Somewhere along the way
25 July 2017 - By Francesco Granati, alumnus: 'I had the chance to finally think a bit about what I am doing, where I am, how I got here and what I want.'
After my last blog post about my work, some of you (perhaps) might be wondering how that situation has developed. Without boring you to death: I have handed in my notice and am starting a new job on 1 August.
I managed to get some time off in between and I found the absence of stress and work related issues, somehow refreshing. It’s almost as if you finally give your brain a timeout. It suddenly finds itself not dwelling on trivial everyday issues, but instead grows wings and starts flying at another altitude. That is when you get the chance to think about life, your plans, what you really want and so on. I personally found that there is not enough time during our busy 9 to 5 life to think about these things. It’s always the tiny nuisances that bog us down. Long story short, I had the chance to finally think a bit about what I am doing, where I am, how I got here and what I want.
A really good friend of mine has, what seems to be, a ‘perfect life’. He has a great job that he loves at one of the most famous companies in the world. He loves his colleagues. He has a great salary. He manages to get a lot of time off which allows him to travel to a lot of exotic places. Still, and here’s where it gets interesting: he feels that there is something missing. He feels he is not as happy as he should be and he doesn’t know why. This ‘not knowing why’ leads in exchange to another level of dissatisfaction, namely: ‘hey, I am not very happy, but what really makes me unhappy is not understanding why I am unhappy in the first place’. Can anyone relate to this?
I sometimes have this feeling too. It might be a lack of focus on the positive things, as it’s always easier to focus on the things that don’t work, but it doesn’t change the bottom line. I am in a similar situation as my friend, and still something is gnawing at me too; some days I don’t feel it, others I do. Now, presented with this dilemma I believe there are two ways of looking at it: one is to try and get to the bottom of it, asking questions, dwell even more on why you are unhappy, whereas another one is to just let it be. I am more of a fan of the second tactic. I have slowly come to the conclusion (in my humble 31 years) that unless you are a self-disciplined Buddhist monk (or something like that), you will soon realize that life is not a 24/7 happy thing. I believe there are periods where we are sad, periods where we are happy, times when we are depressed and other times when we are passionate and enthusiastic. I am positive that we have to admit to ourselves that life sometimes sucks, and even if we don’t know the reason for it, it’s okay. It will change. It will get better and it will get worse. Rather than spending a lot of time obsessing on ‘why it is that I am unhappy?’ maybe we should just accept that this is one of those things we are going to be facing time and time again during our lifetime.
Does this sounds like I am surrendering? Do the most eager ones of you want to tell me ‘hey it’s good to try and understand what makes you unhappy’? I don’t think my approach works for everyone, but hey, this is just another thing to keep in mind and perhaps try out.
A part of me also can’t help but wonder if this is a generation problem. I keep meeting people from all over the world showing the same ‘symptoms’ – disillusioned, unhappy without knowing necessarily why and seeing work as a cruel necessity, not a thing to be proud of. These are the people who take sabbaticals to try and understand what they want from their lives, these are the people who are eager to travel the world rather than be stuck behind a desk from 9 to 5. Funnily enough, this article in the Guardian explains how if you search for ‘Generation Y’ (my generation) on Google, the prompted queries have to do with ‘lazy’, ‘idiots’ and ‘unhappy’.
I will leave the academic research to you.
Francesco Granati (31) completed the Master’s programme in Communication Science (track Persuasive Communication) in 2014.