Existential Crisis

Have you ever had an existential crisis?

An existential crisis is considered to be: when the answers you previously had to questions about the meaning of life — as well as your place in it — no longer provide satisfaction, direction or peace of mind.

It’s scary.

It’s also something that is not altogether uncommon.

Many are thrown into existential crisis by drug addiction, alcoholism, psychosis, a breakup, or someone close to them dying. But boredom can also lead to existential crisis.

How does one deal with existential crisis?

Re-order your mind by examining the things you once found joy, seeking out council, or going on a quest for new meaning. Just because what once allowed you the satisfaction of meaning is gone, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never get a sense of meaning back.

Remember everything is temporary

If you need a therapist, a hotline, or medicine – get the help you need. There is such a thing as clinical depression and if the problem persists for years it may not be temporary. For most types of extreme upheaval, or even thrilling joy – there will come a time when the strong emotions dissipate.

To speed this process up – seek to help others.

By looking outside yourself, and finding ways to help the community – by sharing knowledge, your time, and your effort you can get out of the ‘self focus’ that often disturbs us to our core.

You can:

  • Share a mix of music with a friend
  • Volunteer at a shelter or food shelf
  • Seek out people that had a problem like yours and help them.
  • Do something nice for your wife/husband/parents/brother/sister etc.
  • Do the dishes, and clean the house.

Of course not every existential crisis is the end of the world.

Some people find that having an existential crisis provided the basis for building something valuable in their life.

People often refer to a “rock bottom” as a time of re-growth, and coming to grips with the things that they feel should be really important in their life. For me that was the case, and my existential crisis was emotionally painful, but ultimately I credit it with saving my life. At least I know my existential crisis – mine being a psychotic break – shook up my life to the absolute core, and with the help of community I was able to bring back the semblance of a beautiful life.

What is the Meaning of Life?

The meaning of life is like the search for a lost heirloom wedding ring. Thinking about the generations that wore it before and considering the implications of what it means to have something like that in your possession – but wanting it back.

I’m on a search like that at the moment, and as I search my house, the pool, my work, it makes me anxious.

Will my wife be mad at me if I don’t get this right? Whether the question involves “what is he meaning of life”, or “will I find my lost wedding ring,” the answer is mostly likely no – not if I can continue to love her and provide for the family alongside her.

That is part of what makes meaningful for me.

Your meaning may be completely different. At this point it might be expressing yourself artistically – doing excellent work – gardening – or going on a world adventure.

The quest is the meaning.

But that search and the lessons along the way teach little lessons, I’ve found. And the drive to find meaning, helps fuel whatever I happen to be doing, or whatever phase I am in.

The fact that I derive meaning from money at this time – hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger I thought that kind of pursuit was empty and trivial. I realized after a lot of trial and error, money represented ‘appreciation for work well done,’ and stopped despising it and the people that had it.

The meaning of life is not money – but doing useful things for people to the point where they want to give me money, is part of my meaning. Customizing a framework of meaning for your own purposes, that is productive and practical for yourself – in my experience is a strategy that works for enjoying oneself.

Do I have any real platform to be able to say what the meaning of life is?

Absolutely not. No more than you or the next person. I simply like to share a little fun along the way, a little hardship along the way, a little bit of community, emotional truths, and my experiences.

If I never find the ring – I promise you, life will go on. And I have to find some meaning in that, or I would be in rough shape. That’s the truth for me, but I believe some people live just fine without some search for meaning – or some way of making meaning out of their experiences.