Random Framework for Dealing with Sadness
On Monday this week, I woke up feeling very miserable. I didn’t want to get out of bed, couldn’t summon happiness about anything in my life and really didn’t want to work. Somehow I still did it, but I don’t know how. I named all of the things I was grateful for, but honestly it doesn’t feel like that activity was the causation.
That Monday feeling was so poignant that the exact same feeling on Wednesday morning felt more like a familiar soreness. Again, against all odds, I performed my human duties, but while I was mechanically going through the motions, my mind was trying to find a reason for me to justify living. It wasn’t like I wanted to die, but more that I didn’t want to actively participate in life. Life seemed meaningless to me, even potential events that are supposed to be meaningful like being successful at work or having kids.
There’s a Bojack quote that goes: “Usually when people ask how I’m doing, the real answer is I’m doing shitty, but I can’t say I’m doing shitty, because I don’t even have a good reason to be doing shitty.” And I felt that, because I didn’t have any reason to be sad as a healthy 24 year old with (what was at some point my dream) job and a family. So I was confused why I felt sad when I didn’t have any tangible grievances.
The markets have been down this week and I’ve lost some money, which might have contributed to my sadness (as an absence of happiness). But it inspired me to think of a theory to explain my feelings.
When people are young, they’re healthier and have more energy and fewer responsibilities. This means they can perform more actions and try different things. They should also try to learn more about themselves and their values and what they like doing. They “hunger” for more in life.
When they’re older, everything is the opposite. Not to say that older people can’t pursue their dreams, but it’s just probable that older people have less energy and more responsibilities. Since the roller coaster is just going down, they try to make the most of what they have. They need to be more “content”.
One basic idea in investing is that you should make riskier investments a bigger portion of your portfolio when you’re younger (stocks) and decrease it in favor of safer investments when you’re older (bonds). I think that people should be the same way, since they can do more and take on more risk when they’re younger and should consolidate when they’re older.
Naturally we are motivated (either by brain chemistry or societal pressure) to follow these patterns, which is why I think that I have random days that feel like depression, but are probably from “hunger”. If you feel like harming yourself or taking your life, you should seek professional help or talk to someone close. I don’t feel that intensely bad, just more of an ennui, and maybe it’s normal because my life should be more “hunger” and less “content” now.
To mitigate this feeling, I need to be a young person and live with action. So if I wake up in the morning feeling depressed, my hypothesis is that if I work and be productive, I’ll eventually feel better.