A few years ago now, not long after my birthday, I wrote a blog post that I was pretty proud of. It was entitled, “The Annual Existential Crisis (Birthday)” and was essentially how every year my birthday forces me to become introspective about my life and how I usually don’t like the results.
In the three years since that post, I have worked 4 different jobs in 3 different countries. I have had the happiest period of my life yet really nothing about my situation has changed.
I’ve now arrived in another country and I’m looking for another job and all those horrible thoughts and feelings are swarming back to me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been sitting around house-sitting for a few weeks and for the first time in a few years I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and think about…stuff. That’s the worst thing to think about.
Before I left my home, the main problem of my life concerned the future. This had been my problem for a while. Whenever I think of my future I see nothing, literally. I can’t imagine myself doing anything or being anything and you know what, that scares the shit out of me.
Without a future, your present is thrown into turmoil. Maybe you know without a shadow of a doubt that you want to be an astronaut. Great! What do you do in the present? Well, you take the first step in a ladder with the last step being you shooting off in a rocket. However when you can picture no future for yourself, when you don’t know what to do with your life, there is no first step. There are no steps.
It makes you feel horrible. Without a future or even a present it’s like you don’t even exist. Every day you wake up for no reason because there’s nothing you really need to do except be. Obviously this can lead to you becoming depressed quite quickly because your life seems meaningless, probably because it is.
The term quarter-life crisis springs to mind, but is it possible to have this crisis over and over and over again, year after year? After leaving home and moving to Canada, I had one of the best years of my life, I had a decent job, great friends and a nice house. Everything came together. Afterwards I moved to Korea with my girlfriend, had a crap job, no friends and a nice house. But not enough time or energy to feel bad about any of it all.
Now I have that time and I’m once again met with that future. What am I going to do with my life? Worse, as time goes by it’s like a clock is ticking.
I read an article last week entitled, “Things Men Shouldn’t Do After 30”. I can’t bring myself to link to it because it filled me with anger. Two more years and I’ll be there. The big three-oh. I looked at the list and it told me that after 30 men should have a stable job, a house, eat healthy food and dress well. Yadda yadda yadda. The usual bullshit.
All I can say to the person who wrote this article and the people that believe it is that, well, they can all suck my dick. Pardon my language, but that’s simply how strongly I feel. That short piece of internet journalism first made me angry and I dismissed it, but after a few days I realised it put doubt in my head.
I’m coming up to 30. I’ve still not even half started to do something with my life and a thousand voices are shouting that I should at least know by now. I look online for jobs and I’m not qualified for anything. What I am qualified for just seems so stale, something I’ve done before. It seems I’m doomed to work the same job over and over for my entire life. I’m at the same place I was three years ago, when I wrote that initial article, I have done nothing of worth.
Yet, I constantly keep wondering. Why the fuck should I do anything? Why does my life have to have any meaning? Why do other people even give a shit. It pisses me off. Here’s my own list of Things Men Shouldn’t Do After 30: nothing. If you’re over 30 you can do whatever the fuck you want, it’s your life, not mine. If you want to spend your adulthood working in a coffeeshop, then do it, if it makes you happy then good for you. Do it!
I’m sick of the world telling me what I should be doing with my life. Ok, it’s not the world, but it might as well be. The lesson I’ve learnt these last few years is that as long as you’re the one making the choices, then you’ll be happy.
However, it doesn’t work like that, does it. Because if the majority of people do in fact believe that I need to have a career by the time I’m 30, it means that if I don’t have one I’ll be ostracized. Good luck to that guy who wants to spend the rest of his life serving coffee, I’m sure you’ll have a swell time when you’re surrounded by other so called “adults” with their petty judgement and their, “Shouldn’t you get a real job?” No matter how much you shout, “Fuck off!” the world isn’t going to disappear is it.
And right there is the problem for so many of us, you see doing what you want to do with your life is so fucking hard. It takes balls, courage, guts. Some of us do it so easily, I don’t begrudge these people, they’ve just been brought up to have belief in what they’re doing, or they’ve always known where the next step in their ladder is.
However so many of us have no belief in anything. Maybe because we’re all apathetic or maybe it’s because we just don’t want to work hard to fit into a world where we don’t belong. Or maybe like me many people don’t see anything in their future, but they know what they don’t see and it’s sitting at a desk for the rest of their life pushing buttons until they retire.
If you do what you want when everybody is telling you that you’ll fail or that you need to “get a real job” or whatever, well good for you. For anybody that says, “aren’t you a little too old to be playing video games”, I say to you: aren’t you a little old to be spending so much time worrying about my life when you have your own?
Still, the world gets to you. It gnaws away at the doubt in the back of your mind until you start to believe those voices. If I don’t have a house by the time I’m 30 then a hole will open in the ground and swallow me. That’s how it feels sometimes. If I don’t succeed now then the whole rest of my life is doomed. Nobody wants to be in their mid-30s, going to interviews for more dead-end jobs, looking over the desk to see a look of pity in the eyes of the interviewer.
What’s the alternative though? Live a life I don’t want to live? It’s almost like you can’t win. You lose either way. It’s frustrating.
Maybe there is a way. Maybe you just keep on putting life off forever, never deciding what you want to do and instead telling yourself you’ll figure it out next year. One day maybe you’ll wake up and realise your life is almost over and you’ll see you didn’t waste it, you spent it doing something, that’s what you did with your life, the same thing as everybody else, you lived.
It doesn’t matter if you make sandwiches for 40 years or work your way up to be CEO of I Don’t Give A Shit Ltd, either way you lived your life. Nobody beats anybody else because they had more money. Everybody wins as long as they’re doing what they want to do.
Fuck the people that try to change that. Fuck em. Keep control of your life. Push away the doubts the world wants you to have. Don’t fall into the trap of living somebody elses dreams. Live for yourself, not for some bullshit some hack of a journalist wrote for some magazine. You are who you are. Love yourself and be who you want, even if the person you want to be is a complete dick. That’s you, go for it!
As long as you live your life true, don’t let the world make you insecure for being you. Fuck the world.
Three years ago I looked at my life and realised I was doing nothing with it and it filled me with terror. Now, I guess I’m starting to realise that even doing nothing is something. In the future I’ll do nothing. Sit around doing nothing and I’ll love it. I’ll enjoy every stinking nothing moment and there’s little anybody can do!
I will make nothing, I will have nothing, I will do nothing. And the best part is the first step is easy, I just do what I’ve always done! Nothing!
Photo by Vinoth Chandar