A Conversation With My Twenty Seven Year Old Self.

Haven’t seen you in a while.

Yeah. You look a lot older.

I do?

Yeah. Wow. You look like a full grown man!

I am. Even though a big part of me still feels like I am twenty seven.

And you own a house, have money, a job and are married now?

Yes.

Jeeze. That is so crazy.

Why?

I just can’t imagine that right now. Did you become a published novelist and artist?

Lets not to talk about me right now. How have you been?

I don’t know. Stressed out I guess.

Why stressed out? You are too young to be stressed out!

Yeah. But it doesn’t feel like that.

What do you mean?

I just feel like I am just existing. I’m not accomplishing anything or going anywhere. I have no idea what I’m going to do.

Hmmm.

Yeah. I have no sense of direction. I’m sad all the time but no one sees it. No one realizes how stressed out and upset I am. I hate that I feel this way but I do. I feel so unsure of myself that I can’t confidently make even the most basic decisions. I have no clue about anything.

That is not true man. You are a smart young man. You know a lot.

It doesn’t feel that way. I feel like I can never be sure about anything. I’m just so stuck in myself and it sucks. I don’t know how to get out. I have so many hang-ups and I’m sick of it.

So why don’t you just get a job? Just find a job doing something so that you can make some money and not have to be dependent on your difficult parents. Don’t you think that would help?

I don’t know. I feel pressured by my parents and everyone else to make a decision. To do something, but I don’t know what it would be. It feels so confusing. I have no idea what I want to do and as a result I feel like I can’t commit to anything.

I see. Must be rough.

I don’t know. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. I can’t do anything without feeling guilty about it. I feel guilty about everything. Even just hanging out and drinking a beer or just listening to music makes me feel guilty. I feel like I should be doing what other people expect me to do. Like make a decision. Find a job.

Don’t you just want to find a job? Wouldn’t that make things easier for you?

I don’t know. I guess a part of me feels like having a job would make me feel more accomplished and happier. I could have my own money and buy things I like. I know I feel guilty because I am just hanging out in my pajamas all day but I love doing this. But at the same time it makes me feel non-existent. Like I don’t matter in the world at all. This feeling non-existent just feels like too much for me. I can’t take it.

So why not do something about it? Change it?

I’m trying. I started looking for a job but looking for a job makes me feel very anxious. Job hunting depresses the shit out of me. Makes me feel uncomfortable with myself.

Why?

I don’t know. I guess because I know I am spending all this time filling out these job applications but none of it will really matter. But I still have to do it to maybe find a job and the amount of time and energy this requires makes me feel very sad.

I see.

I just am going to have to apply to every single job I can. I know that in order to get one response I have to apply to a hundred jobs. I have to fill out every god damn application even though I don’t want to.

I know. It is rough.

In just three years I will be thirty. Time feels like it is ticking down for me. I feel guilty that I am not like every one else already making my own money and with a good job. I see people who are like this at much younger ages than I am. Makes me feel terrible about myself. I have to do something or I feel like I am going to die. I have to spend all my time looking for a job if I am going to find something. This makes me sad because I won’t be able to spend my time doing the things that I enjoy doing. I will have to give these things up.

You don’t have to give them up, you just might have to do less of what you want right now.

Maybe. But getting a job and becoming a real person just feels like I am going to have to give up so much of myself. I am going to have to go work most of my time and then the rest of the time I will be too tired to do the things I like. Maybe on the weekends I will have energy to do things I want to do but this makes me feel very sad.

What does?

That I will have to give up so much of myself. I will have to sell out. But I want a standard of living that I can feel ok about and I need a job to get to this spot. I know it sounds superficial but having money of your own does make such a big difference in how a person feels about themselves. It sucks that this is the way it is but it is the way it is. The barrier between getting from here to there just feels so strong that it feels impossible to achieve. I know I would feel better if I could advance to the next stage but I just have no idea how. My lack of progress just makes me very sad.

So why not just really make an effort to find some kind of job. Dedicate yourself to doing something! Write a novel and get it published. Get a gallery show for your art. Find a job. Just do something!

