|Visual approximation of author having first world problems.
I recently spent an afternoon catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. I had an awesome time and it was great to catch up. But, man, was it eye opening.
Here is a condensed version of our conversation:
Her: So here’s what’s going on in my dynamic and fulfilling career field where I’m a highly valued employee.
Me: I freelance sporadically. Some months I’m jealous of sweatshop workers’ wages and job satisfaction.
Her: And here’s what’s happening with my continuing education at a well respected and intellectually challenging graduate school.
Me: I volunteer in my four year old’s classroom once a week. There are no fear biters this year. I really appreciate that.
Her: I’d like to transition into the non-profit sector at some point so I’m sitting on the board of this great charity that helps underprivileged youth.
Me: Hold on a second… I need to stop my kid from taunting that really aggressive looking bird over there.
Her: I met this new guy who seems really great.
Me: Last night I made my husband watch Downton Abbey. He hated it and then we fell asleep on the couch.
Her: It’s just been a really great year and I’ve learned a lot about myself.
Me: Sometimes when I get a pedicure I bust out of my comfort zone and go with a deep red instead of a light pink.
My friend was very gracious and bursting with interesting things to say. I was bland and thoroughly unriveting. I love my husband, I love my kid, and on the whole I love my life but, man, do I need to start Carpe-ing the hell out of each Diem because right now my deeply held personal goals are stuff like “eat breakfast more regularly” and “tour kindergartens.” Mentally and emotionally I’ve let myself go to the point where my psyche is wandering around in muffin top inducing ragged sweats and only showering once a week.
There’s dedicating yourself to your family and then there’s losing yourself in the process. I’m afraid I’ve done the latter. Who am I aside from someone’s wife and someone’s mom? What exactly do I want out of life? I’ve got to find some meaningful answers to these questions and then do something with that information.
Hopefully soul searching in my thirties will require much less terrible music and black eyeliner than it did in my teens.
Have you ever had an existential crisis? How did you cope with it?