Over the last few years I’m increasingly picking up on a vibe in the cultural gestalt in which people very consistently talk about feelings of isolation and inadequacy. The theme seems to be, “I’m different,” or “I’m misunderstood,” or “I’m suffering from things beyond my control.” I feel like other people won’t share my interests, or that sometimes I have weird ideas that no one else has - or would even understand. When I was growing up, I always felt like everyone else in the world got a copy of life’s instruction manual and I didn’t, because they seemed to just ‘know’ how things worked, or how to be successful, or how to get along with people, and I didn’t.
But I’m increasingly becoming aware that these seem to be common sentiments. Some of them even have names, such as ‘Impostor Syndrome.’ I was watching a movie the other day that discussed some of these themes, and it occurred to me that these ideas wouldn’t be the basis for movies unless they were very common and relatable problems that people have. I’m also increasingly aware that things that were ‘nerdy’ or ‘stupid’ when I was a child are actually multimillion (or -billion) dollar industries that are very mainstream.
So what gives? Somehow I doubt society and pop culture radically re-oriented itself. It seems more likely that these are common ideas that most people have. I mean, I always thought most people on Earth were happy and accepted, and everyone understood them, and they never had any disagreeable private thoughts, and they only had very practical and mainstream interests and hobbies and careers, and they certainly never experienced any moments of frustration or loneliness or self-doubt.
Is this seriously what it’s like for everyone? This feeling of anomie and isolation and uncertainty? Is this how * everyone else* feels?