Starting things anew


#1

I’m a 26 year-old male.

Moving to a small suburb when I was in grammar school, I was the butt of many jokes - scrawny, wimpy, a “goody-goody Catholic boy,” etc. I hated grammar school, and I didn’t make a lot of friends in high school; most were promiscuous drinkers and drug-users. I wasn’t bothered much, but also developed the reputation of a “goody-goody.” I had a girlfriend for a year, but we parted ways. I sometimes yearned to have a group of buddies, but resigned to the fact I wasn’t around anyone similar.

I went to college, made a great group of friends. We’re mainly still in contact with each other occasionally, but few of us live with nearby each other. I live with my family, and I’d like to move to a place of my own fairly soon.

Now, stuck in the 'burbs, I’ve gone through ups and downs with depression. I’ve had one dark period where I talked to strangers over the Internet and even met them, but we didn’t do any explicit sexual acts. I’m now done with that. I’ve begun to re-establish my relationship with Christ in a new way that I’m building upon every day.

Lately, I’ve been on Facebook a lot and looking at the profiles of people I’m “friends” with; many from grammar and high-school, and a good number from college.
I’ve begun to feel pangs of sadness - they’re photos showing them all out together, having good times at sporting events, concerts, etc. They’re working at good jobs, living at cool addresses, etc. How I wish sometimes that I was involved leading a fun, active life with them as friends. Some of these are people I once hung around with, others were acquaintances that I never was given to opportunity to really associate with. My family isn’t very large or close, so I don’t have them as a social outlet.

I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but I have been feeling like I’m a born loser. I’d like to move into the city and be closer to my work, and maybe take some courses. Yet, I think that if I move out, I’ll isolate myself further from the few friends in my area and I’ll be paying rent to live in solitude. I keep feeling like I’m too old to re-make the group of friends that I once had in college; so many people I know are getting involved in long-term relationships or marriages. I keep regretting that I might have been to avoiding of people in the past, and that I’m too wishy-washy to have any romantic relationships (plus haunted by the emotional affairs I might have done in the past). I also feel like if I stay in the 'burbs, I’ll also drift further into obscurity, cut off from meeting anyone new.

I just want to enjoy my young adult years, be happy, healthy, and live holy as well. I just feel like such a broken puzzle; I don’t know how to start anew (or if it’s worth doing anything at all). Have you ever felt this way?


#2

You absolutely can start life anew! I've done it many times over my life, being a military wife, and before that, a wild child on my own.
Think about first, what interests you professionally to the extreme level. There are many opportunities to serve our nation in many capacities that could use someone like you. I personally joined the Air Force and eventually went on to become a military wife; we spent many years living abroad and having fantastic adventures. I wouldn't trade that for anything. And we still maintain the bonds of friendship with those people we served with.
So think military; Peace Corps; etc. etc.
What about Catholic missions abroad? Perhaps you could teach abroad?
You are still quite young. Don't be afraid to pack everything in storage and take off on a journey. We found that the Lord always took care of us sometimes in miraculous ways.
God bless you!


#3

Why don't you set out to make some great accomplishments?

I recommend joining the military, or at least talk to a recruiter. The military will give you broad shoulders, confidence, education, a resume, etc.

When you are out accomplishing great things everyday, your self reflection will change greatly.

Good luck


#4

Hello Rewind,

Your first couple of paragraphs lead me to believe that you think about the past a lot, and perhaps a bit too often. You are spending a lot of energy thinking over who you used to know or not know, what could have been, or if you had done things differently. Let it go. Don’t know if your depression is serious or just “the blues” but either would benefit from some therapy. Consider it if you would.

Look forward. You can’t change your past. Work at making what you want from life come true. You have a college degree and a job. If you feel stuck in the suburbs and can afford it, then move. If you are lonely, which it sounds like you are, get out of your home, get off facebook (don’t get me started on that…:rolleyes:) and meet some people in person. Create some new memories of your own. Join a church group. Volunteer somewhere. Find your passion for a hobby of some sort and the friends will follow. I know just from reading here at CAF that there are so many women out there looking for a guy like you and vice versa, so you are not alone if that makes you feel any better. :slight_smile: You just haven’t met them yet. But they are out there.

I am glad to hear that you are getting closer to God. He is what may have been missing in your life for a long time. Surrender yourself to His will and ask him to lead you where He wants you to be. May God bless you and guide you.


#5

It’s okay to be a one-man wolfpack for a while, Rewind. I was talking to a friend of mine last night about the pressure for kids to have the ‘time of their lives’ in college. She and I went to college and law school together, and it wasn’t until we went to London our second year of law school that we made tight bonds and ‘had the time of our lives.’

