Existential crisis counter: I

Three days into the mid-sem break: one day’s worth of public holiday, two days worth of weekend, and all I had done was shut myself up in my room with my timers and coffee and go in circles with my philosophy essay (due on the Monday at midnight). I only get one week off, whereas my little siblings get two, so I should spend more time with them this week before I’m off on my daily three hour commutes again but no, I’ve somehow racked up 25 hours for this 800 word essay. I try to reassure myself with reminders that I included all my reading time in those hours and that philosophy readings are super hard to understand, but still my stomach sinks with the feeling that I’m getting my priorities horribly wrong. In one or two or three years I will not live in this room anymore and never will again and when I come back to visit I will stand in the too-clean middle and wonder what I spent so many hours doing at this bendy desk with its warped frame and dried half-scratched-off watercolour stains and I’ll wonder if any of it was worth it if I can’t remember what 99% of it was. I’ll wander around downstairs awkwardly, with no comfort place, because my comfort place has always been my own room, segregated from everyone else. I’ll look at my siblings having a fun time together and be glad that they’re less traumatised than I spent years fearing but sad that I’m not in the circle, not anymore. 

I inch down this slippy slide that empties into an abyss and wonder where my anchors went. At uni, superficial sparks of dopamine sizzle whenever I finish taking notes on a reading or finish watching a lecture on 2x speed or manage to squeeze my way onto a tram already packed down the steps. At times like now I wonder if all that hustle and bustle is my way of filling a void. A void of six odd years. Years wasted in a never-ending loop of forgotten mundane tasks. If being a new adult means your childhood is complete then where is my childhood, where did it go? It does not feel complete at all. I look at how big my siblings are and can’t quite remember how they got from baby faces who loved me to here. I did not look at them enough through all those most formative years, all I looked at was my laptop. The guilt is an ocean bowing my back, it locks around my ribs with fat greasy fingers. How ironic, how hypocritical, that even as I’m typing this I’ve already been hunched in front of my laptop for an entire morning. But maybe it’s better for me to feel this way. At least now I can stare the abyss in the face and strain my pupils in that total absence of light rather than perpetually fool myself with falsely-bright tasks in a loop-

Two days later I stand at the stove stirring concerningly rabbit-poop-like boba in a pot while my brothers play video games on the TV and my sister lounges around on her iPad. Time floats away on the wisps of burnt sugar that coil up from the wooden spatula I’m not quite sure is safe to put in boiling water. My brothers scream-laugh at the TV, my sister shouts at them to shut up and this nook in the kitchen is the cosiest place in the world. Twenty minutes later I sit on the couch with my sister and she teaches me the ins and outs of this pilot game that snoozes in a dusty corner on Roblox. One day later I’m in the backyard with bunnies whizzing around me and admittedly I’m still on my laptop (I did finish the philosophy essay but it’s not my fault the readings don’t stop coming, ok?) but wow I’m outside, and my brother bounces around a plastic inflatable basketball annoyingly close and half threatens to hit me and I feel so unexplainably whole. The house has tilted so that no longer is the heaviest weight in my room, now I have other places to reside. And I think, oh, that was just an existential crisis and it’s not the end of the world. 

2 thoughts on “Existential crisis counter: I

  1. What an amazing feeling to be out the other side. I promise, the next assignment won’t as tough as the first. You did it!

  2. I’m in a pretty similar position haha, and I was certainly much the same for my first 800 word essay for criminology. “This is only 10% of your grade, it’s just to see where you’re at!” I was going insane.
    I’m not quite out the other side yet of my own existential crisis, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my university angst :’]

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