Some thoughts on moping

There was a short time in college, I’d say about a semester, where I am pretty sure I was on the verge of, if not fully descending into, depression. It was a semester where I was taking about 20+ hours, most of which were literature courses including one in which the professor assigned 9 full-sized novels and books of completed works of poets. I’m not blaming the professor, just attempting to illustrate my work load.

I spent a lot of that semester alone. Reading and writing. And even when I was with people it was usually in some leadership capacity (editing Impressions Literary Magazine, serving as a Resident Assistant of an upperclassman residence hall, volunteering 40+ hours a month, organizing women’s groups on campus, etc.). I didn’t have friends. And while I did have Sean, I spent most nights sitting across the room from him doing homework, while he patiently waited for me to  finish, oftentimes falling asleep before I was even close to done.

I did a lot of crying over nothing that semester, sequestering myself in my room, and refusing invitations to social events.  I worked really hard to keep it together in public. I slept a lot, and yet not at all. I lost weight because I was pretty much eating only oatmeal (I refused to go get food from the school’s cafeteria). But I’m pretty sure no one (besides Sean, who encouraged me to talk to someone regularly) knew.

I don’t know if it was a personal moment of weakness. I don’t know if it was because of all the work I had to do, or if I was taking on all that work in order to avoid people.

The reason I bring this up is because I can feel myself on the verge of some unhappy situation. I come to work everyday and cling desperately to the clock dreaming that 4:00 or 5:00 hastens its arrival. Sometimes I don’t make it, and tell my boss at 2:30 or 3:00 that I’m leaving, making up some excuse. I know it makes me a bad employee.

I keep myself occupied by reading the news, checking the blogs I like far too often, and writing my own blogs.

I know older people look down on my generation for being ungrateful and snooty. They took whatever job they could get and didn’t worry about vocation and how you felt on the job. They went to work, they did their jobs, and the came home. Maybe it’s my upbringing or maybe it’s a product of what’s been stuffed into my head at Maryville College, but I feel like there’s got to be more to life than earning a paycheck, going home to the place that you spend your paycheck on, and going back the next day.

I’ll admit I have a pretty sweet deal–getting paid a fair amount and making my own hours essentially with a boss that’s pretty compassionate and understanding.

So, what’s my deal? I feel so unfulfilled. Am I just spoiled? Is this a quarter-life crisis?

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2 thoughts on “Some thoughts on moping

  1. reading this i wish i had reached out more, and knocked at your door more often! (though i imagine by the time i was on your floor you were out of that phase) i’m glad to hear you got past it, and i hope you can stay past that down period.

    as for being “ungrateful”, i often wrestle with those feelings myself. sometimes i look at what i do compared to what others do, and figure in my abilities and what i know i can do, and i feel like i ought to do more or be more. but when it comes down to it, i can’t imagine doing anything else. i’ve tried several different occupations – retail, “pseudo” construction (i installed cultured marble bathrooms), restaurant/hospitality of all kinds, pizza driving, and finally education. the one thing that has remained constant through it all has been my love of working with young people. i was working night jobs so i could volunteer at local museums during the day. i worked summer camps during the summer. i started giving school presentations with my historical re-enacting.
    my calling, if it is such, is definitely with young people, but it took me a while to figure that out. and it took going through all of those various things to get there. at some points i was a bum on my parents’ couch. but it was volunteering that got me on my course. it was through that i found what made me happy, contributed to the community, helped others.
    ungrateful? no. snooty? never. unsatisfied – yes. and there’s nothing wrong with that. i would say keep searching, keep volunteering as much as you can. yes, you will have to endure some sort of paycheck supplier while you search. the bills still have to be paid. but keep searching jobs/careers, keep reaching out, and keep searching yourself, to find out what is the course you should be on. then once you find it, and are sure, then go after it full speed, and don’t take no for an answer! for someone like you, with so much going for you, you have a lot of choices out there. just keep narrowing it down and moving forward. even sideways. just don’t retreat. keep hanging in there!

  2. Hmm. I don’t know how relevant my answer is, given that I’m also of the “spoilt” younger generation and I’m not currently working in a conventional, paying job. But I’ll offer it anyway.

    I don’t think that you/we are snooty, ungrateful, or unreasonable for believing that there is more to vocation than mere job. And while I know that there are many people who can find contentment by having “just” (I say without judgment) a job that pays the bills and allows them to do some fun things on the side, there are others of us who simply can’t be happy living that way. I’ve known for years that I am not one of them. And I’ve watched one of my parents attempt to be one of them for years without succeeding in finding happiness that way.

    My father is in a job many people would consider “lucky” — he travels all the time, he meets lots of different people, he’s good at what he does, he keeps the frequent flyer miles, he earns a good income, he works flexible hours. But he hates what he does and can’t wait to reach retirement. He’s constantly seeking other outlets for his creativity, service impulses, etc. His job is not at all fulfilling. And often it seems that he’s just completely forgotten how to have fun.

    Seeing that, I’ve grown up determined to do what he did not — to find a job that is fulfilling and makes me happy. So right now I’m volunteering in the hopes that it leads to either a full-time paid position or at least a better sense of where I ought to be and what I ought to be doing. When I hear about the job experiences of several friends who graduated around the time we did, I feel like I really got the best deal of all, even though I’m not saving any money while I’m doing this. And my father, who has spent the better part of his life working at a job he dislikes because it is a “good job,” totally supports me in my venture. He has said before that this is the kind of thing he wishes he had done himself…but he missed the opportunity. How sad! 😦

    Rather than being considered ungrateful for not accepting what the previous generations accepted, I think we would be ungrateful if we failed to learn their lessons and to grab at the opportunities they would have taken had those opportunities been available to them.

    Maybe it’s just time to go out on the proverbial limb and do something different, even if it’s risky or not as financially rewarding as your current job. You’re a level-headed person, and I think, like me, somewhat distrustful of your emotions and risk-averse. (Maybe these are INTJ qualities?) But this is probably one of those times when you should trust your illogical, “unreasonable” emotions and try to find something that “feels” right.

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