Wanted: One Life, Condition Not Important

Strap yourselves in, because it’s story time.

It’s Friday afternoon at work. Fifteen minutes to five. The workshop is closed for another week, and we’re now stuck in end of week limbo.

You know, that zone of suck between finishing work for the afternoon and waiting for five to come around just in case a last minute call comes in? That. When everyone makes the subtle shuffle toward the door while everyone else pretends they haven’t noticed you’re making the slowest beeline for the car park in recorded history. And inevitably someone, often well intentioned, decides to make an attempt at small talk.

“Anyone have any plans for the weekend?”

Silence. At least for a moment, while everyone attempts to make some kind of interesting spin on the same old shite they’ve answered this question with the last fifty-two times over the last year.

“Probably stay in and have a quiet one.”

“Never a bad thing, I suppose.”

Normally I would agree. After a long week at work, who doesn’t feel like coming home, throwing the PJ’s on, turning on the heater and getting settled in for an evening of 80’s Australian television nostalgia courtesy of our friends at YouTube? Sounds like heaven, right?

And it was, the first fifty-one times. But this time is different. It is a bad thing.

I’m 25, Male, living in suburban Adelaide. I have no kids, a stable job, and a relationship. I’m a statistic of modern society, and until recently I had no qualms about this fact. I liked where I lived and loved my job. (And still do.) I would come home, be greeted by my wonderful partner, and talk about the day before watching a movie. I caught the bus everywhere, but worked towards getting my drivers license. I had hobbies, albeit small ones, fixing up the occasional computer and doing some work around the house to pass the time. I learned to be content with the “now”, because more would come later on.

The drivers license worked out, but some of the other things didn’t. My partner has chosen to spend some time elsewhere, at least in the interim, and being on my own I now realise just how little of my own identity I actually have. I fix computers at work and I fix them at home. I have no true friends or social connections. I have wheels, but nowhere to go. Occasionally I wander down to the local pub to break up the monotony.

In layman’s terms, I’m boring as shite.

I almost found the formula once in my love of broadcasting television and radio, working in some community radio stations in the afternoons and evenings. But alas, that ended too and now I need to find something new, something completely different, and something I enjoy doing.

Some have suggested I take up a degree at Uni, which sounds like a brilliant idea as far as meeting people goes, but would involve leaving my stable, full time job. It’s this limitation that makes matters difficult, because it limits me to something out of hours and at least in my area, that’s nothing. Even the community seniors weekly crochet group meets on a weekday morning here.

It’s a bit of a weird situation to be in, where you’re independent and relatively stable financially (and should be grateful for this fact) but because of past events and decisions, regrettable or not, you end up alone and without connections, working hard but with no life to show for it. It’s like being inside your own bubble that is your existence, with the same routine and the same faces, day in and out.

And now, I’m afraid that I’ll be destined to service computers forever. That’s all I’ll ever amount to. I’d like to have friends, to have connections and outside inspiration, but most of all to know what’s next, be it in life or my career. I need to break free from the bubble, but I’ll be damned if I know where to start.

I’d have someone follow me around for a week and assemble a fifty-point inspection report on where I’m going wrong and the opportunities I missed, but nobody offers that service. That’s a potential growth market, right there.

But since nobody offers it - yet - all I can do is ask others for their experience and wisdom, find out what worked for them and armed with that knowledge, attempt to piece it all together.


~ M.


Really sorry to hear you’re going through this stuff man. It’s difficult and lonely and no fun at all. Some good news though - you’re in very good company and you’re also doing precisely what you need to do to move forward.

One of the things I’ve found helpful at various times is to remind myself that stepping up and changing your life is legitimately scary. You’re doing something really good here, but it doesn’t feel really good; It feels crap. And that’s exactly the same as every heroic firefighter or war hero or whatever - you don’t feel brave when you’re being brave. You feel shit scared, but you push on. That’s what you’re doing and it is really hard but you’re pushing on. You can rightly feel good about that.

What I try to do with that knowledge is to remind myself of it. Again and again. It doesn’t do much to change how you feel at first but eventually, if you keep reminding yourself, you start to believe it and starts helping.

Much more to add, but I’m massively squished for time today. Hang in there mate! What you’re doing, as painful as it is, is fantastic and it will lead you to better things! Take it from a fool who knows.

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Ok, so, this was what I first pictured…

iMic, I’d really like to offer you more, but I’m just not the person to do it. Anything said would be hypocritical, and biased.

