Because being great is hard work, and good enough is good enough.
1. Work at a mediocre job
Your job has little to do with what you studied in college or what you wanted to be when you grew up. It requires you to sit or stand (one or the other – not both) for hours at a time in order to complete tasks that are urgent but not important.
Your supervisor is either overly invested in your work or completely absent, but their evaluation determines any future raises and promotion potential.
Your salary is enough to cover your regular bills and expenses, but not quite enough to keep you from worrying about whether you can pay off your credit card in full every month.
You find respite in the form of colleagues who are equally as frustrated, unhappy, and burned out as you are.
2. Create a romantic life that is lacking
If you’re single, you are either 1) not actively dating but holding out hope that you’re one Starbucks visit away from meeting “the One” or 2) frequently going out on first dates with prospective partners who are emotionally unavailable, interested only in a physical relationship, boring, and/or with whom you share little in common.
You and your friends complain about the lack of good options, often over alcoholic beverages, except for that one friend who is in a happy, committed relationship and enjoys making out in public. You are both jealous and in awe of this friend.
If you are in a committed relationship, you have a comfortable, lackluster life that is built on routine and responsibility. While you love your partner, you long for the early days of your relationship that sparked with excitement and joy.
Your conversations generally revolve around money (your lack of it), sex (your lack of it), and household duties (parenting, housecleaning, bill paying, etc.).
You socialize primarily with other married couples whose relationships are also safe but boring, except for that one couple who still have fun together and enjoy making out in public. You are both jealous and in awe of this couple.
3. Maintain average physical health
You are not suffering from any chronic or serious health conditions, but you consistently feel tired and wish you had more energy. You are juuust slightly over-/underweight, and your diet consists primarily of restaurant take-out or food that comes out of boxes.
You exercise occasionally, simultaneously feeling annoyed that it leaves you breathless and sweaty, and guilty that you don’t do it more often.
You regularly stay up too late, usually due to a Netflix or video game binge, which results in bleary-eyed, coffee-fueled mornings.
4. Stay busy and unfulfilled
Despite a schedule that keeps you perpetually on the go, at the end of each day you feel unproductive and have little to show for your frantic pace and chaotic efforts. Your calendar is filled with events in which you have little to no interest yet feel compelled to attend.
The small amount of free time you do have is spent in front of the television or computer (see Netflix or video game binge above). You wish you had time for a hobby, but you don’t even know what hobby you’d choose anyway.
Occasionally, you indulge in a night out with your friends, which becomes an alcohol-fueled venting session about how busy your lives are.
5. Feel mildly disconnected from yourself and everything around you
Although it appears like you have your shit together, you sometimes question if this is really all there is to life. You think about who you were ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, and wonder if your younger self would recognize who you’ve become today.
If you ascribe to a particular religion or spiritual framework, you sometimes attend services or practice your faith, but you feel uninspired, like you’re just going through the motions.
If you’re honest with yourself, you want more meaning and purpose in your life, but aren’t sure where or how to find it. Deep down, you wonder if this sense of disconnection is just part of who you are.