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Turns out I'm a failure. Regrets about life and feeling useless.


ghostmaker

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Good day or good evening wherever you all are.

 

This is going to be a long post but it all boils down to regrets I have about decisions I took when I was younger. I'm in my mid-30's and unemployed. The career (if I can even call it a career) I had was in education simply because after doing my degrees I couldn't get a job in other fields. I never wanted to teach kids and for years I've been in a rut unable to escape the horror of a classroom. The longer I was in the field, the harder it was to find an employer who would look favorably at my CV. Now, I've reached a point where I couldn't do it anymore and I simply quit without thinking what to do next. I don't have my onw place and I'm staying at a friend's but I won't be able to stay here for much longer. I was thinking of going back to university to re-educate myself and re-enter the job market in a different capacity, but it's October 2017 and the soonest I would be able to start would be August/September 2018. Still, going back to university feels like the only chance I've got. Both of my degrees are completely useless and I truly regret doing them. It was a waste of time, time that nobody will return to me. Not only are they useless, but also obtained from a university that has no international recognition.

 

My head is spinning and I feel completely overwhelmed. I do want to take this step and completely redefine myself and my career path, but I don't even know if I would be admitted at my age, and that thought causes a great deal of distress. Eh, I also keep asking myself where I could possibly do it... I always wanted to try the United States, but maybe it's a fantasy, not a dream. What else? I also don't know if I would have to take a Bachelor's degree or if I could get something shorter... I can't imagine myself doing a BA along with teenagers and then graduating at the age of 40... Nobody would employ a person like that.

 

Not knowing what to do at the age of 35 makes me feel like a complete failure. I'm not even talking about any other aspects of life... family or a house of my own. Those seem so abstract. Most, if not all, of my friends have settled down and have managed to get a decent career life. I? I feel like nobody. I admit that the past months (and years of working as someone I never wanted to be) have taken a signigficant toll on me. I developed a very pessimistic outlook on reality. In all honesty, nothing really makes me happy. Yes, I have been taking mild medication and I have sought some help but the relaity is what it is, i.e. I'm unemployed, I detest my profession, and I have nothing to offer in the fields outside of teaching. In essence, I feel useless and the only hope I feel is when I think of going back to school. That hope is mixed with a great deal of fear, though, simply because I don't have a lot saved-up and I don't think schools will be interested in helping someone like me.

 

I've got hundreds of thoughts racing in my head. People keep saying that nothing is impossible or that dreams are achievable as long as you really want them to come true, but with each and every day part of me seems to give up a little. Perhaps my dreams aren't dreams. Perhaps they are fantasies. That's a big difference. In all honesty... I started questioning the very purpose of life. When I look back at all those years behind me... I can't recall a single year that I'd feel happy about.

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I've definitely been where you're at--unfulfilled in my career, unsure how to get to a place of happiness and fulfillment in my life. But I focused on finding a career in areas where my passions and strengths lie and I've found my way to a much happier, upward bound life.

 

Maybe consider tutoring, which would allow you to use your education background, but in more of a one-on-one setting with a student vs. being bombarded by a classroom full. Being a nanny/manny is also a similar setup. I'm not sure where you live, but in the States, with the right company, you can make good money doing either one and have the flexibility to attend college at the same time. Just stay hopeful and persistent and things will work out. It's not easy, but not impossible. The Internet provides all kinds of resources at your fingertips, so you just have to do the research. Good luck! ]

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I'm sorry you're feeling so lost and down, OP. You sound very overwhelmed indeed.

 

I would suggest picking up some work again, both for the financial benefit and for the purposes of distraction and giving you something to do. In your position, I would take a job in a bar or busy restaurant - you can leave work at work at the end of the day, and those jobs and generally easy to come by. I have done both bartending and waiting tables to make ends meet. They're not the least demanding jobs, but they do offer a quick way to start earning and saving some money. Also, I found the bustling atmosphere kept me on my toes and gave me little time to dwell on my problems. It can be rewarding interacting with people, too. (Depending on where you live and the customs, the tips can really add up as well!)

 

Next, have you considered a part-time or online retraining program, from an accredited university or other institute? You might find that a lower academic and financial burden allows you to continue to work and also pace yourself a bit so you don't get too snowed under.

