I have been plagued by an existential crisis for most of my adult life. I often wondered why I even exist and what it is I have to show for all my years on this planet. I was repeatedly told that I have achieved so much (largely academically) and that my life is set because I will have a well-paying job (which I did) at the end of college. I consoled myself and convinced myself that I was just being silly. After all, a successful life is determined by how much money one is taking home at the end of the month, or how many cars one owns or the size of one’s house and I was walking down the path to taking shitloads of money home, owning several cars and owning a big house. So, yay, I was (apparently) successful!
But, the existential crises continued and no amount of retail therapy, beer or dancing made them go away. I knew something was missing. There had to more to life. Of course, me being me, chose to ignore all the signs and decided to just trudge along the path to success and hope things will work out. Even though I knew I was merely existing as opposed to living, I did nothing to change how things were. I think I was just too scared and too comfortable to break status quo. Instead, I waited for life to fall into my lap while I continued to exist. I kept waiting for the proverbial light bulb to come on in my head and give me that one idea which would change my life while I continued to spend all my time and energy on doing things which would ensure my existence. Looking back, I think I survived on hope.
The past 1 year has been an existential nightmare for me. I have merely breathed oxygen, eaten food, drunk water and slept. The only thing I had to look forward to once I decided to go off my sabbatical was the (so-called) path to success. Not something I wanted to do and so I procrastinated and got even more depressed. I went to Bangkok for a week and cried all the way back because I didn’t feel like I had anything to come back to. Things got worse…
… and then they got better. I said to myself, “Fuck it! You’ve tried it their way, now its time to try it your own way.” I decided to take control of my life. I made a list of things to do and actionable points on each of them. Most importantly, I decided to live and not just exist. I stopped waiting and talking and started doing. I also decided to simplify my life.
Have I found the meaning or reason behind my life? No. Do I have anything to show for the past 26 years? No. But that’s in the past. What matters is what I have ahead of me. Will I have anything to show for the next 26 years? Definitely.
Meanwhile, I am merely winging it and hoping things work out. And if they don’t, at least I will have tried. 🙂