It’s been a while! How ironic that my last post was about motivation yet it’s taken me a month to get my arse in gear and write again. Since my last post a lot has changed in my life which has culminated in feelings which I’ll be talking about, summed up by the title above.
At the end of May I left my job with the promise of a new career which has yet to materialise. As such I have been in the world of unemployment again for the first time in 10 years. Initially I thought I could do with the break! But I’m a creature of habit that thrives on routine and structure, so once this was removed from my life I quickly became bored and my mood took a dive. My self-esteem was the first to take the hit followed by motivation and then contentment. I found myself making promises of “well when you’re back in work you’ll be fine again.” But why? Then it dawned on me and I felt like the wool had been pulled from over my eyes. I had a mini epiphany, I’d finally woke up to reality and it was a bit shit.
Why do I need to go to work to feel happy and fulfilled?
Now, bear with me because I’m aware that what I’m about to delve in to sounds a bit mental…
I’d like to be able to be happy without having the distraction of employment. Going to work/having a job is a human construct. At first I thought this is capitalist bullshit but it actually serves 2 purposes; to provide an individual with an income and secondly so the government can take a bit of it and provide services to society. This in itself is a funny concept to me. I have no choice but to attend a specified place for 2/3rds of my adult life to carry out tasks that if autonomy was true, I would not be doing. I have to do this to be given bits of paper at the end of every month that I can exchange for a roof over my head and sustenance to keep me alive. Some of the bits of paper and metal I’m given in exchange for completing said tasks are taken from me by other individuals who have been chosen to be the ‘bosses’ of the piece of land I’ve settled on. These bosses decide what to do with the paper and I have to trust that they are choosing wisely in what to do with it in order to provide for everyone on the island. Imagine trying to explain that to an alien, it’s like animal farm, it’s weird. But it’s what we accept as our normal.
It got me angry. We have a finite amount of time on this planet and we are forced to spend a large proportion of it being cogs in a much larger machine. Society sells us the dream of grow up, fall in love, buy a house, have a successful career, make babies then grow old and die and that is what makes a happy life. And although some might question it, on the whole we are compliant and slot nicely into our place and contribute to the ongoing cycle. Is this really it?
In 2016 I went travelling with my best friend through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. It’s the best and worst thing I ever did. I made the most unbelievable memories, met a lot of incredible people from different parts of the world, I experienced different cultures, ate food that’s completely alien to me, saw sights that I’ll never forget and actually had a look at even a small portion of the planet that I live on. I say it’s the worst thing I could have done because I had to come back and you’re expected to just slip back in to the life you had before, that everyone is accustomed to. How can I carry on when I now know what’s out there. It infuriates me that we’re all bobbing along predominately staying within a 50 mile radius for our lives when there is a whole planet full of opportunity to experience. Travelling is the only time I felt like I was living rather than existing. For that time my life was full of colour and adventure and learning and that to me is life, not the monotony of the system we are conditioned to be part of. I have hundreds of photographs but I mean, look!
I feel like asking everyone around me what are you doing?! Why are we not questioning this? I now don’t know how I didn’t see it before. Having said all this, I have no doubt that when I start my new job I’ll fall back into the routine, I’ll fall back in line, I’ll go back to being a sheep and being somewhat content.
Over the last month I’ve spoke to friends and family about it and although some understand, the general response is, so what? Well I don’t know is the answer. I can offer no alternative. Travelling forever is unrealistic and I have responsibilities and people I love at home. I’m not even saying travelling is the answer, I just know I felt fulfilled when I was.
So, when I say existential crisis it’s not so much the why am I here, but the what am I doing while I am here?
If anyone can identify with anything I’ve spoken about I’d love to hear your thoughts. Alternatively if you haven’t thought about it before, what do you make of it?
Till next time.