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Growing Up Out Of Step Essay

1688 words - 7 pages

I have not always been as healthy and productive as I am today. In fact, over the past couple years I have worked tirelessly to overcome personal struggles with depression, anxiety, and other emotional hardships. I credit this success to my choice to live my life by principles of practical existentialism. My deep-rooted existential beliefs empower me daily to make positive decisions and maintain a level of productivity that I feel satisfied with. I find it desperately important that more of my friends and peers move towards this sort of lifestyle, but I also understand that it is an intimidating journey. Because of this arduous personal change, I am now a successful young professional, a ...view middle of the document...

I heard my peers talk about big ideas as a way of life, rather than as cerebral concepts taught in school. I learned about resistant culture - feminism, veganism, environmentalism, peaceful political anarchy. I learned to think more broadly about the way things are and the way I see things. I learned what it sounds like when someone is truly passionate, or when someone is talking tall to impress. But along with all of the positive things I learned in the punk community, those long nights also taught me some bad habits.
We drank and did drugs because young people sometimes drink and do drugs. The partying reflected the unspoken punk creedo – to never grow up, get serious, or “sell out”. It was a slurred and defiant “screw you” to everyone who contributed to the oppressive norm. Through all the fun years there was also a lot of frustration and sorrow, and experimentation quickly turned into escapism. I struggled with anxiety and depression like many sensitive, creative youth do. Looking back now, I realize that many of my peers were suffering the same way. People fell into our scene to escape some part of life that they couldn’t stand, big or small: family, school, dead-end jobs, social inequalities, political injustices. Partying and refusing to grow up was an easy out of the ongoing hopeless battle against all of the bad in the world.
Then we began to lose friends. At this time it is too painful for me to quantify how many of my friends and peers have passed away in the past few years. One after another their disappearances shake me over and over again in a way that I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to accept or understand.
In the wake of watching so many appalling and meaningless young deaths, I felt miserable and out of control. I was unhappy with my own life, fed up with my friends’ lifestyles, and unsure of my overall purpose or direction. After some time I found bitter comfort in the school of existential beliefs, specifically in the concept of existential “authentic” living. In this premise, to live authentically is to proactively make choices that contribute to your ideal picture of yourself, in which you alone define your own purpose in life rather than falling back on preexisting social norms. In an authentic, genuine life you have the opportunity to be radically free from external bonds, so long as you are true to yourself- your wants, your needs, and your potential separate from how you measure up against anyone else’s criteria. Formal bodies of existential thought do take into consideration that there are some unchangeable facts of life (where you were born, your physical limitations, moral legal codes), but assert that outside of those restrictions we are completely and utterly free to designate our own meaning and course of life. However, one main condition of this freedom is the understanding that it is socially irresponsible and morally wrong to hinder another person’s ability to flourish or live authentically.
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