[Serious] Reddit, have you ever at one point in your life felt like an "empty shell", going through the motions of daily life just to get through each day? If so, what helped you get through this phase?

I think everybody at some point feels this to some degree. What worked for me was finding something; a hobby, or more accurately, a passion; that was owned entirely by me. As in, I think the problem many people have is that they spend most of their time doing things that are imposed on them by others, or by society. You go to school, go to work, get your car fixed, fill out your taxes, etc. all out of your own accord. I think this creates some kind of cognitive dissonance in people because you find yourself spending 75% of your waking hours doing things that are not your own. You end up thinking, "well I spend most of my time doing x, y, z, so they must be important," but they're not (to you).

I did really well in college, got one of those jobs that everyone pats you on the back for, took care of all my shit really well, and still I was thinking, "...what the fuck?" I ended up taking up the cello sophomore year of college, and it was the best decision I ever made. I'd tell people I had started taking lessons and they would be skeptical, and it was weird taking lessons in the same caliber as like 6-12 year olds. But it was a 30-60 minute per day commitment and I felt like I completely owned that time, and that was huge. People would try to book me for other things during my once-a-week lessons, and I would just tell them to fuck off (not literally).

So you have to feel, to some degree, that you are in control of at least a portion of your life. Jobs are becoming more demanding for young professionals, and I see a lot of my peers pretty much having their life consumed by their work. That's how you get into that "going through the motions" rut. You need something that you care intensely about, and you feel is completely yours.

But for the love of god do not make that thing a videogame, tv show, or significant other. If it's a person, you will be left in an even worse position if/when you separate (and your commitment to them is contingent on their reciprocation, so it is not your own). Videogames - especially MMOs - and TV shows you can be passionate about, but you will not make real, personal progress in them so 1 year into it you will find yourself looking back and feeling like nothing has changed (nothing has).

/r/AskReddit Thread