Hello we are 3 weeks into the school semester, and I already feel burnt out like a charred piece of salmon left for too long on the grill! Great! I can’t wait to get to the point when I’m old enough to look back on my anxious little worrying self and wax words of wisdom when asked the question,”What advice would you give to your younger self?” I’d respond,”I wish that I didn’t stress so much about the future and the myriad of uncertainties that cloud life. In the end, everything turns out ok.” I am 99% sure this is what future me would say to current me (yes I’m clairvoyant). And even in anticipation of this insight, I can’t not be worried. How can I not be worried? Nothing is certain! Nothing is constant! Stress is built into my personality. I operate day-to-day with high cortisol levels and a paralyzing fear of the future. These have become constants in my life. My name might as well be Annie Worried Su.
I’m afraid to say “I can’t wait for this semester to be over” because I know it will be filled with meaningful moments, but honestly, right now, I can’t wait for this semester to be over.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my sense of self and how often I reflect on things solely inside my realm of existence. I read a podcast transcript yesterday of an interview with Naval Ravikant, the CEO of Angel List (a recommendation from a friend). He talks about his “monkey mind” of desires that “at some point gets out of control and then we are constantly talking to ourselves in our head. We’re playing little movies in our heads, walking down the street, but no one’s actually there.” It’s the brain working on overdrive, fantasizing about what the world might be like and how reality might ideally be. The guy says the best way to keep in touch with reality is “by not having a strong sense of self or judgments or mind presence. The monkey mind will always respond with this regurgitated emotional response to what it thinks the world should be. That will cloud your reality.” I agree with this to some extent. I don’t want to be a slave to my thoughts and inflated sense of self, but what’s an existence without a clear idea of who I am? Isn’t this the whole point of life–to figure out who I am and what kind of human I’d like to be? Or is that selfish? Am I selfish for thinking so often about my own existence? I look inward for such a large portion of my time that I forget to set aside time for others and think about where they’re coming from and how I might be making them feel in certain social situations. I just think about myself myself myself. Is it because I have too strong a sense of self? Is this selfish? I know in words, it sounds a bit silly. “No, Annie! It’s ok to think of yourself. You come into this world alone. You die alone. You journey through life alone. How could you not be thinking of the main player in your game of life?” But at the same time, I want to help others in some meaningful way. I probably won’t cure cancer or come up with life-improving innovations. I don’t believe in myself enough to think that I’d have an impact in that way. But that just means I have to make up for that in other ways. I can be kind to others and show empathy. I can be a supportive friend, daughter, sister, roommate, etc. I don’t want to just live a solitary life of self-engrossment. Self-improvement and growth is great and all, but if my time on this planet is only for myself, I can’t help but think that’s a little too selfish.
Am I overthinking this? Probably.
I want to lie in bed for a long time and not move, not think, not be worried, not exist actively.