In our conversation last night, we both kind of revealed that until London, we had both individually been depressed that our undergrad experiences weren’t as stellar, socially, as it seemed other kids’ were. But like I said, we eventually hit our stride. Or, ‘found our wolfpack’ so to speak. Now she and I are 34, and 10 years later, we still keep in touch with each other and with our many other friends from London.

So don’t lose faith, my friend, there is no magic time where it all has to come together.


#6

Although I am in a relationship, I frequently feel the way you do about my friends. I'm 28 and had a very close group of friends in college. Over the past several years it seems that everyone (including myself) is busy or has gone in a different direction with their life, and we get together or talk less and less frequently, if at all. It makes me sad a lot of the time. I miss everyone and how it used to be in college. I am one of those people who has a few close friends, as opposed to a lot of friends, and I'm ok with that. Except that there are fewer people around when everyone starts going off in a different direction! I'm often lonely.

And remember that Facebook is a big illusion. You only see what people want you to see. The people who spend all their time updating their statuses are trying to create an impression and get attention. Sometimes I think the same things you do when I see everyone's pictures and what they are doing, because it seems more exciting than my life, but remember that it's easy to create any kind of impression you want on there. The truth is that most people really only have a few people they are close to and could call in the middle of the night with an emergency.

It sounds like maybe you need a change, and seems like you're ready for it, judging by the title of your thread. At 26, I think it's time to think about moving out, even if you move into a place by yourself. I have been taking some classes and meeting people, and it's nice to just talk to people even if they don't end up becoming your best friends. Do you like your job, or are you sort of stagnating? That's what has been happening to me, and beginning to change careers has done wonders for the rut I've been in. Try to make some small changes and switch things up a bit. :)


#7

Thank you, everyone or the thoughtful replies. Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve begun to think about it more and more. I NEVER cared to look back when I was in college. Like a poster who studied in London, I studied in Italy for a semester and loved it. I loved college in general; it was such a great outlet for creativity, learning, and meeting so many different types of positive people. Maybe I always buried these depressing feelings in my interaction with others.

I wouldn’t say my job has “stagnated” for good…but I feel I could move further in my company by going back to school for further training and certification. I know I should be grateful for my job, and I am. I just wonder constantly if I’m doing the right thing by being there. I prayed very hard for this job, and my prayers were answered a year and a half ago when I started here.

I can afford to rent in the city, which isn’t far from my family. I might make a mistake in buying, though. My family is semi-supportive of me moving. One parent thinks I can’t make it on my own and will probably move back when “living on my own” is “out of my system.” Another think I should be far wealthier to do so.

I just want to be happy. Instead, I’m just consumed with worry, insecurity, an loneliness (even though I am reluctant to move too far from the few friends I see the most).


#8

Well, if I was 26 again, and in your situation (I'm not. I'm a grandpa.), these are the things I would keep in mind:

  1. We are always happiest when we are serving others. Find someone to serve. Go to a nursing home and visit the elderly. Most of them have no visitors and have been warehoused like sheep. They're just waiting to die. Bring them some of your cheer! Chat with them and ask them how THEY are doing. Help them, if you can. You'd be surprised at how big small things are to these folks! You'll feel a lot better for it, and so will they!

  2. Serve your parish, if you can. Volunteer to help teach RCIA, visit the sick and shut-ins, teach CCD, etc.

  3. Ratchet up your spiritual life. Daily rosary, daily Mass, etc. Join a spiritual group. Form one, if you have to! Pray for others. Become a lay apostle!

  4. Consider a vocation to the religious life. Maybe you're called to be a brother or a priest. Just think about it. Never having to worry about bills, being fired, what to wear, where to go, etc. Lots of pressure off of modern day living.

Whatever you do, always, always come as a servant of others. :)


#9

Yeah, I have. I was 25 at the time. How old are you? Oh, DUH, I see that was your first sentence!!! I think at ages 25-26 or thereabouts, quite a few young people have a slight case of “is this all there is to life?” I guess you might call it a mild existential crisis, if you were into philosophy. For me, I had gone to work right after high school, never went to college, and had worked at a series of increasingly more responsible and higher-paying jobs. Yet I knew that my peers had all gotten degrees and were working in their chosen fields, while I was plugging away at my admin. assistant job, feeling left behind and a bit jealous.

Long story short, I used my negative feelings to propel me into taking action. I had a supportive boss at the time who urged me to take community college classes (I had never even taken the SAT and wasn’t about to take it at age 25!). He told me that if I got a few community college courses under my belt, I could apply to a 4-year university as a transfer student and I wouldn’t need to take those pre-admissions tests. And, the hospital I worked for had a tuition reimbursement plan, so some of the courses I took were considered job relevant, and the hospital paid about 75% of my tuition for each of those. As soon as I started taking classes, my self-esteem went sky-high. I was nervous as heck, but I did very well, and I loved being back in school as an adult. I had a blast! I did end up transferring to a 4-year university and even though I was the oldest student in my classes, I still loved it and carried all A’s.

