“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”
- Henry Thoreau, Walden
This alarming sentence still applies today. When having a “good” job is seen as the goal of adulthood, it is easy to close other doors to one's full humanity and become unbalanced. Other occupations of one’s time can also leave one lonely - being too much of a caregiver, being unemployed or disabled, or enduring a destructive relationship.
To start to move away from “quiet desperation,” one needs to discover what else is important at the core of one's identity. For instance, how important is it for you to expand the relational, physical, spiritual and social side of life? Is there something else you would rather do to make a living, whether or not friends or family approve? Is there an interest that makes it worth while to go back to school? What is really important in life?
Keeping the universal aspects of one's humanity open for exploration is step one toward creating a balanced, happy life. Having the courage to explore what is essential puts one on the path to deep contentment.
Write in a journal about each aspect of what is essential to you. Talk these over with friends. Make plans to infuse the neglected aspects of your life. Even if they seem impractical, they will manifest down the line.
No one should have to lead an empty life.