45 votes

What's missing from your life?

A bit of a darker or at least more introspective question than I usually ask, but I think it's a valid one and something worth considering. It's something I've been grappling with recently myself.

As you reflect on your life, is there something which makes its absence known? Something you wish you had, but don't? Do you think you'll ever be able to change, fill, fix, or work around it? Do you think it'll change with time or remain permanent? How does the missing whatever-it-is impact your life?

A final note: given that people are likely going to be sharing some difficult stuff, it's important to remember that empathic listening, particularly online, isn't usually about offering solutions. Questions are often better than answers in conversations of this type.

77 comments

  1. [20]
    cadadr Link
    I need friends. I had a troubled adolescence, and in my late teens did away with the few friends I had back then because I found we didn't have much anything in common. In uni I was keen on...

    I need friends. I had a troubled adolescence, and in my late teens did away with the few friends I had back then because I found we didn't have much anything in common. In uni I was keen on growing my social network, but I lost my dad to cancer very unexpectedly right in the middle of it and that really disoriented me, and I couldn't really socialise. Now, as a 25yo, I am at a difficult position where I need to start over, and there will be huge changes to my life in the coming months due to education (I may need to move to another city, or abroad), it may end up being harder or easier based on that, but I am really feeling my general loneliness these days. That I have a rather small family and half of them live abroad since decades don't help. I'm sure going back to school, taking some language courses, and finding work will help, but I do wish I had some, at least one childhood friend. That is something I am kinda jealous of.

    I suuck at taking initiatives in social contexts: once someone else takes the initiative with me, I am an outgoing, fairly extroverted person; but otherwise I am a social sloth, I guess. Or maybe subconsciously I am avoiding complexity, instability and/or responsibility? That's something I frequently ask myself, and get varying answers.

    31 votes
    1. [2]
      Arshan Link Parent
      I can really agree with that. I just graduated college, and while I definitely wasn't that social, it was comfortable and familiar. I am terrified that I won't make new friends, since I'm also a...

      I can really agree with that. I just graduated college, and while I definitely wasn't that social, it was comfortable and familiar. I am terrified that I won't make new friends, since I'm also a social sloth. Usually, I am fairly optimistic, but there are still shitty times when I don't have much hope. All I can say is a wish you the best

      5 votes
      1. cadadr Link Parent
        Thanks! And, do be optimistic! I don't mean to advice or anything, just that, looking back where I started a few years ago as a deeply depressive boy at the end of his teens, in my experience this...

        Thanks! And, do be optimistic! I don't mean to advice or anything, just that, looking back where I started a few years ago as a deeply depressive boy at the end of his teens, in my experience this stuff can be dealt with. Nobody that succeeds (I'm not there yet, but up close) is a unique snowflake, it's about perseverance (in my experience). I wish you the best too!

        1 vote
    2. [15]
      suspended Link Parent
      Will you tell me of your adventures abroad or otherwise?

      Will you tell me of your adventures abroad or otherwise?

      3 votes
      1. [14]
        cadadr Link Parent
        Sure... If I only had a vague idea of where I'm gonna end up... Basically, my situation is that, I want to become a researcher in linguistics, and currently I'm a BA in literature. I've been...

        Sure... If I only had a vague idea of where I'm gonna end up... Basically, my situation is that, I want to become a researcher in linguistics, and currently I'm a BA in literature. I've been studying since last September. Thursday I'll have an exam with the uni I'm currently applying, the Bogazici University, which is here in Istanbul (and one of the best public schools in the country). Should I succeed, there are a couple other factors that might fuck it up for me: I may drop the ball at the interview the following day, or I might end up failing an exam I took 5th of may which is required for entry, so nothing is 100%, I'd say I have a 60% chance of qualifying. If I hit the 40% case, I'll have to apply to two other schools, one in Ankara, the other in Izmir. Because linguistics is not my BA, it is a PITA to find anything with good funding abroad at this point. If I fail all (very unlikely), then things are complicated because we have compulsory military service and my student's permit will finish around june 2020, and there is no force on this fucking earth that may put me through the brainwashing torture that is basic training. I simply will not learn how to murder for the state and to get killed for it.

        Education sucks here in Turkey. The govt has been on a crusade on it since day one, because up until recently nobody with a hint of education supported them unless they provided direct corrupt benefits. Legislation and procedures change all the time, non-aligned staff is mobbed and impeded in a million subtle and not-so-subtle ways, all the bureaucratic, and recently academic positions are infested with corrupt and aligned fuckers. It is a battle to get any education for anyone who's honestly pursuing knowledge and science. I'm fed up with it, and the general anti-intellectual culture, so I want to go abroad where my profession is valued and the fucking government is not present in every angle of your life. Trouble is, I'm broke, and it is hard/impossible to find funding for master's, so I'll have to wait for my PhD. I have at least one relative that's willing to help me with some or all of the funding for a master's abroad, but that's too much to accept for me to feel free in my decisions and I simply can't stomach it TBH. I want to do this on my own, honourably. I'm fairly sure I'll easily find a PhD with stipend somewhere in Europe should I not fail qualifying for master's here.

        Where that somewhere will be is unclear. Preferably it should be some place with some Turkish expat population where I can study variation, but frankly that doesn't even really matter because linguistics is more of a study of Language with big-L, rather than any particular language. All I want from this world is, just let me geek out on my thing at a university, free from fools in suits and ties that mess up the individuals' lives remotely at a parliament building. I'm fairly epicurean, but the conditions here are still untolerable.

        Besides, I was always obsessed with being an expat, even before I had a need for it. I just love the idea of having a whole new reality to discover, standing on nothing but my own two feed, and maybe being the odd one out, the interesting alien.

        Sorry for the burst of whatever is in my head, apparently I'm nervous and needed an outlet :)

        9 votes
        1. [3]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          Back when I wanted to go back into higher education, I had my eyes on a good university. Not Moscow, not Saint Petersburg, but one that's decently-far away from home and in the city I fell in love...

          Should I succeed, there are a couple other factors that might fuck it up for me: I may drop the ball at the interview the following day, or I might end up failing an exam I took 5th of may which is required for entry, so nothing is 100%

          Back when I wanted to go back into higher education, I had my eyes on a good university. Not Moscow, not Saint Petersburg, but one that's decently-far away from home and in the city I fell in love with. There was a requirement on the BA program I aimed for: a state exam on History, no less than X points. So I reckoned I'll take the shot, 'cause I liked the prospect of living in Novosibirsk for a few years.

          I let the fear of failure overcome me and didn't start preparing until a month before the exam – which is when I went into overdrive. I was almost shaking, yet I put myself into it. Read the Wikipedia pages, the auxiliary material, whatever books I could find; wrote down notes about political figures, and events, and the geopolitics... All in all, I could've done better, but I felt like I had a solid grasp, knowing that the state exams don't demand that much from you.

          On the exam, I did pretty good on the choose-the-answer ones, and I did okay on the write-down-the-short-answer ones. When time came for the essay, I freaked out, 'cause I blanked out when I saw the topics. Couldn't remember much about them. Picked one and started thinking; thought I had time, but it had passed so quickly when you don't know what to do next. I wrote as quickly as I could, cutting seconds until the end of the exam; put down the papers, gave them to the examiners, and went hope, utterly exhausted.

          Couldn't wait for the results. I thought I did okay, but I needed a number so I would know if I could put an application to the university. Soon, the results became available, but the web version wasn't going to update for one more day, so I ran to the nearest education policy center to ask for it immediately. The young woman at the office looked at me tiredly and, with a bit of annoyance in the voice, asked: "Couldn't you check online?". "I need to know now", I replied sheepishly. She checked; took but a few seconds. She said the number.

          It was a few points lower than I needed.

          I thanked her and went out of the office, dazed. I didn't make it. I could try and appeal the results, but I felt too exhausted to even try. Taking the exam once more would've required one more year, which I couldn't afford: being 22 and needing to get the fuck out, I had to do something now.

          So I checked my options. There were a couple of good universities around, each a few hours away from home by bus. I picked two of what seemed like the better options and went to another city, where the universities hosted extra-regional application points, to put one down. The first one went well – there were lots of people, and it was hot in the school building that hosted the committees, but when I got in, it was over quickly. The second one went much worse: the rooms were closed hours after the application period should've started, and nobody told us a thing, so I thought: "Fuck it, I'll take my chances with the first one".

          Long story short: I got accepted, met a lot of people, learned a whole lot about living on my own, found out a lot about myself from the time I got to spend unsupervised (for the first time in my life), learned a lot about the Germanic Linguistics (I studied English and German as main and auxiliary languages, respectively)... It was a cool time; not without its drama, but considering my life goal was crushed just a few years earlier, I figure I got a pretty good deal in return.

          And then, I got to live on my own and get appreciated and paid for doing the things I love.

          Don't worry about not making it. Don't worry about failing, either. This fear will keep you under a lot of pressure that you can't adequately respond to, and it won't bring you even the safety it's evolutionarily-designed to give, 'cause you'll always be stressed about something, and it sucks way more than failing.

          Life feels failed when it doesn't go the way you plan it, but it can be pretty good if you're okay with knowing that it may just turn out fine someplace else.

          12 votes
          1. [2]
            cadadr Link Parent
            Hey I'm glad you shared this! Beautiful, interesting, encouraging story. Hope you're doing great and wish you the best!

            Hey I'm glad you shared this! Beautiful, interesting, encouraging story. Hope you're doing great and wish you the best!

            5 votes
            1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              You too, man. Just remember to have fun.

              You too, man. Just remember to have fun.

              4 votes
        2. [10]
          suspended Link Parent
          I was weeks away from going into the US Navy and just couldn't be a part of a killing machine. I chose to go to uni instead. Good luck to you and it sounds like you have an interesting and...

          I was weeks away from going into the US Navy and just couldn't be a part of a killing machine. I chose to go to uni instead.

          Good luck to you and it sounds like you have an interesting and fulfilling life.

          4 votes
          1. [8]
            ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
            Have you mentioned before what you chose to study at the uni?

            Have you mentioned before what you chose to study at the uni?

            3 votes
            1. [7]
              suspended Link Parent
              I did not set out to earn a degree. I wanted to learn from a very broad range of interests. I have 188 uni credit hours which is slightly more than what most BA degrees require. Some of the...

              I did not set out to earn a degree. I wanted to learn from a very broad range of interests. I have 188 uni credit hours which is slightly more than what most BA degrees require.

              Some of the subjects I studied were: sociology, computer science, health information, comparative religion, and biblical studies.

              4 votes
              1. [6]
                ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                Do you hold any sort of certification of skill acquisition as a result of your academic hours?

                Do you hold any sort of certification of skill acquisition as a result of your academic hours?

                3 votes
                1. [5]
                  suspended Link Parent
                  No.

                  No.

                  2 votes
                  1. [4]
                    ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                    See, my mother would be very upset with you here, 'cause how are you gonna find work without a diploma?! And, I must admit, the thought had crossed my mind, as well – and I dislike it so very...

