Ever have those nights where you just can’t sleep? The ones where you replay every cringeworthy thing you’ve ever done, times you’ve swung and missed with a girl (or guy if that’s what you’re into), what you could have said during that interview or something else that you just can’t get out of your head?
Generally, I’m a good sleeper. But lately, I’ve found I’ve been having these days where I’ll fall asleep and wake up in the middle of the night and be stuck awake. Through a hectic schedule, it’s really hard to find time to decompress my thoughts. Really, the issue lies in the fact that there is never any time to do so. Get up, shower, drive to work, work all day, come home, make dinner, play some mindless videogames and finally get to bed. Sure you can say video game or TV time should be the instance to settle down but really, all I want to do is unplug and vegetate.
If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, getting to the point of “self-actualization” is a chore. Sure, “physiological” things like food, water and shelter are somewhat easy to attain but they definitely take a toll on things higher up. Safety? With the way the media portrays the world, I sleep with my AR across my chest (just kidding, kind of). Love and belonging? well it’s harder for some than others, and we all have our fights.
To actually get to self-actualization is a long journey that must constantly be traveled. I think a lot of us get past the easier ones, but cutting a big rent check, spending money on half decent non-processed garbage food you have to spend time cooking and making friends as adults is sometimes daunting. Jumping right into the job market (if you can find one in your field) never really gives you time to process that college is over and you’re making a great leap forward in life.
At the end of the day, I’m usually so burnt out that it’s hard to actually sit down and think about what I want. Recently, during an interview, the interviewer asked me where I saw my life and career going. I haven’t thought of that in a long time and it disarmed me, because at this point, I’m living by the “give me a paycheck and I’ll be there” mentality. There is a log jam in my field because the people ages 35-45 that should be moving up to middle and upper management don’t get to do so because our parents won’t retire. They’ve got years more experience than me so it’s no surprise when I check back a few months after an interview and see someone with salt and pepper hair or kids in first grade have taken a job I didn’t get.
Our generation of millennials (I hate that word) gets the short end of the stick a lot. It’s well documented and many of you live it, so I won’t bore with details but there’s a lot to be desired. A lot of us were born in the 80s and grew up on the precipice of a somewhat golden time, only to see when we got older, right before we went to college, the economy went into an absolute swirl down the shitter and Titanic-style broke in half.
In the end, taking some time to think about yourself, what you want, letting the past go to rest or whatever it is bugging you is important. The thing about life is that the sun will rise tomorrow, with or without you. Getting stuck on things you could have done, missed opportunities, and “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” are frivolous. What is important is not making the same mistakes and being reflective of yourself. It’s like when you remember fondly an ex, only to forget all the shit times, the times you cried, fought and wished you could dig a hole in the ground and hibernate for a few weeks. We all have those nights lying awake – it’s human nature – but what is most important to keep in mind is the times you caught a break, said the right thing, got an opportunity when you thought you failed or were in the right place at the right time. .