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Not happy... but not unhappy. Thoughts?


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Hi everyone,


Word of warning before reading: this will be a long post. I’m just going to let everything out and perhaps I can gain some insight from it. Everything that I write here is simply organized ramblings that are coming through my head, written on a word document like a journal to see if I can make sense of it. So I decided to post it here too to see if you all have some advice, I’d greatly appreciate it.


So let’s start at the beginning. Growing up, I was always a little bit of a misfit. I’ve always been very independent and am able to keep myself interested in my own affairs. I’ve never had a big group of friends, just a small circle of really good friends. I was happy with that. I was otherwise a bit antisocial and quiet, still am to a point (not antisocial, just quiet), and I am totally fine with this.


Observationally, I tend to click best with those of my interests. I’m a science nerd and always have been. I’ve always maintained good friendships of the like minded. That was the case through high school, and in college I was thrown into a small pot of individuals in the same science-y major. That worked out perfectly, and just so happened to be the happiest time in my life. Not necessarily the most fun, but the happiest.


So, fast forward to near-present day. I graduated college in 2007 and moved to a new area where I knew no one. I was hired right out of college and so it had to happen. Again, I was totally fine with that as I am an independent person. I’ll find something to do and people to hang out with.


Then things went awry. I moved to San Diego and shared a house with two other people. I figured I’d click right in like I always have. Wrong – it wasn’t a good match at all. This was a new experience because now that I look back at it, I was very lucky to have the social scenarios presented to me up through college. Anyway, too much drama happened at that house so I moved. Same thing happened. I ended up just staying my room all day every day and not doing anything. Isolation started to kick in and I fell into a depression. This was the lowest part of my life, and I knew it. I had no friends locally. Things needed to change, so I punted.


I moved again into a house where two science-y people lived. ‘Lo and behold, I click into this group. It was definitely a relief. Unfortunately, I was still battling the depression so I sought therapy. I was instructed to start taking on new goals and aspirations, so I made a plan. I was in a good situation at that house, but it came to an end as the people I lived with moved on… still friends with them, but the girl moved out with her boyfriend, so it caused us to kind of split ways in terms of what we call home. The room in the house where the boyfriend lived opened up due to that… it’s a much nicer house that’s closer to work, and the people that live there are my new friends that I’ve met through the roommates. This house also happens to be a bit of a party house, which is something that I THOUGHT I needed as part of my new self. More social, more going out, etc. So, I moved into the newly opened room at the party house.


Present day. I’m no longer depressed but at the same time I’m not happy. I’ve now experienced what I wanted to experience. I go out a lot more, talk to more people, and I’m dating a hell of a lot more women than I used to. Unfortunately, I feel like I’m missing the emotional connection to my new roommates and friends. It’s not the same as back home or my college buddies. There are some exclusions to the rule, but they’re off focusing on their own lives as couples. I have fun with my new friends but ultimately, this is not what I want. I thought it was but I thought wrong.


As mentioned before, my therapist told me to mobilize myself; do more activities and get out there. I am: I’m in the best shape of my life (have a consistent workout I stick to, and I’m running a marathon next month), I go outside and enjoy the outdoors more, I’m going back to school in Fall to study what I love (all things science), I bought a really nice car, I have nice things, I’m traveling back home more and, visiting old friends more. I’m doing really well at work… I’ve had two enormous raises since I started and now there are rumors that I may be getting a big promotion soon. (Nearly all the people I work with are of the retirement age, so its inevitable)


I have a lot of good things going for me right now. A lot. But I’m not happy – just content. Unfortunately that’s not enough. I want to be happy, but I don’t know what I need to get to that point.


So here is what I think is going on: I need to revert back to my small group of really close friends. I don’t have that here. I’ve dabbled in different lifestyles, met some fantastic people, but I don’t quite click with them. I’ve even rubbed some people the wrong way as I sometimes don’t know how to react the right way in some social situations.


I’m a nice guy, so I tried being an * * * * * * * /jerk for a while (in the dating scene)… that got me dates with women I don’t want. I don’t want to be that guy, so I think I’m going to go back to nice guy. I’ve tried the binge drinking and party scene. It was fun at first but ultimately not for me.


And here is what I think I need. I say “I think” because I thought the new lifestyles I’m experiencing were what I needed, but I was wrong. I need the close nerdy friends. It’s getting harder and harder to do these days as the ones I’ve met are starting their lives with their significant others. Being the third wheel is never fun. At the same time, I need to find that nerdy girl that I can fall in love with. The serial dating I’ve been doing was fun at first, but again, not for me.


So here’s what I’m doing. I’m going back to school and perhaps I can click with other like minded people. Maybe even meet a special someone, who knows. I’m going to try to find clicks I can easily blend into, instead of being the social floater that I am.


