I have it all.
When I close my eyes every night before I go to sleep, there’s nothing else to wish for – well okay, maybe I could wish for the existence of bread with no calories or to win a million dollars, but none of those are very likely to happen.
I’ve got a great job, prestigious and with a great future; it’s the job I dreamt about for years and I worked so hard to get. I’m graduating in a month, with great marks and an awarded thesis that I spent nights writing. Everything is going perfectly in my workouts, I can do things I didn’t think I would be able to do. I even found a date.
I have it all.
If my birthday were tomorrow, it would be hard to think of three immediate wishes – more specific than “love and peace for all but especially for my mom” – because all I’ve ever wanted is right here. If I want something, I can easily buy it. All my needs are satisfied: if I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m tired, I can sleep on a comfortable bed under my roof at home. I’ve got a family waiting for me every night when I arrive from my day.
I have it all.
I know a lot of people who wish they had what I do, and probably cringe at the sound of my daily complaining. There are people out there rooting for me and admiring me for my achievements and my strength. There are people who love me and care for me.
I have it all.
Yet why do I feel nothing? Why do I feel empty? I’m like the numb meme of Squidward – the best character in SpongeBob and probably in cartoon TV – who goes through life feeling nothing. Why do I feel like I’ve got so much more to do, and none of my achievements are enough? Why am I not happy with the way I’m living, when I’ve got it all?
I’ve always been hungry for more. My hunger has led me to wonderful places, it has forced me to always give my best and be the best version of myself. My hunger got me the prestigious job and the discipline to go from “sucks at sports” to “quite okay”, it got me from being 40 kilos overweight to losing them, it let me be the best in my class at university, and it is also my hunger which is making me write this right now. But… how much hunger is too much? What’s the line? When is it finally time to just relax and let life happen for a while?
All of us who are way too hungry are out there, making extreme efforts and suffering at the thought of something going wrong. We are (or I am) not sad or depressed, we can appreciate the things that go amazingly well in our lives, but it’s just not enough. This random thought in the back of our heads wakes us up in the middle of the night: “okay, your GPA is good but we can’t allow others to have a better GPA than you!”, “everyone can speak 3 languages nowadays, you need to speak at least 5”, “are you sure your new boyfriend is funny enough?”
My biggest fear is that I’ll never be happy or even okay with my achievements and the things I’ve got. I’ve always been the same way: I fight so hard to get something, and as soon as I get it, it completely loses its value. That’s exactly why I make my purchases in pairs of two: I love the dress that I see in the store and buy it because I truly want it, but as soon as it’s mine, I need to buy something else.
And while all of you might be thinking “this might be something that you should talk to a therapist about instead of just writing about it online” – and yes, you’re completely right – I hope that someday the hunger will diminish or simply end, that I’ll stop being as hungry as when I randomly get up at 3 am or after a night out. Instead, I’ll just be happy with what I have, and be able to buy a shirt without needing to buy another one the next day.
There has to be a way to be successful without going crazy along the way. A way to not end up like I see myself ending up, having a complete mental breakdown where I break a window and insult everyone I know, to then proceed to escape to India for some sort of “spiritual cleansing”.
When I imagine my future, I want to see happy kids and a tall redheaded husband who loves me, and not loneliness and a recent divorce because “maybe this guy is not good enough and I can find something else on Tinder”.
I always try to end my articles with silver linings and the truth is, for this one, I don’t have a great silver lining. Maybe I’ll just say what my mom says when my hunger becomes unbearable and I cry for hours for no reason: everything will be alright.
Yes, I know it’s the most stupid thing to say to a person who is in the middle of an anxiety attack about their future, but just trust it: everything will be alright. You have made it this far, and although you cannot see it, you’re amazing.
Everything will be alright.