I’m sick of it. Sick of what? I hear you ask with extreme curiosity from behind your iPhone screen. Well let me be candid with you, friend. I’m sick of being a simultaneously driven and complacent person. I’m sick of conjuring up alluring dreams in my head and losing all of my ambition when their magic is stripped from them as they’re hit by the windscreen of reality. I’m exhausted by the battle of wanting to be fiercely creative and longing for financial security- of wanting fulfilment and employment to go hand in hand. And most of all, I’m sick feeling like someone who doesn’t belong here. Am I too idealistic? Are all these problems completely and utterly my fault? Have I just twisted an otherwise simple reality into something that is now overcomplicated and overwhelming? Yes. No. Maybe?
This is open, this is real and it kinda sucks. The worst part is, I feel like the only person who feels like this. I feel like everyone else has it all figured out. And I know that simply isn’t true. I think experience is remarkably universal and for most people in their 20’s treading water through this millennial, modernistic culture- I’d say a lot of our struggles are similar. We are all vastly different as people and although our perceptions follow that difference, experiences still have a similar impact on the way we think. But since we can’t read each others minds, I’ll give you a glimpse into mine.
I’m a very emotionally driven person. It’s what gives my life colour and beauty. I think a lot, probably too much, and I’m on a constant search for purpose. I hate doing things when I feel like a commodity, like a cog in the machine. I need to feel like I am bettering the people around me and contributing intangibly and practically to their lives. Oh and yes I am very idealistic. Haha. Fuck me, right? Well when all of this meets reality, I’m left at a loss for what to do. I swear I have an existential crisis every few days. Its exhausting. My thought process goes something like this:
‘I should be chasing purpose more than I am’ (for me that’s making music, a passion I’ve had for many years).
Go on a creative run and write 8 songs in a week. Be incredibly inspired and excited.
Release said music, perform it, talk about it, think about it.
Get a reaction that ranges from decent to amazing.
Life remains the same. Still working the same job, feeling the same longing for purpose. Still not touring the world. Dammit.
Creative drive goes away, feel lost. Stop writing music. Rinse and repeat.
So I’m sure someone reading this can relate. Or maybe I’m insane and this is gibberish to you. But I guess what I’m trying to say is, I feel lost. I know that’ll change but for now it sucks. This world doesn’t seem to be conducive to the kind of person that I am, but perhaps it’s because I haven’t looked hard enough for a way to fit in.
Nevertheless, my 20-something friends (or indeed friends of any age) you are not alone if you feel this way too! I think there’s a dangerous and toxic culture that perpetuates itself surrounding how ‘good’ you’re doing in your life- with your job, relationships, friends etc. As much as many people wouldn’t say it, we are essentially running the rat race and it breeds confidence-killing comparison. Social media makes this substantially worse. One tap on your phone and you see 12 friends in Europe living it up, another 20 graduating Uni and another 100 partying like they don’t have a care in the world. And you’re there, 7 slices deep into a family sized pizza binge watching The Office on a Saturday night asking yourself what you’re doing with your life. This is a very dangerous place to be, being exposed to that facet of social media I mean. Because when everyone puts their best face forward, it can coerce you to feel the need to do the same. And that can permeate real-life social interaction. Putting on a mask and pretending that life is all rosy and sweet can be easier than talking about what you’re struggling with and that’s a very, very fine line to walk. Because if you don’t feel like you can talk to your mates about that stuff, it can create isolation and that can lead to all sorts of nasty places.
So let me tell you if no one else has: everyone is insecure about something, no one is remotely perfect and everyone needs someone to get real with them and talk about the hard stuff. It’s totally normal to feel like you don’t have it all figured out. If you feel that way, just understand that it’s a part of the journey to finding your place in this world. It’s long, arduous and full of terrifying and beautiful things but you’re here now- you’re alive. And there’s no turning back. So you might as well revel in what it is to be human. You are not alone. Chris Martin once said, “Life is beautiful in all of its colours”- but I think its up to us to find it. Keep on dreaming you sweet human!