A good, gloomy day for an existential crisis

Today I woke up feeling like it’s one of those days when I need to have a full-blown IMG_3147existential crisis.

Don’t worry. These rarely last for more than a day or two.

I wish the writing bug bit me more often when I am in a solid, content state of mind. Being solid and content does happen to me sometimes, you know. Unfortunately for my blog readers, it’s my down states that make me feel like I REALLY need to write and get it all out there. Writing to me is what food can be to others. It makes me feel better when I’m down.

Ever since I woke up I’ve been asking myself: What the fuck am I doing with my life? And… Why does it seem like every single person who locks eyes with mine wants to drain my bank account?

When I find myself in this position, I’ve learned to ask myself another question: Well, what would you rather be doing?

Now that question is starting to feel like a trick question. 

It used to be that I’d ask the question and then I’d come up with a list of things I’d rather be doing. Then I’d start working towards doing them. But then, in the middle of that (somewhat like now), I end up feeling the exact same way I did when I asked myself the question beforehand.

So now I know that it’s me, not my life, that is not how I would like it to be.

Right now I’m wondering why I’m spending so much time on sport. I know why I am. I have a goal that I’ve been wanting to achieve for ages. But I’m having trouble right now. I can’t run because of a shin splint that doesn’t want to go away no matter how much money I spend on physiotherapy, no matter how much time I stay off the running, no matter how many boring exercises I do to make the muscles in my legs, butt and core stronger. I am frustrated as HELL.

I’m also frustrated that my sport is costing me so much money. I’m paying for trainers, training plans, physiotherapy, podiatry, and new gear (because scientifically it might give me a slightly better advantage).

I complain incessantly about not having friends and family where I currently live in the UK, but I also know that I’m the worst person in the world when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family. I never pick up the phone to speak with anyone. I’m phonobic. I really am. The thought of having to talk to someone on the phone makes me feel overwhelmed. I’d rather just email every few months. Or Facebook/blog to the whole wide world at once. That way there’s no real personal connection with anyone. How ridiculous does that sound? I want family and friends but I don’t want to make any sort of effort to keep in touch with them. Well, if they were around I know I would meet up with them every few weeks. I’d probably meet up with my immediate family weekly. But no phone calls. PLEASE no bloody phone calls.

When I’m at home for a few weeks, all I want to do is travel for the rest of my life. When I go on a trip, all I want to do after a couple of weeks is go back home and sleep in my own bed.

This morning, after paying an extravagant amount of money to send an important letter to my son in Egypt (really, it was so expensive I won’t even tell you how much it cost), I came home thinking I wanted to get back on my bike and just cycle all over the world, living off the land and sleeping in my tent. Then I remembered what happened when I ACTUALLY did that. Sleeping in a cold tent and eating whatever food is available is fine for awhile, but then all I want is a five star hotel with excellent service and food.

Then I’ll tell myself: What I need is to be RICH so I can do whatever I want without worrying about money all the time. But who do I think I’m kidding? What are the things I really want to do with money? I’ve already decided I don’t want a larger house because I don’t need one and I don’t want to have to clean it. Even if I had cleaners, I’d still not be comfortable living in a huge house if I didn’t need one.

This reminds me, do you want to know what kind of a person I am?

I’m the kind of person who gets on a plane and really wishes I was flying business class instead of economy. But then in the few times that has actually happened, I’ve felt guilty as hell that I was up there sitting in comfort while all my “people” were back in economy with minimal leg space and not being able to find a decent way to doze off to sleep without their neck aching for three weeks. The last time I’ve enjoyed flying business/first class was when I was a kid with no conscience.

So it’s not an extravagant lifestyle that I want, although I do appreciate a bit of extravagance every now and then as a treat.

What I really want is to feel content on the inside most of the time rather than on and off.

I want to be able to think: Nadia, the running might not be going so well at the moment, but you’re doing every damned thing possible to make it right. In the meantime, you’re working really hard on your cycling and swimming and it’s possible that you’ve been improving. (I haven’t been in a race situation yet to test that out and be certain). I want to be able to think: Nadia, you might be spending tons of money right now on your sport and a whole shitload of other things, but you are so blessed that you can actually afford to do that. It’s true that it has been meaning that from one month to the next you’re not always sure you’ll manage to keep all this up, but so far you have been able to. You are blessed.

I want to be able to think: Nadia, you’ve travelled to so many countries all over the world. You’ve seen so many things. You’ve learned so much. And you’ll continue to travel, God willing. I want to think that instead of thinking: Nadia, I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE AND BE SOMEWHERE ELSE! HELP ME!!

And then I stop and wonder: Nadia, is this whole existential crisis happening just because the lake has opened for openwater swimming and you have a session this evening in the freezing cold water and gloomy, coldish, rainy weather?

Maybe all this will go away once I’m done with tonight’s session. Maybe I just don’t go to tonight’s session and wait for better weather conditions when I might actually have the chance to half-enjoy the swim.

I am feeling so down at the moment. I might just give myself a pyjama day.




  1. This is so relatable! Especially, “So it’s not an extravagant lifestyle that I want, although I do appreciate a bit of extravagance every now and then as a treat.

    What I really want is to feel content on the inside most of the time rather than on and off.”

    I’m living in a self-induced existential crisis, and I don’t know how to get out of it. Well, I do, but….

    I was content, got bored, resigned to travel (plans put on hold due to a dissertation that stalled due to not being able to find suitable participants), and now am wondering what the f I’m doing with my life. I miss earning a regular income, but I also miss the purpose of a full-time job.

    I want to travel,(purposefully and comfortably) but I also want to work (so over freelancing after a year of it). I don’t want to work in SA though, or move back to CT (where I was so happy) because I want to explore, and experience life in a different country. Except changing careers is hard, and doing so while looking for a job in another country is even harder. want a job that allows me to travel, that’s challenging and rewarding. I want to live in a place where I can meet eligible men, a place that’s pretty and peaceful and relatively crime-free. A place where I can hike and trail-run, and go kayaking, and do all the things I liked doing in CT.

    One day I think this, the next I think that. So I’ve decided whatever works out is what I’ll accept is the path for me. (Excuse the terrible sentence structure!)

    And reading your post has put my life in perspective, so thanks!

  2. Hi Nadia, there’s a lot of wanting in there. Sometimes it’s better to see the present time has the present time. If you feeling down, accept that’s how it is at this moment and it will pass. Just like everything in life does. Also to get better at something, sometimes you have to take a break to improve. Most people that get shin splints is due to overtraining, your body telling you to rest. Stop beating yourself up, you are allowed to give some love and compassion to yourself. Every being on this plant share the same feelings and emotions, so when feeling down think of all the others around the world feeling the same. Sit quietly and think of them while wishing them all a better day. Someone some where will be thinking about you. Have a good day Nadia.

  3. My whole existential crisis ended when I got on my bike to cycle down to the lake to go for that open water swim mentioned at the end of the article. I was REALLY anxious about that swim. But I went prepared and had an extra layer under my wet suit and several layers to warm me up on my bike ride home afterwards. It went much better than I had expected. The sun even peeped out from behind the clouds for a bit. The water was still freezing. It was so cold that my chest felt constricted for the full 30 minutes of the swim. But I knew to expect that feeling so i relaxed my breathing as much as was possible and did the swim. Once done, I felt pretty darned proud of myself. I also sort of remembered why I do all this. It’s because of that feeling you get AFTER you’re done. Getting there is hard. Doing it can be crap. But once you’ve accomplished something you’ve worked really hard towards, it all really does feel worth it. I’m glad I had a chance to get that feeling again because I need it to keep me going for a few more months.

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