Hello, I have had this problem for a while now, the better part of two years, but it just seems like it is getting worse, especially over the last 6 months. Sometimes I just don't see a point to life in general. I can't get excited about anything anymore. I'm 23. I do not want to get married, I do not want to have kids or a family, ever, I do not want to get some 9-5 job that I will work at for 40 years of my life despite the fact that I hate every ******* minute of it, I don't want to own a home by the time I'm 30 or buy a new car every 5 years. I don't want anything in life that society seems to think is the most important these days. I look at someone like my father who works a job he hates, and has hated, for the last 25 years, and I wonder why he's still doing it and he always says, "Gotta pay the bills somehow." I never want to be like that. I think most people these days get trapped into that type of lifestyle and then can't find a way out, for various reasons. I also think a lot of people want that type of life, get a job, get a promotion, meet a girl, get married, have a family, blah blah blah. It just seems like that's what society places the most importance on, it's certainly what I've heard most of my life. Is there anyone else out there who feels the way that I do about this, or am I the only one who thinks the "american dream" is overrated? The only thing I've ever wanted was to be happy, that's all that has ever mattered to me, and what I have to do to achieve that is completely unimportant. If I thought that type of lifestyle would make me happy then hell, I'd be working on my resume and ironing my best suit right now. I'd much rather make 10,000 a year doing something with my life that I enjoyed than 1,000,000 a year doing something I hated. I seem to be alone in this opinion though, certainly amoung my friends and family at least. Everyone I know seems completely obsessed with money and material possessions, trying to get with the "hottest" girls, trying to land high-paying jobs, blah blah blah. Maybe it's just that way with people my age, I don't know. But even most of the adults I know, people in their 30's and 40's, they have jobs they don't like because they have families and "have to pay the bills somehow." It just doesn't seem worth it to me. Life in general these days just doesn't seem to interest me anymore. I remember when I was a kid I was so happy, because I thought I had so much to look forward to. I loved just laying outside in my front yard and looking up at the sky and dreaming about what my future would be like. I certainly didn't forecast depression in my future. I used to be so certain that someday I would accomplish what I wanted with my life and I'd be so happy. I was POSITIVE of this. I think that's the biggest change in my life. I used to know with absolute certainity that I could do anything, and I just don't have that certainty anymore. That's the best part of childhood I think, being able to dream without having to wake up to the reality. I often think about just starting over some place far away, like Hawaii. Starting over where I don't know anyone, maybe getting a job as a bartender and just relaxing for a couple of years, see what happens. Maybe that would help. I don't know. I wrote this I suppose just to vent, because it's cheaper than seeing a therapist and often the people on this board give much better advice, too. I've been checking in on these boards almost every day for the last few weeks now, and even though I've rarely responded, it's been therapeutic just to see how many other people there are out there who are going through similar struggles. I usually don't respond because I figure someone with as many problems as me really should not be giving life advice to anyone else. Anyway, thank to all who read this, and thanks to anyone who decides to post.
Do you have a dream? I mean do you really think of going to hawaii & tending bar? If so, then do it. I remember when many men went to California to be beach bums. If that is what will make you happy, then go for it. There are no rules that you have to conform to what others do. If you think it is truly depression, then get on some meds if you feel you are dwelling on negative thoughts too much & they are interferring with your life.
I agree, I think our life styles are mostly money & possessions driven. I would love to live where it is warm all the time, I love the warm weather & the sun. I don't need tons of money either. I cherish other things in my life & I'm much older than you. Most of our life we struggled to get bills payed & now we are a bit more comfortable. I'm not saving for old age, we decided to invest in things that make us happy. We bought a boat & all summer we are on that boat, not racing around, just slowly going up & down the river, enjoying mother nature. That is when we are the most happy.
My son marches to the beat of a different drummer too, he'd love to just be able to do whatever, but he got married & now has 3 kids to support & a home etc. etc.
