Geeks Vs Loneliness: knowing when to say ‘when’

A few words about reaching your limit...

A light spoiler for Regarding Henry (1992) lies ahead.

Not too many people have a lot of time for the 1992 Harrison Ford vehicle, Regarding Henry. Directed by the late Mike Nichols, and penned by a man called Jeffrey Abrams – who would soon be known as JJ – I’ve always been quite taken with it though. It’s a slightly by the numbers drama about a shitty lawyer who has to rebuild his life after he’s shot in a shop robbery. But there are things that liven it up. Strong performances from Ford, Annette Bening and the late Bill Nunn in particular.

There’s a line there, though, about when the right time to say ‘when’. And it really sticks with me. Because I think it goes to something that really matters. It’s introduced with the pouring of a drink, but then builds to a key moment in the film. It’s mildly spoiler-y, so apologies in advance, but I’m referring to the moment when a character says specifically “I’ve had enough so I’m saying when.”

And yet lots of us don’t do this, do we? So potent is the fear in what lies on the other side of saying ‘stop’, that we stick out situations that aren’t working, or are making us unhappy. It’s unsurprising, too. The fear of loneliness. The fear of not being able to pay the bills. The fear of the unknown. The fear of what next. They’re all very real.

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But then if you don’t make a change, and you don’t take control of a situation, then more often than not, nothing changes. Things don’t improve. A bad situation remains a bad situation. It’s human nature, I think, to simply take and accept bad things. To become resigned to things being as they are, and not doing anything about them.

I’d contend, though, that there’s only so long that can go on. Even the most stoic, the most iron-willed people have a limit, and let’s face it, most of us aren’t the most stoic and/or iron-willed. As such, there comes a point. A point to say ‘when’.

Do you feel like you’re there, or approaching there? Then take a moment. Talk to someone if you can. But also, work out just how bad things would be the other side. If you need to change jobs, can you cover the money? Can you get a lesser-paying job elsewhere to tide you over?

Bluntly: can it really be worse than what you’re going through?

No definitive answers can be given to questions like that, and it’s no secret that fear of something tends to be worse than the actual (although not always). But for self-care, self-preservation and sheer happiness reasons, everyone has a right to say ‘when’ at some point in their lives.

You all stay brilliant, and thank you for reading.

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