I’m 36 and I am at a really good place in my life right now. And when I was your age, in college, I wasn’t. So don’t you let anyone tell you that college or your 20’s should automatically be the best part of your life, or that growing up and being an adult means everything goes downhill. That’s bullshit. I am so happy right now as a middle-aged person. That’s totally a thing. So don’t worry about growing up.
Anonymous asked: (hey, this is the anon who asked the religion question. I was having a shitty night, but then I saw your answer, and I guess that is the little happy sort of thing you're talking about isn't it? You don't have to answer this, I just wanted to let you know you helped)
I’m so sorry you were having a shitty night! But I’m glad that I was able to help. I actually had a rough day, then saw this and cheered up a bit. So, thank you for letting me know that you saw the response/it wasn’t TOO horrible :P I’m sending hugs if you want them.
(And that’s absolutely what I meant by little happy things. I’m honored that I could contribute to one of yours)
Anonymous asked: I'm trying to use religion to fill in this hole. I thought maybe it was a lack of spirituality that made life feel so pointless, but any faith I have in religion now feels extremely forced. Just. Really. What is the point of living? I'm curious to hear your opinion. No explanations seem to resonate with me. Nothing at all has been resonating lately.
Warning: this is going to be a long post! Because this is SUCH an important question, and I want to at least try to do i justice.
I’m going to be completely honest, here, anon: I put off answering this for a while because I wasn’t sure how to best approach your question. And then I had midterms, and then I got sick… But I’m answering it now. I still don’t think my answer is by any means the best answer, and maybe not even an adequate answer, but I’m going to give you an honest one.
At this point in my life (and it may change in the future, who knows), I believe that the point of living is to live. I know that sounds totally dumb and like circular logic, but bear with me for a few minutes. You said religion has failed to fill the “hole” that you feel. And that’s totally okay! I grew up in a religious household and am not currently religious, but still have a lot of mixed feelings about some of that stuff. We’ll just push religion off to the side for now and look at this as if it weren’t a factor in determining the point of living.
A huge part of my recovery from my darkest days of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm was learning that I didn’t have to be happy all the time in order to be “better”. Similarly, I didn’t have to be happy 100% of the time to qualify as “happy”, or to make my life “worth it”. It was important for me to learn to slow down and appreciate the little happy things, like the bath water being the perfect temperature, or having time to grab coffee with a friend, or feeling confident in my favorite pair of jeans. These are the moments I kept living for. I realized that if I waited for things to be perfect, I would never be satisfied. BUT, if I put effort into finding one good thing about each day, no matter how small… then, I could find a reason to keep going. I actually devoted a really long time to finding these little happy things (an example would be the sun being out, having a good meal, making it the whole day without crying, giving someone a hug, etc.) and making the effort to document them in writing or with a picture (similar to the 100 happy days challenge, but over a longer period of time).
Eventually, I noticed the little happy things without even trying. I started looking forward to what little happy things the next day might bring. I put effort into MAKING those happy things happen. I started planning the future, letting myself daydream about adventures I wanted to have, and setting goals.
We have some pretty awesome opportunities as humans. Especially in the modern world, we can communicate with others so easily and we can learn so much from them. We can learn about other people’s experiences, which is just so freaking cool. We can expose ourselves other cultures, we can learn new things even when we’re not in a school setting (yay internet!), we can try new hobbies, we can continually push ourselves to be better and better, we can change the world we live in to be a better place… There are just so many awesome experiences to have, and sometimes it’s the dream of these “big” things that keeps me going.
But a lot of the time, the big things seem implausible and too far away. That’s when I focus on the little happy thing. And getting back to your question, that’s what the point of living is for me right now. The point of living is to experience those things that make me forget everything except how happy I feel. The point of living is getting a pumpkin spice latte with my best friend. The point of living is reading until 3 AM, and crying my eyes out over fictional characters. The point of living is watching the leaves change colors in the autumn, it’s dancing in the first snowfall and making hot cocoa, it’s cuddling friends/family/a stuffed animal under a blanket, it’s watching flowers come to life and the weather warm up, it’s learning how to knit something new, it’s trying a new food for the first time and loving it, it’s talking with people and gaining insight from hearing about their life experiences…..
That being said, a lot of people have tackled this question throughout history. In particular, I think of Tolstoy, whose characters in his short stories and novels would often wonder around worrying, going “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE WHAT IS IT?!” then, “OH I’VE FOUND IT! IT’S (insert meaning here; usually self-denial/self-sacrifice in Tolstoy’s case)” and then, a few pages later, they would be wandering around going “BUT WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?!” all over again. And I think that’s a pretty accurate representation of all of us. I think, and I may be totally off here, that what we view as the “purpose” or meaning of life, changes as we live, based on what we value most at any given time. And you know what else I think? It’s totally okay not to know what the meaning of life is. That’s so, so normal. I honestly don’t think there’s any one “true” meaning of life. I think the process of asking yourself what this meaning is, the process of “discovering” what the meaning of life is for you, is far more important than what you ultimately decide that that meaning is.
This answer was probably immensely unhelpful, and I apologize. But thank you for asking such a great, though provoking question!