                    See, my mother would be very upset with you here, 'cause how are you gonna find work without a diploma?! And, I must admit, the thought had crossed my mind, as well – and I dislike it so very much.

                    Was it worth your time? Would you consider the things you'd learned valuable to you personally?

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      suspended Link Parent
                      I believe so. I learned how to manage my time properly. Before, I was horrible at it. I, also, met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. I'm sure that there would be more I could...

                      Was it worth your time?

                      I believe so. I learned how to manage my time properly. Before, I was horrible at it. I, also, met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. I'm sure that there would be more I could think of.

                      Would you consider the things you'd learned valuable to you personally?

                      Sociology helped me to better understand my self. Before, I was religiously and psychologically abused by my parents and didn't understand people including my own thoughts and feelings. Health information helped me to understand and escape huge medical costs. Comparative religion and biblical studies helped me to remove all of the religious brainwashing my parents put me through. Lastly, computer science provided the interest and skill to work in IT for 15 years professionally.

                      5 votes
                      1. [2]
                        ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                        Sounds like dragged yourself away from your personal hell that way. Glad you're doing okay now.

                        Sounds like dragged yourself away from your personal hell that way.

                        Glad you're doing okay now.

                        2 votes
                        1. suspended Link Parent
                          That's one way of putting it :P Thanks :)

                          Sounds like dragged yourself away from your personal hell that way.

                          That's one way of putting it :P

                          Glad you're doing okay now.

                          Thanks :)

                          1 vote
    3. [2]
      Adys Link Parent
      Hey man, you're still young :) I'm just a couple years older and I've moved every couple of years for the past decade of my life. Starting over can be tough but it's not impossible. I recommend...

      Hey man, you're still young :) I'm just a couple years older and I've moved every couple of years for the past decade of my life. Starting over can be tough but it's not impossible.

      I recommend you go on Meetup and look for nearby regular meetups that interest you. I'm personally a huge fan of boardgame meetups to socialize: They're often attended by other introverts, but board games are a good setting where you're in a position where you have to talk to each other. They are usually pretty chill, too.

      2 votes
      1. cadadr Link Parent
        Oh sure, when I get my shit together I want to do that sort of thing even if I don't move. This week all this intense studying and horrible scruple will be over, and I'll be free again.

        Oh sure, when I get my shit together I want to do that sort of thing even if I don't move. This week all this intense studying and horrible scruple will be over, and I'll be free again.

        2 votes
  2. [7]
    vivaria (edited ) Link
    I really want to feel a sense of connection or community. I want to be able to say "I've found my people" or "hey, you really get me." I miss the effortlessness that comes with not having to think...

    I really want to feel a sense of connection or community. I want to be able to say "I've found my people" or "hey, you really get me." I miss the effortlessness that comes with not having to think about what you're doing or saying because the folks around you already sorta know where you're at. "On the same wavelength" so to speak.

    I have friends... sort of. I have a family... sort of? I have people who think kindly of me and consider me their friend, but... it's always felt like there's a chasm between me and them. I usually feel like I need to "translate" myself for other people, because my default mode of being would otherwise not mesh. I put a lot of spoons into masking/pretending to be a certain way. My life's been full of outsider/black sheep experiences -- gifted designations, mental health concerns, online friendships, an ASD diagnosis. There's an episode of Daria that I relate to a lot -- S5E13, Boxing Daria (12:32-14:42 has the most relevant bits). Seeing little Daria at the counselor, and the arguments over her inability to fit in... it just reminds me of all of the time I spent in counseling and child psychology and hospitals as a kid. It feels like my life.

    I've mostly come to terms with it, I think. I don't force myself to socialize as much as I used to... I was so preoccupied with learning how to be a good friend, heh. Figuring out the social scripts and norms that you're supposed to follow to develop deeper bonds, and to make people feel supported and valued. But... it never really did much for the feeling of isolation I get around other people. Instead, I'm generally content with feeling connection vicariously through movies and games and books. But I'd love to one day be able to have people in my life who are more than just acquaintances.

    But hey, that's why I'm seeing a new counselor at uni, hah. Not that I have much hope for this one either. Dozens and dozens of mental health professionals all trying to figure me out. But maybe our appointment this Wednesday will go okay.

    20 votes
    1. [6]
      Gaywallet Link Parent
      I'm a little confused. From the way you worded your post, it sounds like you never felt that you found someone who thinks similarly to you, but you say: Miss implies that you had it once. Is this...

      I'm a little confused. From the way you worded your post, it sounds like you never felt that you found someone who thinks similarly to you, but you say:

      I miss the effortlessness that comes with not having to think about what you're doing or saying because the folks around you already sorta know where you're at.

      Miss implies that you had it once. Is this true? Is this person no longer in your life? Did you simply grow up and thoughts got more complex?

      I say this because I have never met someone in my entire life that thinks quite the way that I do, but I do not see this as a weakness or an issue that prevents connection - in fact, if anything, it makes me appreciate other people more. Other people can look at something and come up with a completely different response, a different approach, or a different take on how things played out. Two ideas about a single problem are almost always stronger than one, so I intentionally seek out people who think differently.

      With that being said, however, I think you are focused far too much on how you appear to the world, and not enough on who you are.

      I usually feel like I need to "translate" myself for other people, because my default mode of being would otherwise not mesh.

      This quote in particular sticks out to me because if you were to go to any relationship counselor, the first thing they'd tell you is that you need to stop being fake and start being authentic.

      When you present yourself in a manner that is not you, you are presenting a fake person to the world. Your fake person is the one that's making relationships based on it's fake persona. This very often leads to broken relationships because you can't maintain the persona forever or at some point you want to make yourself vulnerable enough to withdraw the mask and it's almost like you're presenting an entirely different person.

      What you should focus on, instead, is presenting the authentic you to the world from day one to all people you meet. The simple fact is that there's billions of people on this earth and there are people out there just like you or who will mesh with you. If you're particularly unique, it might take a bit longer to find them, but imagine every person you met was completely authentic - you'd recognize someone like you from a mile away, no? Now imagine the same but everyone is showing off their fake personas - how much longer would it take to find someone who thinks like you?


      I would also like to mention that I think it's admirable that you are approaching the problem head on. It's very possible to learn skills and better yourself and mindfully change yourself to be the kind of person you want to be. Maybe this will fundamentally change how you approach the world, and that's okay, but the goal should always be to change yourself because you want to change yourself in that fashion.

      7 votes
      1. [5]
        vivaria (edited ) Link Parent
        Ah, let me clarify. When I was younger, I was in a long-distance relationship with someone in the UK. It was a big love. They visited for a month in 2012, and I lived with them for a summer in...

        Ah, let me clarify. When I was younger, I was in a long-distance relationship with someone in the UK. It was a big love. They visited for a month in 2012, and I lived with them for a summer in 2013. I think I felt the way I describe (above, and here) around them, but it's hazy now. It might just be rose-colored nostalgia. We drifted apart. We both had battles to face in our own lives, and needed to focus on close-proximity things. They had a life to attend to and there wasn't a place for me there.

        I also want to add to your interpretation of what I said. It's not just how I think, but my behaviors, reactions, moods, perceptions, and other little quirks. How I process the world, I guess you could put it? All of this is hard to neatly summarize. It's one of those things you think you understand, but just don't unless you've lived it. I don't want to come across as too dismissive or defensive, but "just be authentic" is not really a thing you can comfortably do as an autistic person. "Masking" is how I function in a western society that has specific expectations for social interaction. It's less faking in the sense that I'm putting on a false persona, and more faking by forcing myself to follow the unspoken scripts and rules that most people don't realize exist. They're little default behaviors that go unnoticed by people who do them naturally. When I buck these and be myself, things don't... they don't mesh. Things get awkward and uncomfortable. People say and do things that don't work with me, and I say and do things that don't work with them. I have to mask to function from day to day.

        An alternate way of framing my desires is to say, "I want to be around people I feel at ease with." People where things flow without friction. Where I don't feel like I need to contort myself and my behaviors. Where my thoughts aren't constantly turned inwards, meticulously analyzing everything I do and say to make sure I haven't slipped into autie territory.

        Attempts like yours frustrate me. Not because you've done something wrong -- I try to remind myself you mean well, and you're trying to help. But your response represents ideas I've heard all my life, from all sorts of other well-meaning people who think they hold the key to solving the problems I've lived (and have constantly addressed) my entire life. Each person has approached my descriptions from a perspective that is missing key information. We might share a common set of words to communicate, but words are only a narrow conduit bridging vast, dense networks of lived experiences. What you think you see in my words is not what I meant to get across.

        Try this, maybe. It seems to have been designed for exactly this situation. Picture Carl as my default state. Now imagine being self-conscious of the "off" feeling that comes from those interactions, and warping your life around avoiding the "offness" by playing dress-up as a neurotypical person. I've done it for so many years that I forget what it's like to not constantly be policing my own thoughts and behaviors. This is masking. I've heard similar descriptions from other outsider/black sheep groups, such as black folks navigating white societies. I mean... I'm sure you have experiences tied to being part of an out-group, but... for me, it's tied to an invisible "disorder" (scare-quotes intentional). It's bound to a way of functioning and of perceiving the world. Trying to convey this is an impossible task.

        Do you know what it's like to be taken out of school and hospitalized for an entire month at Children's Hospital? Do you know what it's like to be so hysteric that you need to be locked in a carpeted room until you've thrown yourself about so fervidly that you collapse from exhaustion? I just... this is... I have so many examples like this. I try and I try to convey what it's like to have lived my life. I just can't. People read words and go, "yes, I know this. I have the right response." Maybe I should lead with the parts that don't sound so relatable. All of the awful parts that aren't as easily pattern-matched by that brain of yours. Then maybe you can take a step back and go, "hrm. I need to be more delicate with how I approach this." That's not how you talk to people, vivaria.

        Sorry. Right now you are an avatar for every person I've made attempts to confide in, and every brick wall I've metaphorically run head-first into. A N G E R Y

        7 votes
        1. [3]
          Gaywallet Link Parent
          That's sad, but unfortunately a reality of many relationships. I'm glad you had a chance to experience it at least once in your life. I think we all have many differences in this regard. Aha, I...

          It might just be rose-colored nostalgia. We drifted apart. We both had battles to face in our own lives, and needed to focus on close-proximity things. They had a life to attend to and there wasn't a place for me there.

          That's sad, but unfortunately a reality of many relationships. I'm glad you had a chance to experience it at least once in your life.

          It's not just how I think, but my behaviors, reactions, moods, perceptions, and other little quirks. How I process the world, I guess you could put it?

          I think we all have many differences in this regard.

          I don't want to come across as too dismissive or defensive, but "just be authentic" is not really a thing you can comfortably do as an autistic person.

          Aha, I had an inkling that this might be the case but was not sure until you came out and said it here.

          You are not coming of as dismissive or defensive, and you are absolutely right to point out that this puts you in a unique situation for which normal advice does not neatly apply.

          "Masking" is how I function in a western society that has specific expectations for social interaction.

