Existential crisis

It’s been 11 days since my last confession… erm… post, which for this year (as I’ve been posting regularly) is quite a lot. Even all of Richard Armitage’s regional BBC interviews haven’t drawn me out (I’ve not listened to them all yet). I did post my regret on Twitter the other day for not being able to see Uncle Vanya in the cinema…

… and I do read the fun stuff here and there (alas, a lot is also politics which is depressing!) but overall I’m feeling not so great and have been withdrawing into my shell. Every once in a while an existential crisis creeps up on me and I wonder if I’m at where I want to be at in my life and the answer is partially no. That partially no is what is getting to me right now. The great things: I have a great husband, lovely children, a nice family, I like my house and I have a steady job and income in these insecure Corona times. And there’s the crux – I’m not liking the job so much, it’s boring to me but most importantly I just don’t care for it; I don’t care for the product I’m pedaling (Office 365 and especially Microsoft Teams) and I don’t much care anymore for the field I’m in. Teams is important for working together virtually but this whole IT thing – I kinda rolled into it over the years and I’m pretty much done with it.

The social work gene in me keeps acting up and getting louder and louder but I’m not qualified to do social work and I’m not ready to go to school again for 4 years to become qualified. Plus, once I am qualified, who would want to hire a mid fifties newbie to the field? Writing also appeals to me but I don’t want to write on command and just writing this blog or any other fluff I do write on occasion is a hobby and doesn’t earn me any money and really won’t pay for anything in the future either. Also, sometimes I feel like I’m just done working with and for others in an office, I want to do my own thing and be my own boss. But what kind of own company could I start and in these uncertain times? It makes no sense to just go off and sorta try something… So, I feel stuck and Mr. Esther is also not sure what I could do about all of this. And I hate saying that when I have this much privilege in my life, but nonetheless it is how I feel. I want work that fulfills me and what I do now really doesn’t do that for me.

So, I’m not sure how to go on from here. I try to do things I like in my spare time but that is also not enough to fulfill me. I’m feeling pretty blah about it all and even Richard’s latest project, announced last night, can’t fill my heart with complete joy…

I liked The Stranger well enough (nowhere near as good as Uncle Vanya but other than that the best thing since The Crucible), yet too many red herrings in the story put me off a bit, so another Harlan Coben collaboration doesn’t completely excite me. It is crowd pleasing stuff, though, and it can enhance Richard’s profile. He seemed to genuinely love working on The Stranger and with Coben, so I really am thrilled for him (but a little less so for me). I do wonder whether that priest project is still on, I was more excited for that one.

Anyway, I’m in my little Esther-cave right now and after many meetings this morning, I am now quickly letting all these thoughts flow from my fingers onto the keyboard. I’m doing alright generally but trying, yet again, to figure out what I want out of life… That seems to be changing constantly… Confusing times…

30 thoughts on “Existential crisis

  1. I am feeling this… I know it‘s Sue‘s blog name but it instantly sprang to my mind when I read your post… Long before these surreal pandemic times I have had similar thoughts being bored and stuck at a job with no real alternative as it is very secure, so to say the safety net for our household. Being aware of the fact that I am definitely too old for another so-called career but still looking for something else I allowed myself a reduction in working hours to clear my thoughts and search for alternatives. Which isn‘t easy either plus I know I am in a privileged position as our family budget quite easily bears this loss of income. Luxusgejammere I might have to name it in German.
    I haven‘t finally come to a conclusion yet but at least I appointed for a guest auditor registration at a nearby university and so I am looking forward to 2 virtual lectures starting next week – there are even things you can take benefit from in COVID times.
    Maybe I‘ll get the igniting spark to dive deeper into university studies, something I have missed for decades…
    Sorry for being so long! I think I sincerely understand your struggles and doubts! Speaking your thoughts aloud can be a first step for another view, another idea or prospect. At least that‘s what I believe and I hope it‘ll work for you too! 💕
    As for the new Netflix project: it‘s Netflix so the distribution is safe and I really like Cush Jumbo.
    Vanya was a delight, both on stage and on screen! Might help me through the following weeks of cultural drought.
    Glad you spoke out loud!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and it’s good for me to hear there are others struggling with this as well, although it’s not so nice for you that you also have to deal with this and haven’t found the answers yet either. I already work a 32 hour week, can’t really afford to do much less and it wouldn’t be fair on my husband either. I am looking for the social work aspect to be reflected in volunteer work but found that teaching Dutch to a group of foreigners wasn’t really my calling either (that stopped a little over a year ago). I suspect I prefer working on a one-on-one basis. I have now applied for a volunteer position for about 4 hours a week to coach asylum seekers help integrate into Dutch society in a one-on-one role. I suspect that will be much more my speed, but still need to hear back from that. Maybe if I build up experience like that, though a back door so to speak, it can open up other opportunities in paid work as well. We’ll see…

