The anxiety of not knowing what I’m living for haunts me

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a 25-year-old woman. Sometimes, I feel crushed by a vague feeling of anxiety that I don’t know what I’m living for.

I changed jobs in the third year of my previous one. When it comes to romantic relationships, I feel like I’m only meeting people to fill the void of loneliness rather than going out with those I’ve actually come to like.

I have no hobbies and spend most of my free time at home because I’m not energetic nor active. Financially, I make just enough to enjoy living alone but cannot save any money.

I feel bitter when I think about how I need to save more money, cook for myself, live a meaningful life and find someone special. I’m at the point where people about my age get married, have babies or work hard on their career. It’s hard to realize that I haven’t grown up and haven’t done anything. I’ve never stuck with anything probably because I’m fickle. I’m scared to think that time will go on like this, and that thought makes me wonder why I exist.

I’m sorry for my parents and grandparents because I feel like this. I wonder if anyone else sometimes feels this sort of anxiety.

— D, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. D:

I think it’s wonderful that you work and have enough money to enjoy living alone. The biggest problem is that you think of yourself as a person who has done nothing and has not grown.

It’s time to free yourself from what you think a 25-year-old should be, and from the idea that you have to be the same as everyone else.

Saving is not just about money. You can save up enough strength to live on your own in the future by investing in yourself and building up your skills. As you expand your perspectives in this way, you will find someone special.

Perhaps the reason why you cannot stick with things is not because you are fickle, but because the things you are doing may not suit you. That’s probably why you can’t concentrate and can’t continue. Try different things and find something that is right for you or that you can focus on.

In doing so, don’t think about how you must be the same as others, but value your own thoughts and feelings, such as “This looks right for me.”

— Junko Umihara, psychiatrist