I am beginning a series of posts that are going to try and make sense of the many emotions that I, and I believe many others, are feeling as we try to navigate adulthood.
There are many different things that contribute to these anxieties we all seem to be riddled with and I am going to try to flesh them out. In my head they are all mushed together and I can’t make sense of them. I am tempted to regress into a hole where I don’t think of any of them, keep working my barista job and hope something falls in my lap. But that is unproductive and maybe having a conversation (even if it is just with myself) will help.
*As an aside: This is all from my own perspective and emotions and I don’t mean to say any way someone is living their life is wrong. I would very much love for people to explain to me how they feel about these things. That’s the whole point.
“Do What You Love”
…really? Oh it is that easy. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?
I’m just not so sure. What I love most is eating really good food and spending time with the people I love the most. There has never been a career-oriented bone in my body. That’s not to say I’m lazy or have a bad work ethic. I love working hard on things, and seeing projects to the end, and feeling like ‘I made this’, but having my job be the number one priority in my life, ladder climbing at the expense of anything else that may get in the way, has never for a second seemed glamorous.
I have never understood it, but for those who do, good for you. I seriously envy it because I don’t think I’d be writing this if I were like you.
To me there seems to be three options for survival:
- Make your favorite hobby your career. No matter how much money it makes you or what kind of lifestyle you have to lead to get it. Just make sure it’s what you love and you’re happy and if you make it “big”, even better. (This is LA’s favorite.)
- Who cares if it makes you happy? Get the best job you can, work your ass off, climb the ladder and don’t look out for anyone but yourself. All the money you make will make you happy.
- Figure out what you’re good at, work really hard at it even if it’s not fun, and do the things you love in your spare time.
Each of these have problems for me. The first option: I want to have a family one day and that costs money and if I don’t make it big, then what? I’d also like to have a savings account for, ya know, emergencies. The second: I can’t really believe that I’ll get to the end of my life and be siked about choosing this option. As I mentioned before, spending time with people is what fulfills me the most and if that isn’t an option then my life is a waste. (I am also a follower of Jesus and this option is pretty opposite of what I believe we were designed for, but that’s a whole other conversation.) The third: this one seems like the best option for someone like me who doesn’t have the career-oriented drive, but then I end up feeling badly that I’m not working “hard enough” or am “passionate” about what I am doing to make money and I feel a bit boring especially living in Los Angeles but that will be a separate post.
My father is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known and never slacked off for a second. I also can’t remember one childhood experience where he wasn’t there. If you asked him why he works so hard it was always to provide for his family. Does my dad do what he loves the most? No. But he has a job that plays to his strengths and he’s great at it. And I know that my father feels extremely fulfilled in life, he doesn’t feel like he’s missing anything. But I know many people that would scoff at that and say that he wasted his life not doing what he loved. Not enough freedom and self-exploration.
What if the thing you love and are most passionate about just so happens to be making you a successful career and enough money to pay all of your bills and then some? Amazing. I think the world would call you the “lucky ones”. But are you making sure your career and personal life are not mixing too much to the point where you treat them as the same thing causing emotional damage to humans you treat like work? I saw a tweet that is aimed at being funny, and it is, but I think holds a lot more weight than we ever consider. “It’s just like the old saying ‘do what you love for a living and the increasingly unclear distinction between your personal and professional identity will make it extremely difficult to feel emotionally secure at basically any point in the process.'” Oop.
I am prepared for the answer people give me to this being “Every one is on a different path and you just have to do what is best for you personally”. Fine, but then why do I feel so bad all of the time? Is this just a personal insecurity issue that can be wrapped up in “Tori needs to grow up and stop comparing her journey to other peoples?”. Maybe, but I think that’s a lot easier said than done.
The messages we are receiving now on every media platform are extremely mixed. I feel like I am being screamed at all of the time which just causes further regression. I shouldn’t waste a minute of my life doing something I don’t love, but I should also probably start thinking about that 401K.
What the hell is going on and why didn’t our parents feel this and is it good or bad they didn’t feel this? Is it solely a social media comparison problem? I’d actually completely buy that theory and be tempted to delete all of mine if companies didn’t need to vet my accounts before wanting to hire me!!
I hope to converse with people on this, people that are doing all different versions of those three options, people from different cities and backgrounds. I’d love to know if you’re feeling fulfilled and if not what you plan to do to fix it, if anything. Thank you in advance.
Check back for more aspects of this existential quarter-life crisis I’m having!