      Also, maybe returning to actual library work might help too but I have applied to such jobs in the past (a while ago now) and I’ve been out of that field too long to still be interesting to them, especially in the higher end jobs. Well, actually one library told me I was too progressive in my views, so I’m not sure where I am with that. That work in a library doesn’t tend to pay that well, though. Not that I make a huge amount now, but library work pays less, which is one of the reasons why I developed away from that quite early on. I’ve considered translation work, but I know I will get bored with that in time as well and translation is not something I really love either… Anyway, lots of dilemmas and kind of tough finding the one thing that will make my heart sing… And so we plough on… 🙂

      I hope you get a lot of enjoyment from that guest auditor course and that it will help you in the right direction for you.

      Netflix project – I don’t know Cush Jumbo. Checked her IMDB but I haven’t seen anything she’s in. Good to hear she’s a good actress, though!

      Vanya – jealous you got to see that! 🙂

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  2. Servetus

    But you found the energy to sketch it all out — good for you!

    I identify with so much of this (plus there’s the caregiver piece). I have felt trapped in limbo for about four years now with no attractive alternatives and no realizable plan. The pandemic and election don’t help. Right now I’m hanging on for the week before allowing myself to self-combust.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Servetus, and yeah, I get you with the stuck and no plan scenario. I’m so hoping at least the election result will bring a bit of relief for you in a week (and for me!) and then that, after that, something will give at some point for you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Servetus

        The election will be a relief either way (either Biden will be elected, and there will be three rough months while Trump and the GOP try to destroy the country in retribution; or Trump will be re-elected and then I will make some huge changes to my media consumption in interest of my sanity). Other stuff is not looking promising but in any case, one way or the other, I am taking the constant worry about politics out of my life after Jan of next year. In interest of my sanity, I have to.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Servetus

            I’ve been preparing all year — narrowing the subjects and sources I read from. The problem has been that the news has been exploding exponentially. But I’m hoping the gradual narrowing I’m doing will allow a total blackout at least for a while (or four years, if necessary). I’ll also have other stuff going on. And the final incentive is that I don’t see how the next Supreme Court (independently of how the election turns out) won’t take away my health insurance, and I just don’t think I can bear reading all the commentary on that anymore.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. heya, sorry you’re stuck in a bit of a funk atm. I think there’s a lot of other stuff that’s exacerbating it-change in weather, darker nights, looming lockdowns, etc. I think it’s goood to talk about it, to let it out. You’re only human after all!
    I need a book to read this weekend, maybe i should finish The Seville Communion?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right there are some exacerbating factors like shorter days, lockdowns, election anxiety, etc. Those really don’t help either. The whole job thing is weighing on me more and more heavily, though, even regardless of that. It does feel good to let it all out. 🙂
      Not sure what I’ll be doing this weekend…

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    1. Thanks!

      Especially this: “the drive for excellence – or even getting up off the sofa – is no longer important. Now, I can sit in my posh leisure wear, munching Doritos, and bingewatch Netflix. All without nagging feelings of guilt.”

