Fundamentally, I think I don’t really care about what goes on in the world at large because I don’t really feel connected to the world.
I remember I really wanted to work for some health or education NGO for a really long time in my life. I don’t think I felt connected to the world back then, but at least I told myself did I did. I felt a need to dedicate my life to something more because I don’t really know what I would otherwise do with my life. The problem with trying to achieve a position of real influence in the social impact space is that it’s quite difficult. It’s only possible to reach that level of influence with a lot of grinding, not to mention complete uncertainty whether your hard work will be rewarded at the end. For someone like me who is at best ambivalent about dedicating my life to the abstract idea of “helping people,” this life did not appeal to me. I think in the private sector, your success is a lot more correlated to how hard you work. More often than not, you are adequately compensated for your contributions to your company.
I find it harder to care about the world when I’m unhappy. I used to really care about making the world a less fucked-up place, but now I just want to be happy. I’ve noticed that the magnitude in which the world is fucked up doesn’t have an effect on my happiness. I’ve read that people supposedly find helping people to be fulfilling, but I’m not sure I feel this feeling. I help people when asked for help because I recognize that I’ve received a lot of help over the years, but I certainly don’t go out of my way to find new ways to help people. I don’t really feel that sense of fulfillment a lot of people discover when helping people. It’s hard to rationalize making other people happy when it doesn’t do anything to alleviate your own unhappiness in the process. I’m could do all of this, but I would still be so unhappy, so what’s the point?
I believe that my happiness is solely a product of how close I feel to my friends. I would happily trade my career prospects for friends. I would probably be more interested in making the world a better place if I felt at all connected to it, or so I tell myself. The problem is that that is not a choice that I have in my life. There’s a difference between choices and options. I have the options to make friends or make money. However, I can choose how much money I make. I cannot choose how many friends I have. Choices imply free will, but options don’t. I could focus on my career and try to be a millionaire by age 30, or I could make a friend and get on with some other missions in life other than to make money. These are my two options. However, considering hard difficult I find it to make friends, there is realistically only one choice. At this point, I think it’s much more likely to be a millionaire by age 30 than it is to make a friend. There’s not much of a decision involved.
The thing is — I would always prefer making friends to making money. The problem is that this option is always presented to me. I wish I had the opportunity to shoot the shit with some friends, but instead, I just work in Excel all day and listen to some emo trap album on repeat while wondering why I am unable to have the level of intimacy I want with people. I work because there isn’t much of an alternative. All I want is to do something else.