Too Much Is Never Enough

Many of us live in a world of excess. We exploit ourselves for Sea World, our obesity rates are on the rise and our national debt is the worst its been since Truman.

Lately, I’ve been feeling unsettled. It isn’t because I’ve been stressed out, because I just got back from an amazing week on Kiawah Island (which explains my lack of posting for the past, er, two weeks) and I even have the sunburn to prove it.

It isn’t because I’m concerned about the economy - sure, stock prices are going down the tubes but the economy isn’t the reason I’m living paycheck to paycheck and running a never-ending race against my student loan and credit card bills.

Because I live in a world where bigger is better and more is not less, I tend to keep an eye over the fence. In all areas of life, I’m constantly taking on projects that feel overwhelming, but they’re only overwhelming because they don’t have my full concentration. I don’t bite off more than I can chew but sometimes, while I’m working on one project, be it personal or professional, I’m simultaneously planning my next bigger, better move.

On paper, my life is A-OK right now. I live close to my family and some of my closest friends, I am gainfully employed and through my blog I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing and realized that liking food doesn’t make you a pig, but it’s something to embrace and enjoy (Disclaimer: Unless you’re eating every meal at the 7-Eleven. Then I retract my previous statement). I mean, I wouldn’t complain if Jude Law appeared at my door to propose marriage but a girl can’t have it all.

Despite the fact that things are status quo right now, I can’t shake this feeling that I’m missing out on opportunities and that I could be reaching higher and further than I already am. Logically, I know that being in my mid-twenties, I still have plenty of time to reach my professional goals and to take trips, learn skills that will enrich my life, but emotionally, I’m having a hard time convincing myself to just stop and enjoy the now.

Does anyone else ever experience this feeling of “where-do-I-go-from-here?” How do you stop looking beyond the present and just be?

27 Responses to “Too Much Is Never Enough”

  1. Princess Pointful says:

    If you figure this one out, please let me know. Having been working towards a professional goal for about a decade now, it sometimes feels like focusing on the future is the only constant!

  2. Jules says:

    Man, I’ve felt that way for a couple of years……

  3. thatShortChick says:

    I’m having a very hard time with just “being” now that I’ve graduated college and have absolutely NO concrete job prospects at the moment.

    Add to that, currently working at a job that I earnestly HATE WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING just so I’m not at home being a leech.

    Focusing on the future is the only way to help cope with my current state of being or else I would have no hope.

  4. Beyond Alice says:

    I feel like you just read my mind. People keep telling me I’m still young, I have plenty of time, but I feel like I’m old enough that I should already have some level of success. I feel like I’m still just going with the flow. I have no assets, and while I have a steady job, it’s not the job I want to have for my whole life. I always feel like there is something better, and I wish I could make it happen for me NOW!

  5. Smilf says:

    I have more trouble with this than you can imagine. I can never just “be”. I know I am not doing what I want for a living, I know I don’t like where I live, etc. etc. and at 27, I know I still have plenty of time to change all of this but I really wish I could be one of these people who just stops and enjoys life to it’s fullest no matter what you know? Totally feel you on this one.

  6. BS says:

    Oh dear! Every day. Every DAMN day. Funny thing, though, is that by the time I’m done reminding myself to live in the moment, the moment is over.

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  8. Kristin says:

    Aren’t the majority of mid-twenty somethings feeling this? Our quarter-life crisis that no one told us about in college. Aren’t we supposed to be more, have more, do more, give more? You definitely are not alone in this. I think every one of my friends feels this. No matter how professionally, educationally, or personally accomplished they are, they worry about what they don’t have. We all have to focus on what we got and be happy. The rest will follow…

  9. Andrea says:

    I feel this way every single day… And I don’t know how to put it aside and just enjoy. I’ll get back to you if I figure it out. Let me know if you find something that works.

  10. Therapeutic Ramblings says:

    I consistently feel like I am in my quarter life crisis, and then I realize it isn’t my career but my social life that seems to be in flux. Who knows….as it changes by the day.

  11. Andy Collins says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas and it took all my strength to try to enjoy the fact that I had a long weekend off, with my best friend, in a fun place, and that maybe my “present” is not so bad after all, and this could quite possibly be “it” — this IS my life. When I list all the things I have going for me, I’m overwhelmed by how lucky I am compared to my other friends… yet, I feel like I have no direction, I have no idea what my passion is or what I want to do with my life, and I’m subtracting years from my life with worry that I will reach retirement age and look back and regret not taking bigger risks to try to make myself happier. Yes, I know what it’s like.

  12. Kellen says:

    I think everyone has this feeling of wanting to be more than they already are. I go in and out of it myself. At times it feels like my life is pathetic even though on paper I’m quite accomplished. I do think it is a normal feeling which most people have. A friend and I talked on the topic once and he remarked, “everyone hates themselves man, you’re not special.”
    So to help me remember I am not special, I volunteer at the local food bank and try to play with the neighboor kids when ever I can. It seems to be my escape. They don’t know how big of a loser I really feel like at times.

