Lately, I find myself spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I’m doing. In our age, it’s the common struggle of twentysomethings; all the uncertainty, bumbling around for years, worrying about careers and the future, but meeting it with a special kind of indecision that ends up being the equivalent of that really out of shape dude struggling to walk the treadmill right after New Years.
At 26, I feel like I’m beyond most of the general struggle as far as my peers go. I’m not stuck waiting tables or shriveling up in misery each day at some dead end job that I can’t get out of. I’ve got a good job. I don’t see myself needing to find something more substantial in my foreseeable future. More key, I’ve got a general career path etched out. I’ve got goals, ambition, and all that stuff, but I also have an idea of how I’m going to get there; a rough map, and I feel well-equipped enough to have no problem maneuvering myself in the direction I want.
And that really handles the biggest thing I tend to see as far as those around me come. In fact, it almost feels like my friends my age are almost exclusively in two classes. Married, on average, now with a kid or kid on the way, and projecting the sense that they have their life ‘together’ because they have no choice but to, or the others. Those of us who aren’t married, ranging from single with no idea when or how anything substantial is going to surface as far as companionship goes, all the way to the ones in long-time relationships, where you have no idea what they’re doing or thinking because they don’t, they just are in it because they always have been. And that class commonly projects all the uncertainty, all the wavering.
I think the emphasis from that last paragraph should be perception. One class is able to put off the perception of being gathered, and the other doesn’t have to, thus usually does not.
Either way, I find, that as gold-card member of that second class, that the more I seem to get it together, the more clueless and lost I feel. I spent a huge portion of my lifetime always feeling well-directed, always knowing where my life was heading, even captaining the ship at times. After I was a quarter through my twenties, I kind of made a conscious decision to abandon that and adopt some uncertainty.
I needed to. Right, wrong, or outlandish, my thinking was I couldn’t just go my entire life thinking with such certainty, because at some point a wave of crisis would hit and it’s better to be familiar with it before I’m in too deep. The problem is that it is much like going undercover. You don’t know how deep you’re going to end up, the crazy, traumatizing stuff you’re going to have to do, or any clue when there is an end in sight. You just go in, and trust that, like all things, you will be pulled out of it at some point and resume life as you once knew it.
Deeper and deeper I go.
So to circle back, I’m really feeling completely aimless lately. I know what I’m working for, how I need to work for it, but I don’t know why any of the things I do are contributing to the endgame.
I go to work every day. I do all I can to be the best at my job.
I learn everyday. I try to do more than just what is expected of me from my employer. I’m always finding myself taking on side projects and doing work for others, and then when I have slivers of time from that, I do the stuff for myself; that I actually want to do. Right now I’ve added learning how to code with a list that already grows and usurps everything else like a jungle. But I try to keep doing it; keep doing more.
I go to the gym. I work on every little thing for hours at a time. I know that it is a luxury of time and freedom I have right now that many do not. So I get in great shape. I look and feel good.
I hangout with a myriad of friends. I even get called a socialite somehow, which I don’t think is true, at all, but that’s how I’m perceived. So I socialite it up. I only have about one day a week I spend to myself.
I go out. I try to meet new people (I’m bad at it, or come off as bad at it because I’m really slow with it). I do things. I try to have fun. I usually do.
I do all these things, then at the end of the day, I go home by myself. I go to sleep by myself. I wake up by myself. And I start the entire cycle over again, all by myself.
It’s not a traditional kind of loneliness, because I don’t do most things by myself, but in most ways, I’m not sharing much of anything. I am not sharing my life with anyone.
I think that is where I get lost at. Every little thing lately seems to remind me of that fact. Sure, I always have a social function to go to, and I am with people then; sharing then, but I show up alone. I leave alone. I’m not even at the point where I can find someone to come to a wedding with me. Or to go to a friend’s party.
The point I’m getting at is that I do all of these things, and I do them in isolation. And since I’m doing them in isolation, it is almost like I’m the only one actually doing these things. All of these things I do, I am convinced that they are edifying and that I am getting growth through them, but I’m obscured in this bubble.
Then I become self-aware and doubt everything in the bubble. Why are these things helping me get past this stage of life? How is my fitness or developing skill set helping me get to the next major development in my life?
The answer: it isn’t.
I do all these things, but I don’t do them because they directly help me advance to ‘the next stage’, I do them so that when there is a notable change, in any area of my life, that I am a different, better person than I was when I was in the former stage.
It’s a really weird concept, this whole idea of personal value. It might even be frivolous, but I have to do something with my time. Don’t I?
Even so, I still end up tangled up enough to feel lost, even though I could take a personal audit of my life and score as someone who ‘really has it together’. Despite that, I lost count how many times I’m slogging away to the next daily, pointless thing I do, asking myself:
What the hell am I doing?
And these are just your average problems that blanket everything else.