How Having an Existential Crisis Saved My Life


Hi, my name is Cher Johnson. I am a 28 year old woman living in downtown Los Angeles. I have a steady job, a boyfriend I like very much, and a future I very much look forward to. Or, at least, I thought that I did. I thought those things were true, but now, I’m not so sure. You see, last week I had an existential crisis, my first, and now I can feel myself spiraling out of control. The wildest thing? I have come to believe that the only way for me to save my life is to lean into this thing and let it take me for a ride. I’m not saying you should do this for yourself, but I am blogging this so if I get a book deal who knows.


Step one is pretty simple: have a crisis. I know this sounds difficult, but trust me when I tell you it isn’t. For me, it was as simple as accidentally watching a documentary about black holes. I was told for the first time in my life that there are voids larger than my world flying across the universe and that I am nothing in the big picture of it all. The next thing I knew I was riding a motorcycle away from Los Angeles without looking back.


I made my way across the desert and passed through towns big and small. I eventually arrived in a city just outside Salt Lake where a group of commune farmers took me in. In exchange for a room and the occasional meal, I would just have to do some gardening with them every other Saturday. Not a bad deal if you ask me. Again, I’m not saying this should be your step two. All I can tell you that it is working for me.


Step three is what I like to call Total Separation. Essentially, in order to save your life and start a new one, you need to burn all of your bridges and never look back. I sent a nasty letter to my work, ensuring I would be fired. I had a close friend convince my boyfriend that I had left the country under suspicious circumstances, but that is only because I am a drama queen. As far as my future goes, I can’t see anything beyond the horizon and that’s how I like it. Now it’s just me and the open road, with nothing to slow me down.


Oh god, I haven’t heard from any of my friends in a couple of days. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone cold turkey. This is too much. This life is too short for me to be acting this way. Oh no, it’s happening again. Maybe I shouldn’t have just jumped into the first crisis, maybe I should have felt a few out before burning my bridges.


Too bad, I guess. There’s no turning back now. Full speed ahead, baby. Let’s eat the sun.






This article was written by Nathan Ellwood, who would like to see you try. Follow him for more on Twitter @NPEllwood.


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