NYC Student Disappears and Why We All Want to Disappear

Many of us go through a realization that our life is not what we envisioned, usually as a midlife crisis of sorts. That one day you wake up and realize this life is not what you wanted. Maybe you want to disappear and start over fresh. I remember the one day I woke up in my early twenties, realized my life was not what I wanted, and I had a meeting my Platoon Sergeant in the Army that day, who was currently harassing me. I looked him in the eye and said, “I don't want this as my life. This is not serving my country. This is not using my skills to the best of my ability for the greater good. YOU are not allowing me to do my job. And I do not want to live like this.” And he got angry and threatened me and made my life worse but I got out. I left the Army. There are so many more layers to that story but the point is, I made a change.
Every moment in my life when I have been unhappy, even now, it is because I was doing something that was not MY dream.
Some things we can change – so we should change them. I don't like being overweight. I can eat better and move more.
Some things will take longer to change – so we should make and follow a plan to change them. I want a smaller house. I need to wait until the market gets better and until my high schooler graduates before I can move.
And some things we cannot change – we should find joy in them if possible or minimize their negative impact on us. I want to travel the world. But I have a whole system set up that keeps me rooted here. I am enjoying the house and the space and garden now and later, when I can make a change, I will.
I had a whole series of posts last year about another big change I went through in 2013-2014. It all boiled down to living what was not my own dream in my own life. I still have moments of this. It is REALLY HARD to figure out what YOU truly want, without outside influence.
So when I read this story today, I understood what this young woman was going through. I understood why she needed to shut herself away and be alone with her thoughts. If you can shut out all of the noise and input and forced output and just be with your thoughts, maybe you might have clarity. There are countless studies about the negative effects of social media and all of the accessibility we have now. We have more anxiety and depression than ever before. There is so much comparison, keeping up with the Jones, and fake perfection online that it is only natural to get down on ourselves and get overloaded. When you are raised to be the best at something, at everything, it is even harder to have perspective and clarity on what YOU really want. If you are a people-pleaser or you thrive on praise, now is a dangerous time. The way up, when you get all the praise feels great! But people assume if you have achieved mastery and recognition in one area, you are satisfied in all other areas. Like if you are Valedictorian, you must have a great social life and be satisfied there too. Not always the case. And that is enough for today but tomorrow you must achieve another thing and then the next day another because you need that praise to survive. At some point you stop doing things for you and your love of them and start doing things just for the recognition, admiration, and praise. It is a lonely place to be, at the top, and then, if you cannot maintain it, the only way to go is down. I totally see where this lady was at and have felt that way many times in my life, as a chronic-over-achiever and praise-seeker. I have to work on navigating those tendencies daily.
I would have liked to see her apologize to the people she put through unnecessary agony because of the way she chose to make her change. That is her agony, not theirs to have endured. I think she should bear the blame and not those around her – I felt a bit like she was blaming the “system” – other students, the faculty, and the society that she thinks put these expectations on her. If she bears the responsibility for her decisions, she can then even more overcome them and change the pattern of behavior. But overall, I totally understand it.
I think we will see this kind of thing happen more and more, just not as dramatically and played out over the media. We have the ability to now to truly live the life we want to live more than ever ever before. There is a collision between the “new way”, the Seth Godin way of life, where you completely go forward on the opportunity and lifestyle that best suits your abilities and desires versus the traditional way of thinking where you got an education, got a career job, got the house in the suburbs, had 2.5 kids, and went on an annual vacation to Hawaii or Europe. It's like Anthony Bourdain versus Modern Family. Which do you want for your life? And then there is everything in-between…
Have you ever felt like you just wanted to disappear, make a huge change, or escape from your life? How did you handle it? Tell me your story and let's continue this discussion in the comments.
Jennifer Priest has some of the best craft ideas on her site Just JP and previously, Hydrangea Hippo. She shares tons of free tutorials and YouTube videos showing all kinds of crafts and DIY.

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Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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