  13. Jo says:

    Good grief! Hard work is one thing and you are never guaranteed anything despite parents and other influences inflicted upon us! My advise, if you don`t like it? Don`t bother, leave it,. Ultimately we all want to be happy and to do so means that we have to take chances. This means, if you hate your job, leave, hate your home, go make a new one, only here once and whilst all the above have no kids and little responsiblility other than themselves, thye are at liberty to do whatever, whenever and with no-ones permission and without letting anyone else down, the right to happiness and well being, therefore, just make a goal and assess if it is a achievable. If it is not, leave it…..move on! Stop moaning and just DO IT!

  14. Clo says:

    Here I am, sharing the same feeling, and almost 40!! (before you know it, you will be were I am, belive me it goes quick). I am very successful in my career, but in nothing else. Here’s the sad part, most of us know where we go wrong, but what I’m struggling to understand, why do we keep on doing it, even if we understand where we go wrong.

    This is what I learned:
    - We focus all our energy on what we think will buy us joy. This however, takes up so much of our energy and time that no reserves are left to enjoy what we have accomplished.

    I can leave you with this thought:
    Do the best you can in all things in your life, leave the things you don’t enjoy, especially your job - since you spend almost 45% of your entire “awake” life doing your job (awake 16 hrs a day, of which 8 hours at your job).

    My eldest son is almost 10 and the younger one will be 6 this year. I have been so busy creating a comfortable environment for everyone, that I am the only one not in it.

    Advice to you and me:
    - Consider the reason why you are chasing whatever. Now, starting today, starting now; start living for the reason and not the means.

  15. tina says:

    even at age 52 I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, in the last 2 years I’ve lost my 30 yr marriage to my high school sweetheart, then both parents in the same month & my only refuge was a retail job where because of massive turnovers & bad economic times I have progressivly lousy managers younger than me & they are so clueless , I’m fighting tooth & nail to keep a crappy job that I used to love & was good at for health benifits & losing I’m being harassed & feel like I’m in high school it’s cliques all over again. I used to be happy now I’m misreable, but I’m better off than many persons & yet I don’t know what to do next. I am living in the present & see no future for myself, I have lost my ability to dream a future , so I ask the question . now what?

  16. john says:

    We find ourselves in such an interesting position. We get to decide what to do with our time. How many other living beings in the history of the universe can say this?

    I have been to a lot of places in this world and seen a lot of things. I see myself as so much more fortunate than so many others, but if this is the case, why are they happier?

    A lot is made of what to do with life. But really, what is there that needs to be done? Once a skyscraper is built next to the Hardee’s on 23rd street, will the world be complete? It is not as if we inherited this world with the task of building it into something better. Our job is simply to to what the rest of the creatures on this earth do, and that is to eat food and make copies of ourselves.

    Yet so much is made about the career…It’s not about the job or the car or the clothes or the bank account. It is about happiness. But we cannot only be happy. We also need to be relied on. We need others to need us. I am envious of the Malays that live in the rain forest and have to watch out for one another so they don’t get eaten.

    We are so fortunate…just look at what we are doing. We are sending digital code to space and back to each other at different parts of the world. But it seems we have abandoned the very things that make life worthwhile.

  17. Erin says:


    I agree with you 100% and wish more people shared this outlook. Thanks for sharing.

  18. amanda says:

    im at the same place, but i feel like a fraud.
    I train self development whilst my life seems at a stand still.
    The answer to what next is indeed- just ‘BE’, and live in the present.
    If you want the theory as to how, then go read Eckhart Tolle and Katie Byron’s books. They are great.
    If you find out how to live it- then please- let me in on the secret!!!

  19. Ann says:

    I have been asking myself this question as well, now at 31, what do i do now? what have i been working towards all this time? i spent 6 years rising to the top of the retail store hierarchy only to find myself without a job as the whole company closed. Sure, my experience is good and i could find another maybe, but do i really want to work in excess of 50 hours a week, salary in a job force that increasingly puts more work, responsability and stress on the managers while they downsize support and any day could downsize you too? My marriage of 8 years is ending, been seperated for 9 months, Ive moved across the country and i just dont know how to take care of myself, because i no longer have job or husband to take care of. No children. What is worthwile? what do i do next? Find a man? find a job? Find myself? I have always been a people pleaser, how do i learn to please myself? and stop pathetically yearning for the company, interest and approval of others? its like i cant figure out what would make me happy, or interest me, so i leached onto others lives and tryed to help them/support them while having no goals of my own to work towards or putting the goals i did have on hold. Backfiring now as i have no one but myself around and a mess of a life to try to make sene of. I just dont know what i want to do with myself. And i fear doing things and making decisions based on the fact that i am lonely and lost.

  20. ETV says:

    You don’t ever stop looking, everyone is always trying to be a perpetual motion machine.

