Hello everybody. My name is Julie and I'm seventeen. I come from Europe so English is not my mother language. However, now I'm in Japan. From others point of view, my life is interesting. I've visited more that 25 countries in Europe, Afrika, America and Asia. I tried skydiving, bungee jumping, diving, highest roller castle in the world, free fly in a wind tunel, small planes and dangerous things like getting into car with my sister who was learning how to drive, or testing food she cooked. And what did I do this morning? I googled:
" Life that would be interesting." I'm sure that as I grow there will be more things to tie me down- college, getting money, finding an apartment. In short,I'm in Japan and I still feel like my life is boring as hell. I' m about o climb Mt.Fuji, but I think that even if I climbed Mt. Everest it wouldn't bring me an inch closer to satisfaction.
Everything that I have done made me happy, but only for a short period of time. I have done nothing that others could profit from, something that other would remember. So, does enybody know what should I do? I can't figure it out.
I'm not sure we really know enough to give good advice, but I'll give it a shot anyway. I think that your problem may not be what you're actually doing, but your level of appreciation for it. What is interesting to you is less of a function of what you're actually doing than it is how you react to it. Climbing Mount Fuji isn't just a hike up a dirty old mountain. Think about how lucky you are to be alive, how lucky you are to be in Japan, who else has climbed Fuji for the millions of years it's been around, etc. When you're climbing, be present in the moment (as hippie as that sounds) and just enjoy the view that can't be had anywhere else in the world, the camraderie of the strange and friendly Japanese people climbing with you, etc. Maybe bring a big bag and pick up a bunch of trash on the way to have a positive contribution to the mountain.
My other piece of advice is to pick something and go deep on it. I've also been in cycles where I do a bunch of really interesting but superficial stuff, and it sounds way more interesting to other people than it actually feels. What really drives an interesting life, I've found, is picking a few things and really exploring them. The complexity of life is really interesting.
Last, I know you've heard this a million times, but you're young. You have plenty of time to figure it all out, and just by exposing yourself to as many things as you are is a really excellent start to finding some passion in life. It may hit ten years from now or tomorrow... there's really no way too know.
I think you've answered your own question in saying that you've done nothing that others could profit from.
Meaning, like value, isn't inherent outside of us. It's something that we create or build. And so I have a simple suggestion. Do something that matters to someone else. It doesn't have to be a big gesture. Just something small, and create a shared moment of meaning.
I personally find it very rewarding to contribute what little skills and resources I have to others. Sometimes I get value in return out of it, sometimes it's for free, but either way it's very fun for me. Maybe it will work for you too. I hope you find what you're looking for.
Looks like maybe you'll find satisfaction outside of 'cheap thrills', if that's how you see them. Skydiving, bungee jumping, diving, etc - sounds like checking off a list of one-time or few-time activities - they're great if you appreciate them, but you leave the activity almost just the same as you came, with nothing really permanent gained. Perhaps there's a lack of a sense of progress in your life - you keep moving from place to place, but you're not quite going anywhere.
My personal thought would be to try pursuing mastery in some field - something that will provide lasting satisfaction. If you want to do something that others can profit from, remember you for, then you'll have to do something great. And something great is almost always done through persistence and sustained effort. And when you reach mastery and create impact through that mastery, you can look back at the path you've taken, the work you've done, and marvel at the progression of your life and the ultimate payoff of your toil. There's no satisfaction without blood sweat and tears is my take on it. Good luck!
Lost my original post - anyway - Lester Levenson had a similar problem. He had mastered the external world but felt a deep emptiness within. He later, through talking with himself, found that happiness was when he was loving. Maybe if you integrated others into your life you'd feel happier. We can only become so happy satisfying ourselves - the rest of it comes when we put a smile on others' faces. They don't need to necessarily profit from you either. Just being yourself and sharing your enthusiasm and lust for life is often enough to inspire others such as how Tynan does with his site.
The bad news is that there is not one single external thing, adventure, place, mountain, position in life, degree, house, NOTHING external to you that will make you happy. You have already traveled to 25 countries. Visiting country 26 will be no different than country 75 or 125. Where ever you go there you are. Same old you. You suffer from existential angst. Your answer is only in you.
Just over a year ago I was in this same place. It's a short and touristy row of shops leading up to a temple in Asakusa, Japan. Last time I was here it was my first time in Japan, which meant that I was so enthralled with being there that I didn't realize what a tourist trap it was.
Now I'm here again and I see the place in a different light. I've lived in Japan for almost two months now as part of my year long trip around the world.
As I look up at the paper lanterns dangling above the street I have a thought.
Awesome email here -
One of the 900 here -- and this is my FIRST time ever emailing a Blog. I was a little hesitant to write this actually, in part because I so enjoy your blog that I almost didn't want to "burst the bubble". But after reading a lot of posts and already having spent quite a bit of time previously ( and constantly ) in introspection, I would really appreciate your input on a major stumbling block....
My short question is: How do you connect with someone? And, secondly, based on your preference of doing away with pleasantries / small talk, how do you connect with someone without the seemingly required "pleasantry" stage of a conversation?