My bed was rather sticky this morning. No, not the kind that comes from eating breakfast in bed. The kind that comes from not wanting to get up. As my vacation is winding down, I am noticing the brewing of what Eric Maisel has called a meaning crisis
. Some might call it a low grade depression. Either way, it’s making it more difficult for me to get out of bed. I managed to get up half an hour late and still go out for my morning walk. During the walk I realized what I was telling myself
: I spent part of my vacation in Germany visiting family and I realized that I felt that my cousins are so much more successful than I am. Are they making more money than me? Probably not. But they are enjoying what they are doing and they are contributing something to society that is valuable. I feel like I am doing neither – after all that’s why I am changing gears
– so I feel unsuccessful! On top of that I am not even successful based on “traditional” standards. While I earn a decent amount of money, at this point in my career, I probably should start moving up the ladder. Or maybe already have a few people reporting to me. I certainly shouldn’t be a little peon anymore shuffling papers. And I don’t drive an Audi, own a house, or – gasp! – have a spouse. I do have a child but sans spouse that doesn’t count. Obviously, there is something wrong here!
The problem is not that I don’t live the “American Dream” (as it is materialistically defined). The problem is that I am not letting go of these definitions of success but rather use them to beat myself up. I don’t even want to own a home or an Audi (okay, maybe a little house would be nice but I don’t have to own one). And as for a spouse: At this point in my life, I am not even interested in a relationship, let alone a marriage. I have way too many other things that I’d rather do. Sure, it would be nice to have someone who’d support me (especially financially given that tuition went up a month before the semester starts ;-)) but I really don’t have the need to follow the beaten path to marriage. And while my job isn’t all that great, it does pay the bills and I am doing other stuff that is worthwhile, especially taking steps toward changing gears, toward making my own path through life.
And yet, I still struggle with feeling unsuccessful. Given that anything that creates excessive anxiety and stress is counterproductive, my obsession with not being successful is rather counterproductive. So, I am glad that I have taken the first steps toward changing course.
(Honestly, what got me out of my funk this morning, is following the links in this post. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, I’d rather work toward a better society!)