oh don't mind me, and my existential crisis. and a long rant.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by chassless, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. chassless

    chassless Don'tDeserveMyGuitar

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    i've been around the internet, and honestly, you people of sso are some of the most reasonable i've come across. allow me to rant and put things into words if it helps me to take a step back and see things in perspective.

    i just don't know where i'm at. i can't seem to go through the things i want and need to do.

    i've been to film school and i did like it. it wasn't my first choice for studies, i wanted to do comic books and illustration before getting into university. seeing as my dad was into advertising and production, it seemed like it was a natural choice for me to give film school a try. i've learned to like it. my senior film is pretty good i might say. i got quite good at special effects and post production and i've worked in that for about 4 to 5 years. but i got gradually fed up with it and now i'm questioning dropping the entire field for something new.

    i just stagnate. i've worked at my father's company for a few years until earlier this year when i quit to give freelance work a try. it beats being a full time salary man, but i turn 28 in a couple of months, yet professionally i've accomplished nowhere near what my peers have done at that same age. i don't feel like i'm convinced with my line of work so much anymore. but it could be that i'm dissatisfied with my own lack of initiative but i can't admit it then i'm maybe lying to myself... because blaming my environment for my shortfalls is easier. like i never asked for this job, i wish i was doing something else, i'd be more excited about my job if i did anything else, blablabla. it also doesn't help that i feel like i was influenced into joining this field of work, mainly because i feel like i had a weak personality growing up and that i was always in my father's shadow. now that i'm out of it, i'm free to do whatever i want right ?

    which leads me to the next point: i don't know what i want or what i like. i've got no idea what i'm capable of doing, what my career options are. i'm quite uninspired. i used to draw quite a bit, since i was a kid up until a few years ago. now i just stopped caring about drawing as a whole. same about working out. running or practicing muay thai, or just working out in whatever way, would give me the strongest highs, which i haven't felt in years. music doesn't do much to me anymore. i used to listen almost strictly to metal and i've given lots of different things a try, nothing seems to touch me anymore. all music is just formulaic succession of notes, nothing inspires me, nothing sends chills down my spine like it used to. i just don't feel a connection to anything. going camping or in nature was my way of reconnecting with existence, of introspection and soul searching, now it's just a way for me to escape from the city lights and rackets. every once in a while, i feel like i can touch 'that moment' with my fingertips, and tell myself, 'oh my god it's there, the endorphins release i've been waiting for!!' and then it's just gone.

    i'm not terribly motivated or excited about anything. i've given up on so many things. i string relationships one after another in search of comfort and a sense of purpose. i've got a huge sexual appetite but i'm afraid of actual sentimental attachment and commitment. porn has occupied so much of my life over the last few years that it's shifted so much of my priorities and made me question much about my sexual orientation and preferences. i've been with a few girls during that time thinking she'd be the one for me, and i couldn't make sense of the whole thing once it shattered. i feel like i'm nothing in the face of my primal impulses. eat, sleep, fuck, with not much humanity or spirituality in there. i just feel like i have nothing important to bring to anyone's life. i'm not currently fit for a meaningful relationship.

    i'm not depressed, i know what that feels like. just lost and causeless. i can't just sit there and wait for a sense of direction to strike me, and actively searching for substance is counterproductive. it makes me miss the point of things. i can't just sit back and enjoy myself because of that. i can't help but feel the passage of time, me getting near the 30 mark and still not having my career figured out which causes me great anxiety.

    well, after having types all this and reading it again i'm telling myself 'it's not so bad'... i guess i just need to practice my own free will. without questioning the notion of free will. heh.
     
  2. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not to pigeon-hole your problem, but there are lots of others who went through similar things. I think you are having your own personalized quarter-life crisis. When I was 25, I went through something not the same, but with many same aspects to it. I ended up leaving the country, coming back, leaving my old hometown to find a new one, hating the new one, leaving there, changing jobs a few times hoping to find some sense of stability or something. By the time I was 30, I lucked out and found my town and my job and so forth, and things seemed great for the next five years.

    But the thing is that these little changes are always happening, and the big change is always around one of the next corners. You can plan everything out in detail, and when things go well for a while, you get complacent, and then you don't notice the little changes that upend your contingency plans. Next thing you know, you end up stuck again and then again after that, unless you keep yourself adaptable.

