An Existential Crisis
I’m sitting in a café watching the world carry on around me, wondering how exactly I got myself into this rut. I’ve blamed it on the winter blues, I’ve blamed it on boys, I’ve blamed it on being broke all the time, but I’m yet to blame it on my way of looking at things.
All I’ve ever wanted to be is a writer. Even as a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always answer back, determined and sure, “I am going to be a writer.” But lately, I have felt a complete lack of purpose and motivation to do anything with my life. Every day I wake up, drag myself out of bed, skip breakfast, go to work, come home, sit on the ground in the shower with water cascading over me as I try yet again to figure out why the boy doesn’t love me (yet to work that one out, FYI), go to bed, only to repeat the entire draining process the next day. Why do I do this to myself? Am I ever going to be able to snap out of the Groundhog Day routine I’ve got myself into?
Whenever people ask me what my biggest fear is, my answer is always being ordinary. I’m terrified of a life exactly like everyone else’s. I’m terrified of feeling like I’ve been forced to walk a path I didn’t choose. I’m terrified of having to get a job, pay my bills on time, get married to a man I probably don’t love, wake up one day with three kids I didn’t want, a large dog and a mortgage for a house I don’t even like in a town I hate.
I want to be a world changer. I want to book a one-way ticket to India and work with children who need to be nursed and loved and taught. I want to spend three months in Africa working with animal conservation programs. I want to go places I’ve never been and meet people in far-flung corners of the earth. So why the fuck don’t I? I don’t have a dog, a mortgage, a husband or kids. I am never going to be freer than I am now. Ever. What is holding me back?
So maybe I’m scared of being ordinary, but I’m more scared of being extraordinary. You see, there is safety in ordinary. Ordinary is easy, and maybe I like it that way, but I know that I’m filling voids with expensive technology and overpriced leather handbags because I am too scared to be extraordinary, too scared to take the leap and really live.
But when I am 90 years old and on my death bed, I’m not going to be laying there thinking how glad I am I worked day in and day out in a job I hated so that I could afford the latest Mac Book and the newest iPhone.
So my vow is this: I will not be ordinary. You are all witnesses. I will write and I will travel and I will fall in love in a foreign country. Maybe my crisis is not so much existential, because I know what I need to be doing with my life – it’s a crisis of not quite being brave enough to get there. That’s it.
From now on, I will no longer fill the void with overpriced bullshit that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Instead, I will wait patiently until the day I wake up and decide it is time. Time to book my one-way ticket and start really living.
Until that day comes though, I will blend in with the ordinary people and tend to my responsibilities, because I know that, for me at least, it won’t be forever. While people around me fake smile their way through bad dates and jobs they hate, I will smile big and real because I have something that they don’t: a desire to shake up the norm, like a firework just waiting to be lit. Wait, does anyone have a lighter?
Cover by Phoebe Dill