A year gone, not much progress (vent/adv)

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A year gone, not much progress (vent/adv)

Post by Dannyboy on Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:35 pm

Hello everybody, it's me, DannyBoy, whining on the internet again.

Its been about a year since I've joined these forums, desperately hoping that I would fix my life and gain a friend, learn guitar, write a short story, and possibly get a girlfriend, but it would seem that I have failed miserably. I'm beginning to lose hope that I will ever become a worthwhile person, I am too old to learn any of the skills I desperately want to learn, and I fall farther behind my peers in social skills with each passing day.

On the "finding friends" front, I tried joining several meetup groups from Role Playing Club, to Hiking groups, to Writer's Worskshops, but every time there's something that gets in way. Often, the people in these groups are simply too old for me to hang out with, they are often in their 50's or 60's with marriages and grandchildren. I can get along with these folks just fine, hell I've had some good conversations with many of them, but they are at a stage in their life where they don't have the time nor the desire to hang-out casually with twentysomethings, and I doubt that we'd have much in common anyway. On the rare occasions where I do meet people of the same age group other things tend to get in the way, like the meetup being too far away for me to go to regularly or the fact that meetups often schedule event on days that I work. I've also come up against my own inertia when trying to make friends via meetup groups. For instance, there was a classical book meetup in my town that I went to a couple of months ago and enjoyed immensely (despite the fact that, again, most of the people there were considerably older than me), but I couldn't summon the willpower to finish the next book we were supposed to read (Catcher in the Rhye) so I didn't attend the next meeting, or the next, and now I'm wondering if I should even bother trying to go to next months meeting, I probably wouldn't be welcomed after I skipped two meeting I said I would attend.

On the girlfriend front, well, anybody who has read any of my previous posts knows how well that has gone. I've gotten several first dates via Okcupid and Tinder, but it nearly always ends with either me or them rejecting the other for a variety of reasons, no connections have been made. The closest I have gotten was with this one girl who was heavily into underground music and leftist politics and remains the only girl I ever went on second date with. Unfortunately, I broke off ties when I learned that she casually uses cocaine, which is way to hardcore for me. I've also been extremely selfish an cowardly in my rejections, often simply ghosting girls in order to avoid an emotional confrontation. This caused a great deal of emotional damage to at least one girl who definitely didn't deserve it, and I eventually had to man up and actually tell that I didn't want to date her. My romantic failures have also become somewhat exasperating to my family, many of whom were uncomfortable with me using online dating to begin with. My mother has repeatedly asked me to quit OLD, because she believes that it's causing me unnecessary emotional turmoil. She believes that I'd have better luck meeting women in real life, but considering I can't even make friends, I doubt that I could ever ask a stranger or even an acquaintance out on a date.

Lastly, my efforts to become a better more interesting person have ended in dismal failure. Back in November I became determined to learn guitar so that I could fulfill a personal dream to become a musician. I hired a guitar teacher, practiced every day, learned upwards 20 chords and even learned a few riffs...and then I completely sputtered out. I quit my guitar teacher because he was too expensive and hadn't really taught me anything that I didn't already know, I stopped practicing everyday because I felt like I wasn't making any progress, and now, about six months later all I know is a few riffs and a bunch of chords, no full songs. Still, my progress on guitar was far better my progress on writing, I have a million story ideas, but I have absolutely no talent for writing, every time I attempted a short story the language was stilted and ugly. I beginning to wonder if I have any artistic talent at all. I also did some volunteer work at a local soup kitchen, even put myself on list of people they could call if they were short-staffed, but I've only been called once in the three months that I have been on that list, and I never feel like I'm actually helping the poor and homeless. As far as my alcoholism goes well... I am drinking less, only binging on night a week instead of the three to four nights a week I did previously. I tried AA for awhile, even got a sponsor who was into punk rock music. But I fell off the wagon and couldn't bare the idea of admitting it to my sponsor who was a stern,no nonsense man, so I never went back. I briefly saw a therapist about my alcoholism who gave me some tools to deal with my anxiety, but she was also too expensive so I quit going to her as well. About the only place in my life where I've made any meaningful progress is in fitness, and even then my progress is by most standards pathetic. I got one of those fitbit watches and have been doing at least 10,000 steps a day for a month. The vast majority of people get more steps just from living their day-to-day lives, but I suppose its progress for me. I've also quit drinking pop and have started to fix my sleep schedule.

Well, to sum up that incredibly long whine, I'm 23, almost 24, and I lag far behind my peers in pretty much every sphere. Whereas most people my age have a large circle of friends, I have nothing but acquaintances. Where most people my age have full time jobs and live on their own, I only have part-time job and live with my parents. Where most people my age have had several long-term romantic relationships, I have had none. And of course, this says nothing about how I compare to my heroes. By my age Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, and Kurt Cobain were making some of the most provocative guitar music of all time, I can't even play a single song. By my age, Yukio Mishima had already published several stories and Kafka was silently completing masterpiece after masterpiece.

I feel like its too late for me to become any sort of worthwhile human being. I feel like my chance to change to dismal trajectory of my life passed when I graduated high school, and that I'm now doomed to spend the rest of my life in perpetual adolescence. Anyway, thanks for letting me post this, If anyone has thoughts or criticisms about this post or about me personally, please post them.

Dannyboy

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Re: A year gone, not much progress (vent/adv)

Post by Enail on Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:35 pm

Sorry to hear you're feeling down about your life. It's so discouraging to not feel like you're getting anywhere even when you've been doing a lot of stuff.

But it also sounds like you're rather hard on yourself and that you tend to assume things are hopeless if they don't go perfectly right away - for example, lots of people show up to book groups week after week not having finished the books, just contribute from the part they have read, or even mostly listen to the book discussion and just join in on the general chatting that happens. And people come and go at meetups, unless it's a group where everyone really needs to be on the same page or where each person's presence is essential to being able to do it right (a barbershop quartet, frex, if there are any of those out there Laughing), I doubt anyone will mind that you've missed a few sessions!

Finding people you'd like to be friends with can be tough; it often takes trying a lot of different things and persistence, sometimes finding somewhere where some people click takes some luck. Learning a skill takes time and involves a lot of sucking more than you feel like you should at this point. Writing well takes a lot of writing badly. It's okay to suck at things - and honestly, doing things well doesn't necessarily make you a more interesting person than doing things badly does. If you're learning and trying different things and enjoying yourself, that gives you new things to talk about and do and new ways of thinking and things that you're enthusiastic about, which does more for a person's interestingness than being good at something. If it's possible for you to turn off your inner critic enough to enjoy yourself while doing things badly, just having fun with the practice can make it a lot easier to stick it out and occasionally lets you suddenly realize "hey, I can do something I couldn't before!"

If you'll allow me to be a cranky old person for a moment, 23 is suuuuuuper-young, it's just starting out in life! The trajectory of your life could well likely change dozens of times over the course of your life, and it's certainly possible for you to change your situation and to learn new skills. And your worth as a person doesn't depend on where you're living or how many hours you work or whether you're dating.

And it sounds like you've got some successes in there, too! I'm glad you've been able to manage your drinking better, and getting in some exercise and sleeping better are good things too! If you feel up to giving therapy another go, here's a post with suggestions on finding free or low-cost therapy
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