I’m 25 (26 this month), active, and in the best shape of my life. I’m attractive, smart, and have a good sense of humor. I have a great cushy and stable job that is about to explode into a ton of better opportunities. I have a nice car, nice possessions, and good tastes in life. You’d think a guy like me would be happy with his position in life. But I’m only content and that is definitely not enough. I don’t really know where to look, and I don’t want to become what I was all over again (antisocial and alone – that got me into the depression). I live in a party house, and while I like the social interaction, it’s not clicking for me in the long run. I think I want to get my own place, but I’m not really sure if I’m ready that. I don’t know what I want. I want to be happy but it doesn’t seem like something I can get in the near future. Everything that I thought I wanted isn’t.


Any thoughts? I know some of this might not make sense, so if you need clarification then please ask.


Thanks for reading. Kinda puts things together a little bit in my head as I write it out.

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JBag, half way reading through your post I was going to say, then why dont you go back to school. Your friends, they moved away, they moved so far away that you cant visit. Life is ever changing, with you, friends, everything and that is normal, what we want today, maybe is not what we want later down the line. By the way I know how you feel, I am the science geek type to, and it seems we are a rare breed and trying to find the female "science geek" of are breed is hard, so I know where your coming from. I think you did good by writing it all out

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Hey JBag,


I tend to write much more flowery stuff, with a lot of carefully crafted phrases and affirmations and such. I'm not sure why, but not today; instead you get a list of pithy advice that I hope will be of some use, or at least give you some thinking points, or at the very least express my opinion


This level of introspection is actually very healthy. Keep it up. Examining your life and path is powerful.

Do not underestimate the long-term goodness of contentment.

Your plan to go back to school to meet like-minded people is an excellent one.

Definitely stick with being the nice guy.

Keep the drinking sane and drunkenness infrequent.

Keep working out and being good to your mind and body.

Keep your excellent career going, but don't let it rule your time and life.

Don't drop the friends you've made. Reduce contact a bit if you want to; those who seek you out may well become the closer friends you crave.

Keep your definitions of who's good to be around as open as they sound, or even more so - you may end up falling for someone who clicks with you in a different way than the girl-geeks you seek.

Put as much as you can afford (or the max federally allowable) into an IRA or equivalent.


That's all I have for you based on your entry. If you'd like more specific reactions, ask something more specific and (if I see it; I'm not on here all the time) I'll be glad to talk about them. You could also send a PM if you wish.


Whatever you choose to do, I wish you all the best and hope it works out well for you. May you find the peace, compassion, and love you seek.


Light and laughter,


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Good luck with going back to school. I hope that you'll be able to find more of the people with whom you want to click.


However...I just hope you aren't romanticizing the degree of "nerdness" that you think you may find in a science graduate program. It will depend upon the school and its culture, but...it's a lot less than you may think. Sure, you and your fellow students will work hard, but there's a definite difference between that and true passion, and those people that exude the true passion seem to be what you are looking for. Then again, like attracts like, and with a few years life experience behind you that some of the new students may not have who are fresh out of college, it may be easier for you to ID the people that you want to get to know better. Trust me, you are going to run into a lot of drones who like to intellectually masturbate without knowing why they should care about their work outside of landing that 80-100K job once they finish.


At least that has been my experience.


There was also a huge party scene in both of my graduate programs, something it sounds like you probably want to avoid. During my master's I would partake in some of it; it got old fast. The department in which I'm a fellow now also has a huge party culture, but since I'm past grad school I could care less about it.


Also expand your circle if you can by getting to know students from other science departments, and engineering departments too, especially if your area of interest is highly interdisciplinary. Some of the best people I've met along the way were not in my program.


I promise you too, the female science nerd/geek exists, and we are not boring!! One is writing this reply to you now. I happily found another science nerd and we have been together for a good while now, and enjoy active lives outside our work that include hobbies from visual art and photography to homebrewing and share our work with our closest friends and the community. I like the life we have, and we've managed to stay true to what's most important to us. If you do the same, you will make your own happiness.


Good luck to you!

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Thanks for the kind advice everyone!


I've been giving it a lot of thought for a few days. Last night I was starting to draw the same conclusions and you've just reaffirmed it. I'm pretty sure I need to not take for granted how good contentment can be. I was basically sitting here complaining that I'm not unhappy. My situation could be a hell of a lot worse, so that attitude has turned it around for me a little bit. I've basically been ignoring the bright side of things. Now that I'm not, it's not so bad.


Sure, there are things that I wish to do or have. Instead of moping about how I don't, I'm just going to add that to my checklist of things I want to do in my life. I don't "need" a social bubble or circle. I don't "need" to fit in. I don't "need" anything socially really. I shouldn't "want" to be something. I'm just going to keep exploring on my own merry way, flying solo, like I've always done my entire life. It's what I'm good at, so why not? Why complain about it? It's who I am.


I've been tossing the idea around of getting my own place. I still need some saving to do if I want to make myself an awesome pad. I grew up in a family of "go big or go home," so that's a requirement. I think it'll be a lot of good to move into a more contemporary part of town, instead of living in the quiet suburbs with a bunch of crazies. I'm a laid back individual, and there are places in San Diego where people of my nature conglomerate.


"Don't worry, be happy!"

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