Crossing limits and lines, how I almost killed myself

We live in such a weird world and sheep are prevalent throughout (nothing wrong with being a sheep mind you).

This is a picture that I saw on reddit

Notice the man in the car is following the herd and you know who the herder is? Society. I will more than likely receive flack for this post, but I think it must be done. I too am a sheep, one that has many fears and looks toward the almighty society for validation and protection.

It all started when I was a boy, I wanted the latest and greatest but our family wasn’t the most well off and that’s when I had the brilliant idea that I would become rich one day. I muddled my way through school and started college. Originally I majored into Finance but decided to switch to something else because I didn’t want to gamble other people’s money. Along came a woman named Ina who convinced me to go the Accounting route and I switched over. I was accepted for an internship with United States Army as a contractor for a company called Vista Sciences Corporation. Of course I was gung ho about coming, counting down the days until I would leave on January 22, 2011. When I finally arrived in the Quad City Airport I was ecstatic to see snow and be able to make money while experiencing living on my own. How so very wrong I would be.

Walking out of the airport I see white stuff falling from the sky and the cold air whip across my face with negative number wind chill. I drove with another intern to my apartment where I set up my home away from home and began to live. Several weeks go by and the lack of vitamin D from a clouded out sun makes me start to feel a bit depressed. As my time here goes on I feel more and more depressed as I continue to work in a building where no one cares about the work, there are no windows, and I must be there. All of this suffering for $500 / week pre-tax and a little less than $400 / week after tax. Despite moving from the crippling heat of South Florida to the ice cold weather of Iowa / Illinois, I found myself in Hell.

Now things have changed slightly. I’ve turned down another shot at interning here because in the end I would have to move back up here and it just isn’t for me. Even though the money is great for my net worth statements it isn’t good for my mental health seeing nothing but gloomy days. I’ve come so close to killing myself while here mentally (not in the physical sense, more like shutting down). I’ve gone through depression by not being able to see anything but work. You never feel so cornered when friends are busy and you have nothing to do for hours on end. The world isn’t the same and you suffer a paradigm shift of the worst sort. Speaking to my girlfriend I’ve tried to call it off several times because it felt like she had no time to talk (we’ve both been busy). My friends who I loved playing games with online, I no longer enjoyed. My brother who I could sit around and shoot the wind with, I could no longer spend two minutes with. Such sad and terrible traits seclusion has brought out from me. This was my first foray out from my house and invaluable lessons have been gained.

The first lesson that I’ve learned is that I can live on very little. Give me some shelter, a bit of food and I’ll survive. I won’t be happy without people but my heart will beat and my lungs will take in air. Minimalism is the way to go, there is no need for me to take my house with me, unless I can stick a friend or two in my suitcase. While money is great, it doesn’t make me happy in the least. Finally time is a finite resource and no amount of money will change that. Finally if you focus on money you’ll lose sight of everything else.

I’m not a religious person but while here I’ve been giving death some thought. Regardless of what type of life you live, whether you are poor or rich you will still die. Knowing this it really made me question where I’m going in life. Endless money thus far hasn’t made me happy, maybe I can sleep better at night knowing I have food but that’s about it. Every morning I worry about people losing faith in it, the forex market killing the dollar, and the government printing away its worth. Materialistic things definitely don’t make me happy, I’ve never felt so good having so few things. On the flip side of money and materialistic goods being 100% isolated from my friends and family definitely hasn’t done my mental health any good. Maybe it’s as my good friend Omar says “moderation is key”. Could it mean that for now I simply combine family, friends and minimalism? It would be a simple solution to a big problem, and might as well experiment.

I guess we’ll see where life takes me. Either way my attitude needs to change and I need to be happier. Millions of people would kill to be in my place. Having read Siddhartha, he goes through something similar and settles for a path of solitude. If I can fulfill my basic necessities independently regardless of what ideology I choose I will be in better shape.

 

Thank you for reading this boring rant. What do you think besides me being crazy?

 

11 thoughts on “Crossing limits and lines, how I almost killed myself

  1. LifeAndMyFinances

    I moved from Michigan to South Florida (opposite of you), and I hated it. The lack of family and friends really took its toll on my wife and I. We have recently moved back to the cold and frigid state of Michigan. I love it.

    I liked the cartoon by the way. I’m trying not to get caught up in the hype of society. I mean, who wants to be an angry man stuck in traffic?

