Misplaced Angst

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I went through a phase for a couple of weeks where I just really hated my job. It’s somewhat boring, and I just feel that I’m not using my brain to it’s fullest potential here, but things like money and health care and 4 weeks of paid vacation keep me from walking away. One day I decided to really think about what it was that I was so unsatisfied with and here is the thought process that led me to figuring out what I really wanted:

  • For one thing, I really wish I had some female coworkers or even just some coworkers that I had something in common with – there really isn’t anyone here I can talk to. I don’t have much in common with my coworkers and with every other job I’ve had, I’ve always made a close female friendship from it.
  • Then I thought, okay why does it bother me so much that I don’t have any female coworkers? It’s because I don’t have anyone outside of work either that I have a friendly connection with to fill that void. If I had a social life outside of family and work, I might not feel so…
  • LONELY! I’m lonely! I have my mom & sister both within 40 minutes of me, and I have one friend who lives here in my town but they aren’t always available. I have  plenty of acquaintances, but I think it bothers me that most people I know wouldn’t think to invite me if a party were being held. I feel sort of invisible, which admittedly I’ve done to myself. When I don’t feel good about myself, I tend to withdraw (and I haven’t felt good about myself for a reeeeaaallly long time), but  I long for 3 or 4 close friends nearby. I want to feel like I’m a necessary part of a group.
  • I need to make some friends. But how? How do you make new friends when you’re in your 40s? How do you meet people who have the same interests as you?
  • Well, what interests do I have? Books! I love to read…so maybe…hmmm I wonder if there’s a book club in my town? I don’t know why I never thought of it before – a book club would be perfect for me! But if there is, how do I get invited?
  • The bookstore!! I’ll bet the local mom & pop bookstore knows of a book club!
  • Get your courage up Jill,  message the bookstore and see if they know of one. Put yourself out there – you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
  • Yay! They have a book club at the book store! AND THEY SAID THEY’D LOVE TO HAVE ME JOIN THEM!

And that is how I got invited to join a book club where hopefully I’ll at the least make some new acquaintances and at the most find some new BFFs. My first meeting is this Thursday and I’m nervous about it. I wish I already knew someone there, and maybe I will, who knows?  But I feel like I need to be brave and do this thing – this thing that scares me and moves me out of my comfort zone. Walking into a room full of strangers is intimidating, but I hope that I will get a feeling of belonging from it eventually. And even if I don’t make any super close friends, at least I’ll get to read and discuss books which is a win in itself. Of course, I could hate it and it could all go down in flames, but at least I’m making the effort. 🙂

So really, my angst about my job had nothing to do with my job. It was really about making connections and getting involved in my community. It feels scary to put myself out there, but I know I’m doing myself a huge favor by doing it. If this goes well, I might get even more involved with something else later, like working with the library or the local literacy group. I’ll have to see how this goes first.

Do you have any experience with a book club? Anything I should know or be aware of so I don’t make a total idiot of myself???

 

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11 thoughts on “Misplaced Angst

  1. debby

    Well, no advice about book clubs, but this post brought up a lot of thoughts I’ve had about myself that are related to it. Do you mind if I share? 🙂

    So, you spend the major portion of your waking week at your job. That would seem to be the best way, or at least the most convenient way, to have some female friends. On the other hand, if there were only a few females working with you, and they were, well, you know… it could make your work environment more miserable. What I was really thinking about was my job. I was REALLY close to some of my friends at work. Shared stuff I didn’t share with others. I looked forward to going to work just so I could talk stuff over with them. But then I retired, and that was the end of those relationships! Just the convenience of the proximity (and the long work hours) made them close friends.

    The other thing I thought about was what you wrote about making friends. I was going to suggest getting involved with women’s fellowship at your church. I found a good friend that way, by putting myself out there in situations where I wasn’t comfortable. One of my best friends still is a woman I met when we were playing a game and she wasn’t wearing her glasses so I had to read the clue for her. It made me laugh. It seemed like we didn’t have much in common, but it turned out that she used to show dogs, and she still loves dogs as much as me!

    I think a book club is a great way to meet people. You will be talking, and pretty soon you will see someone who sees the world the way you do. I can hardly wait to hear what happens!

