Struggling to Find My Way: A Reflection on the Past Year

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    Hey everyone,

    I hope this post finds you well. I wanted to take a moment to share my experience over the past year, as I’ve faced some challenging situations and could really use some support and advice.

    It all began in August when my partner of four months abruptly ended our relationship. The reason behind the breakup was hard for me to digest at first; he expressed concern about my use of antidepressants and even mentioned my failure to complete two chapters in a book before his deadline. It was a tough blow, and it left me feeling confused and hurt.

    Then, in December, things took another unexpected turn when I was pushed out of my PhD program. This setback was disheartening, as I had put in a tremendous amount of effort and dedication. However, life had other plans, and I found myself facing an uncertain future.

    To make matters worse, in January, I had to take out a loan to pay for my final class in order to obtain my master’s degree. It was a financial strain, and the weight of it all began to take a toll on my overall well-being.

    Since then, I’ve been tirelessly applying for jobs related to my degree, but unfortunately, I haven’t had any success. It’s been a demoralizing experience, constantly receiving rejection emails and feeling like I’m hitting a dead end. The recent lack of progress led me to a breaking point, and I made the difficult decision to quit my job as a cashier yesterday. The position was joyless, offered a low salary, and felt monotonous.

    In an effort to regain some peace of mind, I’ve turned off my phone and made the conscious decision to stop reading my email inbox, filled with those disheartening rejections from job applications. It feels like I’ve hit rock bottom, and I’m starting to lose hope.

    I’m reaching out to this community because I know that sometimes sharing our struggles can provide solace and guidance. Has anyone else faced a similar series of setbacks? How did you cope with the emotional toll it took on you? Are there any strategies you found helpful in finding your way again after experiencing such challenging circumstances?

    I appreciate any support, advice, or even personal anecdotes that you could share. It’s been a tough journey, but I know that with the help of this community, I can find the strength and resilience to navigate through this difficult phase of my life.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my story.


    Hi Mae

    I’m sorry to hear about your struggles.

    The reason your boyfriend stated sound like a cop out. I can’t imagine why anyone would leave over their partner taking their medication? I don’t really understand the reading deadlines either. It sucks, but it sounds like you dodged a bullet with that one.

    It’s awful that you were rejected from your PhD program and are experiencing difficulty gaining employment in your field. I’m not sure what the field is or how many job are available in that area.

    Job hunting does suck though. It took me a year to get a suitable entry level job. I’ve even seen experienced people have similar difficulties. Certain industries are being hit hard at the moment.

    I found it really depressing how many candidates were applying for each role. Applying felt like a lottery ticket with a small chance of getting a job at the end. Targeting my resume to roles helped. Some only needed small changes. I also volunteered to gain relevant work experience related to my field.

    Are you getting any interviews as a result of your applications? If you are it’s a good sign. If you’re not there might be issues with your resume.

    You’ve been through so much in the past year! I hope that things change for you and something good comes your way soon. Hang in there! Unfortunately, job hunting is a numbers game.

    How are you feeling emotionally? And how are you coping with your limited budget? I hope you’re getting enough to eat and such.

    Wishing you all the best! 🙏


    Just wanted to add there are a lot of issues with nepotism in the hiring process. A lot of job postings are posted while internal candidates are getting the roles because a job posting is a legal requirement. People often choose to hire their friends and family members too. Networking can be really important in landing a job. It is tough out there!


    Hi Mai

    Quite the year you are having

    In a single year I was dumped, lost connection to my community, the markets crashed, lost my job and no one was hiring. Nothing made sense. The world as I thought and assumed it ought to be was not.  (The question behind the hero’s journey – how will you respond to Life as it Is. Yes? No? – Whoever has eyes, let them see – notice how much of the Journey is about learning to see Life as it is and not as we are….)

    I wonder if at some point in life everyone faces such disruption in their lives. Not that knowing that lessens the anxiety, fear, disappointment, disillusionment, frustration, anger, existential angst… a person in that situation experiences.

    Turns out existential angst was the one that caused me the greatest distress as I felt forced to question everything. Yet in a way it also proved to be a path out as it forced me ‘down’ where I had to feel and take responsibility for what I believed, felt, and thought. A difference in knowing a definition and ‘knowing’ the experience. Indifference was not an option.

    As Phillip Simmons put it ‘Learning to Fall – The Blessings of an Imperfect Life’ It seems the way out isn’t up but down. Both Buddhism and Christianity (kenosis) have the notion of self-emptiness as a path to discover the Self in such moments. A kind of falling upwards, not for the faint of heart as it involves a lot of “dying.”