          You say function, I say blend in. I think there's a good distinction to be made here. Yes, there are the unfortunate realities that say, to get hired, to work, to interact with the society you will have to blend in to some degree otherwise you will alienate people.

          An alternate way of framing my desires is to say, "I want to be around people I feel at ease with." People where things flow without friction. Where I don't feel like I need to contort myself and my behaviors. Where my thoughts aren't constantly turned inwards, meticulously analyzing everything I do and say to make sure I haven't slipped into autie territory.

          Yes, this. This is what I am getting at. How do you expect to find people that you are at ease with, if you're constantly contorting yourself and your behavior?

          I'm not saying that you need to drop the mask 24/7. In fact, suggesting as such would be entirely insensitive and dismissive of the realities that you face, BUT, if you keep your mask up 24/7 you'll be potentially missing out on finding those people with which you'll be comfortable around because it will be both difficult for others to see who you naturally are just as much as it will be difficult for you to see how others naturally are if they have their masks up.

          Attempts like yours frustrate me.

          As odd as it is to say, I very much understand. Not from the same lens, but from other lenses in which I've received the same kind of unintentional discrimination.

          I want to apologize at this point for implying at any point that I have the solution for you or that I understand what you are going through. It's dismissive and hurtful.

          I want to also spend a second to try and clarify what I'm trying to get across with my last message and this one, because as you so aptly stated, "words are only a narrow conduit." My intent with these messages is not necessarily to provide any sort of argument or advice. My only goal is to share my own experiences and take on the world. This take might not mesh with yours and for many reasons cannot and should not apply to your own experiences, but, I'd like to think I've learned a little through my years on this planet and the relationships I've had.

          I've heard similar descriptions from other outsider/black sheep groups, such as black folks navigating white societies

          I've experienced masking through a similar lens, which is why I mentioned earlier that I have a 'limited' experience with masking. I don't feel this is a fair comparison, because it's really a cultural masking and not a processing masking. I also believe I've experienced a limited amount of process masking in that I suffer from a few mental illnesses (depression and BDD primarily) and it shapes how I process information about the world.

          It's been important to me and my relationships to not attempt to hide these feelings and thoughts from others simply because I don't want someone who would push me away when I share them. I know it's not the same, but I believe the same overarching principle applies here for the reasons I stated earlier - if you never expose your true self to people and no one ever exposes their true self to you, it will be exceedingly difficult to find someone who does mesh incredibly well with how you experience the world.

          crossed-out text

          I don't think you need to cross out this text because it's important to point this kind of stuff out. I've been involuntarily hospitalized for my mental condition and this is a level of disorder that most people do not experience and therefore cannot possibly comprehend.

          I read this and it made me profoundly sad, because I realized how shit I am at communicating at times. It upset me that I could have possibly caused someone this level of distress and I want to apologize again because it is insensitive to your reality and it's awful to feel like someone is dismissing who you are and what you have experienced.

          Sorry. Right now you are an avatar for every person I've made attempts to confide in, and every brick wall I've metaphorically run head-first into.

          I just hope it helped to write this down and vent a little.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            vivaria Link Parent
            These dense and multi-topic comment threads are getting hard for me to respond to. There are a lot of complicated feelings here and I'm not sure where to begin. We're at the point where this could...

            These dense and multi-topic comment threads are getting hard for me to respond to. There are a lot of complicated feelings here and I'm not sure where to begin. We're at the point where this could tangent in many different directions and it's a bit overwhelming. Can we continue this on Discord instead? I think the linear flow of conversation would be a little easier than trying to keep up 3-4 different topics at once.

            1 vote
        2. kfwyre Link Parent
          Your talk of "masking" reminds me a lot of growing up gay in a very masculine, very homophobic culture. I learned very early on what MEN do and what MEN don't do. I absolutely hated the feeling of...

          Your talk of "masking" reminds me a lot of growing up gay in a very masculine, very homophobic culture. I learned very early on what MEN do and what MEN don't do. I absolutely hated the feeling of clipping my fingernails, but I was made to trim them frequently lest they grow too long and look too girly. I was told to walk "rougher" and "less swishy" because that wasn't how MEN walked, despite the fact that walking is just sort of, automatic? Walking any other way felt weird and alien, but I did it because I was supposed to. One time a girl cousin of mine wanted help making these very cool bracelets, so I joined her in putting them together. It was so awesome! Until I learned that MEN not only couldn't wear jewelry, but they shouldn't have anything to do with it in the first place. Anything that could be construed as potentially feminine was treated as toxic to me.

          I spent my entire childhood and a non-negligible amount of my adult life "masking" who I was, and it was isolating and exhausting. I'm sorry that you've had to live like that, and that there isn't an easy way out from it. One of the defining moments of my life was finally being "out" in an accepting queer community, and it was affirming and life-changing. To pull a quote from Rent (a pivotal musical in my life, and the lives of countless other queer-identified individuals), I felt what it was like to be an us for once, instead of a them. I feel like this is what you're describing when you say you want to be around people you feel at ease with, and I sincerely hope you're able to find a group like that.

          I will say that I think appreciation for neurodiversity is a new horizon for social progress. I have seen acceptance for queer people take hold relatively quickly within my lifetime, and I see similar strides being made towards neurodivergent individuals. We're definitely not where we need to be yet, but I can say that in education alone the understanding of, appreciation for, and methods used to help students with autism have developed considerably just within the last decade. Ten years ago me, my colleagues, and my students knew nothing of autism beyond its name as a diagnosis. Now we have much deeper understanding and empathy. Much of that has come from advocacy work done by individuals like you who help us understand your experiences, so I want to thank you for sharing your honest thoughts here.

          I know it probably wasn't easy for you to type all this out and relive your trauma by sharing it. Your strikethrough text and its culminating sentence took my breath away, because I know I have been that adult before, treating functional differences as if they were behavioral issues. If I can offer you any sort of peace here, it would be that many of us who were once ignorant are learning, and many of us who were once close-minded are listening. Thank you for speaking your truth. I know this is not a salve to your current and past pain, but I do the work that I do because I believe in a future where individual differences of all types will be more respected, understood, and appreciated.

          We're not there yet, and society has a lot of homework to do, but we're moving in that direction. I know you are looking for your tribe, your us, and I hope that you find your us as much as I hope that we can learn to be the us for you.

          3 votes
  3. [4]
    suspended Link
    My wife and I decided to move to northern New England (USA) to raise our two boys. Excellent school system, family in the summer only (they snowbird), and we love the outdoors. It's been five...

    My wife and I decided to move to northern New England (USA) to raise our two boys. Excellent school system, family in the summer only (they snowbird), and we love the outdoors.

    It's been five years and I'm the only one that is suffering from social isolation. I'm a stay-at-home dad and when my boys are in school and my wife working (early fall through late spring...8 months every year) I am almost completely alone.

    We live in a rural area. On top of that there is this strange culture here where people almost never leave their homes. My wife and I are used to the complete opposite, being from the southern USA, where everyone is very outgoing and social.

    I am getting desperate and have to come up with yet another set of ideas to try out after the summer. So far, everything that we have tried has been unsuccessful. Cabin fever is real and it hurts.

    13 votes
    1. [3]
      ras Link Parent
      I can relate in a lot of ways. I’m not a stay at home dad but I am going to college full time with two elementary age children and my wife is pregnant. We live in a small town in west Georgia and...

      I can relate in a lot of ways. I’m not a stay at home dad but I am going to college full time with two elementary age children and my wife is pregnant. We live in a small town in west Georgia and I don’t really have any friends as such. I have two best friends but one lives in Tennessee and the other In Colorado. We stay in touch via group messaging but sometimes I feel really alone. It’s weird to see so many people at school, but still feel so alone.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        suspended Link Parent
        You're not alone now, friend.

        You're not alone now, friend.

        3 votes
        1. ras Link Parent
          Thank you, and likewise. I think one of the saddest things is that 20-year-old me would've dreamed about living in your situation, but now I understand how isolation can lead to many other problems.

          Thank you, and likewise. I think one of the saddest things is that 20-year-old me would've dreamed about living in your situation, but now I understand how isolation can lead to many other problems.

          2 votes
  4. krg Link
    A shallow response, but...a damn savings account. I'm at the age where I should've been contributing to a savings/retirement account for some years, now, yet I haven't. Time is something that...

    A shallow response, but...a damn savings account. I'm at the age where I should've been contributing to a savings/retirement account for some years, now, yet I haven't. Time is something that can't be regained, so I'm severely limiting how comfortably my old self will be able to live. The best I can do right now is exercise as an investment for my future health.

    Oh, and I used to have a pretty cool friend group that I alienated myself from because I was a huge piece of shit which kind of acts like white noise permeating my thoughts that really becomes apparent when my mind attempts to go quite. So there's that, too.

    Otherwise, I don't feel I'm missing much. As long as have some books to read, some outlet for creativity, and decent food and drink every now-and-again, I'm good.

    13 votes
  5. [16]
    asoftbird Link
    I'll keep it short; A purpose. I honestly don't know my goals.

    I'll keep it short; A purpose. I honestly don't know my goals.

    12 votes
    1. [11]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      Have you found something that you're good at and enjoy doing? Finding one such gig – one that doesn't hinge on my own desires but is, instead, held as a job for me by someone else – helps me cope...

      Have you found something that you're good at and enjoy doing? Finding one such gig – one that doesn't hinge on my own desires but is, instead, held as a job for me by someone else – helps me cope with the times where I feel lost.

      3 votes
      1. [10]
        asoftbird Link Parent
        Things l'm good at: everything, if l'm interested in it. Things l actually enjoy: The thing l'm interested in for that moment. Interests change and l still want to do interesting thing n-1, but...

        Things l'm good at: everything, if l'm interested in it.

        Things l actually enjoy: The thing l'm interested in for that moment. Interests change and l still want to do interesting thing n-1, but when the mood isn't there it will not happen.

        6 votes
        1. [8]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          There must be something that you enjoy more than the things you have a passing interest in – something you find yourself drawn to when life doesn't pressure you to go a certain way. And, if I may...

          There must be something that you enjoy more than the things you have a passing interest in – something you find yourself drawn to when life doesn't pressure you to go a certain way.

          And, if I may be so brash: you're not good at something just because you're interested in it. Passing expertise is easily-acquirable – I once memorized the Latin verb system in an evening – but proficiency and mastery come with time and practice. Having better than no skill does not make you proficient: simply qualified.

          I used to want to do everything, too. Ride a skate, do parkour, use martial arts, write a book, make a video game, be a teacher, design an education system, cook well, make things out of wood and metal, shoot a bow, build electronic devices, survive in the wilderness... My passions turned into skills rather surreptitiously, just 'cause I dabbled in them long enough while having an innate aptitude for them – which I how I learned I enjoy them with a deep, genuine interest.

