An existential crisis is not a one time fling. The assumption is that you flap about, your stomach falls through your rectum and you hide in a corner under a blanket humming The Funeral March to yourself. Then you emerge from the ashes, put on a smile and buy a cafetiere and sensible shoes because you have life all figured out now, you’re sorted.
Once you realise you are a speck on the planet’s existence and ‘why do planets even exist?’ and ‘I’m pointless so I may as well die now’, your ‘year of realising stuff’ a la Kylie Jenner, becomes your ‘every second of realising you’re insignificant’. And so begins the long and arduous relationship with this harrowing notion, which will question your raison d’etre.
Sometimes it subsides, and you’ll be happy again, but it’s lingering. In a film where the Mum gets into a car crash, in a passing comment from a friend, in the back of your mind where you’ve pushed it down.
An Existential Crisis (EC – far too millennial to type the whole shebang out every 2 secs) is the larger, slightly more arched eyebrow to the Quarter Life Crisis (QLC). They are sisters, not twins. Instead of thinking about your life with a ticking clock in the background, you’re thinking what is life, like literally WHAT EVEN IS IT. They sometimes think about the same thing, and might Whatsapp each other something similar to:
EC: ‘Oh hey gurl, just made Jill stare into the abyss at her desk for a good 3 minutes because she could not give a toss or see the point in archiving all of this years reports. LOLS.’
QLC: ‘Snap honey boo boo, we are totally twinning rn, was just gonna do the same, HAHAHA.’
They both make us feel lost, scared and lonely.
The lines are blurred. And the irony of a millennial have an existential crisis is that we’re called Generation Y, as in WHY ARE WE EVEN LIVING?!.
While you may never rise from the ashes completely, because you cannot unthink what has been thunk, you can take this shit show and learn to love the thoughts, sinking feeling and crippling fear that comes with it because it proves so much about you. For these reasons:
Every time you turn your mind to the meaning of life, you’re practising the founding Philosophers work, thereby proving that a person can have an impact. We can impact each other a lot more than we think we can.
Ignorance is bliss, ay? Well, it turns out that ignorance is not thinking beyond your own gel manicure, and bliss is not having realised that you’re actually pointless.
You’re not selfish
You’ve climbed out of your narcissism for just a mo and thought beyond the paradigms of your own subconscious. You’re like ‘Hey! There’s other people in the world – and they’re all gonna die too! And the universe – wow! That’s fucking huge isn’t it? Why’s it all here then?’
You’ve noticed that life is so unfair and so hard, but still want to live it despite that.
It gives you a good bonding topic
If you’ve got smart friends with a hella lot of choice at their feet and you ping them a message or actually meet IRL to unload your plight, they’ll understand, they’ll know. And you will have someone to sit in that corner with.
Happiness is like a festival
You have to wade through the shit, scrubbing off trench foot with a Boots makeup wipe to get to the sweaty crowds and euphoric fan-girl screaming. Happiness should come from within, we’ve seen enough flat-lay blog photos with it plastered across to know that, but we are literally programmed to think good things are going to fall into our laps without a mere I’M SAD, GIMME. So, if you have to go through hell and high micellar water just to feel an ounce of fuzzy tummy then so be it. Because even if the other side is more The Chuckle Brothers (legit saw them at Bestival) than Bey, at least you’re not watching people piss openly onto the grass before your very eyes.
There’s a difference between an EC and nihilism
You’ve recognised your place in the world, but instead of staying inside the glum, grey cloud of meaninglessness, you construct a focus. You’re willing to call a spade a spade, and then use the spade to dig a sand castle.
There are so many unanswerable questions in this world
It’s nice to have a bit of mystery, isn’t it?
You have a choice
To be a positive polly or stay a negative nelly? Because although an existential crisis will never quite leave you, how you deal with it is the best part about it.
To be or not to be? THAT is the bloody question.