Sunday, August 24, 2008

The good news is, it's not contagious

I have a massive case of Existential Crisis Disorder (ECD).

For those of you to whom this happens, you know the ECD arrives remarkably quickly. It is like the undertow, which grips you firmly and darkly while swimming through life on a sunny day. Sudden, stealthy, and completely in charge.

It's not gradual. I never wade in, or if I do, I don't notice the wade. No. For me it's always a body slam.

For those of you who never slide into a pit of despair, let me explain one thing. I know, with my brain, that I have a good life. I have more than many, and more than I've had in a long, long time, and I am lucky. All around lucky.

I don't know exactly where I am going, but I have some general idea. And I know who I'm going with. This time, I'm not actually alone.

And yet, what I feel is that I am living a very small and pointless life.

I know what precipitated this. I know that a few things triggered it; I just don't know how to make it go away.

Betty, who cannot relate to ECD, and had no idea that I'd fallen into the pit, called this afternoon to talk wedding and see how I was doing.

How I am?

"Fine, except for leading a small, utterly prosaic, and pointless life, devoid of anything remotely meaningful or any hope whatsoever."

Hardly what your mother expects to hear on a beautiful Sunday, five weeks before your wedding.

"Well, sweetheart, how do you think getting married will change this?"

"It won't. I suppose we'll just keep leading our small, pointless lives together."

"I see. Does Nick know how small and pointless his life is?"

"No. He sounded like he was having a good day, so I thought I'd wait till he gets home to tell him."


  1. Volunteer work. In India.

  2. There's no way your life is pointless or small and I hope this crisis ends soon. I suffer from ECD from time to time.

  3. I know exactly of what you speak. I call mine my mid-life crises. Except they happen with alarming frequency and they have been happening since about the time I was 14. Volunteering and working with others is really helpful. Especially if you volunteer with an organization that impacts people obviously less well off than you. The good news is, once you enlighten Nick that his life is meaningless, he will want to join you.

  4. I have suffered ECD before, as well. I think that the thing to remember is, everything is relative. And (this is so, 4th grade, after school special but here goes...), what seems prosaic and deep to one person may not seem so to another. And, for that matter, I would like to point out that living your life happily, striving for career goals, getting married to a person you truly care about and love, who loves you - for the right reasons (ie: not b/c you settled or were afraid to be alone) are wonderful achievements in any life.

    I have to say, L, that pointless and small are two words I can't ever imagine applying to you - or your life.

  5. LJ - Yah, would definitely put things in perspective. Especially as I'd be doing it on my own, as you know. :)

    HKW - Thank you, sweetie. I am flipping out about 37 things at the same time. ECD sucks.

    Girl with Curious Hair - Volunteering is definitely a good idea. Nick was less than appreciative of me enlightening him, I've gotta say. :)

    Ryane - Thank you, thank you. It is true - one thing to one person is not the same to another. Nick pointed out that a huge part of my crisis is that I just don't feel like I'm anywhere career-wise. I keep wondering why I made all these dumb choices along the way?

  6. "No. He sounded like he was having a good day, so I thought I'd wait till he gets home to tell him."

    This is one of those posts that made me laugh and feel kinda bad for laughing. I hope it gets better soon.

  7. HA.

    I mean, not really ha. Because I so, so know what you mean. And it's way harsh.

  8. Oooooh boy, I know that one. All I can ever manage to do is live in a way that would make me want to be my own friend. And hope that's enough.

  9. This is actually a really light but accurate spin on what it feels like. I've been there. I'm often there actually.


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