He also loves the boat, it's worlds away from the "real world" although we are only minutes from our house when we are out on the boat. I have seen to many people wait til they retire to "enjoy" life, well my father in law never made it, he walked out of work & had a major heart attack & my mother in law raised the last two kids alone. It was their dream to sell their house when all the kids were raised & get a camper & just go where they wanted. We are not waiting for that. We are doing it now! You have to do what makes you happy, not what your family & friends think will make you happy. I guess I've always been quite different from the crowd too. I see what you mean about working all your life, for what???? Although we are in that trap, we do take time to smell the roses & I mean SMELL them, we do nothing all summer but enjoy our boat & nature. Our grandkids (oldest just turned 8) would rather be on the boat than at a carnival or six flags!! They love it, we cannot leave the dock without them. They have learned to love to just enjoy nature, to fish & lay on the deck of the boat in the sun, explore an island in the river, see deer at the waters edge, see huge heron birds up close, turtles on a log, a beaver swimming within feet of them.
I applaud you, go for it, enjoy life, it's too short to worry what others think of you.
Hey! I'm 21, and feel the same way you do! I don't want kids, a family, new car every 3-5 years, huuuuuge house with too much stuff, crappy job I hate. I watch all these people around me and feel like they've just given up on life. I work a 4-12:30 job right now, which for me is even worse than that 9-5. Its basically a crappy 9-5 office job with different hours and it makes my depression much, much worse. I'm almost out of there though since I decided to go back to college in the fall. But it's all so depressing. It makes me feel worse seeing it first hand, how people in their 30s and 40s are living, and trying to figure out how to live a very different life since I don't want to do what they are doing but I can't even find role models, which in turn makes it scary to decided to NOT do what society does and makes me more depressed and feeling hopeless and helpless. Its like a huge vicious cycle. I think about starting over somewhere else too but then in the back of the head I think, "Why bother? What if it's just like when I lived there and did this and that? What if it's WORSE?" I hate fear. It makes everything worse thousands-fold. I do want to start over though. I went to a therapist about all of this half a year ago and it was useless, she thought I was being ridiculous and tried telling me what I SHOULD do but I knew it'd make me unhappy as well. I just wanted to let you know there are absolutely people out there who feel and think like you do! There's one right here replying
I'm almost 52 and I'm living the life you've decided you don't want. I absolutely hate my job as a software engineer (I also hate that name... they used to call us programmers or programmer/analysts). I feel completely trapped... those bills you talk about keep coming. And with one kid in college and another four years away... well, they're getting bigger.
I'm not sure how much of the bills we've brought on ourselves by buying crap we really don't need. Somehow we used to get by without cellphones, but I now pay about $100 in monthly bills for three of them... $40 a month on high speed Internet access, another $80 on the rest of the cable bill... $300+ each month for one of our cars. I often fantasize about quitting my job, selling my house, and moving to some cheap part of the country.
Before tallking about what I would or wouldn't do over again, I must first say that I love my two kids, a 19 year old daughter, and a 13 year old son, more than anything or anyone in the world. I have never felt that deeply about anything else in this world... though my hate for my career comes in a close second. The irony is that if it wasn't for what I love more than anything, I wouldn't be trapped in this career I hate. I would have quit a while ago, and taken my chances with bartending (as you spoke of) or any work that didn't cause me to dread getting up and going to day after day.
So, most of my life is gray and miserable... certainly every minute spent here at work... and knowing it's always hanging over my head... and it seems to get harder every year. BUT, I love our annual family vacation in August... I love doing other things with my family and my friends... but I've felt so beaten down over the past few years by a soul-deadening career that I've withdrawn more and more... and I do less and less fun things. Depression? Yes, but not as severe as I had it twice in the past... and I think a new career would very possibly melt the depression. But how do I get one? IF IT WAS JUST ME, I'D TAKE MY CHANCES WITH LESS MONEY AND TRY TO LIVE WITHOUT BUYING MUCH... BUT DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THAT DECISION FOR MY WHOLE FAMILY?
