Thursday, February 11, 2010

To Sulk or Not to Sulk

My flight to Orlando leaves 6:25 am 2/11/2010. Isaiah and I are going to have a much needed weekend break. I planned to attend a conference in Orlando and I convinced him to come with me. We booked our trip almost 2 days earlier than needed and I am really excited to be away, in a warm spot (NO SNOW), sitting in a hot tub, relaxing, with my honey! The Ultimate!

That was how I was thinking yesterday. Today,I face the cancellations of all the flights in our area due to the 12 inches of snow on the ground and winds at 30 mph. There are no available flights to Orlando until sunday. Am I disappointed to be missing the conference? Somewhat. But I can find another one. So why this deep sadness about no trip to Florida this weekend? It's as if I believe the opportunity won't come again for a long time....

I created this entire trip for us. I organized childcare and negotiated with Isaiah, who has taken no vacation in 5 years. I scraped money from odd places. I looked forward to it like a marathon runner looks forward to the spot where they get the much needed sip of water (I think...I have never done a marathon).

Why sadness? I think I'm sulking. I want accolades for the level of detail in the arrangements I made. I want Isaiah to pick up the vacation planning baton and run with it. I don't think he will and I don't want to restart all the planning.

I'm sulking because I didn't get what I want. It reminds me of an episode of The Practice that I watched: A doctor's 15 year old daughter is pregnant and wants to get married to her boyfriend: a chaotic situation at best. The doctor is struggling to even talk to her daughter,and is talking with her friend,a psychologist. At the end of the conversation, the psychologist said 'You want to check out because you didn't get what you want'

Is that what I'm doing? Instead of engagement and moving forward,I want to sit in my corner and feel bad? To what end?

Sulking comes from a place of believing that a positive,upbeat attitude will not get me what I want. I would like external resources (people around to say and do particular things to feed me emotionally and help me to plan the vacation!) and I think sulking will draw attention to my need. Sulking is useful if it energizes the people around you to give you what you want.

I have done it for 4 hours or so now and I'm not finding much value in it. It may get me some sympathy. Girlfriends are full of 'hush' and 'hugs'. My mom said "Great,so you can do my hair tomorrow!" So much for sympathy. Isaiah isn't a girlfriend, so no 'hush' and 'hugs' there. Though acts of sympathy from him would be superficially satisfying, the primary desire is for some time away. The idea of no vacation is downright reprehensible right now. So what will I do? To sulk or not to sulk,that is the question.

OK. Let's pretend. What would it be like if I believed I could go after and get what I want ?

I would:
  • energetically negotiate with the hotel in Orlando for a refund or useful credit and if that fails, call the people who want us to look at a time share in Orlando and reactivate that.
  • find another free weekend that the babysitters would be available (cross referencing my calendar, Isaiah's calendar and the baby-sitters' calenders)
  • use the credit from the airlines to book another flight
That's the plan! Pretending really works! Thanks for listening, Remind me to tell you about my vacation plans next time! After all, I was the one that created the vacation plan in the first place. I'll just do it again!

P.S. I just got an email from a dear friend who said "I guess the universe has another grand plan" Wow! What if I held that belief firm and acted on that? I would excitedly go in search of the new grand plan, the next adventure. I will take that attitude into my re-arrangements tomorrow.


  1. Faith, I love how you brought out all the benefits of unhappiness! They're not always what we're looking for in the end, yet things like sulking definitely garner benefit from others: everything from sympathy to active help and support.

    I guess it's really just a cost/benefit question; is the unhappiness experienced while sulking worth the happiness gained by as a result of sulking? Alternatively, is there a less expensive way (in terms of unhappiness) to achieve the happiness we want?

    Maybe we could come up with a way to quantitatively value happiness and unhappiness. That way we could establish an actual value for the transaction. You know, how many happiness dollars do we get for each unhappiness dollar?

    Thanks for your insightful blogs and your wonderful consistency in writing them!

  2. yup. Once I acknowledge the payoff, it's simple to change once I get to the next step and acknowledge that the the payoff isn't worth the fall-out of the particular unhappiness.


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