Is What You’re Doing Really Worth Your Time?

Jin Thai
Jin Thai

“Why am I doing this?” is a question that I find becomes more and more important to ask as we become older. As time goes on, we naturally become more attached and committed to things. More organizations, more clubs, more responsibilities. It’s easy to let things naturally fall out due to laziness or forgetfulness, but it’s the hardest to make the conscious decision to let things go. 

Many of my friends often ask me why I work at one of my jobs. I’m clearly not working there for the money. I’m clearly not working there to be happy. I’m not really learning any useful skills that have any application to where I want to go in life. All I feel at the end of the day is misery and regret. This begs the question — why in the world am I still working there?

This is a question that I ask myself everyday, and the best answer that I’ve been able to come up with is because it’ll teach me to build character. Because even though the job sucks and I really can’t tell you anything good about it, it builds character, right? I’m persisting through this all with a smile. Character is necessary if you want to get anywhere in life.

But seriously, why am I doing this?

For the past week and for the next month or so, I’ve committed to practicing interviews with a friend everyday for two hours. I agreed to this initially because I thought we would be trading off — her one day, me the next. But it appears that we won’t be doing any trading off and that I’ll be the one giving all the prep. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered that my friend is willing to practice with me and I’m really flattered that my opinion matters. But why am I doing this? Yeah I benefit because I certainly learn from giving the interview and having to come up with critical feedback, but it’s two hours everyday for a job that I won’t need to apply for until two years from now. This girl isn’t going to be there for me to the same extent in two years when I need this prep. Sure, you can argue that this is a long-term investment, but seriously, why am I doing this?

Why am I spending hours listening to people I could care less about? Why am I still talking to someone who has backstabbed me? Why am I still being nice to her? Why am I still taking time to see friends that I cut out a long time ago? Why am I waiting for a guy to talk to me when he’s already bailed on me so many times? 

It’s very easy to be suddenly caught up in doing things that we begin to forget why we are doing these things to start with. Maybe we are doing these things because we love them so much, because it would make us happy if we could do these things forever. Maybe we are doing things out of some necessary obligation. But more likely, maybe we are doing these things because we haven’t thought about why we really are doing them. 

I have no solution to this question. I am still doing a million things that I hate doing. And maybe this is why so many people become so depressed — because we are so caught up in living and being that we start forgetting to go back to the root motivations of why we are where we are.

Though we may have obligations that we cannot avoid and friends that we seem to be unfortunately chained to, we are the only people who can directly alter the course of our fate and emotional stability. It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of life without stepping back to realize that maybe you’re only as unhappy as you’ve made yourself to be. Maybe you’re only unhappy because you do all these things that you hate. In which case, quit. Leave. Stop. Because you are only doing this in apathy, and this is the only thing between you and your happiness. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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