    Reply
  2. Squirrelers

    I think you’re not at all crazy:) Rather, you’re learning some lessons when younger.

    It’s not worth trading happiness for money or professional opportunities. You’re figuring out what you need, and how you feel without things you need…or even want (2 are different but both are important). That’s a good thing, in the big picture.

    This isn’t a permanent situation for you, and I’m guessing you’re be stronger for it.

    In the cartoon, I would rather be the guy walking….no cares in the world, no stress. That seems like success to me….as long as the money part is taken care of, naturally :)

    Reply
  3. Money Cone

    “I’m not a religious person but while here I’ve been giving death some thought.”

    Hey atheists die and think about death too!! :)

    But seriously, you make a great point Ravi! Like everything in life, balance is the key! A homeless person doesn’t have to worry about mortgages for 30 years unlike the rest of us! But he has to think about his next meal which we take for granted!

    Reply
  4. Money Reasons

    Wow, you came to Iowa during a hard part of the winter season. I understand where you would be coming from! Shoot, even the state I’m from wears on me during the long winter months. During the summer, I think you would find that you are rejuvinated though.

    A lot of what you describe is similar to my existance too. I feel like I live in the 4th row over in Cubeville… No close windows and basically I feel like a cog in a machine. Most of my family (while growing up) were small business owners, and while they were constantly working, they seemed pretty happy. I’m not as busy, but I’m not as content either.

    Perhaps the way of the entrepreneur is your way too? Either way, I wish you well and encourage you to look for nuggets of enjoyment even in the bleakest of places.

    Reply
  5. Money Rabbit

    What an interesting post! I recently discovered that I also don’t need very much – the trouble is getting rid of all the stuff that I have accumulated!

    And it’s okay to want to become rich, I decided the same thing too when I was a kid. But in my experience these periods of stagnation are always just a blip in the system before major change, almost like the world is preempting the huge shift that’s about to take place by giving you mind-numbing same-old for awhile, in order to maintain balance.

    Contemplating death may be seem as morbid to some, spiritual to others. Medieval monks used to keep relics of death (like skulls) in their cells to remind themselves of the finite nature of life.

    Reply
  6. Romeo

    Whoa!

    Its sounds to me that you are more depressed about the move than the job. Now if chasing riches was your sole purpose of the move, which has now obviously taken away your previous social life, then I suppose I understand your argument.

    Nevertheless, I still think there is some conflicting parts that needs to be cleared.

    Do you think that you are working too hard for $400 per week?
    Do you think the move wasn’t worth the $400 per week?
    Is it really the minimalist movement that you’re after? Because when it’s all said and done, you’ll still a job that apparently don’t like and a bunch of friends of whom are still fairly busy. To me the minimalist movement is about cutting down on things, not income.

    If there is one thing that I’d give as advice, Ryan, is that you shouldn’t bust your ass in a job that you don’t like if you don’t have to. Your solution, from my perspective, is to start searching for jobs back in Florida. I transferred out of a job where my salary would have been $120,000 per year, to be comfortable in a job making only $80,000, Money is definitely not everything. The higher pay wasn’t worth the time spent away from home, the unacceptable quality of life in relationship to my personal desires, and the lack of structure in the job.

    In any case, I want you to know that I’ve been where you are. And although by tight schedule is mainly self-inflicted (blog, book, working out, grad school, reading other blogs, and so on), I think that they are necessary means to a much desired end.

    I’ll be done with grad school in two weeks, after that, feel free to hit me up on Xbox Live. I’ll show you want Hell looks like after a few games of Call of Duty Black Ops. :-)

    Romeo

    Reply
  7. Jonathan Harms

    Heavy stuff:) I can relate as I moved to Tennessee from up north. It is said that home is where your heart is and most of the time people who say that are really telling you to get your heart where you are now. But, I had a hard away from family. When I was interning in TN, an executive said to me, “Jon, if you want to get where I am…There WILL be a sacrafice that will come up. And if you want to get here, you have to choose to make that sacrafice.” Mine came up, it was not having the ability to be close to my family and I chose not to make it.
    I now make about 75% what I could’ve made, but I am happy and content. The pay cut is just a lifestyle tax.

    Reply
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  9. JT McGee

    Great post, Ravi.

    Very introspective and a great read. I hope all works out for you, and you find exactly what it is that keeps you ticking. I know what you mean when you talk about falling in the routine of work, and not life. It’s definitely not good for the long-haul.

    Reply
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