Last night, all I did was stare at the ceiling. It was a moment of reflection and existential panic. It felt like the room was filled with every worry my anxiety can create. Leaking through the cracks on the wall, I felt it slowly suffocating me. My ears tried to drown in the noise of impatient drivers and rushing sirens. But these worries started to have their own voices.
Even as I tried to lull myself to sleep, they cuddled me in bed. Cradling my intrusive thoughts and spooning my repressed doubts. Reminding me how I selfishly spent most of my weekends laying around. Avoiding deadlines. These voices awakened my fears yet made sure I was still sleeping soundly. Baggage of regret doesn’t have to match heavy eyelids.
I have a workaholic father who skipped meals and milestones to work. Spend his late nights on the computer while drinking three bottles of beer. There are days I wondered if he was high or the redness of his eyes came from the fact he never prioritized sleep.
Growing up with that sort of role model makes you wonder. Is that what adulthood is? Am I doomed to have the same dark circles as my father as he spends his night pivoting his spreadsheets? Was this the reason why he was very intense about family weekends? Because deep down he knew most of his days would chain him away from us.
I’m 25 and still wondering the same thing. I’m here wondering if I should’ve created that presentation rather than sleeping for 12 hours straight. Should I spend at least 3 hours of my weekend thinking about work? What does it mean to find balance in a world of tight deadlines? Juggling timetables, adjusting the minute hands hoping it fits into a paralleled schedule of overlapping minutes.
I start to wonder if it is me who is the unproductive ass who takes more than 3 hours to create a decent presentation or the capitalist’s gain to squeeze my efforts to the last drop that’s tiring me out.
At 25, you wonder if this system was meant to break you or you were too broken to fit into it in the first place. Work culture at first sounded like some happy branding Google invented with nap-pods. Then after 3-years you start to wonder if work culture is a fantasy they created to lure you in and burn your motivation, converting into desperate loyalty.
Then I realized I was only 25 and already feeling another burnout. I am too young to feel all of this hopelessness and stress. After reading how many articles about adulting, they forgot to mention the emotional, financial, and mental anguish of it all. Meanwhile, Generation X calls you demanding when you’ve only had 4 hours of sleep and 43 hours of consistent panic. You work to live and you live to work as they say.
To calm myself, I stared at the ceiling. Wondering if I should just let the system swallow me whole. Throw away my needs and devour excel sheets until my 50th birthday. After all, I need to pay rent and utilities.
At 25, you start to realize burnout can harm you and leave your wallet empty.
(I swear to some kind of God, I am okay. I just continue to question the system.)