          As I'm getting old and grey in my 25th year on Earth, I'm coming to recognize that if I want to excel – or even be proficient – in the things that distinguish me, I have to practice consciously, and focus my attention on things that promise to bear a sweeter fruit than others. I used to see it as abandoning the many passions I have, but now that I'm on the other side of the river, I see that, instead, the few passions I brought across burn brighter.

          I may be way off about you, but the vagueness of your answer tells me that you don't know what you like. That's fine. Or maybe, deep down, you do – but are afraid of doing it because you fear you might fail in the thing you love, so you don't dare touch it. That's fine, too. Even Will Hunting had to look out for things he'd enjoy doing, no matter how many books he had read – and that thing Sean Maguire said to him, you know? "So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that."

          It took me some time to understand where I want to be. Hell, I'm still learning. (Like, lately it turned that I may be much less of a designer than I thought of myself. Sure, perhaps. I still enjoy designing things, and people who pay me for work praise what I do, so I must be doing something right.) It took me even longer to get comfortable with failure, and with recognizing that I'm not good at a lot of things, even those I want to be good at.

          But then, I'd also learned that any aptitude is also a skill, meaning it can improved with practice, which takes time and effort, every day. I'm not very good at practicing yet, but my job forces me to – and I'm so grateful that it does, 'cause that practice, and the things come out of it – wins and failures – make me feel entirely capable about doing the rest of the things I want to do in life. Sure, failures still suck, but it's no longer because I feel like a failure: it's because my experimentation failed to get up to my expectations of it. I tried it; it didn't work. Alright; what else can I do?

          You have to concentrate on something, dedicate yourself to it.

          Don't make the choice lightly. Take your time. When I was at school, I thought I'd be doing translation, 'cause the English language seemed the thing I'm best at. I had no practice otherwise, and the creative impulse of writing had met a plateau which I was unable to cope with at the time. Turned out, the languages were fun, but the education was grossly-boring. I took up web design as a form of relaxed, enjoyable work, and soon enough, I was good enough at it that people were willing to work with me. This is how I got my first gig: by showing proficiency at a topic and taking initiative at leveraging my skills towards some sort of a paid position. (More plainly, I kept explaining to the guy things I know about web design and things around it – I can't shut up about the things I love – and when the guy asked me how to do this or that, I told him I'd do it for him for a few bucks, and he said "Sounds good, here's a few bucks, do it".)

          Feeling lost sucks, but at least you know what where you're lacking, which means you know where to start when you want to improve your conditions. So you don't know where to go. I reckon the next best move is to move. Somewhere. Anywhere.

          9 votes
          1. [7]
            asoftbird Link Parent
            To be honest, l can't really think of anything other than taking naps and learning new things and having passing interests at all. Correct, it's just that l revolve over a ton of hobbies all the...

            There must be something that you enjoy more than the things you have a passing interest in – something you find yourself drawn to when life doesn't pressure you to go a certain way.

            To be honest, l can't really think of anything other than taking naps and learning new things and having passing interests at all.

            And, if I may be so brash: you're not good at something just because you're interested in it. Passing expertise is easily-acquirable – I once memorized the Latin verb system in an evening – but proficiency and mastery come with time and practice. Having better than no skill does not make you proficient: simply qualified.

            Correct, it's just that l revolve over a ton of hobbies all the time and slowly but surely get better at them. Yet not "good" but qualified as you said, save for a few that l spent more time on.

            I used to want to do everything, too. Ride a skate, do parkour, use martial arts, write a book, make a video game, be a teacher, design an education system, cook well, make things out of wood and metal, shoot a bow, build electronic devices, survive in the wilderness... My passions turned into skills rather surreptitiously, just 'cause I dabbled in them long enough while having an innate aptitude for them – which I how I learned I enjoy them with a deep, genuine interest.

            Yep. l find it difficult to focus on a thing long enough to properly improve, sadly. Things interest me, but because everything interests me l get nothing done because l can't seem to pick one or two things to do.

            As I'm getting old and grey in my 25th year on Earth, I'm coming to recognize that if I want to excel – or even be proficient – in the things that distinguish me, I have to practice consciously, and focus my attention on things that promise to bear a sweeter fruit than others. I used to see it as abandoning the many passions I have, but now that I'm on the other side of the river, I see that, instead, the few passions I brought across burn brighter.

            I hope to get to this point where l know how to deal with this properly. I'm trying to teach myself that l have plenty of time to do certain things later, which definitely does help. I still find it hard to choose, though.

            I may be way off about you, but the vagueness of your answer tells me that you don't know what you like. That's fine. Or maybe, deep down, you do – but are afraid of doing it because you fear you might fail in the thing you love, so you don't dare touch it. That's fine, too. Even Will Hunting had to look out for things he'd enjoy doing, no matter how many books he had read – and that thing Sean Maguire said to him, you know? "So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that."

            I think that's mostly correct, yes. I can name a few things but they all share the property of creation: l want to make things. l like methods, tools, techniques, but l just don't know what to make. l'm not excited about end results, but for the bit between the start and the end.

            It took me some time to understand where I want to be. Hell, I'm still learning. (Like, lately it turned that I may be much less of a designer than I thought of myself. Sure, perhaps. I still enjoy designing things, and people who pay me for work praise what I do, so I must be doing something right.) It took me even longer to get comfortable with failure, and with recognizing that I'm not good at a lot of things, even those I want to be good at.

            You're a designer, graphics or product design or something? l'm currently studying the latter and even though it's a very broad field with many different options and directions, it somehow makes it more difficult to figure out what l like(other than realizing that l'm not really a designer either, lol).

            But then, I'd also learned that any aptitude is also a skill, meaning it can improved with practice, which takes time and effort, every day. I'm not very good at practicing yet, but my job forces me to – and I'm so grateful that it does, 'cause that practice, and the things come out of it – wins and failures – make me feel entirely capable about doing the rest of the things I want to do in life. Sure, failures still suck, but it's no longer because I feel like a failure: it's because my experimentation failed to get up to my expectations of it. I tried it; it didn't work. Alright; what else can I do?

            I think that for me, actually working on things would work in terms of getting things done. When people expect things from me, things go a lot easier and the necessity and looming bad consequences create motivation and discipline.

            You have to concentrate on something, dedicate yourself to it.

            Don't make the choice lightly. Take your time. When I was at school, I thought I'd be doing translation, 'cause the English language seemed the thing I'm best at. I had no practice otherwise, and the creative impulse of writing had met a plateau which I was unable to cope with at the time. Turned out, the languages were fun, but the education was grossly-boring. I took up web design as a form of relaxed, enjoyable work, and soon enough, I was good enough at it that people were willing to work with me. This is how I got my first gig: by showing proficiency at a topic and taking initiative at leveraging my skills towards some sort of a paid position. (More plainly, I kept explaining to the guy things I know about web design and things around it – I can't shut up about the things I love – and when the guy asked me how to do this or that, I told him I'd do it for him for a few bucks, and he said "Sounds good, here's a few bucks, do it".)

            Feeling lost sucks, but at least you know what where you're lacking, which means you know where to start when you want to improve your conditions. So you don't know where to go. I reckon the next best move is to move. Somewhere. Anywhere.

            Yeah. I think it's also something that has to do with my surroundings; slightly stressful place to live (5 really dumb roommates), something related to physique and mental stability and probably something having to do with not having the more rhythmical daily life of people with jobs.

            3 votes
            1. [6]
              ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              You said "creation". That's a good start. I figured out some time ago I like "crafting", in a broad sense: creating, yes, but specifically turn ideas into observable things. What's your kind of...

              To be honest, l can't really think of anything

              You said "creation". That's a good start. I figured out some time ago I like "crafting", in a broad sense: creating, yes, but specifically turn ideas into observable things. What's your kind of creation about?

              l find it difficult to focus on a thing long enough to properly improve, sadly.

              Me too. For me, I think some of it is anxiety (I notice that I stop working on a thing if I stumble on something I can't readily rectify), some – a lack of discipline, and some – the disconnect between the notions of a dedicated, prolonged work (what Cal Newport called "deep work") and the result it inevitably produces. I feel like even if I have the discipline, it all seems for naught because in my head, the work does not subsequently imply the result I expect.

              I used to juggle projects a lot. It helps remain creative if the projects each lie in a different category, sure, but it also means I'm not inclined to sit down and do the grind for long enough to achieve noticable results without some sort of a promised reward dangling in front of me. (Which is why I like jobs: you do the thing well, and you get paid. It's straightforward, plain, and rhythmical. Freelance gigs are the middle ground between this and the unbridled creative output.)

              I can name a few things but they all share the property of creation: l want to make things. l like methods, tools, techniques, but l just don't know what to make.

              What kind of tools? I find myself in awe of stationary. Pens, pencils, stickies, books, notebooks, sheets of paper, markers, rulers, files, documents... I love it. I don't often get to use them, mostly working with digital tools, but I love just being around them.

              Maybe the kind of tools you like would help you define what it is you could pursue.

              l'm not excited about end results, but for the bit between the start and the end.

              That's fine, as long as you have the discipline to follow through until the end, to finish what you're making. I know some people can't stand finishing books 'cause it means the stories – the lovely, enchanting, endearing, familiar stories – come to an end. I reckon it's not uncommon for plenty of other fields.

              Enjoying the process innately is excellent. The end product, however, could help you afford keeping the process up indefinitely, for as long as you enjoy it. It's a highly-practical notion, I know, but it's one of the ways in which the world simultaneously limits you and allows you to keep going.

              You're a designer, graphics or product design or something?

              Currently spending most of my time designing web UI. Also being superficially involved in software UX, and sometimes dabble with system design in general, as a way of exercising that joyful muscle. Would love to get into industrial and urban design eventually.

              slightly stressful place to live (5 really dumb roommates), something related to physique and mental stability and probably something having to do with not having the more rhythmical daily life of people with jobs

              Those are all problems that could be solved. I'm sure you'll figure out a way to make things better for yourself eventually.

              I used to consider things in life in rather high contrast; the "all or nothing" mentality's what they call it. If I couldn't have everything I wished for, I'd get upset at nothing in particular. It wasn't "Life's not fair", nor was it "They aren't giving me what I need": it was "I waaant iiiiit!!", in a more-mature, internal version of a child's tantrum, – or I might as well not see that thing ever again.

              I was cognizant of this aspect of my personality for a long time – I remember walking somewhere after school, maybe in the eighth grade, thinking exactly about "all or nothing" – but it took me a while to acquire the "tools" (the conditions and the mental methods of dealing with reality) to reduce this idea's impact. I wish I could tell you how that happened, but I'm not yet clear on it myself.

              I think this general idea ties into how you consider things, as well: "all of it, here, and now", right? It sounds like it's a matter of lacking patience towards your goals – something I still struggle with, though it got way better with time and effort.

              One particular thing I'd noticed about a week ago is the revelation that I don't actually need that awesome, hugely-expensive desktop rig to do well with a desktop. I used to need a laptop 'cause I was travelling often – to uni and back, taking notes there, and home and back, to keep my digital stuff with me. Now that I'm permanently-settled in an apartment that's not going away, I find it better to have a desktop: the dedicated video card to play games at a level of quality better than "the lowest possible", the separate mic 3.5mm slot so I could use a decent microphone when necessary, the independently-moving keyboard and the monitor of theoretically any size...

