Sometimes I think we all feel like giving up. I know there have been times when I did.
Most people celebrate their graduation, I did too. But, it wasn't long before the long expected, rather muted highs of my graduation faded into deepening frustration at the sense of an unfulfilled promise.
Over the months the followed I devolved into a creature of dark moods and ill humor feeding upon the energy and love of those around me, I became a vampire. You could certainly call it depression. I prefer to think of it in terms of the fictional monsters humanity repeatedly overcomes, the stories usually have happy endings. I healed and have recovered from my state of disillusionment with my community, with the American dream.
I still find myself scared by the scores of people who haven't woken up yet from this disillusioned state.
We all love zombies, right? Apart from the completely unaware drivers and pedestrians (and certain bikers) plaguing our cities, there is another sort of zombie. There is a growing class of people who find themselves living without any clear purpose in life.
Our lives are lived in comfort, as fortunate members of civilized and developed societies we rarely if ever find ourselves oppressed by war, or famine, or plague as our ancestors so regularly did.
We no longer work in jobs predestined by our caste, our blood, and the inaccessibility of education. There are no seventh generation business management consultants or fifth generation intellectual property attorneys or second generation SEO gurus.
For all the forces and opportunities, there are also forces which pull us down into the darkness. One of these is debt. Most of us face debt at one point or another and struggle with handling it. Many of us seek the freedom to travel and accept our first debt as we purchase a vehicle. We accumulate debt as we seek opportunity in the form of college loans, a massive burden we are misguidedly encouraged to take upon ourselves as we begin life. Later, as we seek to settle down, we accept more debt as we purchase a home. Many of us then trade the equity we've built to provide for children and a certain standard of living.
There is a group which rivals the indebted majority in the race downward--the majority of us who are unfit. The atrophy of our bodies leads to depressed energy levels and immunity to disease.
As conscious creatures, we acknowledge these demons and are stressed by them. They become distractions and shackle us to the bottom. We feel ashamed and hide ourselves from society. We avoid any discussion of the problems which plague us and therefore do not learn from the similar experiences so many of our friends and family have had. We aim to suffer alone, but tie our loved ones to us as if an anchor in their lives.
There is a cure.
Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant.
The first step is to acknowledge that the situation is not a matter outside of our control. We must shine a light within by reflecting on our habits, our vices, our inclinations and our history.
Health is a matter of discipline. Discipline is a matter of reward and consequence and accountability until it becomes habit. If you eat less and exercise more, if you eradicate slovenly and glutenous habits from your daily life, you will become more fit and able to enjoy life. Start by telling someone what you are struggling with and what you want to accomplish.
Financial independence is a matter of purpose and discipline. Begin by naming your demons. Establish an understanding of your income, your recurring monthly expenses and debts. Prioritize the most damaging debts to your financial health and begin to kill them off one at a time. Divide and conquer.
If you find yourself needing to earn more to eradicate your debt and live your ideal life then do so. Seek to understand how you can multiply your value in your current employment. Have an open discussion, negotiate. Train yourself to see the opportunities adjacent to your employment. Teachers are notorious for their low salaries. Are consultants earning hundreds of thousands a year not teachers?
Even after you have freed yourself from your darkness, continue to shine a light within yourself and you will find that like a plant you grow even stronger under the constant inspection of your mind.