On purpose and fear of missing out.

I don’t think your life has to have a purpose, or you a grand ambitionIt is okay to wander through life finding interesting things to do until you die.” https://www.instagram.com/p/CEuA5EUhmDG/

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one of the causes of melancholy in today’s youth is the fear of missing out, FOMO if you will.

Thanks in part to social media, the world is much smaller and everyone is your neighbour regardless of where you actually live. Like many things, this has its positives and negatives. The negative is that you have so many people to compare yourself to; so many FOMO inducing moments which you might not have had otherwise. This goes beyond parties and fun holidays but also seeps into more serious existential things; finding fulfillment and purpose. A 21 year old in Texas bought her first house, now a 26 year old in London who saw the pictures on Instagram is feeling insecure and unaccomplished because she is nowhere near being able to do the same. People feel like failures because they haven’t completely “figured out” their lives at 24. Everyone else appears to have it together (just look at their Instagram pages!) and this intensifies the pressure.

The need to find one’s purpose predates the internet age and is not unique to this generation. However the concept of finding one’s purpose is both helped and worsened by social media. On one hand there is whole new range of occupations that were not available twenty or even ten years ago. People can now make careers out of their hobbies and interests, instead of forcing themselves into unsuitable moulds. On the other hand a traditional 9-5 is considered old fashioned and dull, leaving a lot of people feel pressure to be doing something non traditional on the side. Surely you can’t simply work for thirty or so years and then retire. How uninteresting. What a waste of a life. You need to find your purpose!
Now people are running helter skelter trying to determine their true purpose because “if you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work.

This whole thing about finding one’s purpose can be both liberating and stifling. Liberating because you may be lucky to find something that enriches your soul. Stifling because unless you find this “purpose” you may find yourself perpetually unfulfilled, restlessly hopping from one place to the other in search of the elusive purpose.

So when I saw the quote at the beginning of the post, I was immediately drawn to it and inspired to write this post. Of course some people will disagree and say everyone in-fact has a purpose; wandering is a purpose. I myself wonder if I was drawn to the idea of not having a purpose as a cop-out for my laziness and lethargy. I like to write and my computer is littered with unfinished pieces. If I took writing as my purpose would I be more serious with it or would I be driven mad trying to fulfill this purpose? For now writing is something I like to do but I feel no pressure as I don’t necessarily see it as my purpose. Still there are times I feel like there ought to be more to life (see last post) and I wonder if I would feel more fulfilled if I had a purpose I was working towards.

For some, having a life purpose can be very comforting and motivating as it keeps them going. Conversely it can also be comforting to think that there is really no purpose to life, no heights that must be reached, no real boxes that must be ticked. You don’t have to get married and have children if you don’t want to. You don’t have to monetise all your hobbies and interests. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur.

If it makes you happy to live day to day as you are then don’t stress yourself out fearing that you are missing out. And to those who are desperately searching for their purpose, their raison d’etre? I hope you find this and I hope it makes you happy.

Is that all there is?

Today like yesterday
Tomorrow like today;
The drip, drip, drip,
Of monotony
Is wearing my life away

I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who was feeling quite miserable. One of the things she said was that she felt life’s struggles were never ending; you manage to overcome one obstacle and there are a hundred waiting to take its place. She did not see what the point of anything was.

I have felt something similar; albeit in a different form. My first night in boarding school, I was hit with a sudden realisation that this was it; I would never have those carefree days at home anymore. Henceforth most of my time would be away from home; I would only go home during the breaks, and after boarding school it was off to University and Masters and this and that. The thought was so depressing I almost wept.

A few weeks ago I had a week off work, which was heaven despite the lockdown. As the week came to an end I was hit with the realisation that apart from weekends and time off I would pretty much spend most of my time at work for at least the next few decades. Again it was so depressing.

Is this all there is?

Life is a thrill, and sometimes it is a hot mess full of confusion. The worst part of becoming an adult is the inevitable existential crisis we all seem to have. What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don’t know and I’m afraid. Even worse is the fact that we think we are alone in this.

The days go by so fast that they collide into each other and form an indistinguishable mess. It is Monday then it is Friday and then it is Monday again. I move as though in a trance. How long will this go on for? What else is there? I truly feel happiest just lying in bed watching television. What else is there? Is this all there is?

I am pretty passive and I mostly float through life.Most of the time I am fine with this nothingness but whenever this thought hits it is pretty much the fastest way to induce a feeling of intense sadness.

Even in the moments in which I am enjoying myself I am already mourning the end of the moment. We are laughing now but soon we will part and it’s back to my solitude.

This is perhaps the price we pay for civilisation; we could be animals and not have to worry about purpose and fulfillment-just food and sex and babies and death.

You go to school, get a job and then what? Get married and have children I guess. Marriage and children will not necessarily remove these feelings, they may even exacerbate them. Perhaps the upside is that you will be too exhausted from wrangling your children to contemplate the meaning of life.


Gaslight; to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.