              I used to think I need at least a $1 000 rig to be satisfied with it. Quite a high taste, huh? Yeah, I was entitled like nobody's ever had needs but me. And now, I reckon I just need something that wouldn't strain my performance. I have a laptop, and though well-used, it performs well for the needs and the wants that I have, so I'm okay where I am. Eventually, I'd like to upgrade, but, it turned out, I could do it without having the shell out years' worth of gig money on a thing I don't need.

              Does any of that ring true for you?

              2 votes
              1. [5]
                asoftbird Link Parent
                I haven't really figured out yet; I have a feeling I want to make things that make life easier, perform certain tasks, as well as reinventing the wheel for many things just to learn how they work....

                You said "creation". That's a good start. I figured out some time ago I like "crafting", in a broad sense: creating, yes, but specifically turn ideas into observable things. What's your kind of creation about?

                I haven't really figured out yet; I have a feeling I want to make things that make life easier, perform certain tasks, as well as reinventing the wheel for many things just to learn how they work. I realize it's not the end result that matters but the process, just how I like driving or cycling purely for fun, not really to get anywhere at all, other than traveling forward in time of course.

                I'm thinking about this and many things come up: I want to do woodcrafting and cut animal figures from sticks, or I want to draw, paint and note down things I imagine, I want to make machines, mechanisms, like tiny steam engines or something that automatically turns on the coffee machine with the flick of a switch while not at home.

                Yet when I think of these things specifically, I don't feel any desire or urgency to make anything. It all stays as ideas, and everything that I try to push myself to execute those ideas is met with a wall of apathy. It feels like I just don't care for anything. Even if I make a dishwasher that does my clothes and cleans the house for me, which surely would be an improvement vs. me forgetting to do those things all the time, I don't feel any desire to act upon those ideas.

                It's not that I don't like dishwashing or doing the laundry; it's a chore but I don't mind chores. I just cannot do anything if it's not interesting to me. If there is nothing interesting or there's a smidge of effort in the way, it's near impossible.

                Like right now: I can set up my laptop and spend the evening 3D modeling which I am learning and would consider as something I enjoy (right now), it will take a long time to get started just because my laptop is in a bag and it takes three damn movements to get it up and running. It's almost as if I'm allergic to effort. In laymans terms: I'm incomprehensibly lazy. And I hate it. And I'd like to get rid of it. But the problem here is: If I'm lazy, and everything is too much effort, how can I get better at putting effort into things?

                I think the Internet is both a blessing and a burden; it allows for access to all the knowledge and everything, but since there's so much out there, I can't focus. I spent the whole afternoon reading up on philosophy and finding goals and meaning, inspired by this thread. I liked it and might read more into that topic. But now I have another hobby, and I already had too many. Internet has made it really simple to lose track of what I'm doing and find another, just slightly more interesting thing than what I was doing at the time.

                But, I can't just disconnect- I have friends on here and I would not want to lose them. Speaking from a purely utilitarian standpoint: what do internet friends mean to me? Do they gain me anything? Would they notice and care if I disappeared? Would they miss anything? Would I miss anything?

                Most of my answers to these questions would be on the order of "No, I don't gain anything and I wouldn't mind", but somewhere back there there's a smidget of the opposite feeling, almost a sense of guilt that I can't just cut off communication, even if I explain why and they understand that I need a little break.

                It's the same for information access: I can't just block out things because blocking my curiosity makes me unhappy.

                Little intermezzo: Damn this is a word wall. I do kind of enjoy self reflection I guess lol.

                Me too. For me, I think some of it is anxiety (I notice that I stop working on a thing if I stumble on something I can't readily rectify), some – a lack of discipline, and some – the disconnect between the notions of a dedicated, prolonged work (what Cal Newport called "deep work") and the result it inevitably produces. I feel like even if I have the discipline, it all seems for naught because in my head, the work does not subsequently imply the result I expect.

                It is the expected result and a lack of patience for the result to get there, for me. And, as mentioned before, the constant flow of new interesting things that are just a little more interesting get the spotlight and I slowly lose interest in a still interesting but not interesting enough thing. It is like walking on the beach: at first, the sand you step on supports your weight, but as you move, it swiftly flows away and you slide and sink away in it, and the next step is more solid. Until the next step, where the cycle repeats.

                I used to juggle projects a lot. It helps remain creative if the projects each lie in a different category, sure, but it also means I'm not inclined to sit down and do the grind for long enough to achieve noticable results without some sort of a promised reward dangling in front of me. (Which is why I like jobs: you do the thing well, and you get paid. It's straightforward, plain, and rhythmical. Freelance gigs are the middle ground between this and the unbridled creative output.)

                Agreed, I'd like to find something I could do as a job.

                What kind of tools? I find myself in awe of stationary. Pens, pencils, stickies, books, notebooks, sheets of paper, markers, rulers, files, documents... I love it. I don't often get to use them, mostly working with digital tools, but I love just being around them.

                Workshop tools, painting equipment, my computer and all it's possibilities in programming, computing, 3d modeling, rendering and hosting websites. My electronics equipment and whatever I can make using that, like designing circuits.

                Maybe the kind of tools you like would help you define what it is you could pursue.

                There are so many that I like that I can't choose what to work on sadly.

                Those are all problems that could be solved. I'm sure you'll figure out a way to make things better for yourself eventually.

                I'm convinced they can be solved, but they do hinder my life a lot right now. I'm trying though.

                I think this general idea ties into how you consider things, as well: "all of it, here, and now", right? It sounds like it's a matter of lacking patience towards your goals – something I still struggle with, though it got way better with time and effort.

                I used to think I need at least a $1 000 rig to be satisfied with it. Quite a high taste, huh? Yeah, I was entitled like nobody's ever had needs but me. And now, I reckon I just need something that wouldn't strain my performance. I have a laptop, and though well-used, it performs well for the needs and the wants that I have, so I'm okay where I am. Eventually, I'd like to upgrade, but, it turned out, I could do it without having the shell out years' worth of gig money on a thing I don't need.

                Familiar feeling. I bought advanced tools for things I wasn't good at, and now find that the tools I had are a lot better than what I got. I realize I don't need the best for what I do, but the magic of "this tool will make you draw 10x better" doesn't actually work however. I think it's a good idea to put some thoughts into things I want and things I actually need.

                3 votes
                1. [4]
                  ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                  Man... I'm reading through the first half of your comment, and I'm getting flashbacks to how I was when I was a teenager. Grandiose ideas!.. No execution. I'd dream of doing million things but...

                  Man... I'm reading through the first half of your comment, and I'm getting flashbacks to how I was when I was a teenager. Grandiose ideas!.. No execution. I'd dream of doing million things but would touch none because of the vague, indescribable "...nnehhh" feeling I've been feeling so often.

                  What I came to realize, with a lot of introspection and against another lot of different things I gave a shot to, is that I'm not lazy: I'm anxious. Deeply-, painfully-anxious about so many things I can't begin to describe them all. With some more time, I realized that there's no laziness: there's just a whole lot of anxiety, another whole lot of external expectations that I was afraid to break, and the fact that earlier in my life, I lacked the discipline and the stimulation I needed to do things I really enjoyed.

                  This passage right here, too:

                  Speaking from a purely utilitarian standpoint: what do internet friends mean to me? Do they gain me anything? Would they notice and care if I disappeared? Would they miss anything? Would I miss anything?

                  Most of my answers to these questions would be on the order of "No, I don't gain anything and I wouldn't mind", but somewhere back there there's a smidget of the opposite feeling, almost a sense of guilt that I can't just cut off communication, even if I explain why and they understand that I need a little break.

                  I was so afraid of letting people in that I'd mentally shut down, facing this emotionless wall of emptiness inside that I couldn't possibly talk about to anyone. Why? I couldn't explain it at the time, either: it's like I never wanted to resovle the thing that keeps me feeling like a failure.

                  And the reality is that – yeah, that's exactly the reason.

                  See, human beings have this awful tendency to keep bad things around as long as they know the thing won't change, instead of making a run for something better, because we love familiarity, because it brings us safety. It's an existential need for all of us: to remain safe – and most of the time, we satisfy it by remaining in control. In an odd way, you want the bad things in your life because you know what they are, so you can rely on them to be just as bad, and never worse, at all times.

                  Changing things necessitates taking a big risk: what if the place you arrive at is not better than where you started? If so, you'd just wasted time and energy for no change at all, and it would, theoretically, confirm to you that things are exactly as bad everywhere and there's no point in trying.

                  I say "theoretically" because, well, it's a theory crafted by your anxiety-riddled mind that's not exactly seeing things straight. When I look back at the ways I used to think about things... ohhh, it's so very make-belief, strongman-esque (in the "little man acting strong" way). And why did I think that way? Because I was in a shitty environment: around people who couldn't be trusted, who'd flake on me and not apologize later, and around things that nobody thinks could be better because, well, it's a hell of a vicious cycle if you're in it.

                  Somehow, I got out – not completely, but I'm miles ahead of where I was when I was 18 – and hoo boy, is the picture different. Suddenly, I meet people who were interested in me. Suddenly, there are people who believe in me. They come from places where I'd like to be someday, and they tell me – but more importantly, show me – that I can get there, too, someday. Now that I'm no longer constrained by the shitty environment alone – despite still being within it – I get to meet genuine, friendly people who share their passion with me, who support me (and whom I have the pleasure of supporting – not out of reciprocity, but because I've always wanted to), whose messages make my day better because they're filled with that deeply-attractive attitude of working so that not only could they enjoy life, but make a difference, too. If I were a girl, I'd go to bed with one of the guys I know and go on a dorky, nerdy date with another.

                  And don't get me wrong: I'm still anxious, and I still experience this apathy that used to keep me down for so long. I still spend many hours each day doing nothing, just so I can soothen myself enough to do something good eventually. But I'm way better off today, after years of self-reflection, but more importantly – thanks to the few people who had faith in me while I had none.

                  You see how this is all written in first person. This is me relating my own story, but it's not about me: it's about you, and how my story could help yours. If you're anything like me – which sounds like you are – you understand how important insight is to being able to sort yourself out. I want you to hear my story because I want you to extract what you can from it and see that things aren't quite how you see them, which is a good thing, and that they can get better.

                  You clearly have imagination. You clearly have the creative impulse. You clearly have the intelligence and the introspective skills to understand yourself quite well. You have what it takes to do really well in life. The anxiety that acts against you is not your fault: it's an environmental hazard that you got stuck in. You aren't afraid of putting in effort, nor are you incapable of doing things you don't like that much: you're just overloaded, and have been for some time so you don't recognize that it's not good.

                  I see a lot of myself in you, and I know I never had someone with the same experience I could talk to. If you want to talk about anything – anything: how your day went, what thing you thought of but didn't have the energy to do, what you figured out about something on your walk back home – feel free to message me. I'd like to be a wall you can talk off of, and I'd like to give you ideas and insight of my own so that, maybe, hopefully, you can feel a little better about yourself – and maybe, hopefully, one day do better.