I know I need to do this. I know accomplishing something in the world would make me feel happier but I’m the kind of person who will just keep doing the same thing if it feels comfortable. I know I need to change but it feels like it would require a massive effort. So I just keep doing what feels more comfortable.

Like what?

Like sleeping in, reading, drawing, hanging out, spending the day in my pajamas, watching films, sleeping. Not doing these things just feels like it would require such a massive effort. This makes me sad because just looking for a job or not sleeping twelve hours a night should not feel like such a massive effort. It should not feel like running a marathon to not do these things. But it does. Now I feel guilty about everything I do. Skyscrapers of guilt have built up. I’m pissed off about everything. I need to find some way to alleviate all of this other than drinking beer and smoking pot. I feel like just finding a job is the only logical way that I could feel less guilty and be more happy. Isn’t this what society wants me to do? I feel stupid feeling the way that I do.

Don’t feel stupid. In a sense, what you are going through is normal. You are having to assimilate into society and as a result you feel like you have to lose a part of yourself. In a sense, you are right. You do lose a large part of yourself and your time. It hurts. Only the lucky few get to assimilate into society while staying true to themselves. It can be done but it is hard. In order to have a decent standard of living most of us have to lose a big part of ourselves and this can be painful. You are just resisting this process and it makes it harder because it feels like there is nothing that you want to do and can make money from.

People don’t understand this though. Everyone just thinks I just need to find a job and then everything will be better. Maybe they are right. I feel deeply upset and alone about all of this. No one else understands. Everyone else seems to have happily assimilated into society. They all seem to do it just fine. Why can’t I? I feel so guilty about this that it causes me to think myself into destruction. I feel trapped in this. I know I have the potential to be a lot of things but my negative thinking never lets me get to this point. Makes me feel very frustrated and sad.

But you don’t really know what you want. How could you expect things to be going how you want them to be going when you don’t know what you want?

This frustrates me that things are not going the way I want, but I don’t know what I want.

So what are you going to do?

I don’t know. I feel like if I am going to find a job I really have to force myself. I have to give up all the things I like doing and just force myself to find a job. To only do that. But then I don’t really know if once I find a job if I will really be any happier. I will have to give up so much of myself and my time. People want me to find a job and feel like I am not progressing in life because I spend all my time in my pajamas. But I like doing this. But it makes me sad that everyone else looks at me like a complete fuck up. This makes me feel very guilty.

Yes. It is rough. It is not as bad as you think though. You can find a job, earn money and still stay true to yourself. It is hard to do. Really hard. I will not lie about that. But it can be done.

Do you do that?

I try. I do the best I can. I think I have managed to stay true to myself but a part of me does have to do things I do not want to do to earn a living. You do have to trade your time for a certain standard of living.

That is what I am afraid of. That must feel terrible.

It is not easy but it is the nature of society. Society is an assimilation machine. It is the way it goes and you need to accept this at some point if you want to have a decent standard of living.

I know. The way I see it, I have two choices now. I can adhere to what society wants of me and find a job or go to graduate school to find a more specialized job and then maybe I will be happier. I will not have the guilt anymore and I will have money to support myself. This feels like it would lift a huge load. OR I can just stay the same and just learn to be happy with what I am doing and how I am living now without feeling guilty all the time. Both of these options feel like they will require a massive effort.

Yes. Personally I think you should just keep buying time. Learn to enjoy what you are doing now. Don’t feel so guilty about it. Just enjoy yourself while your parents are still willing to help you out. Make good use of this time rather than wasting it feeling so despondent and depressed. Write a novel. Paint. Find some kind of job. Go easy. Don’t worry about the future because everything will turn out fine. Not ideal but things turn out well for you. For now just enjoy being young rather than filling it with so much despair!

Yeah. It is good to hear that things will turn out ok for me but it is still hard for me to believe that. I am worried that I will have to give up too much of myself to get to where you are. But soon I will be thirty and I don’t want to be thirty still spending my entire day in my pajamas.

(To Be Continued)

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