So I was talking to my mom about life. Basically, I don’t have a lot to look forward to in my life: I don’t have friends, my job stinks/been on a job search and gotten rejection after rejection, I’m in my mid 30’s and I’ve never had a boyfriend or even been kissed. So basically, I don’t have a lot going on. It’s not getting any better and it probably wont in the future. I’ve kind of accepted this point. Like, this is a good as it’s going to get (and please don’t tell me it will, cause I’m basically run dry of hope, k? cool) So ANYWAY, I was explaining to her that life pretty much sucks and there’s not really a point to it. (I’m too much of a chicken poop to do anything about it, so don’t worry about it) But she says that everyone feels this way. That everyone’s life sucks; everyone hates their work, everyone is lonely, no one has much to look forward to. But like, that can’t be true, right? Cause wouldn’t humanity just basically end itself and then ‘the end’… right? What do ya’ll do to combat these feelings? Like gratitude and stuff? Are we all just circling the drain?
It’s a yes but no kinda of a thing. Everyone is unhappy at times but they are also happy at times and anything in between and both. There are ups and downs so it’s less of circling the drain and more like being part of the water cycle
It’s a shame that she is putting that idea in your head, because it’s not true. She is projecting her own emotions on you, so just remember that.
Of course we can be happy, but if we want different in our life, we have to start moving different. Old keys don’t open new doors. We can’t rely on other people, ya know? That’s something I’ve been discovering lately anyway.
I think if you approach a bunch of random strangers, and say “life sucks, doesn’t it,” seven or eight of them will agree. Yet odds are extremely high that those people spend a lot of time enjoying themselves. There’s this thing called hedonistic adaptation, which describes how no matter how much good is in a person’s life, they end up dissatisfied, and ask themselves “is that all there is?”
It doesn’t have to be that way. A person can take the time to appreciate the good things, and the absence of bad things. Speaking for myself, I have always found a way to not hate my work. I usually accomplished that by doing the work with a bit of extra flair or creativity. Sometimes when I was doing a crappy job, my mind would wander to a more pleasant place, and I was able to cope.
Anyway, it is possible to find contentment. I believe that’s the most sublime form of happiness. Strangely, if we were happy all the time, we probably wouldn’t be happy about it
It seems that the conversation you’ve had with your mother happened at a time when she didn’t feel particularly optimistic herself. Whenever we feel depressed, overwhelmed or defeated for some reason, we tend to see the entire world as dysfunctional, full of pain and sadness. There is something comforting in the belief that what we experience individually could be the same for others, as it would make sense to our own feelings as well.
Of course, not everyone is unhappy. General statements like the ones your mom had cannot be applied to human beings, just because we’re different. The only general statement applicable is that we are all unique, our stories are unique, which results to changing levels of contentment and happiness in our life.
However, if general statements cannot be seen as unbreakable truths, we can also observe the ways our societies evolve, which is basically what many people dedicate their life to, like sociologists for example. It is clear that depression and anxiety are more and more common and experienced. Some could argue that we are more open about it, which makes it more visible, which is true. But also, we live in a time where so many aspects of our lives are put under the stress of productivity and efficiency. At work, at home, in our relationships, in our projects, in the way we present ourselves and appear to others. The epidemic of burnouts in so many professions is a direct expression of this. That doesn’t mean everything is dark and hopeless, but that there are things to be aware of, areas to improve, and that each one of us can acually contribute in making this world a little better.
Your mom maybe tried to reassure you somehow regarding how you feel. It might have been a way to say: “It’s okay. You’re not weird for feeling that way”. But it sounds that, maybe, asking her if she’s okay and happy in her own life right now could be a door to open gently, as her perception of the world at the moment seems pretty dark and pessimistic.
"Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."
this is unrelated, but I think its awesome you studied history and I would love to talk about what your favorite periods in history are and why.
I should also say that I am a few years your senior and I have no real clue how to live a happy and fully life or to have a dream to follow in this life…so I am a fellow answer seeker and not a giver of wisdom. Also I am neither on a soapbox or on a high horse, I’m laying in the mud most days myself.
I think eventually everyone has at least elements of their life sucking. Life usually has some really bad days in store for everyone and I think we all struggle on some level for control, or just a sense of control, in our lives. For me perspective, experience and a positive attitude seem to go a long way to making sure its a good day vs a bad day. If I can manage to string together enough good days I generally start to feel better.
On perspective: I’ve spend a weekend in jail once and its nice to be able to go/do what I want when I would like to and I have the freedom to do that today and I will likely have it tomorrow. I’ve had days where I have been pretty sick, or in a ton of pain and life likely has something even worse in store for me eventually…but its not today and hopefully not tomorrow (or for a long ass time). I’ve had the top ten worst days of my life (so far) and normally whatever minor frustrations life throws at me I can shrug off.
