Existential Dread

Wed Jan 12 2022

The past year has been monumental for me. I went through a lot of major changes such as graduating, moving to the opposite end of the country, and starting my first full time job.

It hasn't been easy adjusting to California either. The ever present sun beams down on my face everywhere I walk. It's so dry here you can see layers of dust coating vehicles and housing. The plants are different. The people are different. The stores are different. But the biggest struggle for me was not the environment.

No one ever talks about how your life ends once you graduate. Once that diploma finds its way into your hands, you suddenly have no more milestones in life. No more goals. No more things to look forward to. Only marriage, child-rearing, and death. Someone once told me that you spend the first 25 years of your life waiting to be an adult, and the last 50 years of your life wishing you were still a kid.

Shortly after I moved, I fell into a spell of apathy. I realized I was going to be living the same life day after day, year after year until I died. When you're an adult, you don't get free serotonins. You don't receive certificates or win medals. You slowly decay until you can barely walk and can't remember your name.

That's life. It's why people go back to school or have kids. So you don't have to grow up.

In short, I found myself experiencing a spell of existential dread.

This realization was especially hard for me at first because I had never experienced anything like this before. I am very good at motivating myself when it comes to personal projects and career goals. Why could I suddenly not do anything interesting anymore? Why didn't I have motivation? I found that I had no ambition after my graduation. I suddenly lost all interest in side projects, movies, books, art, and others. What's the point of creating and making if there's no end goal or achievement to look forward to?

When do I get to pick back up the pieces and continue my life from where I left off?

But I learned that it takes perseverance. You have to work at it and learn to adapt. Step by step, one foot after the other. Start setting small goals again. Work on yourself. Be better. Work harder. And most importantly, laugh more.

Right now I'm far from perfect. I'm still broken, scared, helpless, and vacant.

But now I'm stronger.

Conclusion ΒΆ

I've spent so long trying to write this that it's already halfway through January. I have been suffering from a prominent existential crisis ever since May trying to understand what my life means, what my goals are, and what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is an embodiment of that.

If you struggle with something similar, this is my motivation to you: jiayou! (you can do it!) You're not alone. A lot of people struggle with this as well.

Here are two commentaries I have been sent regarding existential dread. I think they're both worth watching.

BestDressed - a big fat post-grad existential crisis (tm)

RTGame - Your Existential Dread is Due