March 6, 2014 at 8:54 am #52380GighiParticipant
I’m 33 years old and I feel like my life is just about over. Life in New York City is becoming more and more stifling and I just want to get out. I’m going to have to turn my life around but I don’t see what it is I can look forward to in the process. Some five years ago I got laid off from my last full time job. I was relieved when it happened. I was living check to check, and the office politics swirling around me was feeding my neurosis and anxiety. Also, the layoff gave me time to think about what my passions are, so I decided I wanted to pursue editorial and fine art photography. I also decided that I wanted to become a freelancer. The 9-5 work schedule had become draining to me. So I had to figure out how I was going to go about pursuing my passion while being able to support myself. For a while I was focusing on sharpening my print production skills with online courses but my living situation became too unbearable and my landlord wanted me out. In the process, I lost focus, and decided that it might be best to try and find bartending work so that I could actually stop living check to check, and have some flexibility to build a body of work. I should mention that I’ve always been painfully shy – shyness that landed me in special ed until the end of the third grade – never had an easy time making friends, and have struggled with social anxiety my entire adult life, and several bouts of low grade depression has only calcified my anxiety. So I’ve never had a real social circle, and the one best friend I’ve ever had turned out to be a pathological liar. Sorry, I’m digressing. Anyhow, nonetheless I was going to try and find bartending work in New York City. But after about two years my unemployment ran out and I had to figure how I was going to make any income, so I jumped into real estate. Classes were paid for, and there were no desk fees. But let’s face it. The reserved rarely make good sales people and my venture into real estate was disastrous. So with no money, I could no longer rent out the room I was living in. I was pretty close to having to move back in with my parents – a nightmarish thought because they were always strict and unsupportive. But I met someone and he offered me his place. We moved in. The relationship turned serious, but we were never really compatible. I sensed this from the beginning. But I wanted to give this a chance because it’s the closest I’ve come to happiness in my love life, after dealing with one heartbreak or rejection after another. In any case, my early hunches were right. The relationship was always amicable, but again there were major compatibility issues and the fact that I wasn’t bringing in any money only exacerbated the problems in the relationship. I never felt like I’d be able to gain any equilibrium. And further more, my boyfriend wasn’t bringing in that much money to begin with. Anyone living in New York City knows that making less than $50k gets you almost nowhere. Now try supporting another person with that income. My quality of life, which had been low to begin with got lower. And to top things off, the laptop I relied on to work on my photos died before I moved in with him so my lifeline (the internet. Yes it sounds silly but this was where I listened to music that emotionally sustained me) was gone. And my boyfriend’s computer is an old G5 tower mac that works great but has limited internet browsing. My attempt to work real estate failed, so I tried to find bartending work and landed a couple of gigs. I was fired from the first gig after three days. I landed the second gig towards the end of the summer but the work environment was a complete nightmare. After three months, in which I was only scheduled to work a total of two weeks, I quit. Right about now I wish I had a much higher threshold to do jobs I don’t like but my threshold was always low. After looking for temp work the following winter, I found part-time data collections work in the summer, which eventually got to me too. I quit that at the end of last year. I also ended the relationship around New Year’s Day. I could no longer hold on to a relationship I was unhappy in. A relationship that I also felt was enabling my weaknesses. I had to end it. We’re still living together and things are mostly amicable, but naturally, if money is short, I’m affected the most.
So now, I have to make another attempt to turn my life around, but I have no clue where to start. And what’s crazier is that the more seemingly dire the circumstances, the more I dream. What I’d like to do is leave New York, travel the world for a year, and then apply to graduate school. There’s a graduate program in the city that seems ideal except that I’d have to find financial aid. I also hear that attending school in Norway is free, even for foreigners. So that seems like a bright spot. But first I have to get one of my student loans out of default (it was a private loan), and the federal loan out of forebearance. I also need to pay my bank the debt I ran up when my unemployment ran out, and save money to get a macbook pro. And then I need to move out of the apartment, because things are bound to become less amicable the longer I stay here, especially as a dependent. And I’m supposed to convince employers that after a five year gap in employment, that I want to find production work that pays me more if I am to save any money at all and reverse my fortune. I hate to sound like a cry baby after such a long post, but how am I going to do all of this with my sanity intact? I feel doomed, and I am angry, bitter and hopeless about all of this. I’m also starting to wonder if there’s some psychic black cloud over my head, or if my aura has gone black.Thinking positively has never quite worked out in my favor. Whenever I find reason to believe things are looking up, something blows up in my face. I need all the advice I can get, something that doesn’t involve moving back to prison – I mean moving in with my parents, who are actually supposed to be moving to Florida at the end of the year anyway.March 6, 2014 at 11:16 am #52391beloveParticipant
Our stories can be totally different, but we all get very trapped in our situation at some point in our life. And it’s hard to see a way out. Hence, a friend who offers a different perspective is always nice. I hope I can do just a little of that today. What I see you in you is lots of potentials. You have dreams. You have abilities. You are just in a difficult living situation right now. Positive thoughts always work when they are coupled with actions and perseverance. You can go out for walks or runs – these physical activities always help keep me in lighter spirit and then more positive thoughts and actions follow. What you have is time and freedom. You have no attachments. You can do whatever you want to do. If you want to travel the world, do that – google “how to travel the world for free” – I remember watching that somewhere. Through this journey, you will probably find many opportunities, many insights, … Embrace some change. I read somewhere that if we don’t make some changes, we can’t expect different result. There is always hope. Be in company of hopeful people, even if it’s just online. You’ve already on a good path reaching out to others here! You have it within you to become the best person you can be. Good luck with your journey. You will be alright if you keep believing that.
Namaste!March 6, 2014 at 11:40 am #52393MarkParticipant
After reading about your situation I thought of that saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
It looks like you have clarity on what you want, i.e. freelance editiorial and fine art photographer and/or go to graduate school. You have goals and it is a matter of focus and priority. Like for any of us it is your commitment on how to achieve them.
The road may not look too appealing to get where you want to go. It is a commitment. I believe that if you are truly clear and desirous of what you want then you can weather the way to it.
Go on Gighi, take your first bite.
MarkMarch 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm #52426GighiParticipant
My thanks to you both! A little bit of encouragement helps. I started going to the gym again and that has been helpful too. I’m going to try and stay positive, and keep my eye on the prize.