The dream of waking up and randomly finding the source of your depression.
The frustrating way people talk about mental illness versus other illnesses.
By Koty Neelis
You’re never alone.
The great thing about traveling is that even when you’re traveling through unfamiliar landscapes, surrounded by people you don’t know, you’re never truly alone. People are generally welcoming and friendly everywhere you go and striking up a conversation with someone can turn a stranger into a friend within minutes.
The world is a lot less scary than we think.
Often, the idea of traveling can seem overwhelming and frightening. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to interact with the world in a different way than we’re used to. By traveling the world you realize that people are mostly the same everywhere – good and kind and not out to harm you.
You can survive with a lot less than you think.
It’s easy to over pack for any trip but many times when you’re traveling you realize you only needed about half of what you actually brought. A great idea is to look up packing lists on your tablet for the region you’ll be visiting and reading what other travelers recommend. Pack your suitcase or backpack then look at what you have and eliminate anything unnecessary. You’ll thank yourself later when you want more room to bring home gifts.
You learn how to rely on others.
We’re so used to being independent adults taking care of ourselves but traveling is the one experience that brings us back to a childlike state. Everything is new and unknown and you look at everything with a sense of wonder and curiosity. You ask for directions or tips on where to go around town and realize a big part of your journey is relying on the kindness of strangers.
1. First Important Lesson – “Know The Cleaning Lady”
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
Thinking her dog was lost for two months, they are finally reunited!
One phrase that changes people beyond recognition
By Stephen Passman
1. They’re Manipulative
This is the biggest one. Both women and men do it. I see it all the time — someone getting a man to buy dinner or drinks with no interest of getting to know the person, or a man expecting sex for doing so. Manipulative behavior is often not seen at first because of the initial superficial interactions and the “puppy love” effect. Manipulation is when someone acts or uses something or someone with a maleficent or aggressive intention in order to induce a desired action. Manipulation is emotional abuse (Fjeltstad, 2014).
Other big ones to watch out for:
a) Guilt tripping someone into doing something they don’t want to do.
b) Intimidation, using fear, or verbal abuse for creating submission for some action.
c) Positive/ Negative Reinforcement (E.g. Only saying I love you only after someone does something “good” or pleasing to the partner).
d) Anyone who “presses your buttons” or uses your insecurities to get you to do what they want you to do.
e) Giving gifts with strings attached or crossing your boundaries often.
Someone who is manipulative must be in control. So If you find these circumstances to be the case, realize that no one deserves to be subjected to this kind of behavior.
1. It’s hard to explain, but for me it’s that the sense of being part of some story where you are the protagonist kind of fizzles out unceremoniously and leaves you drifting for the rest of forever.
As a kid, you’re on a path, there’s a plan laid out for you, and whether you intentionally break from the plan or follow it to the letter, there’s this linear progression of growth, and an ultimate goal to strive for. You have allies, you have enemies, you have trials that you pass or fail, you have moments of catharsis, etc. You feel like part of a beautiful narrative, like the heroes in movies and books and tv shows and stories. You feel like there’s a right and a wrong way to go, and some ultimate fate waiting for you at the end that will sum up what all of it meant.
When you get to be an adult, that illusion crumbles away as you realize that you don’t have a narrative, there is no path or plan, things aren’t always linear, and you’re nobody’s hero. There are no allies, because friends can be both good and bad for you simultaneously. There are no enemies, because frankly no one cares enough to wage a personal war for long. You don’t have a destiny. You make choices that are more a product of random chance than you want to admit, and sometimes the consequences make sense, sometimes they don’t. You may flounder around in a bunch of different directions for many years, ultimately not making any progress, and having nothing of import to show for it. You’re not a good person or an evil person – you’re just an ant wandering around looking for crumbs. No, worse than an ant, because an ant has a purpose in life, to serve its queen and colony. You can choose to align yourself with a purpose, but it may never fulfill you or reward you. And nobody will be waiting with a shiny gold medal for you if you stick to it.
Life as an adult seems less and less like an exciting adventure story and more and more like a delerious, confusing fog of random developments and passing phases that raise more questions than they answer.
Edit: I somehow put my first edit in the middle of the text, which made it weird. But it said thank you very much for the gold and comments. I appreciate all the insights and solidarity, and the disagreement too.
I haven’t always felt this way about adulthood, and I probably won’t always feel exactly this way. It’s not as if everything’s hopeless, or that I’ll never try to find a direction for my life. It’s just that the realization of how small your impact actually is, and that you are not destined for anything great, and how subject you are to forces bigger than yourself – that’s a tough pill to swallow