Spending Time

Maybe I can just move in here and make the students walk up the mountain if they want their precious English lessons!

The weekend’s coming up, and although this’ll be only a three-day week, I’m ready. Going to hike up into some of the mountains outside of town and get some reading done. A lot of other folks here in Chungju are planning to head to bigger cities–Cheongju, or the obvious Seoul–and I suppose they’ll be meeting new people, bar-hopping, and seeing the sights. And though I don’t really have any desire to join in the travels, I nonetheless feel like I’m missing out on something–like I should want to go bar-hopping in Seoul. But I don’t.

Of course, people who know me at all won’t be surprised to hear that I’d rather walk up a mountain alone than go out drinking. But I’m interested in the psychological and social dynamics at play here. Granted, people are quite diverse, and of course we all like to do different things. But I wonder if other folks who prefer the outdoors or time to themselves feel, like I do, that they are supposed to want to do other things, like go to parties or bar-hopping

And don’t get me wrong–and especially if any of my fellow English teachers in Chungju are reading this!–I’m not criticizing those who do enjoy the bar-hopping, partying, etc. I just can’t relate to it. And I know that I’m in the minority on this one. And that very well may be exactly why I feel some a pang of missing-out when I opt out of those more standard diversions. We humans are, I think, acutely aware of what is normal and acceptable, and when we deviate, I think we automatically feel a need to check our own desires and plans–because if we are diverging from the normal course, it may well be that there’s Something Wrong With Us. And I can see how that psychological process would be valuable to human evolution, keeping us closer-knit, reducing conflict, helping us to build harmonious groups that would be better prepared in times of danger and opportunity.

Still, the effect on an individual in the modern era is rather odd. I’m very much looking forward to my time alone in the mountains while simultaneously worrying that I’m missing out on something–even though I know I wouldn’t enjoy what I’m missing out on. And all the logical explanations aside, it’s still a strange feeling.

Anyone know what I’m talking about?

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