      … and this resonated…

      “The truth is, I don’t need to recreate a new shiny me in my mid-50s, I am quite fond of the old me. The whole point about getting older is that we can do what we want, and not care what anyone thinks. And if that means sitting on the sofa, all the better.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Servetus

        I always said I wouldn’t get another degree, I have four already. But I think reading this made me see that the problem isn’t the degree (I actually love learning new things), it’s the subjecting myself to the judgment / evaluation of others again, when that is a life phase (caring what other people think of me) I abandoned happily about a decade ago.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, on to degree number 5? Life-long learning is never a bad thing. I too like to learn new things but I am not studious in the way you are and committing to a 4 year training program doesn’t fill me with the joy of anticipation, no matter how interesting the topic. I guess it’s the long commitment that gets to me. I could do one year for re-training, but four? Nah.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Servetus

            I don’t think it would be another four years for me (depending of course, on what), just because I have so much academic credit already. I’d probably only have to take the concentration requirements for another BA, but most professional degrees in the US these days offer “credit for prior learning” and/or quick exam routes for intro credits. I could complete an entry level social work degree at a technical college in about eighteen months, for instance. I don’t really want to be involved in another “helping profession” at this point, though. I’ve thought a bit about something like IT or cybersecurity, but that might involve (too much) math.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Just catching up with your posts and previously read your US election post – the state the world is in, politically and in terms of pandemic, are certainly not very good for our mental equilibrium. Maybe it is also the time of year – and possibly the time of life we are in, but I can sympathise with your feeling of unfulfillment with the job etc. Not sure whether this is a consideration that is also at the back of *your* mind, but I am also so aware that my children have now grown up and we are all entering a new phase of our lives. That contributes to the feeling that it is a waste of time to spend our lives working in an area that we do not get any personal fulfillment from. (I guess my personal way out is my crafty crap – it distracts and satisfies me. I’m not suggesting that you take up a hobby, though – that is a little bit too simplistic!) But constructively thinking – you are obviously widely interested in social issues and charity. I am sure that among your skill set will be abilities that could be of great value to a charity, for instance. Have you thought about looking for jobs in that area? Even if you remain in a similar clerical role, maybe there is a different sort of satisfaction attached to it if it is done in the context of a charitable association?
    In any case – I hope that your application for the refugee coaching will be accepted. That sounds very much worth-while!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts.
      Yes, my middle-age and the fact that the kids are (almost) grown up are definitely also factors in this.
      I have always made it a point to work for non-profits, educational or once even a charitable organization. Problem with charities is that they don’t usually have the money to pay for what I do or even the vacancies in my field. Hence the search for volunteer work for charities instead. I too hope the refugee coaching will pan out!

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  5. aradaghast

    A 60 ans, avec un métier très prenant, des impondérables qui ne me laissent aucun temps libre, la seule chose que j’apprécie est de pouvoir “Voler du temps au temps”.
    Mon statut me permet de prendre une semaine de vacances, mais je ne peux que m’en sentir coupable. Car pour cela, je demande à mes collègues de priver leurs enfants de leurs présences, à mon mari de se priver des ses divertissements. Mais encore une fois, ce ne sont pas les idées, les passions qui me manquent. Définitivement, il me manque du temps pour s’y consacrer entièrement, à plein temps, sans culpabilité.
    Aussi, je reviens à la notion qu’il faut se consacrer entièrement à ce que l’on fait, même la plus petite chose. “Hanami” devrait s’appliquer à toutes les activités.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You shouldn’t feel guilty for allowing a little time for yourself. I’m with you on complete dedication but it gets difficult sometimes when you do something you don’t particularly like for a longer period of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. aradaghast

    Merci aux arbres couchés par la tempête, merci à l’assurance qui ne couvrira pas les dégâts, merci au couvreur, au menuisier philosophe venus réparés les fuites d’eau dans la maison familiale du bord de mer, merci aux 4 chattons à stériliser, merci à la voiture en panne, merci les films “Ocean height” et ” Hobbit” rediffusés à la TV française, merci au dernier stage délirant de ma fille étudiante.. grâce à vous je ne suis pas au travail à affronter les risques du Covid, mais dehors à respirer l’air pur pendant le confinement.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The volunteering bug – The Book of Esther

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