    Something more practical… The two steps I took that year that kept me moving forward was finding a therapist to talk with and taking up ballroom dancing. You can learn a lot about yourself in dance class. A instructor once told me that dancing was a or of falling and catching yourself. (Just reminded myself of a book I read back then – The Art of Falling – by Kathryn Craft (lyrical portrayal of a young woman trying to come to terms with her body and the artistic world that has repeatedly rejected her. The Art of Falling expresses the beauty of movement, the stasis of despair, and the unlimited possibilities that come with a new beginning.)

    Something by Phillip Simmons to leave you with (google – learningtofall excerpt – for the full chapter.)
    “Think again of falling as a figure of speech. We fall on our faces, we fall for a joke, we fall for someone, we fall in love. In each of these falls, what do we fall away from? We fall from ego, we fall from our carefully constructed identities, our reputations, our precious selves. We fall from ambition, we fall from grasping, we fall, at least temporarily, from reason. And what do we fall into? We fall into passion, into terror, into unreasoning joy. We fall into humility, into compassion, into emptiness, into oneness with forces larger than ourselves, into oneness with others whom we realize are likewise falling. We fall, at last, into the presence of the sacred, into godliness, into mystery, into our better, diviner natures…

    I would rather, at least for now, find victory in the falling itself, in learning how to live fully, consciously in the presence of mystery. When we learn to fall we learn to accept the vulnerability that is our human endowment, the cost of walking upright on the earth.

    In the northern part of our town there’s a stream that comes down out of the mountains, and at one place that we call the Pothole it makes a pool of emerald clear water ten feet deep. Every summer from my boyhood until quite recently I would climb the rocks high above that pool and fling my body into the air. A summer was not complete without the thrill of that rushing descent, the slap of the water, the shock of its icy embrace. I have a photograph, taken two years ago, of what would prove to be my last such jump. In the foreground, seen from the back, my wife stands waist deep in water, shading her eyes with one hand, watching. She has never approved of this ritual, something most grown men leave behind with their teenage years, but there I am, half way down, pale against the dark rocks that I rush past. You can see my wet footprints on the rock over my head that I’ve just left. My eyes are focused downward on the water rushing toward my feet, and I am happy, terrified, alive.

    We are all—all of us—falling. We are all, now, this moment, in the midst of that descent, fallen from heights that may now seem only a dimly remembered dream, falling toward a depth we can only imagine, glimpsed beneath the water’s surface shimmer. And so let us pray that if we are falling from grace, dear God let us also fall with grace, to grace. If we are falling toward pain and weakness, let us also fall toward sweetness and strength. If we are falling toward death, let us also fall toward life.” — Philip Simmons, Learning to Fall


    @Helcat, I have been feeling pretty numb emotionally. There are moments of sadness,, but I am typically at 5 on a given scale of happiness. I moved in with my parents for income purposes and saved enough money for a month of bills (June only). I decided today I that I should apply for another low-effort job for the time being, hopefully with a little more income- I am still applying for jobs relevant to my Masters degree. I will keep the networking suggestion in mind.


    @Peter I appreciate the practical steps you took to keep moving forward, such as seeking therapy and taking up ballroom dancing. It’s fascinating how dance can offer a mirror to our inner selves and teach us valuable lessons about resilience and self-expression. I think I’ll look into these steps myself when I am a little bit more secure financially. The excerpt from Philip Simmons’ book beautifully captures the metaphor of falling and its transformative potential. The idea of falling away from ego and embracing humility, compassion, and the sacred resonates deeply. It’s a powerful reminder to myself to embrace vulnerability and find grace in the midst of life’s challenges. It’s often hard in the midst of the noise, but I am taking it one day at a time.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope to approach my current life’s disruptions with curiosity and a willingness to learn and grow. – or learn to.


    That was beautifully expressed Mae. “To approach life’s current life’s disruptions with curiosity…”  has such a light feel, a exhale of breath, you are a wonder.


    Hi Mae

    It’s good to hear that you have practical solutions for your difficulties.

    Feeling numb and moments of sadness make sense considering the traumas that you’ve experienced this year. Some people don’t think of things like relationships ending, being out of work etc as trauma but they actually are considered such in psychology. It takes time to process and heal.

    It’s good to hear that most of the time you are about 5 on the happiness scale. I hope every day gets a little easier.

    Keep plugging away, it’s just a matter of time and numbers. You’ll get there!

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