I had an existential crisis last night.
( I burry myself in my work because life scares me.)
A friend came to visit last night, whilst it was lovely seeing them we always have these really deep discussions which are great, but they have a habit of making me horribly depressed the next day. It’s not intentional, but my brain is very much an anxiety/depressive brain, so it thinks … a LOT. It never stops. I also need to do the whole ‘see if I’ve actually got ADHD thing’, but at the moment there’s too much going on.
In this digital age I try as much as humanly possible to limit my interaction with the news. This is 100% intentional because I simply do not have enough space in my brain, nor the emotional capability to handle the news. The news is scary, biased, and a lot of the times just … not factual.
One of the main topics the news focuses on nowadays is the environment, and yes, we’re going to completely forget about the election, Brexit, and everything to do with subjects relating to England and America specifically. There are stories on how we’re hurting the environment, how we can do more to help the environment, and how the environment is fucked. So, with all these stories and all the mounting evidence, over the past year I’ve been trying to cut down, find better alternatives, and figure out how I can be eco-friendly and more sustainable. However, I am also a disabled human which means I have a lot of feelings surrounding being a terrible person because I can’t do some things, and there are times I need single use plastic. I also have a lot of allergies and intolerances, and a terrible immune system so bulk bin items are not practical or safe for me. This could be and might end up being a whole post in itself.
Before I had the crisis inducing conversation with my friend, I’d been working for two weeks straight because I cannot handle life at the moment. (It’s not my healthiest coping mechanism, but it’s all I’ve got since there’s no drinking to unwind.) As you can imagine having an existential crisis about my existence, and the world is going end fitted in well with the current ‘I’m constantly working to distract myself from life’ crisis. Like two peas in a pod.
It completely overwhelmed me because the idea that in my lifetime humans might become extinct really struck something within me, it made my work and what I do seem meaningless. That’s really the crux of an existential crisis; the fear of being meaningless. I’m not unaware of the environment, and never have been, but my friend is honest to a t, and I am an anxious wreck nowadays. So, unsurprisingly, I got stuck in a spiral for a good 12 hours which included everything from ‘what’s the point’ to ‘why would I even bother trying to be a good person’ running through my brain.
For the most part I was really hung up on the idea that my life is meaningless, my goals and aspirations are silly, what I’m doing is pointless, and I will not have a ‘legacy’. Since I don’t want children there will be no child to ‘continue my legacy’. It’s a phrase I hate, though I do understand now why it is a phrase, and I guess there must be something comforting about the idea a part of you will live on – it’s something I might ponder more in the future. I also definitely do not seek fame, but I would like to leave some type of ‘legacy’. I would like to make an impact, to help people, and to leave the world better than I found it (I have small goals).
I sat with those fears for hours, and then whilst watching a crow this morning I realised it doesn’t matter. I was very much reminded of the (cheesy and nonsensical) saying ‘live like there’s no tomorrow’, but if you ‘live like there’s no tomorrow’ you’ll run out of money pretty quick, and you’ll still need to pay taxes, rent, and buy food. The same philosophy applies here. The world might end before my lifetime, but I’ve still got a life to live. Just like a crow will carry on its day, collect food, collect twigs – I don’t actually know what crows do in their spare time, I will carry on my day. I will wake up, shower, eat, and try to make the world a bit of a better place. Try to help as many people as I can and try to do what I can within my means.
As a quick aside, I don’t know if this sounds big headed (and maybe it does) but I can’t imagine a life where I don’t at least try to help other people. Another one of the discussions we had last night before the whole ‘existential crisis’ was about billionaires. We discussed how there shouldn’t be any billionaires, and how nice people don’t become billionaires. Granted, I would like to be a billionaire (think of the wheelchair I could buy, and then wheelchairs I could buy for other people!), mostly so I could not be a billionaire and give away the vast majority of the money to other people and charities. No one should be a billionaire, for if there are billionaires then society is failing.
Anyway, there is a very real possibility we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Even if we do everything we can, and companies actually start doing something about the waste they produce (and stop putting sole responsibility on consumers), it might still be too late. We simply don’t know until we get to that point – until we live through it.
Today, when I went outside things started to settle. I watched that crow hopping about and started thinking about the world, about how species are continually going extinct, and human beings are just another one of those species. There will be life after us, just like there was life before us.
When my brain stopped spiralling, I settled on the idea that just because the world might end, it doesn’t mean that my goals and aspirations aren’t valid. If anything, those goals, and aspirations are even more valid because they’re mine (I might edit this bit later because my brain can’t get across what I want to say), and I still have a life to live and fill with experiences. If the world is going to end, I might as well do what I want to do – and that doesn’t mean I have to forgive and forget (ignore the books that tell you otherwise – your feelings are valid, and just because they’re family doesn’t make it right). Likewise, my goal to leave a legacy doesn’t have to be on some grand scale, I can chip away at it little by little. I can make better choices for the environment, I can do what I can to help others, and I can try to get better at being unapologetic about my existence.