 

I know it doesn't seem like it now, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I would try to view this all as pragmatically as possible. Draw up a step-by-step plan for yourself. Sometimes actually seeing things on paper helps you to truly visualize your goals and they seem more attainable. It will be very hard not to compare yourself to others, but also keep in mind that everyone has their own struggles. Even those who appear totally established might be experiencing serious but hidden financial problems, or failing health, or a broken family. We all have our issues, whether or not others know about it.

 

The most important thing is exploring your options and truly asking yourself what you can do about it, here and now.

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I am in a similar situation. I worked for years in retail but went back and got an education in IT a few years back.

And now, three different IT jobs later, I am completley miserable and don't know what to do.

 

I'm sorry I have no real advice, but thought it might help to know you are not the only one.

 

I am seeing a therapist just to have someone to talk to. It's helping somewhat. Is that an option for you?

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Hi ghostmaker,

 

This is really a heart breaker because although I haven't been in your exact situation, I can imagine the panic and desperation you must be feeling, which, is only natural.

 

You MUST learn from your past mistake, which seems mostly like simply hanging on and not changing or doing anything when you know you hate the situation. Action is very important, but humans are naturally lazy, and a lot of people would rather stay in an uncomfortable rut for years on end, miserable, rather than take serious action and a real risk which would require life upheaval and major kind of get go. It's natural to bury your head in the sand. A whole load of people do it but live to regret it massively.

 

The positive thing is, you have come to your realisation of this now, in your mid thirties, which may seem old and past it to you, but imagine this - some people come to your realisation at 80 on their death bed and have to acknowledge the fact they have almost wasted their life either living it for other people or just doing what was easy. You only get one. Realising it now is better later than never, but you must see this as a wake up call and not hang around.

 

The second mistake you have made which you must learn from is doing something that is useless. You admit yourself, your degrees are "useless". I'm not sure what they are in, but you must take this opportunity of realisation to make sure your next move is very, very useful. You have to be good to yourself, make it work for you and only you.

 

First, I would suggest you need some clarity. A lot of sleep walking through life is due to lack of clarity, not knowing what you want and no motivation. So, what do you really want? What do you want in a years time? Where do you really want to be? Do you want your own house in two years? Do you want to make an effort, maybe three nights a week, to go out, meet people, maybe meet a potential life partner? What job do you really want? What money do you want to be on? You need some goals and some sturdy ones at that. As a saying goes that someone used to relay to me (I used to hate it but it's kinda true), "Not fear a long road; fear aspiration to start". I think it is a Chinese proverb.

 

Once you have a clear goal, maybe a few, you must make a change and make it with gumph. If you are going to do another degree, you really need to be practical and weigh up if you want a house, that it needs to ensure, really ensure you have a well paid job to go into as soon as you graduate.

 

Along time ago when I was in school, I went on three dates with a guy who always wanted to be an artist. His Dad was a high flyer, literally, he was a pilot. I remember this guy having a conversation with me, more like a huge sigh, that his Dad didn't support his art and advised him taking an engineering degree. Age old decision of heart vs. head. But who says you can't have both? In the end he took his Dad's advice, did the degree, at 27, owns his own house and drives a Porsche. But! He does his art and photography at the weekend without the financial pressure of his art having to sell. He can just do it for the fun of it, and if he sells anything, then it's always a plus. What I'm saying is, in life, sometimes there must be a compromise when it comes to dreams. Often our dream jobs don't deliver on the salary part, which means stress and sacrifice of basic human goals like you mention, owning a house, being comfortable enough financially to not have to worry about every other bill that comes along and living from pay cheque to pay cheque.

 

I'd make a list and really clearly assess exactly what you want, and try and work round anything thats unrealistic and work it into real terms.

 

But remember! All is not lost, and your friends and people you know who say you still have your life ahead of you are right! You must not let hope escape you! Be thankful you have realised this now, sooner than most, and before it was too late. Formulate a plan to turn your life around. It won't be easy and it won't happen straight away, for example if you want to study again, there will be a wait, but in the meantime, get a job as well paid as you can that is not teaching and try and get yourself out of your friends house and into a nice studio apartment of your own so you can start feeling good about yourself again and independent. Every person must have their own personal space; their castle!

 

Please don't feel despair, you must look at this as a blessing. Every passing minute is a moment to turn it all around. Don't waste it. We all waste time enough. Get yourself back on your feet, you can do it.