                  I know it's probably going to be anxiety-inducing, and you'd likely question whether you even want to message someone who reaches out to you so openly; I would. To share a little secret: I'm still not fully sure the good people I know are all that good, and they've been nothing but, so intellectually, I should have no reason to doubt them. Anxiety is a motherfucker! Take as much time as you want to think about it, and if you don't want to reach back, I will hold no grudges against you, nor will I remember you with a bad word. I just want you to talk to someone who's gone through the same things you're going through right now, so you could have a release you need, and get some perspective that will make things have more meaning, and see that where you are isn't where you have to remain.

                  2 votes
                  1. asoftbird Link Parent
                    Hi, thanks a lot. I'm not really chatty right now due to a particularly bad case of the Mehs but l'll try to remember to poke you sometime. I had sort of drawn the same conclusion on my own in the...

                    Hi, thanks a lot. I'm not really chatty right now due to a particularly bad case of the Mehs but l'll try to remember to poke you sometime.

                    I had sort of drawn the same conclusion on my own in the meantime; it definitely seems to be anxiety because even thinking of doing things raises heart rate and triggers adrenalin release. Things like "do laundry" or "get up to drink water" or the lot. Things that rationally are no effort and will benefit me in the future.

                    l now know what it is that l feel, thanks.

                    In an odd way, you want the bad things in your life because you know what they are, so you can rely on them to be just as bad, and never worse, at all times.

                    Funny that you mention it, that's why l drive a semi-broken car; it's better than a new one because l know all it's defects and would probably be worse off with a new third-hand car.

                    I suppose this applies to me as well, just more subconsciously. I should really get talking at the psych again, now l know what's bothering me.

                    1 vote
                  2. [2]
                    asoftbird Link Parent
                    Put some thought into this and while doing that my meds (ritalin) wore off. Suddently, anxiety nearly completely gone. I'm beginning to suspect that stuff for actually causing the majority of it,...

                    Put some thought into this and while doing that my meds (ritalin) wore off. Suddently, anxiety nearly completely gone. I'm beginning to suspect that stuff for actually causing the majority of it, and I either need to switch to something better or just not use it constantly.

                    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                      Henry Rollins has had quite an experience with Ritalin all the way through school. In case you're curious, he also details his personal transformation due to weight lifting in this episode of...

                      Henry Rollins has had quite an experience with Ritalin all the way through school.

                      In case you're curious, he also details his personal transformation due to weight lifting in this episode of Henry & Heidi. Doesn't talk about Ritalin much but explores the time generally.

                      1 vote
        2. cadadr Link Parent
          Hello me, how are you doing! I was this way for many years, and lately I've managed to channel my interest towards linguistics. In my experience, it emerged from exploring every possibility; it...

          Hello me, how are you doing!

          I was this way for many years, and lately I've managed to channel my interest towards linguistics. In my experience, it emerged from exploring every possibility; it ended up being a bit more interesting for me than many other things. It is exhausting tho, and hasn't yet totally settled for me; I still have the attention span of an excited monkey am interested in many things, but at least I'm getting things done.

          I bet you'd enjoy reading this if you haven't yet. And this.

          2 votes
    2. [3]
      euphoria066 Link Parent
      I'm very much like you describe yourself, and I have found something kindred with the label multipotentialite. I have always preferred "dilettante" myself but it's a bit more flippant. A podcast I...

      I'm very much like you describe yourself, and I have found something kindred with the label multipotentialite. I have always preferred "dilettante" myself but it's a bit more flippant.

      A podcast I listen to on time management suggested to make a physical list of 100 goals, and then to work towards them. I haven't quite gotten to 100 yet, but it has been a good exercise for me, because it helps me define some of my vague interests as "goals" and make me think of a concrete outlet for my interest. For example, I'm sort of interested in permaculture and gardening, and that's really nothing, but if goal number 34 is to have a beautiful outdoor space using edible plants, that give me something concrete to work towards with that interest.

      When you talk to people who aren't natural renaissance men, they will tell you you just need to find your PASSION, but, I don't think I ever will. I'm vaguely passionate about everything, and truly passionate about nothing. Rather than fighting this inclination, I'm choosing to just embrace it, and find some mini goals that vibe with me, rather than aiming for a big goal like other people might be more suited for!

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        asoftbird Link Parent
        Do you have a link to this specific podcast?

        A podcast I listen to on time management suggested to make a physical list of 100 goals, and then to work towards them.

        Do you have a link to this specific podcast?

        1 vote
        1. euphoria066 Link Parent
          https://player.fm/series/2490696/230872778 I think that should work, the podcast is Before Breakfast, and the episode was called "100 Dreams" (not goals, I guess!)

          https://player.fm/series/2490696/230872778

          I think that should work, the podcast is Before Breakfast, and the episode was called "100 Dreams" (not goals, I guess!)

          2 votes
    3. Leorawr Link Parent
      I feel this in my soul.

      I feel this in my soul.

      1 vote
  6. [2]
    Apex Link
    I don’t think I can put my finger on it. I’m not sure I desire or feel much of anything at all, outside of frustration and bursts of anger. Used to be I wished my emotions could be dampened; now I...

    I don’t think I can put my finger on it. I’m not sure I desire or feel much of anything at all, outside of frustration and bursts of anger. Used to be I wished my emotions could be dampened; now I wish I felt them at all.

    9 votes
    1. stephen Link Parent
      I've been there. For me, it was part not having anyone to talk to about the shit that was bouncing on my brain and part was not having anything to do that I felt was worth doing. Having been...

      I've been there. For me, it was part not having anyone to talk to about the shit that was bouncing on my brain and part was not having anything to do that I felt was worth doing. Having been semi-institutionalized (read:American public school) pretty much my whole life I never really felt like I had much autonomy. Now that I'm not in school I struggle with directing my own life and I find myself just looking for empty distractions and entertainment. Being able to talk through these issues with my friends or people online has been helpful for me in making steps towards more meaningful and fulfilling experiences.

      If you need someone to vent to I'm here for you fam.

      5 votes
  7. [2]
    Grendel Link
    Kids. My wife and I have been together for five years now. We have always wanted children, but due to some severe health risks to my wife we have choosen not to do so biologically (surrogacy is...

    Kids.
    My wife and I have been together for five years now. We have always wanted children, but due to some severe health risks to my wife we have choosen not to do so biologically (surrogacy is possible but simply not what we want to do). We have been foster parents in the past and it is devastating when the kids go home. We are now starting the process to try and adopt a newborn baby. We are excited for it, but we also know it is a very very long and expensive path ahead of us.

    8 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      I wish you the best of luck with the adoption. I hope everything goes smooth as silk as you venture forth, and when it doesn't, I wish you the strength to persevere and be stronger for it.

      I wish you the best of luck with the adoption. I hope everything goes smooth as silk as you venture forth, and when it doesn't, I wish you the strength to persevere and be stronger for it.

      1 vote
  8. koan Link
    Nothing's really missing in my life. I've got a roof, clothes, food, safety, love, my own business doing what I've always loved. I'm fortunate. What I feel, though, is that I have more than I need...

    Nothing's really missing in my life. I've got a roof, clothes, food, safety, love, my own business doing what I've always loved. I'm fortunate. What I feel, though, is that I have more than I need or want. If you looked at how I live, you'd probably say I have a pretty minimalist existence. But I want to be even more minimal. I want to ditch more stuff, remove more complexity, be even less wasteful, require less space. I want to move toward zero waste, I want to stop using plastic, and I want to get rid of my consumerist brainwashing for good. It's hard.

    If something's missing in my life, it's a 4x4 hightop Sprinter van outfitted to be a camper and a National Parks pass. I'd really like to travel full-time and see the beauty of the natural world before even more of it disappears.

    7 votes
  9. [5]
    Birb Link
    I suppose I need a living space where I can comfortably be my truest, fullest self. I'm living with my parents, and-- don't get me wrong, they're great and I love them very much-- I just don't...

    I suppose I need a living space where I can comfortably be my truest, fullest self. I'm living with my parents, and-- don't get me wrong, they're great and I love them very much-- I just don't feel like I can much express myself when it comes to interests outside of normalcy. I have my significant other and one great friend I can openly be myself with, but I want to feel that same comfort at home.

    I often restrict myself to being a more 'normal' person-- and I think it makes me seem pretty boring as a result. Thankfully video games are considered an acceptable hobby, so that leaves me with one thing to talk about (when I'm with the right audience). Most people enjoy artwork, at least casually, so I have some surface-level commonalities there. But where do I go when I want to talk about a new character design in my head or when I want to show off a piece I'm working on? What if the real reason I want to travel is to experience a convention full of others who express themselves through animal-people?

    Most people might be unfamiliar with the subject, shrug their shoulders, and just find it a bit quirky. But I've met enough people my age who think they know what a "furry" is that it makes me afraid to open up. Who's going to get the wrong idea and immediately think me disgusting? I so badly want to be my open and true self, but I'm afraid.

    I haven't gotten to talk about this much, so I hope I didn't go on for too long! You all seem like a nice bunch here on tildes so I feel a lot more comfortable opening up.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      Oh, don't you worry. Check out my comment history. You didn't go long at all. :P And hey: glad you're feeling comfortable here! If you ask me, I'd say you're right about the "boring" part. I'm in...

      so I hope I didn't go on for too long!

      Oh, don't you worry. Check out my comment history. You didn't go long at all. :P

      And hey: glad you're feeling comfortable here!

      I often restrict myself to being a more 'normal' person-- and I think it makes me seem pretty boring as a result.

      If you ask me, I'd say you're right about the "boring" part.

      I'm in about the same position as you are IRL right now. On the Internet, with the people I've met online, I'm far more authentic. Hell, even speaking English makes me express myself more authentically; it's why I restrict my time-spending to English-language resources only. (I'm Russian.)

      With my family, though? The people who expect to finish the uni degree I'd abandoned, and have a job, and find a wife, and have kids they'd get to spend time messing about with? No fucking way I can be myself and not clash – 'cause if I start, we'd clash hard. Right now, I can't afford that, for a variety of reasons.

      I'm not exactly dull and grey around them, but fuck no I can't talk about the things I love and expect any sort of understanding, let alone praise.

      I so badly want to be my open and true self, but I'm afraid.

      I hear you. It's fucking terrifying to break people's expectations of you. It feels like the world's going to collapse if you do – and in a way, it would. There's a certain stability lost when you present your true self to people who have a different image of you solidified, especially to people who feel some moral authority over you. Hell, even strangers! It's almost as if being normal has become so ingrained in you that shedding it also means shedding a big part of yourself, a losing even a shred of what makes you you is a frightening experience.

      So don't feel too bad about it.