If I had it to do over again, there are probably a number of things I'd do differently, but one thing I KNOW I'D WANT TO DO IS GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS CAREER WHEN I STARTED TO HATE IT. I was a little afraid of the financial consequences, and my wife wasn't working then, and she was scared to death of my "crazy talk" about dropping my fairly well paying career to pursue something that meant something to me... that I didn't hate... that wasn't sucking the life out of me, bit by bit, day by day. It would have been easier to walk away then than now... who knows what life might be like today.
I wish I had pushed more to change careers back then... I think it's going to be hard to switch careers at age 52, lose that much money per year that my job pays vs. what I'd make as a newcomer to a different type of job. And then there is the matter of my pension. BUT, I MUST SAY I RELATE TO THE CONCEPT THAT LIVING FOR RETIREMENT IS DANGEROUS... MY MOTHER GOT PANCREATIC CANCER AND DIED A COUPLE OF MONTHS BEFORE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO RETIRE. HELL, MY FATHER HAD A STROKE AT 33 AND DIED AT 39. STILL, I FEEL I OWE IT TO MY KIDS TO PROVIDE FOR THEM.
Some days I don't think I can make it another day in this profession, let alone the 3 YEARS to early retirement (which I can't afford) or the more reasonable 10 to 15 I'll probably have to go. Doing this? Ha, ha... I'll be spending more time on this forum and others until they fire me for not getting my work done.
(SIGH) Back to the SALT mines... unless you know how to stop the world.
You know, I used to pride myself on being a fairly accomplished writer, but I have the feeling I just rambled on here, and I don't know if I made any points... yet another thing I can't do effectively anymore... every day I feel less than what I was.
My advice to you - try bartending at the beach somewhere. It sounds pretty good to me. Put away a few bucks for a rainy day or old age, though.
Good luck, and I hope you're happier in your fifties than I am,
I have felt that way for much of my life. Like, what's the point of life if it's just to eat, sleep, and poop? If the culmination of your day is that you got to eat and sleep and poop! No matter in what kind of fancy house or car or clothes!
I found reading the Ayn Rand novels "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" helped to clarify what I found wrong with how most people I know live, and to focus on finding the right path for me.
Now a warning -- unless you are independently wealthy, you have a choice: work a job you don't like while pursuing your dream in your spare time (for me it's writing/publishing, visual arts, and music, and I work at a somewhat ho-hum finance editing job to support self and family), or go for your dream without adequate financing and find yourself even MORE consumed by money matters. It is scary to not know where your next rent check is going to come from.
At 41, I have a lot less materially than other people my age because I DID choose to follow my dreams . . . ended up living in a fun but "scrambling for cash" lifestyle in Greenwich Village for a few years, followed by part-time jobs while I spend most time in introspection, counseling,etc. I was lucky that my parents sent me to college. Well, I love school so that is part of my dream life.
Actually I spent the better part of my 20s and 30s figuring out what I enjoy. Now I am raising two kids and have put the creative stuff on hold for several years. (Yes, the kids are worth it for me . . . but just to have kids for the sake of having kids, without also having your own goal-directed life where you are fulfilling a dream? That always struck me as a bit insane.)
Just so you know you are not alone. Just in the minority, judging from what I've seen of American society.
Hi Randy. Glad to see you here even though I'm not at all sure why you should be depressed! You name all the things you don't want to be doing in your life, and you're not doing any of them, and you don't have to ever do any of them... so it looks to me like you're in a great place 23, huh? You're free to go where ever you want and to do what ever you want! Wow! Sounds good to me. Good luck! Fox
Thanks for the responses, it helps sometimes just to know that your not completely alone in how you feel, because that's what it seems like to me a lot of times when I'm around friends and family. That's probably the main reason I want to start anew somewhere far away, where I don't know a soul.
