July 09, 2004

Our Latest Malaise

A study by Common Purpose - a body that runs leadership development programmes - into the hopes, aspirations and frustrations of some of the country's most talented and high-flying graduates in their late 20s and early 30s, found widespread disillusion, disappointment, and in the most severe cases, despair.

Many felt bored, under-stretched, stuck in a rut, without purpose and often bogged down with debt and responsibilities. The majority wanted to find an escape route, and at 30 not a few were preparing to take one.

-- The Independent, July 3, 2004.

WHEN WE GET FRUSTRATED with the various annoyances existing in our life, we will admit to sometimes having the evil and unpatriotic thought that we should pull up stakes and move abroad. It is not a thought which lasts long, of course. In part, that is because we realize one can't simply walk away from one's problems, but mostly because we realize America still offers us the best hope for our future. Besides, we happen to live in one of the best and most free parts of the United States at that.

Furthermore, when we put things into perspective, we can say we enjoy a lifestyle that is downright nice: a good job which we like, a good place in which to live, pretty much all that we need and want. Those are not things which are as easily obtained elsewhere.

So why, then, is it we so often feel empty and unfulfilled, and we are so often in foul moods? We can't believe quitting smoking is the only cause of our present irascibility, our disinterest in and detachment from many facets of life, and what we suppose could be described as a general feeling of malaise. Nor do we think we especially need any time off; we did just return from vacation, and we do go crazy after a few days if we don't do anything productive.

We can only assume it is a touch of depression; that has had a tendency to crop up in our life. Certainly that diagnosis would explain a lot: why we are always tired, why we can't especially get enthused about things to which normal people often look forward, why we have almost zero interest in dating or parties or going out with friends -- even why blogging sometimes gets a bit tough. It would also, we think, explain why we have thoughts about escape, even though there is no rational reason for them: we want something in our life to be different, although we don't know what. This is, of course, irritating to the highest possible degree.

But enough of this. We're going to do some reading and go to bed. Perhaps we'll feel better in the morning.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 9, 2004 10:46 PM | TrackBack