Perhaps it is just a ‘first-world problem’, but it seems to me that the new millennial crisis is that we’re just not satisfied. Despite working hard, getting a good degree and a good job and earning good money, I can’t help but notice in myself and everyone around me that while we’re not unhappy, we’re all here questioning whether all the hard work was really worth it.
I must stress that I am in so many ways completely content with how my life has panned out. I’m in a strong, stable relationship, I have a good job which I am completely happy with, I live in a beautiful area of London, I got a good degree from a good university, I have enough money, I’m healthy and most of the time I’m very happy.
However, I undeniably feel as though despite achieving all I wanted to have achieved by this age, I don’t feel as if I’m really achieving anymore.
I almost feel as if I’ve been working to get to this point my entire life, and now I’ve got to it – it’s fine, it’s good – but it’s not everything I thought it was going to be.
I want more but I don’t know what I want. I don’t think I want anything more materialistic – more money may allow me to do more of the things I enjoy, owning a house would definitely make my future life a little easier – but at the moment, I do just want to feel satisfied. I want to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, I want to be doing things that I’ll look back on and feel like they were really great things, like I was really ticking things of the bucket list or achieving far more than I thought I could – does that make sense?
I think it’s ultimately an adjustment period I’m going through now being in working life for 6 months, and realising that I have very little of my own time anymore. The days, weeks and months are passing by very quickly and at the moment I feel like I could be replaced by anyone – like anyone could be doing the things I’m doing, have achieved the things I’ve achieved – there’s nothing unique about my current situation. And that’s not necessarily a problem. But I guess it feels like I’ve gone from a life that I was in complete control of, where I determined my schedule and I could do whatever I want, to now being another person that’s fallen into the work trap and a Londoner’s professional life.
Now, don’t get me wrong at all, I really don’t want to come across ungrateful or unhappy even because I’m not. I really enjoy my job, it challenges me and the whole premise of my organisation works towards something I really fundamentally believe in. I love my boyfriend, I love spending my weekends and evenings with him and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. I love living in London, I find it so motivating and still so exciting.
There is nothing wrong, everything turned out perfectly – so why am I not satisfied?
I know I’m not alone in this, pretty much everyone I speak to who has left university maybe a year or two ago feels the same. My boyfriend recently sent me an Independent article which basically said all the things we’ve been saying for months – they called it a quarter life crisis, which perhaps it is.
I think that as a generation who has grown up constantly striving for more, we may never be completely content. It’s not normal now for people to get a job and stay in it until retirement perhaps like it used to be – we now don’t think we should do something we don’t love – because that’s what we were all told wasn’t it? Do a job you love, or earn enough money so that it doesn’t matter.
We’ve been used to achieving; at school, and university, in extracurricular. We’ve been used to being praised; at school, at university, in extracurricular, on social media. And now we find ourselves in a situation where we’ve reached the place we thought would finally fulfil us and make everything we’ve done up until this point worth it – and it doesn’t.
I often think I would be happier travelling the world, studying, reading, getting ‘once in a life-time’ experiences. But then I also know I had that option and I didn’t choose it. I could still do that – but would it really make me happy?
Most of me believes that it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m probably never going to feel completely satisfied. I think that’s a product of the environment and the generation I’ve grown up in; it seems greedy and it seems ungrateful but it’s the truth.
Life is never perfect and there’s always going to be something in the way. It’s all a balance, and perhaps I haven’t got that part right yet. I need to do more of the things I enjoy; like writing and reading and being creative and remember that life is not all about work, money and the daily grind.
Are you satisfied?