How to overcome feeling lost, aimless, confused, and alone? Thirty years into my life, I feel like I haven't accomplished anything, and I'm not sure how to go about achieving the things I want from where I am (physically, mentally, and emotionally) right now.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
Most days are an attempt to avoid dealing with the fact that I feel like I am a failure.
I'm in my early 30's, male, unemployed, and living with my father in southern Riverside county (CA, U.S.A.). I've had exactly one relationship in my life that lasted more than a few weeks (and she was very emotionally abusive). The others I can count on one hand.
I have a bachelor's degree in psychology, but now I feel like maybe I just got it because of external influences rather than a true desire to pursue any work in the field. It took me 11 years just to earn that degree. I spent most of my time post-high school in and out of community college. I don't feel – nor have I ever felt – especially drawn towards any specific field of study. I find many things fascinating, but none so much that I feel like I want to dedicate my life to them.
I am a chronic procrastinator. I put important things off until the very last possible moment that I could get them done. I was frequently late to my last job. I would often wait until the day of an exam to study for it. I have trouble finding the motivation to do things (even things that I find enjoyable), and I am very good at finding excuses. I'm not very good at making long-term plans and I'm worse at sticking to them. I fear that this is the result of over a decade spent in front of a computer screen. I fear that the nature of online interaction has shortened my attention span. I rarely read whole websites anymore. Instead, I often open new pages and they sit in my browser until they get closed or filed away.
I used to be able to read a 400 page novel in a day or two. Now, it takes me months.
Whenever I am away from a computer, I fear I'm missing something cool and/or some opportunity to socialize with people on Twitter or Facebook (and hopefully earn their acceptance/respect).
I feel completely overwhelmed when I think of actually trying to read and critically process information from the various websites, blogs, books, and other media that I want or think I should take in.
I have no truly local friends. My last local circle of friends broke apart years ago. They were all emotionally unhealthy in different ways, but they were all that I had. I have a loose group of acquaintances that I meet with weekly now but despite their attempts to reach out to me, I've resisted forming closer bonds with them because many seem set in their ways, and their ways are antithetical to what I think I want out of my life. I don't want to let them make me complacent. And they all live 30 minutes or more away.
There are other people I'd consider friends in my life but they all live far away. Some are in northern California. One is in Virginia; she's moving back here next month, but she'll still live an hour away. My oldest friend lives on the east coast. Another, who is probably my closest friend, lives in Texas and I've never even met her face-to-face; we've only ever communicated online and on the phone.
Even among people who I should get along with, I feel left out because they tend to quote things or make other references to things that I've never read or seen or even heard of. Or they'll reference things I have seen, but I won't get the reference. My brain just doesn't seem to work like that. Sometimes they'll have long, drawn out, intelligent conversations on topics that I'm just passingly familiar with. It leaves me feeling very out-of-the-loop or behind the curve at best, and uncool and dumb at worst.
Sometimes it seems like my brain doesn't process things the same way most do.
I feel like a jack of some trades, master of none.
I've never had a large circle of friends, and I often feel like I have to constantly prove myself in any given group. At the same time, I highly resent and dislike people who are “too” popular/“cool” and who have hangers-on and yes-men/women surrounding them. The only time where I consistently feel at-home and among people who I can understand and relate to (and visa-versa) is in a scholastic setting. However, even that doesn't guarantee anything. My entire university tenure (2 years) didn't net me any long-standing friendships. Nor did any of my years at the community college. I am not a very social person, and though I'm usually open-minded, I can also be very judgmental and picky at times.
For years, I've spent the vast majority of my time when I wasn't obligated to be elsewhere seated in front of my computer. It's a habit I picked up in junior high. I socialize a lot online.
I resent living here. I've been in this small town for 20 years, and its been 10 since I moved back in with my father. It's to the point now that I actively avoid interaction with him as much as possible. Seeing him, or even talking with him is the single most potent reminder that I've managed to accomplish very little with my life. Even little habits that he has annoy me, now.
I've avoided looking for work as much as possible since being laid off over a year ago. Sometimes I tell myself its because I think I should be able to find something better than a retail or other service job. I have a degree now. That should count for something. Sometimes I tell myself its because I might go back to school. Honestly, it's because going out and seeking a job would only likely depress me more and make me deal with the fear that I'll end up stuck in this little town for the rest of my life. I want to get out of here. I want to move away. I want my own life. This is not where I thought I'd be at this point in my life.
I fear failure. I also fear “growing up” and getting stuck in some boring job just to pay bills.
My unemployment benefits will start running out sooner than later. I'm already behind on at least one student loan because Chase seems to be completely unforgiving of my situation. Add to that a couple of near-maxed out credit cards and a dwindling savings account.
In my perfect life, I am a published author. I write stories about magic and technology. In my spare time I am an architect. I design buildings that at once both evoke the past and embrace the future. I am an amateur photographer. Occasionally I go on long hikes or bike rides, before the storms roll back in and I retire to my home where I brew up hot tea and read while thunder rattles the windows. On the weekends I go to rock concerts and goth/industrial clubs. At least once a month, I travel somewhere to experience something new or visit old friends and family. Preferably both. Every week people come over to play video and analog games. I have a small circle of close friends who I can trust with personal musings and chat with at length about life, the universe, and everything. Many of these people live within a few minutes drive, so we can visit each other without much advance planning necessary. Oh, and I have a huge library and regularly drop in on college courses, because at heart I am a perpetual student.
I have tried a couple times to seek counseling, but both times I was met with someone who just wanted to deal with surface issues. They showed little or no interest in helping me deal with what seems to me to be a mix of low self-esteem, possibly depression, and some attention/concentration problems.
I don't know what to do with myself at this point.
Temp e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org