Frank, I really appreciate you posting, not only did what you say make sense, but it really struck a cord with me. You sound exactly like I imagine my father feels. We don't talk very often about his career because when he comes home it's the last thing he wants to discuss. Ironically though, he called me this afternoon and told me he quit his job of some 25 or 26 years. He had been contemplating this for a while now but like you, was very worried about not being able make enough money doing something else. He just got to a point where he hated getting up and going to work every day SO MUCH that he couldn't deal with it anymore, and he just felt he had no choice. His job or his sanity, he could keep one but not both. I think he made the right decision. I imagine my dad kept his job all those years like you, because he had a family to support and felt trapped, obligated to provide the best life for us but suffering all the while. I respect him even more for that, but at the same time I fear that someday happening to me as well. He said he wants to go to massage therapy school now and start a career doing something he doesn't entirely hate. He was just my age when he found out my mother was pregnant with me. He had dreams and goals himself, but when he found that out those ambitions went out the window and he began focusing on a more realistic life and took his head out of the clouds, so to speak. My sister is now in a similar situation. When she was in High-School she wanted to go to college in New York and become a singer, but she met a guy and got pregnant, had to drop out of school, and now at 20 has a two year old girl, no money, and not many options. The guy she is married to is an ex-convict and obviously has a hard time finding employment because of that. It just seems like people have such big dreams when they're younger and then, well, life happens, and ruins all of that.
Lori, that sounds so appealing to me, buying a boat and sailing somewhere. I would love to buy a boat and take it to the sea for weeks at a time, live off the fish I caught, get away from everything. Just explore the seas. My friends and I were supposed to all chip in and buy a cheap, used camper this summer, and we were going to spend a few months just traveling across the country. Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Rockies, Vegas, Canada, NY, the beaches of Florida, the coast of California. Anywhere we wanted to go we could go. A couple of my friends backed out though because one just got a job and doesn't want to quit, and another is getting married in September and he and his fiance want to save for a down payment on a house. I don't care if I have to sell my car and buy a dirt cheap camper myself and go traveling alone I'll do it. Hell, maybe I'll just get in my car tonight and start driving. . .
Fox, my problem is that I know what I don't want, I just don't know what I do want. I suppose there are a lot of people my age who feel that way though. Maybe I'll figure out what I want in life sometime in the next few years while tending bar on some Hawaiian beach. Maybe I'll never really figure that out. Either way, I guess I should try harder to enjoy the path and not worry so much about the destination. Some days it's easier than others, though.
This post really hit the spot with me. I recently stopped working a job that I had been on for six years. I felt guilt hit me over the money that we are going to lose and thought of how much faster we could get out of debt if I'd stayed..........but I had two children.......no regrets about that.......except the fact that I ever went to work........after I got a job we spent more money and went more in to debt..........and then I had not choice but to work.........I had to in order to pay our bills...........we recently sold one of our vehicles and purchased a car that involved no car payment.........the other vehicle once it is paid off will be driven until it drops...........credit cards....ugh......we have paid off as much as we can and closed the accounts as we go............that is another money trap...........
Anyhow, my anxiety level has been very high and a friend from another message board recommended I read this post...........and it helped...........I am typically not a depressed person..........more anxious........but this last week since the decision was made about my job.........I have felt very low and sad...........and then it hit me that I get to spend the summer with my kids..........I get to relax a bit..........and enjoy life........I truly think I forgot how to relax..........
If I could go back I would still get married, still have my children, I just wouldn't get so far in to having so much and be in debt to the point that I "had" to work in order to make it..............it is not worth it..........and I do beleive that the more we make the more we spend and the more credit we are offered and tend to take............it's a bad cycle that my husband and I got caught up in and we have finally realized that we need to stop the cycle.............we have a ways to go.......debts to pay off........but we will get there..........and I will find my place in the job market when and if the times comes to do so.........otherwise..........I feel fortunate that I have two healthy children and a great husband and a chance to enjoy it a bit more.............
I was going to criticize the mindless pursuit of money here but changed my mind --
hey it's going to be a lovely weekend on the East Coast, hope everyone gets some of the depression beat for at least a few hours!