    • I’ve had lots of women say to me “You are so lucky you don’t have to work with other women!” but honestly the guys I work with are just as catty and backstabbing as any woman can be. It’s weird. :/

      I’m having a hard time with my church right now – sort of looking for another place to go, otherwise that would be a great suggestion. It’s definitely something I’ll check into when I find another church.

      I’m looking forward to book club because YAY BOOKS!! 🙂

  2. If you are looking for a book club, there are ways to find them. Check meetup.com or your library (many libraries have their own groups). I actually wrote a post about this on my blog, which I will link to when I sign in (so click on my name and it will take you right to the post).

  3. Jill, I am an only child and I grew up pretty isolated from being around children during my early years. In middle school I was bullied so my formal years of making friends gave me a lot of trust issues with women. Since my 30’s, I have been on a mission to make (and keep) friends. The close relationships you have with your girlfriends really helps to fill the void. But it is SOOO hard to make new friends. I continue to make friends slowly and I count my closest friends as friends and everyone else is a “friend acquaintance.” Sounds tough, but it’s true. My church is where I put myself out there to develop friends. I got involved with the Women’s Ministry and attended Binle Studies. No matter what my circumstance has been, I have always had to work at both the making and keeping of friends. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one putting in the effort. If you don’t like your church, seek out a different one. Pray for direction and ask God to lead you to the right place for both you and your children.

  4. Vickie

    Every book club has its own pace and format. So, I would suggest watching to see how everything is done. I would also suggest making a few notes so you have things to say (and do not freeze under pressure). I always took my iPad and looked up a lot of things during discussion. In my classic book group, they counted on my looking things up, would ask me to do so. Usually this was a date or name or a definition, I kept my answers/reporting very short.

    I have belonged to three book groups (at the same time) and once attended a fourth to try it (did not like). I like the groups with a mix of men and women.

    I used these book clubs as a way to socialize without any other commitments. I also used exercise and yoga classes the same way. A method to be around people but not get further committed to anything. Card clubs can work well for that too.

  5. KR

    Your post sounds so familiar. I was in the same rut and dealing with similar issues at about 40. I did seek out a book club, which turned out great. That was 7 years ago. But I spend less time with these ladies than I expected. So here’s another concept to consider. I didn’t grow up in this town. And around that same time, I continued to look for someone who might be that “perfect” new BFF. Everyone seemed taken, not quite right, too busy, etc. There was a woman in my neighborhood who would call me all the time for get togethers between our kids. Ugh, this woman was persistent to the point of annoying and ticked none of my boxes. But one day, lonely and needing to get out, I called her and put myself out there. I will tell you that she wasn’t and isn’t my ideal friend. But, she was available for me always. I met new people and tried new things with her. And we saw each other through some very tough times and big life changes for many years. I learned that sometimes friendship comes from unexpected quarters if I keep an open mind. I also learned that friends sometimes come for a season….we need different types of people at different times in our lives.

  6. the other Gina

    I hope you have a great time today at the bookclub meeting! I admire how you were able to process your need and desire like that. I’m numbing, again, and avoiding processes.

    “I feel sort of invisible, which admittedly I’ve done to myself. When I don’t feel good about myself, I tend to withdraw” — me, too. me, too. me, too.

    After closing my FB acct and leaving the LDS Church, I found myself pretty isolated (especially here in Utah County where most of my neighbors are LDS, and I’m considered someone to smile at but avoid). The women of the support group I began on FB kept asking me back. I missed them, and opened another FB acct to see how I can help. The good news: the group has grown and is thriving (over 670 members), and the moderators are doing a great job. But, I feel very much like an outsider now. Plus, I don’t want to be on the computer/screen too much, again.

    Like I said, I’m numbing, again. I’m not even being a friend to myself, LOL!

    This song somehow popped into my head while reading your post and pondering it: The Beatles -Eleanor Rigby

    • Befriend Yourself is going to be the title of my first self help book and I’ll dedicate it to you! LOL!

      If we only knew how lonely we all really are, I wonder if we would make more of an effort for each other?
      I love early Beatles. Not so crazy about their later stuff (although Here Comes the Sun is one of my all time FAVES).

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