  21. Brendalm33 says:

    I was going through a divorce and things were not going well with custody and money issues. I really bottomed out and truly came to my end. But I started readng the Bible everyday. Its all I could think of to do since there didn’t seem to be any life back there where I was at. It said stuff like come to me all ye who labor and I will give you rest. Other verses like peace I give to you, not as the world gives to you, give I unto you that Jesus spoke about. So I just stayed there in that place reading the Bible and asking God to give me some faith in all this that I could have this abundant life. And I couldn’t believe literally that I started to for once feel peace, joy and best of all this satisfaction feeling that I was where I was supposed to be in life and not continually trying to be or striving. Money once again crept in years later and so I returned to concentrating on the things of this world instead of a walk with God and things went back to dissatisfaction even though I’m successful in my job, have a wonderful daughter. I think its time for me to return to God instead of always feeling so dissastisfied. The eye is never satisfied with seeing nor the ear with hearing new things until I came to him.

  22. jamie says:

    I find myself in everyone’s predicament whether past, present, or very easily, in the future, yet, the truth has all rung free. Service to others will always set me free. This is my experience time and time again. There is no explanation for it that this non-poetic man can give but just my experience. I think it is service from others that helps me through my hard times so clearly the logical continuation is to pay it forward. The more I focus on that goal in my life the softer the ‘now what’s can hit me. I think this is one of the greater missions in life to work towards and probably a connection point that all religions or spiritual ways of life have with each other. Thanks for an answer

  23. Toddy says:

    I know EXACTLY how you feel in where do I go from here. I spent 3 years of my fabulous roaring 20’s and a fortune going to law school and now cant get a job as a lawyer bc of this fucking recession. Besides, I don’t even know if I really really want to be a lawyer anymore. So where do I go from here? On top of which guys at bars keep asking me how old I am and when I say 27 they press me about how I must want to get married and how my biological clock is ticking which IT SO ISN’T, couldn’t be further from the truth. So what people expect from me — perfect career, relationship and maybe babies by 27-30 just doesn’t seem in the cards for me. ahhhhhh. it makes me crazy. Don’t worry I’m sure wherever you are going from here it’ll all work out even though it doesn’t feel that way right now. At least I hope so.

  24. gac says:

    Apparently there haven’t’ been many posts recently. I literally punched in “where do I go from here” for the hell of it and found this. It’s somewhat reassuring that I’m not alone with these thoughts.

  25. Gabby says:

    Me too.

    I have no motivation to really live life. I know I should be grateful for all that I have, but I can’t shake off the feeling of a deep hallow emptiness in my heart.

    Where do other find their drive?

  26. Marty says:

    feeling this way is not an age thing. i’ve felt like this at different stages of my life. now i’m 47 and it’s at its worst. if you do what you wanted or if you didn’t do what youve planned, it doesn’t matter.
    but, now that i’m 47 i can truely say “you don’t regreat the things youve done, but the things you didn’t do . . . ” everyday i try to do something ‘different’. know this: desire never goes away, always do the right thing, don’t hirt others and make yourself happy; not one else is going too.

  27. James says:

    The question of “now what?” is one I have thought about a lot. I have been truly enlightened and intrigued by reading everyone’s stories and comments. As for my story, well, by the age of 12, I was a young prodigal musician in piano and percussion and performed with a professional youth orchestra around the world during my tenure. After the events of 9/11, I decided to join the United States Marine Corps as a ground combat operator and subsequently deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, being involved in several milestone operations of both wars. After I returned from Afghanistan I married my high school sweetheart and was honorably discharged.

    In light of what I had experienced I decided to go to college to better understand the world and humanity. During that time, however, the post-trauma transition was very difficult for me. I divorced after 3 years of marriage, had a stint with alcoholism, and dealt with significant emotional distress. One of the only things I held on to was the hope that I might still make a difference in people’s lives for the better in the future. I graduated from college with honors in International Development and Middle East studies and planned to go to law school. That was about a little more than a year ago. In the past two years I’ve worked in three different offices: a law firm, a non-profit, and a World Affairs Council. I have been both disillusioned and dismayed by the nature of each of these institutions that it was not what I had signed up for and resigned. I am now 27 years old, unemployed, single, and quite frankly jaded.

    Ergo, after having done and been through so much, now what? I’ve reached several of my goals, some of them didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but I still search. Life in the 21st century seems to have called for an urge to invent a new lifestyle among all of us as individuals and as a society. I believe that nothing in our modern world can truly offer the satisfaction each of us uniquely seeks, but resolve by saying that we must instead create our own.

    Searching is merely part of the creative process, much like an artist’s blank canvass. It is an active and perpetual part of life that we must accept, otherwise we run the risk of asking instead, “why bother?” For me, my next goal is to become a doctor. 7+ more years of school and debt, long hours and hardship, a rigid and relentless healthcare system suffering from delinquent professional liability suits, but I get to help people. And if I fail…well, at least I still have my canvass. My point is, it’s okay to look forward. It’s healthy and natural. So is looking backward. But what helps enjoy the now and not worry about the former or the latter, is to be sure you have something to hold on to that is your own. Whether it be an ideal or a homecooked meal, a bible or a blog. What we should be searching for is a central foundation for that which makes us who we are.

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