I say all this to urge you to take bold action. Figure out where you are blocking yourself. Contemplate those friends of yours who are living what you consider a life you might want, and then go get the qualifications to have that life. You can do it! And if you decide half-way through that you don’t want exactly that life, or if God steers your ship in another direction, then you will at least be in the river, moving along for the next step. My envy of what others had was turned into a positive statement of “I can do that too!” Instead of saying to myself, “I missed my chance,” or, “Why couldn’t I have been like them?” I took the risk and stuck out my neck, and got there. It still took me 10 years to get my BA, but I did a lot of stuff in between, including getting married and having a son.

You know what they say, a rut is just a grave that’s open on both ends. Get out of yours and shake your world up!!!


#10

Silly Juliane. :rolleyes:


#11

And p.s. - once you do move, it will be up to YOU to get out and do things and make friends. You may have to really push yourself to do things you might not even like, just to try it.

The reason I think you are like me when I was 25 is that you said you feel that you are "born loser." That is so how I felt, just like "I'll never be where my friends and peers are. I have missed my chance at that." That is pure cow poop!!! It is never too late. NEVER!!!! All it takes is a little bit of courage and faith in God to lead you!

I see you already have a degree. You can still take courses in some other field.. You can take recreational courses like...I don't know...yoga, or calligraphy, or fly-fishing. Whatever. Some people have found their 2nd career that way, when they find what they really, REALLY love and want to keep doing.


#12

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:11, topic:232149"]
And p.s. - once you do move, it will be up to YOU to get out and do things and make friends. You may have to really push yourself to do things you might not even like, just to try it.

The reason I think you are like me when I was 25 is that you said you feel that you are "born loser." That is so how I felt, just like "I'll never be where my friends and peers are. I have missed my chance at that." That is pure cow poop!!! It is never too late. NEVER!!!! All it takes is a little bit of courage and faith in God to lead you!

I see you already have a degree. You can still take courses in some other field.. You can take recreational courses like...I don't know...yoga, or calligraphy, or fly-fishing. Whatever. Some people have found their 2nd career that way, when they find what they really, REALLY love and want to keep doing.

[/quote]

Well, I'm glad in a way that I'm not the only person under 30 who has ever felt this way. I guess it does fit with the "quarter-life crisis."

I also feel a bit guilty for leaving my parents to live on my own, and I've also gotten guilt trips from them because they've helped me with many things. I'm just not used to opportunities and beneficial things occurring to me. I'm used to making-do with the situation at hand, which usually isn't always positive.

I also recently ended a relationship with a girl a month ago. We had been dating for less than a year. I realized that I'm definitely not like other people out there (I've remained chaste while she was the total opposite), and I'm not experienced in the way of love and dating. I feel like that's also something that I might never be able to get into or experience.


#13

You sound totally fine, brother, honestly.

I have a thought for you: consider a hypothetical 16 year old boy in your parish. He's got some rough years ahead of him, especially in terms of temptation (college, yeesh). If he looks to you, he'll find a man who's weathered that storm with dignity. So what I'm saying is, you may be down on yourself, but the truth is that you might be an inspiration, or a role model to someone else. So try to shed your fears and doubts, and take heart that God has called you to witness to the Gospel actively.

With God by your side, you have every reason to be confident. :thumbsup:


#14

Your parents making you feel guilty about wanting to move out is kind of problematic. You can still be grateful to them for everything without physically living in the same house. It sounds like this might be part of the problem. It’s very hard to move on with your life and make changes if you’re still living with your parents when you’re trying to do it, especially if they are holding you back because they don’t want you to leave. That’s kind of unfair.

Women are also attracted to a man who can support himself. We see it as an indicator that you’d be a good provider. It sounds like you have a good job and do well, so moving out might be a positive step toward being ready for a relationship and marriage.

I know that when I moved out, my whole world changed. I had to figure out who I was without my family, and what I believed in. My faith even grew stronger as a result- I wasn’t just going to church to please my parents, but because I really wanted to. When I moved out, I still lived about 15 minutes away, so I could always go over for dinner or just to visit. My parents encouraged me though, and knew it was time for me to be on my own. It’s too bad that your parents are not being supportive of this, even though you are 26. If you really do want to “start anew”, I think it might be good to find a new living arrangement.


#15

[quote="Rewind4, post:12, topic:232149"]
Well, I'm glad in a way that I'm not the only person under 30 who has ever felt this way. I guess it does fit with the "quarter-life crisis."

I also feel a bit guilty for leaving my parents to live on my own, and I've also gotten guilt trips from them because they've helped me with many things. I'm just not used to opportunities and beneficial things occurring to me. I'm used to making-do with the situation at hand, which usually isn't always positive.