On being positive: I struggle with this one. I know that no one likes talking to a negative nelly and so I try to have a good attitude both for other people and because it seems to somehow make me feel better when I fake it. Awhile ago when someone would ask the normal “how are you doing?” question I would respond with “its the best day of my life” with…you know positivity in my voice (because that can easily come off as sarcastic) and after awhile it kinda took root. - Whatever happened in the past is over and done with. I can think about it forever and a day but it already is what it is. The future is something I can plan for, but its uncertain and I dunno for sure when my number is up so…whatever today is…its the only thing there is…so by default every day is the best day of my life.
As for good days and how to string them together: Work is something that most of us have to do and most jobs suck on some level or another and hopefully have some positives as well. Those of us that are able to figure out what they enjoy doing can often find a way to do it and get paid and that is something I aspire to once I find out what I enjoy doing…or that I would enjoy doing for 8ish hours at a time 5ish days a week. Otherwise we have to make do with our leisure time and do things that make us happy/feel positive.
I think in general it feels good to make other people feel good so showing gratitude is good.
Laughing loudly (admittedly alone save for the cats) is probably the best thing I do for myself and trying to keep a sense of humor about things…or at least finding a dark joke to make when it gets really bad…it helps me a ton.
We’re all different though, but life is full of stuff…everything in the world in fact and I dunno what might boost your spirits…maybe you dunno…try different things…try baking! make cookies and pies (I like baking) maybe you will want to learn guitar (also something I like) or building book shelves…maybe gardening.
Another thing that makes me feel great about myself if accomplishing something, even simple things like a small home repair in the kitchen, or learning something about repairing a washing machine and then actually fixing it. Even just the experience of realizing that I am not afraid to try and repair the darn thing.
One last thing I do for myself (at least more than I did in the past) is forgive myself for my faults and mistakes and resolving to make better decisions in the future and to take any responsibility I feel I should (one thing I really like doing is taking responsibility for my screw-ups…its a quality lacking in people and I can be proud that I make myself own by blunders…most of the time…I’m human after all).
Flutterb: Some of us struggle more than others, but I wager we all do our time in the mud to some extent. I think after for some of us (me included) that mud can get awful comfy and familiar even though it stinks to high heaven. I think being kind to ourselves and to others is a really good first step in the right direction. Not to end on a super dark not, but yeah dude if you zoom our far enough we’re all circling the drain…but we have some say in if its a fun and happy trip towards the center, or if we are filled with misery and panic years before its warranted (if at all).
Like most things in life making a change and learning new skills takes time and effort and in the beginning sometimes we really really suck at it (see my guitar skills, carpentry skills, etc) but the more we do it the more we develop our skills…even if the skill is feeling positive or self-care.
Like most of my posts here I am sheepish and tempted to delete this thing without posting it, but dude, you have as much right to happiness in this life as anyone else. I hope something in my ramblings is some small solace to you. Take care.
If we are all going to hell in a hand basket, we might as well have a few laughs on the way.
Nobody is going to hell, so don’t worry about it. Laughs are still a good idea.
It’s worth asking yourself, “what if today doesn’t suck?” Or, “is it really necessary for today to suck?” You could also ask, “what can I do to make today suck a bit less?” Such seemingly absurd questions can help the mind become receptive to new ideas about how to manage your day.
Thank you for your words. I really appreciate them. I think my default if a cheerful positive person, but I’ve been in the slums for so long, I am having a hard time finding that part if myself again. I like what you said about finding things that I enjoy doing, I really need to focus on that more. I also bake, repair things, and do crafts. I need to focus on the fact that atleast I’m attempting to change the biggest source of unhappiness (my job). I guess it would be different if i wasn’t even applying. Ya can’t get rejected if you don’t try. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to reply. Youve been helpful and real. Thank you
Mindfulness. Got it.
the chicken poop bit made me do a genuine giggle. Reminds me of something vaguely and it was a solid moment of amusement. So, see? Your post generated true laughter across the seas to me. That to me is the essence of the thing, those little moments that we carve out for ourselves. Being single and unkissed is totes norm to me as well, for my culture/region/whatever.
I really want to think your mom meant that everyone feels this way, as a way to normalize what you’re feeling, and to let you know she heard you and understood you. Create those little moments of joy, do the things that bring you joy/use your creativity/whatever your happy place is.
I am no expert, but for myself, unhappiness means that growth is needed and is coming. It means that there needs to be a change and it’s the motivation to do something differently or think differently. It’s not easy, but chase those moments. We’re all here for ya!
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