Single at 35, unsure about a career, living off my savings in a small apartment I rent with the only thing that loves me unconditionally, my dog. I look at my life and feel like I am a failure. I should own my own house, I can certainly afford it. I should settle down, have a relationship and a family. Live a more “normal” life.
People often tell me I need to put roots down and create a life somewhere. But what if that’s not the path for me right now? I have no urge to own my own house. I only want a house because I am embarrassed by the fact I don’t own one at my age. I’m embarrassed by how I choose to live even though I have the means to live much better.
I put all these outward expectations on myself. I don’t live the life I envisioned I would at 35. People probably look down on me and my behavior. Wondering when I will pull my life together and “grow up.” I beat the shit out of myself mentally and emotionally. I have so much guilt and shame from my past and it spills over into how I judge my life today.
These past 5-6 months have been very difficult for me. I lost my relationship with my girlfriend, her son and the life I thought I was going to live. I am unhappy with my career choices. I’m not making the type of money I am accustomed to. Life has drastically changed in many ways.
During this time I have struggled with depression to the point that I have contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. I have told myself that how I am living is unacceptable. But why? Who’s rules have I been living my life by?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fucked up a lot. I have put life off for longer than I should. Maybe I have Peter Pan Syndrome. I’ve missed out on a lot of great opportunities and relationships in my life because of my choices. However, those same choices are whats driving me to change my life for the better.
Fear is the driving force behind all my negative thoughts about my life. Fear that I will never find someone to share my life with. Fear that I will never have a family. Fear that I wont be able to find success in the legitimate world. Fear that I will end up like my father. Fear that I will settle for a life less than I am capable of living. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of failure. It’s this illusion of fear that I have allowed to run my life and keep me from living the life I deserve.
So many of us are told that we need to go to school, get a good job, meet a partner, have a family, work until retirement and then die. That life seems to work for a large majority of society. There is certainly a part of me that wants that type of normalcy in my life. I think there is merit to having a wife and a family. Bringing up your children to be amazing people. Passing on what you have learned to them. This is all something I hope to have one day.
That type of life doesn’t coincide with the life I have lived. I view my life with gratitude at this point. I’m extremely lucky to be where I am considering my past. Over the last couple months I have struggled so much. I’ve also learned so much about myself.
I’m developing a clear vision of what I want my life to become. I’m setting goals and working towards them daily. I’m not wasting my life getting high, running from my problems, or avoiding certain aspect of life. I’m no longer putting life on hold, being I’m paralyzed and controlled by fear.
This new found excitement for life allows me to view every day as an experiment. It helps me stay present and look for the good things happening around me daily. I’m learning not to rush through life and enjoy the time I have. When things don’t go my way I look for lessons I need to learn from the situation. I remember something a professor of mine once told me “We rush through the deserts of life, but it’s in those deserts that we learn the most about ourselves.” My life has not gone the way I hoped, but I had to go through all these experiences, good and bad, to become who I am today.
I’m 35 and I am starting a new life. I used view my circumstances as a struggle and a burden instead of a new beginning. Now I understand that in many ways my situation is a gift. I am comfortable enough financially, and as a person, to take this time for me and find out what my life’s calling is. Many people will never have that opportunity because of their responsibilities and financial obligations. I’m fortunate enough to have this opportunity to reevaluate my situation and make choices to create a successful, passionate life where I am able to give back to others.