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What to do with my life…

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #282597

    Lloyd
    Participant

    I should preface by saying that I’m seventeen and yes, I know I will probably be a practically different person a month from now– just like I was a month ago– because that’s what it’s like at this age. Nonetheless I feel I have nowhere else to turn right now for guidance. It all probably sounds dramatic but hey, I wish I wasn’t like this but I am haha.

    I’ll try to stay concise– Lately I’ve been looking closely into the biggest sources of suffering in the world (you can guess which philosophy got me interested in that!). Famine’s one that really gets me. I’ve spent hours researching its complicated causes as well as some of the organisations dedicated to tackling it. As time’s gone by, I’ve had more ideas about how I want to help. First it was an idea to do a volunteering program sometime. But soon that didn’t feel enough, so I thought about donating on top of that a chunk of all the wages I ever earn to charity.

    But it still didn’t feel enough, so I’ve hummed and hahed about the idea of trying to work directly with one of these institutions as a career. It’s very difficult to stomach this idea though, because for the past five years I’ve had my heart set on music and the thought of throwing all that away (including all the practice and songs written) feels crap. This borderline obsession I’ve had with mass suffering recently, though, has started to overshadow EVERYTHING and (I never thought I’d say this) I’ve sort of lost the passion for making music. But it’s not like I have any passion to do the kind of field work I have in mind either; it frightens me and upsets me think about it; I just feel this urgent duty to try and heal the wounds of the world.

    I didn’t sleep last night because I was consumed by thoughts, and suddenly in the last 24 hours it feels like everything’s falling apart and I’m losing the will to even live at all because the world feels so hostile. Nothing feels worth it anymore. When I think of all the suffering in the world I sort of envision this humongous boulder that I’m trying to carry back up the mountain it rolled down, and the struggle is completely hopeless.

    Honestly, anything any of you have to say that might come to mind would be appreciated <3 I haven’t talked to people really about it because I don’t want to bring anyone down and it all feels a little silly and dramatic. I feel bad for bringing it to such a peaceful subreddit but hopefully I haven’t picked the worst place.

    I should preface by saying that I’m seventeen and yes, I know I will probably be a practically different person a month from now– just like I was a month ago– because that’s what it’s like at this age. Nonetheless I feel I have nowhere else to turn right now for guidance. It all probably sounds dramatic but hey, I wish I wasn’t like this but I am haha.

    I’ll try to stay concise– Lately I’ve been looking closely into the biggest sources of suffering in the world (you can guess which philosophy got me interested in that!). Famine’s one that really gets me. I’ve spent hours researching its complicated causes as well as some of the organisations dedicated to tackling it. As time’s gone by, I’ve had more ideas about how I want to help. First it was an idea to do a volunteering program sometime. But soon that didn’t feel enough, so I thought about donating on top of that a chunk of all the wages I ever earn to charity.

    But it still didn’t feel enough, so I’ve hummed and hahed about the idea of trying to work directly with one of these institutions as a career. It’s very difficult to stomach this idea though, because for the past five years I’ve had my heart set on music and the thought of throwing all that away (including all the practice and songs written) feels crap. This borderline obsession I’ve had with mass suffering recently, though, has started to overshadow EVERYTHING and (I never thought I’d say this) I’ve sort of lost the passion for making music. But it’s not like I have any passion to do the kind of field work I have in mind either; it frightens me and upsets me think about it; I just feel this urgent duty to try and heal the wounds of the world.

    I didn’t sleep last night because I was consumed by thoughts, and suddenly in the last 24 hours it feels like everything’s falling apart and I’m losing the will to even live at all because the world feels so hostile. Nothing feels worth it anymore. When I think of all the suffering in the world I sort of envision this humongous boulder that I’m trying to carry back up the mountain it rolled down, and the struggle is completely hopeless.

    Honestly, anything any of you have to say that might come to mind would be appreciated <3 I haven’t talked to people really about it because I don’t want to bring anyone down and it all feels a little silly and dramatic. I feel bad for bringing it to such a peaceful subreddit but hopefully I haven’t picked the worst place.

    #282661

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lloyd:

    You are troubled by famine, the suffering of being hungry and starving. You are not hungry or starving, but you are suffering, you “lost the passion for making music”, you are “consumed by thoughts… feels like everything’s falling apart”, and you are “losing the will to even live at all”.

    You want to help those who are suffering, so why not help one person who is suffering: you?

    What suffering did you experience before thinking about famine, when you were a younger child, maybe still?

    anita

    #283147

    Lloyd
    Participant

    Apologies for the late reply anita, as well as for what I’ve just realised was a very disordered post; it came from a chaotic place! I posted it elsewhere as well and copied the text over to here, which is why there is duplication.

    Thank you kindly for the suggestion. Indeed like everyone I experienced my share of suffering as a child that has followed me like a shadow to this day. I work continuously with myself to get better and tend to my wounds, and have become very aware of the baggage I carry. It is something I tend to every day, and I very much agree with the notion I think you’re implying that one cannot help others effectively without helping themselves.

    But I feel that I already am doing all I can to nurture this self and not judge it. I feel I am at a stage where I could help others in spite of my personal troubles because at least I am not suppressing such troubles.

    I have paid it all more thought and realised I’ve been looking into this famine stuff with an arrogant mindset of “It’s my responsibility to save the world, and I’m going to do it”. I am trying to be more realistic now. Still, the question of how to live as a loving Buddhist in a world so corrupt, so greedy, so angry, so miserable, so unequal, so alienated from what makes it beautiful… I could go on… it is hard to know what to do.

    #283151

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lloyd:

    You suggested: “you’re implying that one cannot help others effectively without helping themselves”- not at all, I wasn’t implying that. I think a person can help others while suffering himself or herself, except in those airplane- like scenarios, having to put the oxygen mask on your face first, then help others with their oxygen masks.

    What I meant was that I read evidence of your suffering, before and after your thinking about famine and world problems. And I think that your well-being is of no lesser value than the well-being of others. Therefore, helping yourself is as valuable, or no less valuable than helping others.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  anita.
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