 

Lo x

 

(PS. Just wanted to add, this may be controversial to say, but quit your therapist. You don't need them. I know therapists who see therapists. They all struggle through life just the same as you and me, they don't have a magic answer. It's money you really need for yourself, in my opinion, you throw it away on cliche advise, paying someone to listen to you while they pretend they care. You're stronger than that and you don't need it. You have everything inside you that you need. All your resources are there. You just need to give yourself a major kick up the a** and get your plan of action together. Just my thoughts on therapy. You've obviously used it or are using it and it doesn't seem to be helping. Wouldn't hurt to try taking your own internal advice maybe. Trust your own instincts.)

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Thank you all for your insights and time. It's heart-warming to hear some voices out there...

 

I actually didn't present the whole story in my post and I omitted some important facts and factors, which I intend to write about tomorrow... Thus, I'd like to ask you all for one thing. Could you please return to this thread tomorrow? It's 2am here... I haven't slept much in the past days (or weeks) I keep staying up till late hours...

 

P.S. The source of my anxiety is that I feel I need to solve everything at once. Immediately. I've seen this motivational quote saying that anxiety comes from being overwhelmed by a great number of things that one feels one needs to solve at once. This is exactly how I feel. Not a day goes by without me being extremely anxious about my age.

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Thank you all for your insights and time. It's heart-warming to hear some voices out there...

 

I actually didn't present the whole story in my post and I omitted some important facts and factors, which I intend to write about tomorrow... Thus, I'd like to ask you all for one thing. Could you please return to this thread tomorrow? It's 2am here... I haven't slept much in the past days (or weeks) I keep staying up till late hours...

 

P.S. The source of my anxiety is that I feel I need to solve everything at once. Immediately. I've seen this motivational quote saying that anxiety comes from being overwhelmed by a great number of things that one feels one needs to solve at once. This is exactly how I feel. Not a day goes by without me being extremely anxious about my age.

 

Hi ghostmaker,

 

No problem we will check in! You're never alone!

 

I will say I can relate to being anxious about age... I was very anxious when I turned 21 because I felt like this massive change had happened where I was officially an "adult" and everything needed to happen. At 25 I went through another quarter life crisis. Every Birthday is a time I don't relish, part of me hates growing older, I really feel pressure from myself to have achieved more and more, and it's hard not to compare yourself to others at the same age. Now I'm 27 turning 28 in December I'm starting to get to that old age "wobble" where I start to feel funny about turning another year older, and I keep thinking the big three oh is closer than I'd like, and all the things I want to get done before then.

 

It's mad and self destructive the pressure you can put on yourself.

 

Get a good nights sleep hope you feel a bit better in the morning.

 

Lo x

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Reframe your dreams into concrete goals. Dreams can't be achieved, but goals can. What I mean is ......

 

If someone comes to a trainer and says, "I want to be a winner." - the trainer is going shrug, mumble something unintelligible and walk away. Wanting to be a winner is a very vague dream that nobody can train. BUT if you come to a trainer and say "I'd like to run a marathon in under 4:10 hrs" - you'll see the trainer's eyes light up and he will sit down with you and start planning your training. Thing is that he'll break it down to tiny, daily steps that you will need to do every.single.day until you are blue in the face. As long as you keep your eye on your concrete goal, you'll persevere through that daily, tedious, monotonous, sometimes painful, sometimes you'd really rather do something else, stuff until you cross the finish line and find yourself the winner with all that comes with that glory.

 

This same applies to work, business, and life at large. Figure out specifically what is THE goal that you want. Then break it down to small, doable steps. Every single day that you get up - what are you doing that day that will get you one step closer to your big goal? Some days will suck, some days you'll want to quit, BUT as long as you keep a sharp eye on your major overall goal, you'll persevere. Bottom line is that you can't reach vague dreams, you can only reach concrete goals. Also, when you know what your concrete goal is, you can find mentors - there is always someone who has achieved what you want. So look at what they did and how and do it or better yet, do better than they did.

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1. Get on the sub list, so you can get some income stream coming in. You can pick and choose whether to take a particular job.

 

2. Make an appointment with a vocational counselor. They will assess you to find your strengths, and will then guide you in careers suited to your profile.

 

3. Don't ever let age stop you. I have a friend that went to medical school at age 40.

 

I am in my 60s, and I am applying (ironically) to go back to school next year, to get a particular kind of teaching license.

 

Many urban universities have students of all ages.

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