December 30, 2013

The Dread

Tonight I'm faced with an exceptionally severe case of existential dread—the angst that accompanies deep thoughts about life, death, and the meaning of our existence. Most people don't think the way I do, but Jezebel's Tracy Moore does.

She wrote an amazing piece about existential dread management, wherein she provides some solid suggestions, including:

  • Make sure your life adds up to something

  • Consume copious, reckless amounts of art

  • Unleash the primal scream

  • Take Tylenol (seriously!)

Moore also articulates the feelings of existential dread in a way I find difficult to replicate:

For the record, I have a lot existential dread, or at least, I can't remember not really having it. If you're running low, you can borrow some of mine. I don't sit around in black turtlenecks chain smoking talking about Why We're Here (fine, that was college. And my twenties) but as long as I can remember being alive, I've had a lot of questions about why the world is the way it is, what I'm supposed to do with myself, and whether it all adds up to anything that counts or not.

I also noticed that it wasn't always easy to find people who think this way. I was all: "But how do you know what actually matters? How do you know if your choices are adding up? If your life has real meaning? How do you even define what that meaning IS? Is it just doing what everyone has always done and finding solace in that, or are you compelled in some way to do something else to create meaning in the world, like make art, or save lives, or simply exist with extraordinary kindness? HOW CAN YOU NOT THINK ABOUT IT?!?!?!"

Agreed on all points.

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