About five times a year I become convinced that I will never have fun again. Among these five times include the week following July 4th, the week following my birthday, the week following Labor Day, the aftermath of at least one wild card weekend which is subject to occur at any time, and following the winter holiday break.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m writing this before the break has even begun. I say that so you know I wrote this with a clear mind as opposed to one that’s frozen with pre-work anxiety and that dark, I’ll-never-have-fun-again feeling.
Because right now, in this space, I know I will. How? (HOW?!?!) By doing and/or keeping in mind the following:
Make a to-do list, and then bear with me
Write down everything you have to do.
Then circle everything you have to do today.
Identify “everything you have to do today” as A) the things that, if not completed EOD, will fuck up someone else’s day and B) the things that, if not completed EOD, will get you fired.
Do those things first.
Complete second tier to-do’s next.
Make a to-do list for tomorrow, then call it quits at a normal time. In the words of every sane person I know, “The work will be there tomorrow whether or not you do it now.” So go home. Bet you haven’t unpacked or done the laundry yet, right? There she is.
Plan something that requires a reservation for this weekend
It doesn’t have to be anywhere “trendy,” but put your name down at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try or one that you heard was terrible and would like to make up your own mind about. The point is that you will have something to look forward to and somewhere to be.
Get dressed up
Get dressed up for the reservation above, get dressed up for work, get dressed up to run errands, get dressed up to take a selfie. Don’t let “but I have nowhere to wear head-to-toe sequins and a feather cape to” be your excuse any longer. It’s 2016, we left normcore way behind.
Make a sitting plan with friends
This is less intense than standing plans but does require you and your friends to agree to a new tradition, whether it’s to visit a museum once a month, do a Google hangout once a week, or dinner every third Sunday. The goal is to have something to look forward to. Leandra and I will be having virgin cocktails at The Carlyle next Monday. Doesn’t that sound great?
Avoid college students
They’re on break way longer than those in the work force and will remind you that you’re not on vacation anymore. (But hey, at least you pay your own bills!)
Avoid babies, too
Always sleeping and eating. So rude.
Sign yourself up for something
A calligraphy class, geography lessons, Blue Apron, a volunteer program — you need an extracurricular activity that isn’t drinking or the gym.
That said, drink and workout
Not at the same time, but also not not at the same time.
Start a project
Finally begin doing that thing you’ve always talked about. Bonus points if it can be done from the couch.
Start a group chat
With strangers! It’s so much more fun and just as confusing as with friends.
Host a dinner at the end of January
This will give you something to plan all month and will give all those who you invite a pleasant reason to complain (they have nothing to wear!) (but they do!) (isn’t figuring out your outfit the best part of dinners?) (besides the eating!) (cool punctuation huh?) (sorry).
Focus on getting your apartment or room or home cozy. Buy candles, DIY a pillow, visit your florist toward the end of the day when he or she is likely to give you a discount on the nicer flowers, play music non-stop and create a space that you makes you excited to stay in.
With all that crap out of the way, now you can nest: gather all the twigs, berries and baby worms you can find!
Repeat after me…
It’s gonna be ok. It’s gonna be great. And there’s just a few more months until summer. Until then: scroll through the slideshow above and smile — it could be worse.
Feature image photographed by Max Farago for Self Service Magazine.