    I'd say that film school is a major accomplishment, but now you are out in the wild, and you need another major accomplishment to continue your validation in that field. If you don't find such in whatever you feel is due time, get more aggressive about making it happen, and prepare to take much bigger risks in your career. If those don't pan out for you, change careers. It is not ideal, but I think a career change in your late twenties or early thirties is perfectly okay. You don't want to get stuck in a failing career into your forties, when you are perceived as less adaptable and will have a more difficult time digging up whatever roots you've inadvertently laid down over the ten year span in between.

    The "funk" aspect of it - losing interest in everything other than your basic biological needs - is also commonly associated with the textbook quarter-life crisis, but, more generally, is a telltale sign of depression. I truly think that shaking up your entire mindset or finding new more exciting surroundings is effective in moving past that, but what works for me might not work for you.

    I feel for what you are going through. It's not pleasant. But I think you'll be able to get through this just fine and come out the other end better than ever.
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    A couple thoughts, reading this...

    1) Not being motivated or excited about anything and not feeling a point or a purpose actually IS a textbook example of depression. I wouldn't necessarily assume you're not depressed, and talking to your doctor or a mental health professional, at a bare minimum, likely wouldn't hurt. Best case, it might help you feel more purposeful.

    2) As someone a bit older than you, don't worry that you don't have your career figured out. I think most people don't have their career figured out, and it's just sometimes hard to see that from the outside. I'm on a very clear, logical career track at the moment (even if the start was a little odd - American lit as an undegrad, then into finance as a member of the workforce), and even then, I'm well aware that's a combination of dumb luck and being at the right place at the right time, with a sprinkling of hard work. Broadly speaking I like what I do, but that doesn't mean I know for a fact there won't be another unexpected direction shift somewhere along the way. You gotta roll with what life does to you.

    3) I don't generally give much career advice, but the one thing I do suggest when someone asks, especially to millenials, is I think the oft-quoted advice about taking your passion and finding a way to make that your job is awful advice. Rather, I'd look to strike a balance between something you like enough, or at least find interesting, and can do well, and something that will pay you well enough to support yourself, raise a family if you should so choose, and one day offer at least the potential of retirement. I'm a financial analyst for a fixed income shop. I'm not passionate about the interest rate and credit markets, and if you sit me down on the weekend over a beer to talk, it's way more likely to be about music, or cooking, or road biking, or something like that... but, I think the markets are a really interesting, difficult challenge to solve, I'm pretty good at what I do, and it pays well enough for me to live comfortably and not worry about where my next paycheck or mortgage payment is coming from. Some days I get bored or jaded or whatever, but for the most part it's a good balance, it holds my attention, and it leaves me free to pursue things I AM passionate about outside of work.

    4) I think if there's anything I've learned as an adult, it's that when you're a kid you're told "you can do anything you want," and that's true... But, sometimes doing one thing involves closing the door to something else. And that's not a bad thing - don't be afraid to close off options, don't worry about what some of those other options are out there and if you might be happier doing them, just go out there, find something you don't mind doing that you're good at (doing useful things will get you way farther than doing things you personally are passionate about), and then don't worry about whether something else might make you a little happier. I'd argue that if you're looking for happiness from your job, that's a recipe for being disappointed.

    Idunno. It does sound like you're wrestling with depression, to me, just not a form you're really used to or experienced with. And, I think there's a growing millennial attitude (and I say this as a guy on the cusp of the millennial generation himself) that your job should be a source of existential validation and an expression of meaning and passion, that just didn't exist for our parents generation and theirs before it, where their jobs were a way to put food on their family's table and keep a roof over their head. Maybe this isn't the most encouraging thing to be telling you, but recognizing what you're feeling is a combination of depression, and of looking for meaning and validation in the wrong places, would be my advice, here...
     
  4. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    It does sound like you have low-level depression...
    that being said...

    1. who cares if people you know have accomplished more then you...maybe they peaked...
    I was really bummed out when I dropped out of grad school and then all my friends got their phds...but literally they are done. They are going to be teachers forever. I'm still Facebook friends with all the cool kids in high school and college...i'm 32 now. Let me tell you 90 percent of those people are just done now. They have their careers and their 2 kids already and their are done. They have already done all they will ever do in life.

    2. This is the best time to be in your late 20s that there ever was man. As long as you have the right attitude and tech. We are talking about approaching 1960s free love levels of goodness. Get a decent paying job that gives you a little extra spending money. Get on tinder and all those other dating apps. It doesn't matter what you look like, what you like, there's 10 people out there a week who will happily sleep with you. I'm married but all my single friends are just having the time of their lives.
     
