I think we all grew up with a picture-perfect life envisioned in our minds: where a dream career existed, we were married with kids by a certain age and we lived in that perfect picket-fence house in the suburbs, with a dog and a cat. Oh wait, my mistake… I’m thinking of every single movie and TV show with a naive plot that convinced us our lives must be perfect in order for us to be happy.
At 23 years old, I frequently feel confused, and I question what I am doing here everyday. Talking to a lot of different people on this topic, I know that I am not alone in these thoughts; my story is actually very similar to a lot of people. I left for university because I felt like I had to. I got a job and worked full-time because I felt like I had to. I go to work everyday and come home feeling empty because, as our parents say, “this is life”.
At 23 years old, I guess my life follows the norm of those around my age. I got my university degree, and I’ve been working full-time, Monday to Friday, for a few years now. The problem is that I feel empty, like I don’t really have a purpose right now. I work because I have to, not because I want to. There’s a big difference between those two statements.
I think a lot of us would be so much happier if we were able to do the things we love and fill our days with work that makes us a better person, rather than working just to make money. I’m 100% aware that this is millennial thinking, however, I know that some of my depression is because of all these problems that make me feel so alone in my thoughts. Growing up, I did believe those movies and I did believe that being happy meant following those steps in the right order: get a job, get married, have kids and live happily ever after… but boy was I wrong.
Being ‘happy’ and ‘content’ is subjective. I feel like every single day I am slowly learning about myself and what fills my heart with gratitude, love, and appreciation, and what fills my heart with sadness and desperation. I’m learning to live for me and not for anyone or anything else. Most importantly, I’ve learnt that I’m not happy in a world where people just want to be like everyone else, where people don’t question things, and where people follow each other like zombies, tied to a rope like we used to do in junior kindergarten.
My happiness and passions drive from not being like everyone else. They come from a place of experience and knowledge and wanting to use that to help other people. I want to live instead of feeling like I’m dying everyday. I want to contribute to something more important in this world and I want to go to bed at night feeling satisfied and content, rather than feeling anxiety and despair.
Now .. where do I begin?