Today, I’m closing the tabs.

credit: https://www.thedailytouch.com/sean/28-images-for-when-that-existential-dread-hits/

I won’t say I’ve been going through an existential crisis lately, but something of the sort has been manifesting itself a little bit each day.

It hasn’t been a huge deal, but there have been moments lately where I wake up and feel a little lost, like I don’t have any purpose. I look at what I’m doing and have a moment where I think, “What exactly is the point of this?” Just sort of wandering around when I wake up, wondering what I should be doing. It’s not a sadness, it’s just a general feeling of uneasiness. I pull myself out of it every day, but it’s been bugging me that it’s happening at all.

Kitchen’s clean? Great, what did you do to make the world a better place? Laundry’s folded? OK, but what have you done to be more efficient at work? You played your guitar? Cool, but you haven’t even finished cleaning the rest of the apartment yet.

I’ve been staying up later than usual this week and sleeping in until about 11 (which is justifiable considering the fact that I work night shifts) but I give myself hell about this every time.

“Don’t you know productive people wake up early? No one successful wakes up past 7.”

I came across this insane piece of “information” years ago when reading articles about productivity and have never been able to get that idea out of my head. I consistently feel bad about myself when I sleep in. Thinking about it today made me come to a realization about how I view productivity/wellness in general.

On average, I read anywhere between 5 and 15 articles a day. I read articles about mental health, about productivity, about work, about relationships, about fitness, about living “your best life.” I watch TED talks religiously. I live on a diet of self-help articles. What an oxymoron.

But I’ve been taking in so much information that I’m starting to overdose.

Here’s the question: If I’ve read probably hundreds of articles over the years on being productive, being the best version of myself, blah blah blah, etc., why do I wake up feeling like I’m not doing enough? If I have this information, this key to all things good in the world, I should be the perfect human being, right?

— — — — — — — —

“99 tips for maximum productivity at work!”

“Do these 3,453,345 things every day and you’ll never fail again!”

“Stand for 20 minutes on your left leg rubbing your stomach and patting your head every day and you’ll finally achieve self-awareness!”

— — — — — — — —

Seriously though, just how much DOES it actually take to be a purposeful, productive, successful human being? How many steps does one have to take in order to get their life together? And why do I start feeling bad about myself when I don’t follow the advice of these seemingly smart people who’ve appeared to unlock the mysteries of life?

Can we agree that not every single day has to be purposeful on a deep level? Can’t I feel good about waking up, lounging in bed a bit, doing some laundry, exercising and enjoying some hobbies and NOT saving the world or “working on my craft” or “hustling?” And do I really need a morning routine? Do I really need to read 100 books a year to be intellectual?

This isn’t avoiding working toward your goals or not seeking inspiration. Just putting a stop to all the madness. The noise this information creates in my mind is just too much. There’s gotta be a line in the sand somewhere.

You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn every day to be successful. You don’t have to do the same 10 things every morning to get your day started “correctly.” You don’t have to pre-plan your meals every week. And you certainly don’t have to listen to anyone who says they know how to live the best life.

Even as I’m typing this, I look up and realize that I’ve got 3 other tabs open, and guess what they are? One is a TED talk playlist about how to live many lives, one is an article about 3 lies that will keep you from finding your passion and the other is a bookmarked list of articles I want to read that also relate to self-help. Shocking, I know.

I’m not saying I’ll never read another self-help article again, but today, I’m closing the tabs.