“What the fuck am I doing with my life?”
If I had a nickel for every time this thought plagued my brain, I could’ve retired years ago. I’ve barely been out of college for one year and I’m already a victim of those thoughts. At the ripe age of 22, I constantly questioning every move I make while subsequently questioning the purpose of my existence. Like, what does it all mean, man?
What is an existential crisis, you ask? It’s a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of his or her life, as in every thought that passes through this person’s brain after he or she graduates. If you’re like the majority of Generation Y, you suffer from existential crises on a regular basis.
Does this make us, as a generation, neurotic? Probably. Annoying? Possibly. Present? Absolutely.
Cue the existential crisis. One thing our generation is guilty of is a constant need for instant gratification. It’s not that we aren’t willing to work for things–we just want it all, and we want it right now. So when we’re stuck in the purgatory that is an entry-level, menial job, it’s a major bummer. That’s when we start to freak out. Will I be stuck in a job I hate forever? Why am I even here? When will the next opportunity come? Will it ever come?
Why are these bouts of self-doubt and cynicism considered a good thing? Because it means you’re thinking, questioning, or maybe even abandoning the status quo. You aren’t content with mediocrity. You’re constantly in search of meaning and, in a way, enlightenment. We want what we do to make an impact on the world, and while not all of us are sociology majors and entrepreneurial gurus, we want to feel fulfilled. That doesn’t always come in the shape of a career.
When these questions pop into your head, that’s when you know you need to start thinking. Embrace the crisis. If you’re stuck in a dead end job, start hunting for a better alternative. If you’re feeling empty and need some fulfillment, volunteer and help others. Feeling trapped in a relationship that’s going nowhere? Get the fuck out of there. The term “crisis” is a thing for a reason. It’s synonymous with “problem,” “emergency,” and “mess,” so deal with that shit. Make some changes.
Maybe “existential crisis” is just a fancy, albeit hipster, way of saying “thinking about the future and questioning what decisions will get me there.” It’s okay to want more. In fact, it’s an admirable quality to seek next level shit. So keep thinking. Keep dreaming. Keep questioning. Just don’t let your existential crisis turn into a full blown millennial pity party. That shit’s just annoying.