I also recently ended a relationship with a girl a month ago. We had been dating for less than a year. I realized that I'm definitely not like other people out there (I've remained chaste while she was the total opposite), and I'm not experienced in the way of love and dating. I feel like that's also something that I might never be able to get into or experience.

[/quote]

You might want to move out and then do a little therapy to grieve through some of your losses. Not to say that you have had anything huge like deaths of your parents, but these stages you are going through are passages of life, and you are facing some big changes as you move fully into your own life.

I moved out at age 19 - my sister had a roommate and we hit it off as friends, and my sister was driving her crazy b/c the roommate was a military brat and my sister is a slob, so she dumped my sister and we roomed together for several years. It was a blast. I wonder if you'd do better if you had a roommate...just a thought.

You kinda sound mildly depressed. "I might never get to experience." You are setting yourself up as not being able to be normal. You ARE normal. If you think you might be depressed, go see a doctor and talk to him or her. If you need some meds for a little while to get you back to a more positive state of mind, you won't need them forever and your chances of needing meds again are actually a lot less if you treat the depression quickly. If you are a somewhat negative person by nature, then that is just your cross to carry, but not a permanent fixed thing. You can always work on those character defects to improve them!!


#16

^ this 100%

You won’t have time to be dwelling in the past if you are busy helping others and seeing the reality of other people’s lives.

Volunteer for something at church even if it’s not something you particularly enjoy. Do it with humility and accept whatever little job you are assigned. Soon, people will see you as dependable and your role will increase.

In the meantime you will be serving God and making tons of friends. Your self esteem will also increase because it feels good to help others and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying that feeling as long as you have it clear in your head why you are serving and Who is giving you the strength and grace to do so.

You can’t imagine the amount of friends I have made who genuinely seem to care about me. You will hopefully create a group of like minded friends who will be your support when you do move out. I’m pretty ok living alone but I know it’s not for everyone especially if you don’t have anyone to talk to when you’re feeling low.

Forge ahead and keep your eyes in Christ, he will never desert you!


#17

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:15, topic:232149"]
You might want to move out and then do a little therapy to grieve through some of your losses. Not to say that you have had anything huge like deaths of your parents, but these stages you are going through are passages of life, and you are facing some big changes as you move fully into your own life.

[/quote]

I've been seriously thinking of therapy once I move out.

As for my parents, they could benefit from it, too on their own. My sister lives with friends at her school, but I'm doing something "wrong" by wanting to strike out on my own, especially because I'm single (which I feel is part of the problem why I'm at home, and vice-versa). I'm not saying at all that I should co-habitate, but like others said, girls are attracted to guys who are in control of their lives. A 26 year-old guy living at home is...well, a 26 year-old guy living at home.


#18

:smiley: Yeah, unless there are special circumstances, it’s a little red flag to see a guy still living at home after college.

Is your sister younger than you are? I don’t know why your parents don’t want you leave the nest, but you need to go no matter what they think/feel/want. It’s not easy to cut the apron strings but every “child” has to grow those wings to fly away!

Not to be nosy, but is there any excess drinking in your family?


#19

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:18, topic:232149"]
:D Yeah, unless there are special circumstances, it's a little red flag to see a guy still living at home after college.

Is your sister younger than you are? I don't know why your parents don't want you leave the nest, but you need to go no matter what they think/feel/want. It's not easy to cut the apron strings but every "child" has to grow those wings to fly away!

Not to be nosy, but is there any excess drinking in your family?

[/quote]

Well, quite a large number of my friends moved in with their parents after college. We're called "The Boomerang Generation" for a reason...

It took me awhile to find a full-time professional job after college due to the nasty economy, and even then I kept my part-time job on the side for added income. I live in a metropolitan area with a high cost of living, coupled with strong competition as a regional magnet for labor.

As for "drinking," both sides of my family do not drink at all, nor smoke or do drugs (both sides are very devout Catholics)....so just because people have certain dysfunctions doesn't automatically make them alcoholics :rolleyes:


#20

I feel your pain of being 'a born looser'. But.... praying and taking little steps every day does help. Unfortunately, you need to patience to wait forever before you feel better.

And one thing about pictures, the cameras can EASILY lie. After all, a good photograpehr always knows what light and angle to use.

I look back at my university days and remember feeling like a total misfit. But guess what, I have tons of pictures that would make you think I was the most popular girl on campus. Pull out a camera at a party and most people put on a happy face and put their arms around people they don't even know for the pose.

To be honest half the people in my old photos, I never really was friends with. In my day, you couldn't get the roll of film developped until all the 24 picutres were shot so I would take a picture of anything just to be able to see the one picture I cared about.

Believe it or not a lot of those 'people with a great life' secretly envie you. They are thinking 'what is his secret, he can live without the pressure to keep up. Wish I had what he's got'

CM


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