This is a long read, but I think you’ll get something out of it.
My life has been very erratic over the past year. I moved to a new place to start a program many on here would despise; a PhD. It consists of jumping through a lot of academic loops, acting a certain way, and performing up to other’s expectations, and most of all its 5 years of the prime of my life.
I did it to challenge myself, I did it to prove myself, and I did it to learn. While here, I knew I wouldn’t be devote to the program, and I would still retain my innate curiosity of life and learning about myself, psychology, evolution, and philosophy, hence I am somewhat of a regular on here.
When I first moved here, I was very happy with my decision. I was excited for a change, but deep down there was the fear of 5+ years living in this place. It turns out where I live is very unexciting. The people aren’t friendly, they are incredibly judgemental, and the entire attitude in this area is centered around materialism, consumerism, and the cliche (and out-dated) american dream.
I could get through it with meditation, reading, and exploring interests outside of school. However, my significant other couldn’t. She had no friends here, no program to follow, no job, and she was still lost as to a path for her life. After a year of sticking it out, she’s leaving for home and I’m staying here.
She is a person who has been told what to do her whole life. People never put their trust in her, and because of it, she has doubted herself. Living with her for a year has really shown me how much of an issue that has created for her. Now that she has discovered the issue – that she hasn’t really been in control of her life – she feels threatened by any advice, and by people who seem to have control over their life. Advice becomes demeaning to her, and anecdotes are something to get defensive about.
She was stressed beyond belief, and that rubbed off on me. My stress has peaked since moving out here, to a point I’ve never seen before. Due to this, my comfort level has dropped significantly and my ability to meditate into goodness, and pursue happiness have been greatly diminished.
Most recently I’ve obtained a small quantity of various drugs over the black markets on the internet and, as some have read, have scared my life to a level unimaginable only days ago. Experimenting with MDMA and other amphetamines, and high doses of caffeine have left a substantial mark on my ability to recover from stressful events.
Here is where the story turns around.
After being confronted with (albeit a fake) fear of death, I feel now that there is nothing I haven’t experienced. There is no negative experience that can top the culmination of everything that has happened to me in the last year. I feel as if the past 12 months have been an entheogenic trip, with duration extended, and psychedlia diminished.
I sat in bed, and imagined my ‘place’ – a green, floating bog that only three people have ever walked on, one of them including me, and the other two close friends. This place is to me as heaven is to christians, and nirvana to the buddhists. The warm, full air echoes friends laughter and excitement, as my naked feet bounce upon the mossy bog. The sky blue, painted with only few passing clouds, and the sun, the beautiful sun.
I come back to awareness and I am again confronted with my situation, but its different now. I know that bliss is there, always there, and only a tired mind has trouble finding it. All stress and anxiety are temporary if you believe it so, and only the contrary if you fool yourself.
If I am to believe happiness is there, and I can find it, so it is. If I am to believe happiness is gone, and forgotten, so it is.
You and I will take comfort in the fact that things happen, stress happens, but those experiences are always worth having. Beyond the experience itself, in time spent alone, however, happiness is only a thought away.
I just joined this community yesterday and this is the first thing I read today as I steal a few moments of quiet in the house before I head off to 11 hours at the office to join a rat race that I have never felt I belonged to.
I’m 42 years old and just finished two educational programs last fall (B.S. in Occupational Safety and Health and the health coaching program at IIN). I worked 12 hour rotational shifts in dispatch for the power company while I was going through college and volunteered as an EMT in my hometown when I wasn’t at work. Every step of the way I had to take time out for myself and remind myself and my family that what I was doing (though difficult and time-consuming) was temporary. It was one of the many steps that I needed to take to be able to turn my life in the direction that I wanted to go. Maybe it’s because of this that I connected with your story. Regardless of “why”, I’m glad that you wrote it, and glad that I happened to find it this morning. Thank you.
Is it possible that all the turmoil and emotional upheaval is the means by which your subconscious, or soul if you prefer, is telling you that where you are and/or what your doing there is out of alignment with what you really desire. Is that the only place to get a PhD. “if you believe it so” . What do you expect to do with your PhD. What’s the return for all the time, money, and heartache. Are you just creating another file to put in a regrets folder. I only suggest you take a close look at where it can lead. I had a similar experience . I considered getting a PhD. , but the combination of a boring town and even more boring classes all towards
something with limited potential. I wanted to explore, The PhD wanted me to conform. Unless You have a clear idea of where you’re heading , or are willing to be satisfied by a framed certificate from a no name school hanging on the wall, you might want to consider the out of alignment thing and release yourself back into the land of the free. Good luck with whatever you chose!
I won’t be using my PhD for anything, and the knowledge I’m accumulating from it isn’t the applied stuff – its the theoretical. The amount I learn about chemistry, physics, evolution (Which interest me a great deal) is phenomenal and I really enjoy this.
I am leaving the option open for abandoning ship at any time. I may stop soon and just get a masters. My eventual plan is to teach or own a greenhouse. Both of which would help from having a PhD, but won’t require it.
I have thought a lot about this, a great deal. Even though I may not use this PhD it is not something I’m going to regret, as I know I still have decades of full life after I finish. If I teach, I have summers off…
But on the deepest level, my subconscious is telling me to leave society all together. To build a hut somewhere, fish, hunt, gather. That is what it is telling me. There is no inbetween here. I would need to become a nomad, or I need to stick out my plans with a greenhouse, and just live life like the ‘normals’.
If I could explain to my parents that I’m going to become a homeless man in new zealand for some time, perhaps the subconscious would settle down.