various community meet-ups.   But when it came to actually pulling the trigger on something, I was stuck.  The idea of actually going to something like this alone was terrifying to me.  I was convinced that everyone in attendance would arrive with a friend except me, and I’d spend the entire time completely alone in a crowded room.
I was at lunch with Rachael one day and feeling like sharing, so I filled her in on my quest and my conundrum.  “I’ll try a few things with you,” she offered.  “I’m not interested in painting mugs and stuff, but learning a language or rock climbing might be interesting!”
“What about dance?” I asked.  A local studio offered ballet, tap, and jazz classes for adults, and they offered a free “trial” class to anyone that was interested in trying it out. 
She wrinkled her nose, but then said, “I’ve always wanted to try rock climbing, so if you come do that with me, I’ll try a dance class with you.”
“Deal!” I said, excited. 
The next challenge was making our schedules line up.  Coordinating it with the open intro to climbing classes at a local climbing gym was even tougher.  We finally found one that worked for both of us in a few weeks.  Then we picked a day to go to the dance class together. I promised to call that evening to register us for it. 

When we headed back to work, I felt better than I had in a month.  For some reason, this signified truly moving on for me.  For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was doing something that was 100% for me, and it felt good.


  1. Love this! I'm going through a divorce and stuck on finding a hobby too!! This post totally gave me the push to step out and try something new! Thank you!

  2. What a great attitude change for her! Love the idea of focusing on herself by finding a hobby. Once she gets to know herself a little dating will be so much easier! I'm excited!

  3. I have been struggling to find a hobby since developing social anxiety, so I totally relate to going to classes alone and feeling like everyone else will be with a friend. Lol!

  4. I think she'll have an easier time meeting people once she's doing things that make her happy. It seemed like she was forcing it before, and that only leads to frustration!