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Meaning of life (when you're 24 and fresh out of university)

  1. Oct 23, 2012 #1
    Who are you gonna call when you're mooning about your purpose in life? Generally level-headed and polite members of Physics Forums!

    Anyway, I graduated in July, and at the start of September started working as a loader, pretty much (complicated story involving social anxiety and, possibly, mood disorders). I thought I've got my life staked out: I've got a bunch of goal posts set in near and distant future, involving learning various largely artistic activites, and, most significantly, becoming a writer... And suddenly, two months later I find that I tend to spend my evenings and weekends chatting on the Internet and looking forward to collecting enough money for what I've dreamed of while I didn't have personal money at the University. Grabbing myself by the balls and pulling to the next goal post is an option, of course, but is there a point? One of my intentions for writing is to enlighten people (i.e. bring to their attention facts they may not have known) and add fun to their lives. But personally some noise in my ears, some videos on Youtube and a couple friends to chat with seems to be all I need in life, and... Okay, I also feel pretty old. I don't see how there can be anything great later on, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I mean, it may be rather great, but it won't be fresh and spontaneous... I could also turn my eyes on contemporary and future youth, but being young doesn't seem to be so great now, if it all ends up watching Youtube in the evenings after work for them... Anyway, rambling on, anyone care bring a bit of educated hope into the life of a fellow curious human?
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  3. Oct 23, 2012 #2


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    Dearly Missed

    Find a girl-or-boyfriend.
  4. Oct 23, 2012 #3
    I don't think it's that easy - in more than one sense. In my life... it's girls for me :smile: ... girls have only brought trouble, so I don't see what it achieves... Okay, yeah, I don't see how it's pertinent (possibly since I've never had a girlfriend. :redface:). And I do think that I'll soon settle back into my usual activities since I've noticed that I've slackened. Writing is going swimmingly, on the other hand, and this has been brought on by a rather embarrassing episode with a girl. So there's that.

    I've always considered my libido inconvenient, rather than exciting.

    Maybe I just made a number of poor choices in life, and need to wait for a break or something (except I keep looking back to how much of my life has passed eventlessly)... Anyway, I guess I needed to address someone with my problems.
  5. Oct 23, 2012 #4


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    No. Find a girl instead, and your problems will seem to be challenges rather than problems.
  6. Oct 23, 2012 #5
    Okay, either I'm too sleepy to comprehend, or you're a Mystery person trying to conquer the world with hypnotic ambigous statements. :smile: In short, I don't understand what you mean by "challenges rather than problems".
  7. Oct 23, 2012 #6
    Move to area where your degree is valuable, go out and volunteer a bit, seek a psychologist for anxiety and mood disorders, don't spend time talking on internet, have some kind of hobby like running etc, be bit more realistic than aiming for "artistic goals". I don't mean you should drop your writer goal but you should just try to get a reasonable job that pays you well.

    You still got a long life to go, far from being old. But it's important you don't waste your years to problems like anxieties or just thinking back in the time :smile:
  8. Oct 23, 2012 #7


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    Yep. Get a sweetie.
  9. Oct 23, 2012 #8
    Wouldn't that end badly because he would be dating to fufill a void in his life, so what happens when something else ends up fulfilling him? What makes matters worse is that this potential mate may be in love with you, but you not her.
  10. Oct 23, 2012 #9
    I find it's like ruing part of second person life too if you are just using someone to fix your problems. Did it ever work?
  11. Oct 23, 2012 #10
    Work out more and get off the internet.

    Also, think about starting a family rather than just having a girlfriend. I know that may seem incomprehensible but maybe this void that you are feeling is your lack of reproductive contribution to the human race. Having a child changes your perception of everything and will force you to be a responsible and purposeful adult.
  12. Oct 23, 2012 #11


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    No, never have a child out of some need to "fix" things in your life. One of the major problems in this world are all of the people having children for all of the wrong reasons.

    I would say to not have a child until AFTER your life is going well.
  13. Oct 23, 2012 #12
    Start working on the social anxiety and, possibly, mood disorders or you will be looking for the meaning of life for a long long time.
  14. Oct 23, 2012 #13


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    That is such an incredibly selfish reason to bring a precious life into the world and put its entire future in your hands.
  15. Oct 24, 2012 #14
    Okay, I should have added "reasonable" to "level-headed and polite" (or went to the Bilogy board?). Also.
    I don't, in fact, want my life to do a lot with my degree, I don't enjoy my degree, and I can't move to a different area partly because of my hobbies (on which below), partly because of my cat who is like a child to me except that I often ignore her because I can't understand what she's trying to tell me (or has inappropriate demands). I don't think I have much in the area of anxiety and mood disorders right now, at least not as much as would be worth spending hours upon hours (and possibly, roubles upon roubles :smile:) to discuss with a psychologist on (but also read below). I gather talking on the Internet is better than not socializing at all, especially since I don't have real-life access to some of my closest friends. I have quite a lot of hobbies, actually, which I meant when I said that I'll probably get into my usual activites soon. But not running. It's a rather... difficult area, what with temperatures dropping right now, it being dark in the sensible running hours, and my job being physical already. This job pays rather well, at least by my standards of not being paid at all and living with my mother who works, too.
    So, I wonder if it's worth abusing a psychologist on account of my always depressively reminiscing about times now irrevocably gone.

