Response to Paul Eppinger and a Void of Belonging
I've just read vetisthewicked's blog, and I must say I can really feel for you. A few years back, I found myself bored with life. What an awful, soul crushing way to feel, bored with living. I was in my early twenties, a couple years out of college, and not even close to where I expected to be, and I got down on myself and my job. I strongly lamented the fact that I didn't seem to have the same sort of close companionship with friends that I did while I was in school, and to be honest, I was a little embarrassed to talk about my feelings to them, because I felt like I'd be showing weakness. They lived far away, and seemed to be leaving me behind in all areas of life.
My closest friends were no longer a few blocks away on campus. They were abstract 200x200 pixel photographs that didn't even look like them on Myspace and Facebook. It seemed like they were all working jobs they liked or getting married and having children, and here I was still at home, working for the old man's company, that had nothing to do with my education. My life was thoroughly dull, and not what I'd expected, and I started scaring myself with how I began feeling and thinking.
Anyway, a funny thing happened. I forget where I found this piece of writing, but I stumbled on it one day, and it actually struck a chord with me, so I forwarded to all of my now Myspace-only friends. Here's the copy/pasta. Unfortunately, I do not know who to credit it to:
It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are a lot of things about yourself that you didn't know and may or may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.
You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you do not realize is that they are realizing that too and are not really cold or catty or mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.
You look at your job. It is not even close to what you thought you would be doing or maybe you are looking for one and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and are scared.
You miss the comforts of college, of groups, of socializing with the same people on a constant basis. But then you realize that maybe they weren't so great after all.
You are beginning to understand yourself and what you want and do not want. Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging a bit more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and add things to your list of what is acceptable and what is not. You are insecure and then secure. You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.
You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you or you lay in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough to get to know better. You love someone but maybe love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you are not a bad person.
One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap and getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision.
You worry about loans and money and the future and making a life for yourself and while wining the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!
What you may not realize is that everyone reading this relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.
To my amazement, I'd received a huge response from so many of my supposedly happy friends, that it made so much sense to them, and that they were sending it to all of their other friends as well. I then realized they were all putting up this big smokescreen of contentment.
The fact is, they should have been happy with where they were. That's what gets people depressed, particularly in America. When you have no real problems or tragedies to speak of and yet you're still unhappy, and you can't put your finger on why. We live in a society where we're basically conditioned to believe that we all need to either be hugely successful or famous to achieve happiness or to be worthwhile. I won't start quoting Tyler Durden here, because I think the point is made.
I guess the lesson is don't get too down on yourself. There's a lot of people out there that feel the same, and they're are not even close to the Jerry Springer types that you're probably thinking you fall in category with now. It's important to appreciate what you've got and the opportunities that are or will become available. If you allow depression to conquer you, will find yourself in the deepest of ruts, and may even eventually at the same tragic conclusion as Paul Eppinger. Never let that happen. There's always a chance for a new direction.