Eighteen Days of Existential Panic

18 days.

That’s how long I have before I start my new (and very real, grown-up) job. I have spent quite some time deciding on how I’d like to spend these next 18 days. The last 18 days of youthful freedom that I will likely ever know. It’s not as if I live a carefree (or bill free) life right now, but this will be my first steps into true adulthood as I join the Monday-Friday Professional Squad. And if you’re wondering, yes. I am nauseous. Extremely. All 19 years of my education have been leading up to this point (I’ll have to get back to you on whether I think those 19 years were well spent or not…but honestly if I’m struggling to figure out what to do with 18 days, I doubt I would’ve found anything to do in those 19 years besides school anyways).

I’m excited to finally have one of those things adults call “careers.” But that’s another 18 days away. That’s 18 days of thinking about what I’m preparing to do. For an introspective introvert (hmm I guess, in context, those two words basically mean the same thing) like myself, that’s damn near deadly levels of potential contemplation. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried not to think about it, but when the hell does that ever work? I’ve been distracting myself with books, podcasts, dating, my cat, etc. etc. but the existential panic is never quite subdued. Like what even am I, ya know? I guess I’m kind of struggling with feeling that if I don’t have this career goal I’ve been working towards, then what do I have? In these next 18 days, who am I?

And at first I hated that feeling. Because if there’s one thing I’ve always told myself, it’s that I won’t be defined by my job. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that maybe this strange, anxious, empty feeling I’m experiencing right now isn’t about that. I am not defined by this chosen career path, but this path is part of the definition of me. I’m so terrified by the future I’m walking towards because never have I ever dedicated so much of myself to one thing. And if this one thing doesn’t work out, will I be okay with that? If this one thing, which I thought made up a fundamental part of who I am, turns out not to be what I expected?

I suppose in 18 days, I will begin the journey of discovering the answer to those questions.

But in the meantime, fuck it, let’s go to the beach!

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One thought on “Eighteen Days of Existential Panic

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  1. Not to add to your angst but having started my career post PhD just shy of 26, I’m still employed going on 74! 11 months off for 1 kid and 3 months for the other. Brief 4 year Grammie break before current MH Director job. Take advantage of the 18 days!!!!!!!

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