If you do find that elusive life… please let us know. :frowning:

Like Hobo, I’d love to be able to help, but here I am, nearly in my twilight years, and I am still a hermit. For me, it was/is a personality thing. I hate large groups of people and am not a party animal. Never was. Alas, most of my friends are. But, occasional catchups are the go, and the rest of the time I’m at home. The only thing that gets me out the door are brunches, dinners, or photography (or having to go to the supermarket and I hate that, too)

It’s definitely not an uncommon experience - this is my personal perspective/opinion only:
I find that social media has replaced a lot of the human interaction that I used to have - people don’t have conversations as much any more, because it’s in your face all the time, you know what’s going on in people’s lives as it happens.

I’ve found myself in a quite isolated place, in the past a lot of my friendships were formed with work colleagues - however I’m now in a workplace where it seems that’s not the done thing.

Aside from changing jobs (which is certainly something I’m looking at doing simply because I want to get more satisfaction from my work) I’ve started doing things like going to a book club - it’s one night a month but it allows enables me to catch up with people and talk about a common interest that has no association with work.

Aside from social interaction there are other things I do to keep myself motivated - I take on personal projects unrelated to my usual interests - current example is a table that I am currently making to go out on the deck. It’s healthy to switch off the nerd side of your brain and tackle something different.
Learn a music instrument, pick up a pencil and start drawing, look at attending an adult education course in something that you wouldn’t normally be interested in.

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We’ve all been in this place at one time or another, so know that you aren’t alone.

You don’t mention if you participate in any kind of fitness activities, but if you don’t I would highly recommend it. If your diet is bad, change it. If you’ve got nothing else to do, keeping fit and getting buffed will seriously make you feel better about yourself. Participate in group fitness classes. You will meet like minded people. If you drink, don’t drink as much. If you smoke, make an effort to give up. Go outside and enjoy the world (difficult at this time of year I know, but winter ends eventually).

I’ve been doing cheep unbranded Crossfit Style classes for a few years now and I can tell you there’s no better feeling than when a new person joins in and you see how unfit they are while you’re blitzing it. But I always encourage newcomers because I know how great it’s made me feel and I want them to keep coming.

You’re young. I didn’t really start fitness properly until I was about 40, so yes a bit of a midlife crisis. But I feel awesome now and I’m not carrying a load of extra weight around that I don’t need to.


To add to what mitty suggested, I recommend starting a martial art. If you find a good club, it’ll make you think differently about everything in your life and you’ll gain some great friends.

Of course the opposite is just as taxing, a life on the roller coaster to nowhere, one of those people who goes out to nightclubs and parties till 5am with nothing much to party about. Eventually all of their mates realise its time to kick on, but old mate does not, eventually old mate turns 30 and realises he hasn’t got anything to rely upon. He’s a picker packer working out the back of a warehouse, or still working at his first job at 7/11.

There are worse situations to be in, its finding the happy medium in between. I’m sure there are ways to socialise with what you are doing, its a matter of finding them. Perhaps joining the gym, or picking up a hobby such as photography, or remote control car racing, whatever that may be. The radio thing can be a bit of a hobby also especially amateur radio where I am sure you will find some like minded people.

The quarter life crisis is real, sometimes I find myself in a bit of a similar funk. University is great if you can afford to maintain the hecs debt later, you will meet a lot of people your own age, and perhaps make a few friends here and there and you can afford the time sink in your life. It’s also a great way to kill any sense of peace and stability with constant deadlines everywhere. Coming from a 6.25/7 (or 3.whatever out of 4) GPA graduate university isn’t hard its just a matter of being committed enough to care.

I’m sure you will find a happy balance somewhere. I find my happy balance in going to the gym, doing a few High Intensity classes here and there and occasionally lifting weights. Going out and doing some photography here and there also. I’m the wrong side of the trap you’re in though I can relate to how you’ve felt. Turning 30 hurts a lot more than turning 25.

You’ve achieved more than a lot of people by 25 just to be independent and financially stable. Working that one out is certainly more dificult than trying to find a social life. You’ve certainly got age on your side.

Thanks everyone.

I’m starting to think the issue isn’t one of logistics as much as it is an issue of mindset. It’s easy to blame the lack of things to do but in reality, it’s more than likely that I can’t find something to be excited about.

I looked around at social groups in Adelaide and there are some, mostly movie nights and pub crawls, groups for specific interests like eBay sellers and educators interested in how technology can be better used in schools. It’s fairly specific at times, but it’s something at least.

But everything feels forced, like a massive effort. What do I find interesting? Nothing. I think sometimes about what I would like to do, but nothing ignites that spark that makes me say “yes, I must do that!” I’m pretending at best, trying to keep up appearances, but nothing actually works.

