And By That, I Meant America
So... 80 clicks and then I can comment, now what was I going to say?
Oh hey... Yes...
I have been reading a book called Inner Engineering by an enlightened yogi from India (if you wait long enough, I'll remember his name... might be a very long wait)... he made a comment that your post reminded me of, so I thought I'd share it...
You said 'I used to think depression was an unfortunate side-effect of life. Today, I understand that depression is our steady-state, and happiness is the outlier.'
He says something like, 'everyone is looking for peace, because in their existence peace is the furthest thing from their reality...' He goes on to talk about how enlightenment isn't 'peace' but joy, the baseline of human feelings once everything else (reactive) is scraped away.
This is why enlightened monks smile and laugh so much --it's not peace.
Peace is what is missing from our modern lives (peace and connection --what I sell to parents in my coaching) ... because we're constantly evaluated, in endless competition (from daycare on...) to be first, special, the best.
Whenever I point out to people that this level of competition and evaluation is neither natural nor helpful (and completely unnecessary) people look at me like I have 3 heads.
So, instead of examining the Field (because 100% of human endeavors, from that vantage point, are vapid), examine within...
Go beneath the 'smartest )or wittiest) in the class' ... beneath the sparkling cocktail party banter ... beneath the 'hunter of jobs' to why you do what you do...
What breathes life into YOU... as a writer (the simple joy of making yourself smirk? the fun of getting a couple of readers to <3 it? Here, I'll make it 3... the lightness of a new perspective? the raw human experience of discovering what you think and feel by putting it in words? something else?)
What did you enjoy about being 'in marketing'? That's not gone.
P.S. Maybe it's time for you to branch out on your own ... take your courses, and your writing, and build your own playground, your way :)