You’ve been suffering.
Despair has been bloodthirstily clawing at your soul—savagely, abruptly & without abandon.
It’s grips are icy & callous, as it mercilessly forces itself upon you, the lingering smell of stale gin on its breath, violently violating your good intentions.
You feel smothered, dirty & ashamed as you gasp for air & pray that it will be over soon.
Tears fall silently, but you cannot defend yourself.
Despair overpowers you.
You’ve tried screaming for help, but as it seems, no one can hear you.
And so you remain.
Broken. Forlorn. Bitter.
With nothing more than a string of antique pearls delicately wrapped around your neck & a life that could have been, as a memento.
The Tragedy That is Us
People such as Everett talk about our generation being immeasurably powerful.
And while he is right in the capability that is there, I believe that our generation isn’t able to fully recognize that power yet, because we are too overwhelmed with dealing with all of the pain & heart-wrenching agony of the greatest tragedy of our time:
The intensely deep dissatisfaction, disillusionment & disappointment that we all have felt with our lives, ever since we stepped off the stage with our diplomas in hand, wide-eyed & optimistic for a bright future that never came.
The despair we’ve experienced as a result is not only our greatest tragedy, but one of humanity’s as well, in a most profound sense. While former generations may have experienced far more difficult times in terms of poverty, physical hardship, death & sickness, there was always, at the core, a notion of hope, of faith, and of conviction in the human race, and in the opportunities that the future might have held–if only they worked hard enough.
We, on the other hand, are not so naive anymore.
For in our case, we have not been bestowed with the luxury of such confidence, because we are the future, we’ve seen what it’s held, and we have been gravely disheartened by the reflection in the crystal ball.
In our case, we are not plagued by hardship in the form of sickness, death or poverty; rather, we are plagued by a relentless mental hardship—one that no doctor, no technology, no amount of money and no amount of high hopes can cure.
It is the mental hardship, the surmounting weight of knowing we are dreadfully unfulfilled.
And it is the mental hardship of knowing that despite that knowledge, we simply just don’t know what to do about it.
This is the real tragedy–the seeming inability to take our lives into our own hands, because we wouldn’t know what to do with it if we did.
For we cannot merely work harder, as generations have done in the past.
No. The promise of more money & more prestige is no longer is an effective enough incentive.
A Humanistic Approach to Careers and…Our Survival
As I see it, the only real solution to our despair is not to work harder, but rather, to work better.
Less machine-like, more human-like.
It’s a humanistic approach to careers–and,ultimately, to our livelihood, and one that has our interests at its core, as opposed to profit.
It is not that we do not wish to work; it’s that we wish to dedicate ourselves to something worthy of the precious time we have left on this earth.
To that end, I believe that as we have evolved, so has our need to create.
Yet, while we have progressed, the ways of the world have not.
We are still very much expected to mold our complex, multi-dimensional, selves into the round hole in order to maintain forward locomotion.
And while in the past, we were happy to do so, we have now rightfully determined that’s not the right direction. That’s not the path we want. It isn’t worthy of our time–and it’s about time we realized it.
And so the internal battle begins; even though we clearly recognize that we don’t want to force ourselves to fit into the round hole anymore, and travel down the road that follows, we simply do not know what else to do, or where else to go.
Yet, our nagging, berating, self-deprecating sense of despair will continue victimize us until we do something about it, regardless.
Until we stop choosing beneath ourselves, and start doing what’s worthy of us.
We must create.
We will no longer find fulfillment in the standard, cookie-cutter career options—in the limited selection that is teacher, doctor, lawyer, accountant, psychologist—and so we must go forth, and hand-craft a career–and a lifestyle–that molds to us, rather than us having to mold to it.
There is no job title for that. There are no statistics at www.bls.gov that you can look to for guidance. There are no standard salaries, and no set expectations.
In order to free ourselves from the icy grips of the despair, we must learn to create–to invent, forge, hand-construct, and bring into existence–the road we wish to travel. And create our own forward locomotion down that road.
It is no longer a question of what you want to do, but rather, who do you want to become?
There is a difference.
There are many who have begun to embrace this concept by means of leveraging the internet, such as Benny, whose job description goes something like, “witty, fun-loving, world-roaming, veggie-eating, language hacker who shares his knowledge with the world and gets paid for it.”
I like to think of my own job description as, “overly dramatic, impulsive, contemplative, wine-drinking, smokey-eye makeup-ed thinker, writer & philosopher of life.” That’s not what I get paid to do—it’s what I get paid to BE, thanks to the power of the internet.
We must create ourselves. We must create our circumstances. We must create our fulfillment.
We must create the outline of the lives we aspire to, and then color in the gaps as we go.
We must think in terms of who we want to be, rather than what we want to do. And we must boldly take a stand, step forward into the unknown–slowly picking up the pieces of our courage that has since shattered around us–and arrange them into the beautiful mosaic that will serve as the foundation for the vision we have of ourselves.
Your sanity–and your soul–depends on it.