Gaslighting is one of those words/terms that I first came across on social media and which everyone uses indiscriminately now. The term originates from the 1938 British play/1940 film Gaslight in which a man manipulates his wife into thinking she is losing her mind. Throughout the film he hides her stuff to make her think she has lost them; he causes the gas lights to dim slightly and makes noises and when his wife mentions these things he tells her it’s all her imagination. Of course she starts to believe she is losing her mind and even her maids believe it too.

There is also a more popular 1944 American version staring Ingrid Bergman but the full thing is not on YouTube.

I recently watched Dirty John-The Betty Broderick story on Netflix and what a ride that was. I knew all about the story before watching it because Youtube mysteriously recommended the 1992 Oprah interview of Betty Broderick where she shared her side of the story. So by the time I settled down to watch the show on Netflix I already knew what to expect.

Might contain spoilers for those not already familiar with the story: This season follows the story of Betty Broderick, who murdered her husband Dan and his new wife Lilian. As the story goes, Dan and Betty were married in 1969 and worked hard to build a life together, with Betty working to support the family while Dan went to school. In a tale as old as time, Dan became a successful lawyer and decided to trade in his wife for a new shiny receptionist. The story doesn’t end there however, the separation and divorce is drawn out and acrimonious, and ends with Betty losing her kids, friends, privileges, sanity and life as she knows it. Of course I was hot as hell watching this and women everywhere swore that men could not be trusted and this is why women must never sacrifice anything for a man.

The viewers got to see the gradual decline in Betty’s physical and mental state, largely caused by her husband’s gaslighting. See, when Betty first suspected her husband was having an affair with his secretary, rather than admit it, he denied it vehemently and acted as though she was being irrational. It was not until he had moved out and they were separated that he admitted to Betty that she had been right all along. Another thing that contributed to her decline was her helplessness; Dan was this hotshot powerful lawyer who knew his way around the law and she constantly found herself railroaded. While deceiving Betty about the true nature of his relationship with Linda, he was secretly planning how to extricate himself from the marriage without Betty’s knowledge. I mean he even went with her to the doctor to discuss how to reverse her “tied tubes” so they could have more children, meanwhile in his mind the marriage was over. It was hard to watch. I was so angry.

A lot of people feel the same way, and most of the comments are sympathetic towards Betty. I just wish she had been able to move on with the life somehow without resorting to double murder. When everyone thinks you are crazy, committing murder will do little to change their minds. But man o man, I hope never to be in that situation. Amanda Peet who played Betty did an excellent job of conveying her frustrations. I felt it all. Dan was played by Christian Slater who also delivered his role perfectly, I hated his (Dan’s) face and smugness.

Of course immediately after watching Dirty John I had to go and watch the film Gaslight and it was alright for a 1940 film. I would like to see it recreated in these modern times, although I am sure there are a lot of films in which people are gaslit (gaslighted?).

May God save us from those who want to gaslight us. Heaven helps those who helps themselves, so here are eleven warning signs to be aware of when it comes to gaslighting.

A Countervailing Theory

Countervailing: to offset the effect of (something) by countering it with something of equal force.

Long time no art.

For the first time this year, I went off to see some art. I hadn’t been in a museum/art gallery in a long time due to Rona and other tales so I was quite excited. A friend of mine was interested in seeing an exhibition at the Barbican which was great because I had never been to the Barbican even though I lived in the area for about a year.

Upon arriving at the Barbican, we realised that although the exhibition was free, we were required to book tickets with time slots for crowd control. So we hurriedly booked the next available time slot which was two hours away, but they let us in anyway so yay.

The exhibition was by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih-Odutola and it was titled A Countervailing Theory.

The exhibition is set in Nigeria, Plateau state to be exact, and it depicts an imaginary prehistoric reality in which women are the rulers over docile men who are the labourers. Emotional and sexual relationship are forbidden between men and women, and only permitted within the same sex. This had me scratching my head because how….never mind.

My confusion only grew as I moved through the exhibition as I didn’t understand what I was looking at. It would have been helpful to have a booklet or at least little descriptions next to the paintings. I gave up on trying to understand the whole thing and just appreciated the art. At the time I found it dreary, and remarked how I liked my art with some colour. I was not familiar with the artist but we googled her and I liked some of her other work and wished we could see those instead. However since then I have fallen more in love with the exhibition, even more so when writing this post. Plus these articles helped me understand it a bit more.

I am so impressed by artists and the work they put into their work. It is so amazing to me that someone can come up with an idea, sit down with a canvas and then create art; and she did it forty times for this exhibition.

The best part of the paintings for me were the eyes; the artist did an excellent job of conveying the emotions in the eyes. All in all the exhibition was great and I look forward to seeing more from Toyin Ojih-Odutola.

My favourite piece of the exhibition is one I liked to call “Tired Man” aka “Mood Forever“. It was love at first sight for me and if I had a nice fancy house with loads of extra money I would definitely like to have this hanging in my house.

Enough words, here are the pictures.

My favourite painting in the exhibition. I want this in my house.

What is happening here? Forbidden lust?
The eyes Chico, they never lie
So beautiful. Look at the emotions on the faces. Again, the eyes!

Oh I love art in all its beauty and I cannot get enough.