Perhaps I’ve become accustomed to disappointment. Relationships that fall apart, friends that cancel on arrangements over and over, messages that are read but go unanswered, calls that never pick up. Even my current relationship isn’t immune to this. She tells me she loves me, and wouldn’t have anyone else, but I haven’t seen her in two months now. Every weekend is the same. Interstate, too busy, too tired, sometimes because of family, sometimes not. I believe she’s genuine. Or at least I did, but a message I sent her on Saturday remained unanswered while she wrote comments to friends on Facebook earlier this afternoon. That hurts. A lot. But it’s been the norm as long as I can remember, with almost everyone. It’s nothing new.

And that makes it difficult to find the excitement and anticipation for something new. Perhaps the defensive part of us turns the excitement into cautious optimism at best, and a reason not to do something at all at worst. I’m no professional, but it makes sense to me.

But interestingly, when one becomes accustomed to it, we find trust and happiness in other ways. Every time someone cancelled, or didn’t answer, or broke my heart, I worked on my car. I’ve channelled my happiness and dedication into that machine, and whenever I’m behind the wheel, I feel free. Like for once, I’m in control. It never let me down.

I think I need to see someone and see if I can work out what the barrier is between myself and finding any happiness, enthusiasm or drive for life, because it certainly isn’t improving. I mean, sometimes it does. It comes and goes.

Hell, perhaps I’ll save this post and show it to them. Probably one of the few times I’ve been able to string together coherent sentences while trying to describe it.

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It sounds to me like you need to see a psychologist. The good news is you can get a medicare referral for up to 12 sessions each year levied from Medicare, with either no gap or a small gap of about $100 at most on top.

Maybe this is a clue about what you should be doing… clearly the friends you currently have are actually not worth your time… but have you looked into a car enthusiasts group in your local area. If you like working on your car… there are bound to be others of like mind.

Dump the girlfriend. She doesnt have the guts to be honest about what she’s doing which is screwing you over.

And yes, do talk to someone. A psychologist maybe… although they arent all wonderful, some are complete fools. Ask around before you ask for the referral.

I have reflected on my experiences after having gone through similar a few times over (my own flavour of it, of course). What has shown itself to me — I moved internationally three times, effectively restarting on each move and in between times returning to Australia — is that it takes time (and this is largely out of your control).

I did look for new things, things of interest. Seeking to meet people and make connections out of nothing. There were many paths that went somewhere, often not what I was seeking-needing. Surprisingly similar, each time after around six months I was very frustrated, uninspired and a little down. Through a different path each time (the same/similar ones did not work on different occasions), it was someone I randomly met that led to other connections.

It is a process, and quite challenging and difficult at times.

I am going through this again, quitting a permanent job yesterday. It was secure and paid well enough, just not what I wanted to do (I stayed in it for 3+ years). I have a part time short term contract doing what I want, and hope (because mostly that is all we can do, aside from trying to highlight our usefulness) it will lead to something more.

The prospect of being unemployed in 4 months is a little daunting (I have a few years on you, and my high level specialized qualifications tend to limit my opportunities) I have chanced it again, and feel relieved at my decision.

I am fortunate with many other aspects of my life, which is helping me through this.

Not really anything here that directly responds to your situation, rather a take on my own which you can maybe draw something out of…

Reaching out, talking, being listened to, and listening to others, helped me a lot. You have made that step
Which will hopefully provide you with something.

We’re all chained to the rhythm of modern western life, and people are now starting to realise it. This is especially pernicious with the seemingly instant rise of the internet and it’s offspring.

Is there much we can do about it? No. The powers that be are better than ever with us chained to their systems and products and lifestyles.

Unfortunately, iMic, you’re not the only person who has come to this realisation and have found themselves helpless. Quick fixes are just that.

The question you have to ask yourself is where do you want to be and look at how you get there. Everything is a roadmap, when it comes to careers, there isn’t a flight from Melbourne to Sydney and that’s the problem most people don’t get, you have to travel on a road the long way stopping at all the towns. At some point you may climb in a sports car to make the trip a little faster, but nothing is guaranteed. The second question you have to ask yourself is how hard do you want to work to do it? The harder you work, the quicker the trip but it comes with sacrifices, social life, family etc. You either work smart, work hard, or sometimes both.

The second thing is finding something you enjoy. In theory, great, in practice, hard. I love photography, but the reality is photographers get paid crap and sometimes it isn’t always as amazing as you think. You could get stuck taking a photo of someone naked on a horse, so I figured if I rather do what I am good at, I can afford to buy the photography gear I want and I can enjoy taking photos of what I want. In my case, I do charity photography work for free and I get to give back while doing something I love.

