Hello and welcome to "inside Bee’s head, existential crisis edition". You ready?
So, we’re on this planet. A big blue ball hurtling at ridiculous speeds in a universe that we cannot measure. That’s the first strange thing. Second strange thing, everyone on this blue planet is walking towards death from the moment they are born. And everyone seems to be okay with it. It’s just accepted. Forget cancer, surely this disease, that takes out 100% of all humanity should be at the top of the cure list?
This is what goes on in my head late at night, in case you were wondering. And every couple of years or so, this materialises into a full blown existential crisis. Apparently my need to be first also applies to crises of the existence, as I experienced my first existential crisis at the ripe young age of 9- it felt as if I was waking up out of a dream, if you're interested.
Since then, like clockwork, they have happened every 3 to 4 years, ranging from late night harmless ponderings, to full blown panic attacks where I’ve had to wake my parents up in the middle of the night because I didn’t want to sleep, as I was afraid that if I slept I wouldn't wake up (I was 21… And yes I slept in my parents’ bed that night… And yes my parents are awesome).
If you will indulge my conspiracy theorist tendencies for a minute, simply put, there is a vested interest in this world set up to prevent existential crises- or dress them up as something cute, like a mid-life crisis where all you do is buy a Harley and date a 20 something year old. The world is full of distraction mechanisms, drawing your eyes away from the fact that somewhere, there is a clock ticking. If the system can keep you drawn into TV, to overindulgence of every kind, to cycles of insecurity, doubt, and guilt… You won’t see the time pass. If they can keep you interested in the Kardashians, in how your body is not ‘beach ready’, in whether the guy you are ‘seeing’ is gonna text you back, then you won’t see your time pass. And if you don’t see the time pass, then you won’t feel any urgency in making your mark in this world before you leave. That is in fact the deepest kind of betrayal- stealing your essence under your nose without you even knowing.
(Btw if I go missing after I publish this y’all know why…)
So as much as my existential crises are some of the most confronting, intense, and terrifying moments I have encountered, they are also the most beautiful of my life. So if you are going through an existential crisis of some kind (following a breakup, a loss, or another type of change), breathe. You’re not the only one.
And you’re not crazy. What’s crazy is going through your whole life never questioning your existence.
Now you’re breathing, I want to show you why this is actually a good thing. As my friends (and my mum!) will tell you, when I go through these times, my biggest question has always been “why me”? Why can’t I just go through life like everyone else, living in blissful ignorance of my future and my mortality? And I felt like I was dealt a double pile of manure, as if you follow me on social media you'll know I still struggle with the fear of abandonment. And death kind of makes this fear very real, as it is bound to sooner or later take everyone I love... But that’s another story for another time. Point being, I saw my existential phases as a massive burden, instead of seeing them for what they are; a blessing.
Let me put it this way: It’s like having an early start in a race. See, we’re all running a race, in case you didn’t know. Not all of the races them are the same- in fact, they’re all different. Some of them are longer than others, some have more twists and turns than others. The only connecting string in everyone's races is, is that they are time bound. You have x amount of years to complete it. Now, how much of an advantage do you think those that realise they are in this race have over those that don’t? Tons!
You see the reality doesn’t change. Death is not going anywhere, whether you realise it or not. And every day we are walking closer to our last day on this earth. However, the earlier you realise it, the more you can make of your time here.
Another advantage of your existential crisis is the fire and sense of urgency it will put under your vision. It will push you into discovering, and living in your purpose. It will break your outer ‘fake’ layer, and allow you to be your true self- after all, life is too short to spend any of it not being who you want to be!
Existential crises will make you do quote unquote ‘crazy’ things like quit your job and move to another city. It will have you drop friends that do nothing but suck your energy, and emit bad vibes. It will have you saying sayonara to time wasting boys who don’t know what they want and hello to self love... And that’s just my personal list.
Existential crises will cause you to review your life with a clear mind- they will point you back to your north star.
Now instead of crumbling into a ball of fear and panic and letting this overwhelm you, let it direct you somewhere. I’ve found that the way out of my existential crisis, is shifting my life to living purpose-fueled. The impending ticking clock seems to quieten when I do something I know I’m created for. And for those performance based individuals, before you run off and build you 10/20/30 year plan, let me stop you. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ‘DO’ anything.
During my last existential crisis, being on the beach in Cuba and connecting with myself was all that was needed. Just ‘BEE'-ing on that beach, in the water, feeling the waves lap over me allowed the fear of death to slip away. I had a deep assurance that even if I died right now, I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. And that’s all your existential crisis is. It’s your compass, pointing back in the right direction. It’s that reminder to BEE you. To do what you love. To appreciate every day. To live in purpose, and on purpose.
So if you’re experiencing an existential crisis relax- it’s okay. Step into it and let it do its work. Don’t try and manage it, or control it. The fear and panic won’t overwhelm you, there’s light on the other side, I promise. Allow it to be your teacher, leading you back north. You’ll be surprised by who you’ll become on the other side.