      I find it deeply-satisfying to listen to people whom I consider deeply-, genuinely-authentic. One of my heroes is Henry Rollins, the punk icon. I can't help but listen to what he has to say. I've seen or heard a dozen of his live shows, I'm subscribed to his podcast, I visit his (podcast's) Instragram page every couple of months, I watch his interviews... The man so clearly embodies the attitude towards life I admire that I can't help pay attention. It's affirming to hear someone speak so starkly about living life the best you could, in a much plainer, saner, and more-sincere way than all the stupid amounts of shallow self-help advice strewn out all over the social Internet.

      Do you have someone of such status in your life?

      This authentic living I've been inching my way towards for the last year and a half. Like a man I know once said, "I'm fucked either way. I'd rather be fucked for who I am than for who I pretend to be".

      What kind of art are you working on? What kinds of characters do you develop? If you'd like to share them, publicly or privately, I'd love to hear about 'em. I'm a writer by the way of hobby, so it's partly a selfish desire: so that I could fresh ideas for my own work.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Birb Link Parent
        Hey, thanks for the response! It's nice to hear we're not alone in our struggles. I fortunately have two very close people in my life that I can be completely open with, and for them I'm very...

        Hey, thanks for the response! It's nice to hear we're not alone in our struggles.

        Do you have someone of such status in your life?

        I fortunately have two very close people in my life that I can be completely open with, and for them I'm very thankful.

        Since starting fresh at a new university not too long ago, I feel I can also be more authentic in everyday life. There's no prior reputation or image to worry about, so it's a nice clean slate. I'm not 100% open about all my hobbies, but I'm definitely more authentic than I was in high school.

        What kind of art are you working on? What kinds of characters do you develop? If you'd like to share them, publicly or privately, I'd love to hear about 'em.

        My hobby falls under the furry fandom, I'd say! It's actually pretty benign, but unfortunately a lot of media and the internet in general has framed it as something terrible. Hence my hesitation in being open about it; if I run into someone with that idea of the fandom, it probably won't bode well for me.

        Anyway, here's some art I've done!

        One
        Two
        Three

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          Hey, those aren't bad! I like the first one a lot – it's simple and straightforward – and I must say: I've never seen a purple fox-manticore hybrid. Sounds like something straight out of a Greek...

          Hey, those aren't bad! I like the first one a lot – it's simple and straightforward – and I must say: I've never seen a purple fox-manticore hybrid. Sounds like something straight out of a Greek myth. Nice work!

          Let's suppose I know nothing about furries or the furry fandom. Could you explain to me, without getting into detail, what it's all about?

          2 votes
          1. Birb Link Parent
            Thank you! It's hard to explain exactly what the fandom is; it's a bit like asking what the comic fandom is. At the baseline, everyone in the furry fandom enjoys anthropomorphic animals in some...

            Thank you!

            It's hard to explain exactly what the fandom is; it's a bit like asking what the comic fandom is. At the baseline, everyone in the furry fandom enjoys anthropomorphic animals in some way. They might enjoy movies like Robin Hood or Zootopia, they might create artwork of animal characters, hell, they might even cosplay like an animal. The conventions are getting to be huge, with the largest one having over 10,000 attendees. It's a bit difficult to understand it without being a part of it yourself, I think. It's a major online community that I've been a part of since I was a kid.

            I think a lot of the appeal is the fact that it's a huge social and creative outlet, and its imagery is similar to a lot of media we grew up with.

            3 votes
  10. ThatFanficGuy Link
    "What do I need?" "You need a purpose. More specifically, you need a job." One where I can apply my skills effectively, one that lets me learn my craft, one that would pay for getting the fuck...

    "What do I need?"

    "You need a purpose. More specifically, you need a job."

    One where I can apply my skills effectively, one that lets me learn my craft, one that would pay for getting the fuck away from the place I'm in now.

    6 votes
  11. Gaywallet Link
    Right now I feel I'm lacking in quality relationships. But this comes on the heels of breaking up with a nearly decade long relationship with my ex, so in comparison most relationships seem quite...

    Right now I feel I'm lacking in quality relationships. But this comes on the heels of breaking up with a nearly decade long relationship with my ex, so in comparison most relationships seem quite shallow. By relationships I mean everything that relationship can mean - friends, partners, sex buddies, acquaintances, you name it.

    In many ways this has me questioning a lot about what I want to do with my life as well. For pretty much my entire adulthood I've spent it living with a single individual. This made it easy to decide on what I wanted to focus on as some things were acceptable and others not acceptable by my partner. Now I don't have any restrictions and while it is extremely freeing, it's giving me a larger pool of choices, many of which I'm unsure if they are truly interesting or simply eye catching/sexy and ultimately uninteresting.

    That being said, all in all I'm fairly blessed. I have a good job and a condo in an expensive area. I don't have to worry about much in my day to day life. So it feels a little silly to talk about what's "missing".

    6 votes
  12. MimicSquid Link
    Money. My life is pretty wonderful right now. Work I enjoy at a rate I can enjoy it, good relationships with friends and family, a reasonably secure living. But I have debts that I am digging...

    Money. My life is pretty wonderful right now. Work I enjoy at a rate I can enjoy it, good relationships with friends and family, a reasonably secure living. But I have debts that I am digging myself out from under very, very slowly. I have no ability to save for retirement; everything extra beyond a small cash buffer goes towards paying off the debts. It's not a big concern yet, as I'm still reasonably young and reasonably healthy, but if I ceased being able to work tomorrow I would have nothing. I can see a path to being debt-free and having something resembling savings and maybe retiring one day, but it's a long path and there will be expensive surprises along the way, I'm sure. Who knows if I'll ever get there.

    5 votes
  13. [3]
    moocow1452 Link
    I guess what's missing is a measure of self discipline to do what I want to do long term, I'm working at a call center now, and I am more than capable of doing it, and I like that it kinda has a...

    I guess what's missing is a measure of self discipline to do what I want to do long term, I'm working at a call center now, and I am more than capable of doing it, and I like that it kinda has a structure to it that I'm either on the call working or I'm not for 8 hours a day, and if I do that I get paid. I have issues with the amount, or the hours or the call pacing sure, but the structure of doing a thing from time A to time B and when you're done, you're done I have no complaints about. I want to work in television writing, or at least finish the comic I'm working on, but with that, or higher education, or anything that isn't starring me in the face to take care of that I can tangibly knock out in an afternoon, its a whole lot harder to wrap my mind around. That was the trouble with school after it was required for me, and I guess that's something I'm going to have to tangle with for a while.

    5 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      The thing I like about conventional jobs is that they give you an unbending structure that you can't mess up, and it's satisfying in its own way: you do your thing well, and you get paid reliably,...

      The thing I like about conventional jobs is that they give you an unbending structure that you can't mess up, and it's satisfying in its own way: you do your thing well, and you get paid reliably, every X weeks.

      I wouldn't be able to do conventional jobs, though, and the restrictiveness of it is one of the major reasons. I love being able to one day decide to go for a run at 5 AM to the forest nearby, 'cause that's what I fancy this fine morning. I love being able to take breaks whenever I need them, in whatever form I need to have them. Etc. etc..

      The thing I struggle the most about it terms of freelancing is the fact that, without any structure whatsoever, you can get lost quickly, and lose the sense of meaning a more-ridig structure – a school, a university, a job – could give you. It's like how sandbox games get boring after a while 'cause there's nothing inherently to do, and the remedy is to make up your own goals. People are able to construct amazing buildings, terrains, and whole worlds in Minecraft when nothing innately compells them to within the confines of the game – and yet, here we are, looking at real-life cities painstakingly reconstructed in various videogames 'cause some people thought it would be pretty cool to do.

      I've been working recently under the assumption that I have to make up a structure of my own to be effective at what I do, job or hobby. Sure, I feel excited to work a little on the freelance gig everyday – it brings me satisfaction aside from the fact that I'm going to earn money for it, but also because of it – but if I want to make happen the cool things I have in my head – like finishing that 11k-words worldbuilding project I'd spent months trying to get back on its feet – I'm going to need a schedule.

      The bad side is that I'm going to have to restict myself. The good side is that I can afford to restrict myself in ways that fit me best and help encourage the things that already compel me, in ways that are conducive to personal growth and healing.

      3 votes
    2. Birb Link Parent
      I feel the same way when it comes to schoolwork. If I'm given the time to work on something in class, I can knock it out, no problem. But if I'm expected to do something entirely at home, by my...

      I feel the same way when it comes to schoolwork. If I'm given the time to work on something in class, I can knock it out, no problem. But if I'm expected to do something entirely at home, by my own motivation... It's not easy. There's too many distractions. I want my school time to be school time, and my home time to be home time. This was perfectly manageable all the way up through high school, but in college I'm running into trouble. I've done pretty ok regardless, but I've had a few moments where it felt like my whole career as a student was going to fall apart due to my study behavior. At least recruiters don't look at GPA all that often?

      1 vote
  14. [2]
    Bullmaestro (edited ) Link
    Romance and sex. I've had terrible luck with dating ever since my teen years and I don't understand what it is about me that's so unappealing. Back in high school girls used to fake sexual...

    Romance and sex.

    I've had terrible luck with dating ever since my teen years and I don't understand what it is about me that's so unappealing. Back in high school girls used to fake sexual interest to tease me then mock me if I dared reciprocate. In uni, the only girls that actually clicked with me were ones already in relationships. Others that I was attracted to would just ignore and ghost me when I tried to get to know them. Worse, almost every female friend I made in uni defriended me on Facebook after graduation and I don't understand why.

    Things didn't get better in adulthood. Dating sites and apps just made me even more jaded and angry with the world. I get very low reply rates even on apps like Tinder and Bumble, the vast majority of those who bother to reply would ghost me after a short conversation, and pretty much every woman that I've become more serious with has strung me along in some major fashion. I could write entire theses on how much women have hurt me. Even successful first dates have ended in failure, like six months ago when I met a redhead for drinks, clicked really well with her and by the end of the evening we were making out for almost half an hour. I didn't go back to her's that night because she had stuff to do but she wanted to invite me over later in the month. Then she ghosted me for about a week until she dropped the whole "I'm so sorry, this isn't going to work out, I didn't mean to lead you on" line...

    I'd rate myself a 6/10 in looks. I'm not ugly and I actually look about 5 years younger than I actually am, but at the same time I don't have the face nor the body to be a male model.

    Sadly it's affecting other aspects of my life. I have a stable job but my performance has dipped and I've fallen behind on my studies because my love life (or lack thereof) has dropped my mood massively. I'm at the stage where I don't even have the drive to play video games anymore.

    4 votes
    1. Gaywallet Link Parent
      I think nearly everyone feels this way about dating apps. The reality is that there's zero filter on who can install and use these apps, and the use case for these apps is much more varied than...

      Dating sites and apps just made me even more jaded and angry with the world.

      I think nearly everyone feels this way about dating apps. The reality is that there's zero filter on who can install and use these apps, and the use case for these apps is much more varied than "traditional" methods like speed dating, etc.