So your first challenge is finding something you want to do, and that may mean trying new things and getting out of the rut you are in.

And btw, 25 is young. At 25 I was out partying a lot so I was drunk more than sober and I only really decided what I wanted to do when I was 30.


I hadn’t intended to revisit this topic. Actually, I’d somewhat avoided looking at it, since it serves as a reminder of a time when emotions were running high and mental states were fragile. But now seems like the right time.

Be prepared - there’s some ground to cover.

Time heals all wounds, but they’re still raw. They’re issues I continue to grapple with, albeit much less frequently, but they’re there.

I’m having one of those nights. I turned 28 last weekend, and nobody outside of my immediate family noticed. Of the numerous calls and texts I received over the course of the week, none were personal, only business acquaintances or contacts chasing MacBook parts. Three people I once considered close friends no longer return my messages, which has become painfully evident now that it’s nearing show time here in Adelaide, something I look forward to each year, and flicking through my contacts, there’s nobody I could ask nor count on to respond, let alone actually turn up.

The difference now, in contrast to two years ago, is that I’m motivated to do something about it, and it now feels like something I can control.

Because it’s simple to blame everyone else - work, friends, family, society - but it doesn’t resolve anything and only serves to take those feelings of despair and turn them into resentment. Sometimes the broken element in the chain is yourself. Your habits, your routines, your priorities. Realising that can be incredibly empowering, because having identified that as the source of the issue, you can then work toward resolving it. When you recognise that you’re at the centre of the issue, you’re completely in control, and there’s no more waiting around for anyone else to come along and fix it for you.

At least, in my particular instance, that’s how I see it.

I didn’t like who I had become, and if I didn’t like myself, it seemed unlikely that anyone else would either.

So I quit. No more being a computer technician. No more storing shelves of service parts. No more collecting and hoarding vintage hardware, It’s all gone, sold and moved on. My house is starting to resemble a house, not a workshop. No more making connections with people on the basis of supplying them with computer equipment. No longer am I preoccupied with responding to support queries on Internet forums and commenting in technology news threads. No longer am I beholden to people who wander in and out of my life as it’s convenient to do so.

Now, that places me in a transition phase. Perhaps the scariest part of the process, because you can’t go back, but you have no idea how to proceed forward. That concerns me at little sometimes, and sometimes I feel stuck in limbo. But at least I now understand what’s important to me, and what my core values are. Happiness isn’t money, or cars, or technology anymore. Happiness is being surrounded by people who understand that friendships and relationships are both give and take, and by people who understand that in order to get something out of life, you need to put something in. (As in, no complaining about being bored every weekend if you’re repeatedly declining offers to do something, and no, adding someone on Facebook doesn’t count as being friends if you otherwise never speak to each other.)

So, from there, I can devise a strategy to move forward. Find something new and interesting that naturally surrounds me with people that share those same values. Become involved in a hobby that requires being around others. Make something interesting and share it. Perhaps do something outdoors, something that involves that camera I bought and then never used. Maybe I could do something solely for myself, like being more active, eating better, or finally getting my teeth fixed. I could even wander down to the local on Friday night, because even if nobody else wants to come, I’m getting out of the house, and who knows who I’ll meet there or the interesting conversations we could strike up - stranger things have certainly happened.

At the moment, that’s all I have to go on - blind optimism. But that kind of thinking gets me through the week, and if it all works out in the end, so be it.

And then, two years from now, maybe things will be different.

~ M.

(And based on the advice of some above, I did speak with a psych for a while, who made me re-evaluate my own values and with it, the decisions I was making and the direction I was headed. I suppose one could say it worked.)


Good to see you’ve come to some sensible conclusions, and I’m glad you had the chance to talk it over with someone. At 28, your life is just beginning. Grab it with both hands and don’t let go. IN other words, do as I say and not as I did :slight_smile:

My experiences (more than once) with transition is that it is both challenging and takes time. You have to make space for connections, for the potential of connections. Not looking for them per se, but providing opportunities for them to come.

Going out to the local on a Friday alone, getting out with your camera somewhere, getting outside/a group activity or sporting club (if that’s your thing).

I have been fortunate on occasions when connections emerged out of somewhat random encounters and developed into friendships. I have also learnt that some come and go, are fluid, and not to create my own expectations on/for others.

It’s still a process, requiring personal reflection and work. It sounds like you are on a positive path.

Thank-you for the update, @iMic. I’m glad to hear that things are better than they were, and you’ve found motivation and a path to move you forwards. :slight_smile: