I wrote a little while ago about how marketing doesn’t matter. And how nothing seems to matter, except the people you love and the emotions you feel. I was on a bit of a downer. You know, we get in those moods where it’s like a film noir.
You sit on a cafe chair, drinking your coffee, chain smoking (except I don’t smoke) watching the world go by, thinking about it all. You have your notebook, and a pen, and there’s this great french word for how you’re feeling – ennui. The dictionary definition being:
“a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement”
You don’t feel like working because nothing seems that interesting. You feel like resting, but you feel a bit restless. You don’t seem to think or care about very much. And your ennui continues.
There feels like there’s nothing worth saying.
You feel a bit lost from what you feel like you should be doing.
But then gradually, bit by bit, you come out of it again.
Yes, you know deep down that there’s not a lot of point to work, business, chasing things and everything else. Yes, you know that there seems to be lots of meaningless things and then you die.
BUT, eventually you feel that you might as well do something. You do need to snap out of that mood and you CAN do things.
I think there is a certain satisfaction from work, and you do get a feeling of purpose. I’m not saying all work. I mean corporate law is always going to be soul-destroying to most people.
I mean the kind of work that genuinely helps people DOES make us feel good. I feel that way after writing a good article. Or spreading ideas on a popular blog site (this one’s like shouting in a tin can, it’s small, but it does affect and move people). We can all feel that way. It might be when you make a sale. Or fix someone’s boiler. Or paint a wall. Or massage someone. Get out on stage and act. Or bake a cake or whatever.
I think one of the reasons humans have manged to create such advanced societies, and evolve as a species for so long, is because we’re programmed to help each other. We’re not designed to do nothing, to sit around all day on a beach. We’re not designed to be lazy. We get good feelings from helping others. That might be raising children, doing masterful work, helping other people meet their needs. That gives us satisfaction.
But there’s something that stops us from being satisfied… ourselves. Due to some baggage in our past weighing us down, we don’t do what we’re supposed to. And we get disconnected from what we’re here to do. Then you end up in a spiral of lots of drink, sleeping with people you don’t like and feeling grim because you’re not being honest with yourself.
The challenge that we all face throughout our lives is: “how can I make life function for me?” That means choosing work, relationships, friendships and accommodation that gets our needs met. And if something isn’t satisfying us, we need to be ruthless, honest and direct about changing it.
I’ve spent the last few months recovering from the other 9 months I’ve had gallivanting around London and San Francisco.
I burned out and have felt this sense of ennui. It’s because I was doing a sales job, trying to help people that I didn’t really like or care about. I was sleeping with people that didn’t really matter to me. I felt I only connected to most of my friends on a superficial level. I lived in a flatshare on a noisy main road, where I didn’t get much sleep. And my health (in all it’s forms – emotional, mental, physical, spiritual) was suffering. It felt like I was dying.
So I quit. I came back home to my parents, who do care a lot. I kept in touch with the real friends who I care about. I caught up on months of sleep deprivation, ate good nutritious food again, drank less booze. I’ve spent trying to make sense of it all – writing my thoughts in a notebook, doing whatever my body feels like doing. And it feels good.
Now I feel healthy again. I turned 21 yesterday.
I feel ready to take on new projects, do some writing that’s more potent and powerful than anything I’ve done before. Over the next few weeks, I want to pick up writing projects (or whatever I can pick up) so I do work I’m proud of, help my struggling bank balance and make a fresh start.