Saturday Night Live isn't really known for helping people make better life choices (although the Steve Martin, Amy Poehler, and Chris Parnell sketch "Don't Buy Things You Can't Afford" is a clear exception). But, this past Saturday Adam Sandler gave amazing (and hilarious) advice to all of us: you can't get away from you.

Acting as travel agent, Joe Romano, Sandler talks about all the great things you can do in Italy--eat, drink, hike, et cetera, but focuses on setting expectations: "We always remind our customers; If you're sad now, you might still feel sad there."  And, "remember, you're still gonna be you on vacation."

This is advice that we all need. While a change of scenery is often good (and vacation is good for you--even if it's not Italy, but merely a stay-cation), you are the same person wherever you go. Going to Italy, Sandler reminds us, can do a lot. "It can help you unwind, see some different looking squirrels, but it cannot fix deeper issues, like how you behave in group settings or your general baseline mood. That's a job for incremental lifestyle changes."

A new job, a new spouse, a raise, a promotion, a cross-country move or even changing continents won't fix the underlying problems you have. That has to come from within.

Whether you can make those changes on your own or with intense psychotherapy really depends on the problems that you face, but you need to be willing to face those problems.

If you need help, there's no shame in getting help. No one ever says to someone with bad eyesight, "well, maybe if you just wait a bit, your eyes will clear up!" It's possible, sure, but not likely. You need to make an effort to change. Most likely your company has an Employee Assistance Program that can get you started with a therapist--perhaps even at a low cost. If your health insurance won't cover therapy, online therapists can often be helpful. 

Formal therapy isn't always necessary, but change is. You cannot continue to act the same way and expect different results. 

This is not to say that you should stay in a terrible job (or a terrible marriage) until you reach perfection. You absolutely should look to leave. But, when you do so, acknowledge that you play a role in how your life looks. One bad boss is bad luck. Six bad bosses in a row either says that you either stink at picking bosses or you are a terrible employee. Either way, you have to make that change.

So, don't look toward big trips and cool experiences to fix everything. Follow Adam Sandler's (as Travel Agent Joe Romano) advice and make incremental changes over time. Then you'll find the happiness you need--whether you're on Long Island or in Italy. (Although having lived on Long Island and having vacationed often in Italy, the food in Italy is life changing--for example, you may have to buy new pants after your trip.)

Published on: May 6, 2019
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