I'm a 21 year old guy, the youngest of four in our family.
I grew up in a small church in a small town... Fundamental Christian Baptist. This religion mainly made me feel guilty and self conscious of how sheltered I was. I attended the christian school in the basement of that church, in which I was enrolled until my Junior year. My father was the principal of this tiny private school, my mother the secretary. Around this time I began to claim agnosticism and strife in my family began. Against my parents wishes I enrolled in the local public school, made a few "friends" I was ashamed to be friends with (unattractive, simple, ignorant)... and graduated mostly lonely.
A few months after graduation I went to a tech school where I lived in a 12th story apt and was paying though the nose for tuition. After 1 semester I realized how MASSIVE a mistake it was to go to this school.
After hearing of my situation, my sister in law's brother offered me a room in his house for $400/ month including food. I dropped out of school and lived with him.
I enrolled in another tech school just outside of a rough city. I got myself a full-time job at a retirement community, waiting tables. I was there for 1.5 years.
I have been attending this tech school for two years now where I have not made one friend, and have come to realize the extreme importance of environment. Most of the students there have no hygene, no class, are latinos or blacks or adults from very broken family backgrounds. Many live in complete poverty and are living off of government aid programs. I respect none of them. The "education" is a joke. I have invested far too much to leave now. No credits are transferable. Nine more months to go.
My parents gave me $1,500 towards school and since leaving home a few months after graduating high school, I knew I would never return.
Nine months ago I landed an amazing long-term full-time job at a (Christian) software company in the wealthiest county in the state of Pennsylvania... at which time I got an apartment. My career in IT has begun. This has been my dream for years. It has come true, and I have done it mostly on my own. I have achieved more in the past few years than I thought was personally possible. However, I am now not sure that the ends justify the means... read on-
I'm 100% independent and financially stable. I skydive, snow ski, work with millions of dollars of production computer equipment as a career... own a motorcycle, a car... and I'm doing almost everything I've always wanted to. I have never touched drugs... and can almost count on my hands the times I have drank alcohol. My self confidence/ assertiveness has increased ten fold since leaving home.I feel entirely too mature for my age, and cannot relate to anyone on the same level unless they are 25ish or older.
I am a perfectly healthy, educated, successful guy, who, I wouldn't say is unattractive in the least. That "success" is only measured in my career situation, though. In every other way possible I feel completely bankrupt. I have worked full-time for the past few years... all while attending school mostly full-time and never once taking out a loan. I have spend well over $25,000 in tuition/ book expenses. To achieve this I have (unknowingly) put myself into a situation for the past few years where I can relate to none of the people I am around. My only friends are two of my brothers, and one girl from my childhood. I have called my parents more than once crying and asking them what I should do. The answer is always "attend a good church, that's all".
In conclusion, I struggle with bitterness of my sheltered upbringing. Having almost no friends... I have almost no guidance for life decisions, etc. I am incessantly introspective on a daily basis. I feel incredibly selfish in every action I take. I am ashamed of my pathetic situation... and the school I chose to attend at 19. I fully believe that my parents subconsciously write me off as somewhat an outsider because of my religious claims. However, they love me and I love them. I feel very defensive anytime I attend any of my brothers churches. Currently, I claim agnosticism... and see Christianity (and most religion) as nothing more than a social thing. Sure, it works... but does this mean Jesus lived and God exists? I have no desire to attend church, but, based on my background, I see it as one of the best ways to not be alone. I has thrown my Christian background to the curb... where did that get me? Even if I am right about my beliefs it seems so foolish to had ever claimed agnosticism. No God is no fun.... life is so much easier/ explainable/ bearable with a God. If I could eat a pill and believe in God, I would. I would almost give anything for that pill.
Looking for insight from some elders or anyone that dug them self out of my situation,