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Impedance is futile - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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Impedance is futile
At the moment, I'm feeling as though I serve no purpose whatsoever. I'm too ill to get anything useful done, and I feel as though I'll always be this way - like anything I might have achieved with my life is already over, and, at the age of 30, I'm just marking time until I die. This is a kind of self-reinforcing nightmare. I feel like a total failure.

It's not as if I want to revolutionise the world or produce something truly great. No, I gave up those dreams a while back. I'd settle for doing something that made a difference in a small way - that made me feel like my life wasn't just being wasted.

I suspect I may be fooling myself. I can think of a lot of people to whom I've made a difference in a small way. And that makes me feel better, for a while. But then I have a week when I'm no use to anyone, not even myself, and I get all morose and existentialist at people.

There's part of me that can't help saying "get over yourself, already. Nobody promised that your life would have meaning". Unfortunately that doesn't really help.
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From: robinbloke Date: August 6th, 2004 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)
For some part of life is identifying what niche you fill, what mountain you can climb or what great task you can achieve that will make the world sit up and look at you and say "Oh my, look at them."
It's a sobering part of reality that given the billions of people on this planet our changes to influence the world signifcantly are fairly tiny.

So it's about perspective, as you say.

You've created wonderful literary works (I know, I've read them - and no, they don't need to be 900 page epics to be worth reading), you've dreamed people up from nowhere and given them life in glorious technicolour, you've provided yarns of wonderous conversation (I so want to play Baron Munchausen again!) you've hosted great parties (darhling!) and given fond memories to name just a few things.
Now tell me that isn't something worth knowing you for. :)
secretrebel From: secretrebel Date: August 6th, 2004 08:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know how much it helps to know that everyone feels this way sometimes - even those of us actively engaged in a profession which creates art for posterity. Keats wrote that his words were written on water. It's the human condition to long for permanence and stability when in fact all things pass.

Even this. The futility you feel right now. It will pass.

Concentrate on making a difference to yourself. You're a real person and it does count. And you'll thank yourself for it later on. :)
From: ex_lark_asc Date: August 6th, 2004 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Personally I find the meaning in my life in the relationships I create with other people and the ways I can help make their individual lives a little bit better. I can't change the whole world, but I can change little things close to me, especially for people I know and care about.

Just my 2p :)
From: rmc28 Date: August 6th, 2004 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)

I can change little things close to me

Reducing local entropy; fighting chaos one mucky pile of washing up, one stressed-out friend, one piece of buggy code at a time. And the dishes will get dirty, and something will make your friend unhappy again, and more buggy code will be written, but for a while you made it better. To be useful to people, even in a small way, is still to be useful, and just because you couldn't manage it the next week doesn't make it suddenly un-useful.

Among the 10 or so arguments I had with my Dad last weekend was one about him perpetually dwelling on what bands we'd missed through turning up late/going home early/listening to other bands, and ignoring the perfectly valid reasons why we made those choices. Dwelling on what I haven't done or will never do is one of my worst guilt-and-misery triggers, and it's a snare and a delusion.
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