  5. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    IMO, it's a matter of expectations. It seems to me like you've set some sort of bar for yourself, purposely making it higher than where you're at, but not for any obvious reason. You've somehow gotten it in your head that you need to be "better" than you are, despite admittedly not even being able to define what "better" in this case would actually mean.

    But here's a secret: You don't actually need to be better... (well, barring that you're a total degenerate loser or something, which based of your experiences you've written you almost certainly aren't). You could, or you couldn't. Well, that is, at least in the conventional career-based accomplishment sense.

    What if being happy was considered an accomplishment?

    One of my friends has a dope job where he gets paid beaucoup bucks, which he is interested in, he works like not even 6 hours a day with all kinds of PTO and benefits, his wife is really hot, he's got a cool ass apartment with a pool... but honestly I'm not envious of that guy's life, and it's all about the details. I don't want a job where if I don't find the bug I'm in serious trouble. I don't want a wife that's too afraid of calories to eat a meal together. But moreover, that guy himself isn't happy. He's always talking about how he wants a different job, wants to go live in Europe, wants his wife to behave differently...

    I've got another friend who works at Jimmy Johns (it's a sandwich restaurant chain). He works a ton of hours at a cash register, no GF, doesn't get laid on the reg, but he also goes to concerts all the time, drinks beers on the back porch with his friends, says he's not even interested in girls unless it's a girl he's interested in... point being, I never hear this guy complain about his life--and he seems pretty genuinely happy, too. But admittedly, the guy hasn't accomplished very much. But that fact doesn't seem to affect his psyche whatsoever.

    I'm sorry for rambling; back to my original point.

    There's no benefit in arbitrarily telling yourself that you're not good enough. Eating sleeping and jackin off to porn is a perfectly normal and fine way to live provided that you enjoy your life, and it doesn't matter if you're 28.

    As the old adage goes: happiness is a choice. Now I'm not saying it's an easy choice, especially in less than ideal situations, but still ultimately it is a choice. At least, for myself in my life, my greatest accomplishment is just me deciding that I'm happy... at least, when I'm able to.
     
  6. chassless

    chassless Don'tDeserveMyGuitar

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    all quite true. my next accomplishment might be just round the corner. the opportunity will reveal itself when the time is right. but as for changing careers... i don't know how possible that is in lebanon at that age. doubt i could afford it. worst case i just move to canada and try something new there.

    thanks for your input, it was quite helpful!

    1) i've been having professional help for a year now. i knew i would be going through a rough phase and decided that by seeking help i'll make sure i don't do anything too reckless. sometimes i uncover things about myself i didn't know, and that does help.

    2) 3) and 4) all quite true. i've worked mainly in advertising as a full timer in a job that didn't offer much growth and it was time for me to go. i'm trying out some different things to see where they lead me. i know i am good enough to do different things and that i am capable of learning new things, but i often feel that strong urge of wanting to be the best at what i do - which i am not sure if it's something instilled in me by the lebanese culture, that praises professional success quite a lot, or if it's just me. i'm still trying to figure this out.

    5) that's great advice. i've been to art school and i did feel this prevailing atmosphere of "my art is truer than yours" among people, and supposedly being an artist, i feel that "your job should be a source of existential validation and an expression of meaning and passion" is a given. that, or again, it's just me. my current job venture requires me to be in great part a technician which i absolutely don't mind.

    1. and 2. i've compared myself to my peers for long enough. it's affected my self esteem enough. i'm still trying to find my own way, where i'm confident in what i do and what i want without fear of criticism or rejection. slowly but surely.

    yes, my bar is quite high. it's caused by a combination of things. first of all, the focus the lebanese society (and to a lesser extent my family) places on education and professional success. second, this broken economy and joke of a country where my generation can't just find a career choice that lets us just 'get by'. third, me wanting to be better if not the best at everything i do, from my job to my hobbies. i just feel like i've got much energy that shouldn't be wasted over nothing and that i've got much potential for accomplishment.

    it just took me a lot of time and effort to recognize that my accomplishments don't have to be professional or 'conventional'. i identify far more with your second friend you described, even though i thought for a while i wanted to be more like your first friend. i just need to strike that balance between job/sustainability and doing what i like to do.
     

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