    Quotation-less, suddenly we've gone from strenuously getting a girlfriend without any girlfriend-getting experience to having a child. Also, I agree that having a child on a whim is a recipe for disaster, even though I'm not interested in children myself (maybe because I'm also an overgrown baby :smile:)
    The former part seems to make sense, you know, in the light of my recent discoveries about the human mind. The latter part, though, - how would I have made those discoveries without the Internet? And when I say "make sense" I mean that due to a cold I stopped working out completely (at least at home; no problems at work :smile:). I should probably resume now.
  16. Oct 24, 2012 #15
    I didn't mean that to be understood in such a selfish way. I wasn't saying that he should have a child to solve all of his problems, rather, the mere thought of starting a family should prompt him to think outside of himself.
  17. Oct 24, 2012 #16
    There's nothing "fresh and spontaneous" about surfing the web. It's boring (as in, it is making you boring). The internet has its place, for sure. It's an incredibly useful tool and it's great to surf around for a while here and there, but you've got to get off the computer and do things in real life.

    Life will surely pass you by if you spend the lot of it inside. Go hiking, play a recreational sport, do anything you might enjoy (and even things you think you might not). Accomplish things. Set personal goals and hold yourself to them. They don't have to be ridiculous goals, they should be things that you can reasonably accomplish. But you should try to push yourself.

    Sponteneity is limitless, it doesn't run out, but it doesn't live on the web.
  18. Oct 25, 2012 #17
    Okay, I guess, but for the sake of the argument, why not? The Internet seems to be like just another piece of reality. I can see that it's not likely to involve physical danger (unless you're pretty stupid), but I'm not into physical danger anyway. I'm rather into physical excitement, and is excitement around the computer necessarily different from excitement in "real life"?
  19. Oct 25, 2012 #18
    I mean, don't let me tell you how to live your life. It just seems to me that you feel unfulfilled. You may be sated for the moment (indeed, staying inside, watching movies and surfing the web is safe and comfortable, so it usually feels satisfying enough), but there is nothing fulfilling about it. For instance you say:
    So you've obviously got goals, things you'd like to accomplish. You want to better yourself, learn things, experiment; experience new things. Then you say:
    You say that it feels like it's all you need in life, but I would hazard to guess that it really isn't in the long run. How long until you regret not spending your time writing? Not spending your days outside. Not working toward goals that you had, at one time, set for yourself. As far as we know, we only get one shot at living, so while surfing the web may be comfortable and easy and baseline-satisfying, is it really how you want to spend your time here?

    You should clafify this, to yourself at least. If you sit on the computer for the bulk of your day, then you are certainly correct, the future will not be fresh nor spontaneous. But as I said before, real life is both of those things.

    On the computer if you make a mistake, you hit backspace. If you find yourself lost or on the wrong page, you close the window or go to your homepage. There's nothing exciting about that.

    The internet is "reality" but it is not life. What experiences do you gain on the internet? What truly interesting stories do you have to tell? On a personal level, what success do you think you'll have in writing if you spend your time this way?

    Yes. Undoubtedly.

    Like I said, it's your life and you can live it any way you want to. But if you are asking these questions, it seems to me that your satisfaction with your current state of affairs is likely just on the surface.
  20. Oct 25, 2012 #19
    I'm going to clarify myself, to you and to myself, I guess. I often find myself brooding about what great experiences I've had in life when my current experience isn't that great, and vice versa. The opposites sort of compound each other, so that I sometimes think how in a few days/hours I'll be miserable and think about how, while I felt great, I thought how I'd think about how I'd feel miserable in a few days/hours. And as time goes by I collect more and more moments of thinking... well, this difficult line of thought. I suppose everyone has such thoughts sometimes... And, well. Probably what it all boils down to is that it's bound to end in the miserable of the two options. So the cycle is not bad-good-bad-good, where you get a happy ending, but good-bad-good-bad... It seems rather pointless. And to top it all, the cycle is the same for everyone around me... I don't mean to sound religious, but there probably is something like that in there.
  21. Oct 25, 2012 #20
    So you are constantly thinking about how you'll feel miserable? Even when you are feeling good?

    What's "bound to end in the miserable of the two options"? Your state of mind?

    Maybe you should seek out some professional guidance from someone with experience in why people focus on things like this? Could help, who knows. I don't think you should be fixated on past or present states-of-mind, or you forget that the only one that you have any control over is the one right now.
  22. Oct 25, 2012 #21
    First, it's life which is bound to end in the miserable of two options (unless I fatally pass out on something illegal (which I haven't used or condoned so far)).

    Second, you possibly mean a psychologist, and this is kind of tricky because around here they work at the same time as I do.

    Re: control over the state of mind right now. I think my trouble may be that I do want to control it, and I want to be as happy as possible as often as possible, which appears to be natural, except in my case it may be out of balance. But I may be used to actually having little control over what situations I am in and therefore my states of mind. Unfotunately I appear to have quite a sad job right now which re-inforces the divide between happy and unhappy states. I know I should probably find a better job, although I doubt it'll solve the riddle. There'll still be the divide between what I amateurishly like to do and what I'm qualified to not particularly enjoy.

    Yep, it would probably be useful to seek professional guidance. Except that I tended to distrust the two psychologists I visited the most, possibly because I have a suspicion they're used to dealing with rather more difficult problems than mine.

    P.S. No pressure on you or anyone else to figure this out. I mostly hope I'm participating in discussion constructively.
  23. Oct 25, 2012 #22
    Do you have a bucket list? How about starting a serious hobby such as music, horseback riding, piloting planes, visiting all national parks, getting a black belt in aikido, getting reasonably good in rock climbing, getting a furry pet, tuning a car, volunteering, etc.

    I have found myself stranded to a computer screen for nights and nights (when I was single and had a well-paying job) but slowly realize that I could do better than that.

    Good luck!
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