      I say this as someone who regularly receives several likes a day on the apps that I use (okcupid, bumble, etc.) - these apps fucking suck and people are the worst. I can't even tell you how many times I've matched with someone only for them to ghost me, met up with people who seemed to click and may have even agreed mutually but only ended up ghosting, how much time I've wasted swiping on people only to feel like I'm some shitty commodity where all I'm selling is sex appeal.

      Unfortunately it's a numbers game. People can be on these apps for any number of reasons; only some of those reasons will match your reason. Of those people who's reasons match yours, an even smaller amount of those will show mutual interest. Of those people, even less will click. Of those who click, even less will want the same kind of relationship. Of those who want the same kind of relationship, even less will be at the right point in their lives which will match up with yours. And so on, and so forth. It's a grueling slog that is dehumanizing and frankly transactional in nature. I think it's healthy to separate yourself from these apps from time to time and focus on improving yourself and doing things that you find fun.

      Your last sentence, however, makes me think there might be a bit of depression popping up, and it might not be a bad idea to go speak with your GP or a therapist if you have one.

  15. [2]
    papasquat Link
    The ability to see things through. I'm happily married, somehow have a very stable, well paying job, a nice house, dog, friends, etc. Overall I'm extremely fortunate and feel like I have a lot...

    The ability to see things through. I'm happily married, somehow have a very stable, well paying job, a nice house, dog, friends, etc. Overall I'm extremely fortunate and feel like I have a lot more than I actually deserve, which leads me to my next point.
    I'm fundamentally just a lazy person. Motivating myself to do the things I need to do is extremely difficult, and I'm absolutely unable to do it consistently. If I can get myself to do something, I put in the absolute least amount of effort possible to call it done. I can't consistently put effort into one thing for a long period of time. If I do start strong with a project, I know in the back of my mind that there's virtually no chance of finishing. The more I put it off, the less I want to actually complete it. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm 32 and I've been like this my whole life.
    I'm in a pretty good position, but I can't help but think I'd feel more content if I could actually finish things, and work towards long term goals. My whole house is filled with reminders of little projects that I started, worked on half assedly, then eventually just abandoned. I feel like very few people I know IRL can relate to this either.

    3 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      I don't mean to be brash or in any way disrespectful when I say that in your position, I'd see a therapist. I know I would if I could afford it, for whatever anxiety/depression issues I'd...

      I don't mean to be brash or in any way disrespectful when I say that in your position, I'd see a therapist. I know I would if I could afford it, for whatever anxiety/depression issues I'd accumulated over time.

      I can't remember where I'd read it, but Hugh Laurie – the star of House and a friend of Stephen Fry's – apparently had discovered that he'd been clinically depressed decades into a successful career, with a lovely marriage and a couple of children. It seems that you can do well in life and still have a difficult time in things most people don't consider all the much.

      From my experience, there's no such thing as laziness: only lack of energy, whether it's from being anxious, physically ill, depressed, or anywhere else. I'm in no position to advise medically, though: hence, my urging you to see someone who's been trained to do it professionally.

      2 votes
  16. [6]
    Micycle_the_Bichael Link
    I'm not sure how to describe this in words that match what you're asking, but I think my response will still fit the topic. Maybe the answer is a sense of community or belonging but that feels...

    I'm not sure how to describe this in words that match what you're asking, but I think my response will still fit the topic. Maybe the answer is a sense of community or belonging but that feels like it is implying a lot more depth than I intend.

    Basically, I miss midwestern kindness and conversation. I moved from the midwest to a big city on the east coast. I really miss the way people interacted and treated each other back home. Back then, even as a kid, I knew everyone who lived on my street and in my neighborhood. That included the low-income rental apartments that had a lot of tenant turnover. You'd get to know them because you helped them move in, or you made them something to eat because moving is HARD and how are they supposed to know where to find good food if they just moved here, or because you saw them somewhere and introduced yourself and made sure they were fairing fine. There were just always little acts of kindness and conversations that made it really feel warm. You don't get that in the city. Don't get me wrong, I love the city, I can't really imagine living anywhere else because 99% of the lifestyle suits me perfectly. It really just is the small acts of kindness that you do for your neighbors because its the nice thing to do and the small talk with people around you that I miss. It feels really isolating. But I don't know that it is worth sacrificing everything else my partner and I love about the city for that.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Gaywallet Link Parent
      I've found that people default to this kind of behavior just because of how huge cities are, BUT, if you make those acts first to your neighbors, they are often quick to return the favor. Have you...

      It really just is the small acts of kindness that you do for your neighbors because its the nice thing to do and the small talk with people around you that I miss. It feels really isolating.

      I've found that people default to this kind of behavior just because of how huge cities are, BUT, if you make those acts first to your neighbors, they are often quick to return the favor.

      Have you tried being the first person to reach out?

      1. [2]
        Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
        Yeah. Idk maybe this is petty and makes me less of a kind and altruistic person, but part of the drain is because I will ALWAYS go out of my way to help my neighbors and talk to them, but no one...

        Yeah. Idk maybe this is petty and makes me less of a kind and altruistic person, but part of the drain is because I will ALWAYS go out of my way to help my neighbors and talk to them, but no one ever returns the favor. I'm never going to stop doing nice things because helping other people and making other people's day better is something very important to me. It would just be nice if anyone around me ever gave the same consideration to me.

        1 vote
        1. Gaywallet Link Parent
          Oh if they're never returning the favor I could see how that would be quite disheartening. It's kind of depressing to hear but also understandable given the culture. I hope that one of these days...

          Oh if they're never returning the favor I could see how that would be quite disheartening. It's kind of depressing to hear but also understandable given the culture. I hope that one of these days someone will return the favor, you deserve as much.

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      euphoria066 Link Parent
      Hey, have you ever looked into "buy nothing" groups in your area? they don't exist everywhere (I'm currently in admin training to start one in my neighbourhood) but they seem like they'd kinda be...

      Hey, have you ever looked into "buy nothing" groups in your area? they don't exist everywhere (I'm currently in admin training to start one in my neighbourhood) but they seem like they'd kinda be up your alley. The idea is to share from your own abundance, rather than meet "needs" of people, and generally they're pretty warm, upbeat places that are comprised of your actual neighbours!

      Unfortunately they're on facebook as a platform usually, but they involve a lot of dropping by or delivering by neighbours, and they might be a great place to get to know some people around you in a fun way.

      1. Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
        I'll check it out, but if it is mostly through facebook that's going to be a killer since I don't have one :(

        I'll check it out, but if it is mostly through facebook that's going to be a killer since I don't have one :(

  17. [2]
    mftrhu Link
    A life. Or maybe a new start, somewhere else, with people who I can trust, where I can actually do something meaningful instead of... plodding. A way to care about it, because, at some point, I...

    As you reflect on your life, is there something which makes its absence known? Something you wish you had, but don't? Do you think you'll ever be able to change, fill, fix, or work around it? Do you think it'll change with time or remain permanent? How does the missing whatever-it-is impact your life?

    A life. Or maybe a new start, somewhere else, with people who I can trust, where I can actually do something meaningful instead of... plodding. A way to care about it, because, at some point, I stopped. I'm not suicidal anymore, but I think I might still be depressed, and yet I don't see the point in doing anything about it.

    1 vote
    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      I'd written a few words that might resonate with you about seeing no point. I'd also written a few words more recently about anxiety. Maybe you could use hearing those. When I moved into the...

      I'd written a few words that might resonate with you about seeing no point.

      I'd also written a few words more recently about anxiety. Maybe you could use hearing those.

      When I moved into the apartment where I currently live, I went out one night to walk around the block, as I do sometimes, to think things through. Walking usually helps set my mind wandering, and I get cool ideas and occasionally – some insight.

      So I walked around, and peered into the windows that had lights on – where people might be alive and doing their own things – as I often used to do. In this nicer neighborhood, I imagined people having nicer lives than what I've gotten used to.

      As I was walking around, a feeling struck me that I couldn't readily recognize. It was immensely-powerful – as sort of longing, but I couldn't say for what; a longing that I'd never felt for lost love, or lost friends, or missed opportunities, or even anything smaller. It was overwhelming, and all I could do was write an incomprehensible ramble on /r/self as soon as I got back.

      Since then, over a period of months, I'd come to realize a few things:

      1. I'd give a lot to be in a better place, and I want to be in someone else's place because mine is no good, shallow and aimless as it is;

      2. I'd like to make something that would at least help me simulate the feeling of being someone else – a simple, text-based, procedurally-generated game where I could set the conditions of my start and, in vague, simple terms live off of the escapism;

      3. My life seriously needs a goal, a meaning;

      4. I'd like for me to be in a better place, but I don't have to run away from myself to have that – partially because it's physically impossible, partially because I don't want to be someone else: I want to be me but better;

      5. If a better place is at all possible, I want to work to get there.

      Number 5, in particular, came about after the gig I'd spent two days on and got $10 for expanded into taking over the web design side of a promising little outliner app. The reassurance of being paid – therefore, having money – therefore, being able to gain/save enough to live elsewhere – on a fairly-consistent basis (the person on the other end has been trustworthy with his payments, gig payments though they are still) inspired me to look into how to make my life a bit better, inch by inch, but also to aim bigger than I could when I had no reliable income at all.

      I no longer wanted to be someone else: I wanted to put myself in a place where I could be happy, where I could love and be loved, where I could be respected and appreciated, and where I could make and see all kinds of cool things.

      Right now, I'm working on small, incremental goals to change the environment I'm in for the better. For the next couple of weeks, I'm saving to spend a few days in a nearby city I love. Then, I'm going to save enough so that maybe I could spend a couple of days somewhere further. In the meantime, I'm moving things around and throwing stuff away so that the place can be as comfortable and encouraging of particular things (physical exercise, creative expression, clarity of mind) as it can be for me, considering the circumstances.

      I felt miserable – even depressed – for as long as I felt obligated and forced to do things others wanted from me. I got lucky when jumping off of a metaphorical cliff – the proverbial leap of faith – landed me in a reasonably-comfortable position. It's not excellent, but it's an amazing headstart to moving elsewhere while I'm getting paid for doing something I love.

      There's no recipe I can give you. If you're in a bad place – do your best to get out; it might take a while, but on the other side is much better. If you feel like everything is fine otherwise but you're still miserable – see a therapist. (And no, it's not just for the nutjobs: in today's world, all sorts of lovely and amazing people can have serious mental issues, and it would be excellent if all of those could be helped with. It only works if you want it to.) See if you can make time to do something you enjoy doing, whatever it is. (Stigma is a bitch, and it can be difficult to see through when you're looking for a passion of yours. It's there somewhere – it might be something you'd never thought of.) Cut away bad things (and bad people) if you have to. (Don't set yourself on fire to keep others warm, and don't hang around an anchor: it will sink, and you'll come with it.)

      Best of luck.

      2 votes
  18. TimesThreeTheHighest Link
    I don't think my life is really missing anything, but I often think about moving to a new city/country. I'm stuck in a routine here.

    I don't think my life is really missing anything, but I often think about moving to a new city/country. I'm stuck in a routine here.

    1 vote