New member here, would like you to read my story and offer any advice.
First off, I just recently discovered this site and am enjoying sifting through the content and find it very useful and a lot more user friendly than other sites so kudos to Mark and his team. Now a little about myself and my current two front battle I am facing in my young life.
I am a 19 (soon to be 20) year old male who lives with his parents from a rural town in Tennessee. I have been facing this problem for awhile, and it is not having any motivation to change my habits and my life. I am about 6 feet tall, and weigh 215. I eat like total garbage (literally nothing but fast food, and no breakfast on most days) and this is partially due to my parents not being around to cook when I was younger. You can imagine the effect that this has on a 19 year old kid, girls don't like you, you seem like an outcast, basically a loser in a sense of the word. I do have some very very supportive friends on the other hand, and am always liked by the people that give me a chance. My health and well being is my #1 concern right now, but another major concern is college.
I am a commuter student to a local university (takes about an hour to get there and back) so I am constantly on the go, eating crappy food. But the food part is not the main problem I want to address with this paragraph. The main problem I am addressing is that I do not have a CLUE as to what I want to do with my life, even though I am a junior in college. I am afraid I will choose the wrong degree, and it will sling me down the wrong path and I will end up staying upset with my life. I want to serve a greater purpose than myself, and help people and be in contact with people, not just push paper and my life away. (I have a feeling I get this from both of my parents, my father was an Army Ranger and my mother is a community leader with the families of local soldiers). But the problem I am facing overall is the lack of drive. I am not 100% sure on the type of work I want to get into, but school is extremely difficult on me right now because of that. I can't seem to focus and the commute kills me.
Overall this may all be depression or just being stuck in an extended rut, but either way I have some issues I need to address but simply am not able to focus on and change.
Any feedback and advice is welcome. I'd really appreciate hearing about some of your stories and how you found out what you wanted to do and overcoming struggles.
Heads up: like, 3% of people actually know what they want to do when they're 19. Everyone else just has ideas, and it all gets figured out as they go.
Here's my "tough love" advice:
You're not a special snowflake. No one--NO ONE --owes you a damn thing. You're at some sort of crossroads right now, and you have two choices:
1. Make your life awesome, however you get there, whatever it takes, or
2. Give up now, be miserable until you kick the bucket, and leave nothing behind.
Look, you might get another crossroads like this, you might not. Who cares. Get moving. Sometimes ANY direction of movement is better than no movement. Adjust your course as you go.
You don't know what to major in? Big deal; you can do school as much as you want later on. Get working on it if you want a degree.
You don't know how to eat and work out properly? Big deal; get moving on it and figure it out as you go. All the resources are here or elsewhere.
Grab life by the sack and lead it where you want to go, even if you don't know your destination yet. You can sit back and try to tough out the short, miserable ride, or you can mother effing be your own captain.
Sent via lightsaber
Originally Posted by Dal
I agree 100% with Mr. A. I'm on my third career, after getting a master's degree for my second career (and the master's degree has nothing to do with my career now). In today's world, the "do the same job for your whole life" thing just doesn't exist.
Originally Posted by Mr. Anthony
I'd like to suggest that your bad eating habits are causing or adding to your depression and inability to focus on issues. Instead of trying to come to a huge decision about what you want to do with your life, how about making a couple small decisions on cleaning up your eating and getting some exercise. Even if you learn better fast-food choices and walk for 30 minutes a day, that's a start.
Think about the classes you've enjoyed the most. Think about what you'd do if you won the lottery and didn't have to work. Those might give you some clues about what direction to go in. And remember that a job/career isn't your whole life. What I do at work I enjoy a lot, but I also have a great time with my hobbies and other activities that aren't at all related to my work.
You are taking first steps! You have an opportunity now to clean up your food and physical well being with the Primal lifestyle. It is a good start and you can do it without your parents, just do it. Do it the best you can with it, it will be better than what you do now. All the info is on the web site, free, so no excuses allowed, - you just have to make the choice to do it.
You are concerned about your future. Another good start. You are a junior in college at age 19 -- that sounds young to be a junior so I suspect you are pretty bright. You can do some self assessment right now and shift direction to prepare yourself for the real world. Check out your college – it should have placement/career offices that can provide some assistance in “self assessment”, although (in my case) their advice wasn't so hot. This will at least give you a starting point to ID your strengths/weaknesses, etc. You are probably on top of this, but their results may offer a few surprises.
You are what you make yourself, so become what you want to be. If you don't know what you want to be at the ripe old age of 19, BFD. You indicate you want to help people, which doesn't narrow things down much, you can help folks in most any career. So look around for some role models in the “helping people” category, men who are happy in their lives, and see how they live their lives, not just what they do for a living. Your only reference to your Dad is in the past tense, so perhaps he died. If not, he may fit the bill as a role model. Maybe he fits the bill for what you don't want to be. In either case, learn from what you see in his life, talk to him about it. And note that as you get older and gain experience, your Dad will probably get a lot smarter in your eyes, my Dad gained around 40 IQ points during my 20's. Do the same with other men you respect, they will talk to you if you explain what you are trying to do. Maybe one will really fit the bill and be willing to mentor you.
Your college degree is hopefully going to be in something that can be useful in the real world of working. Pardon me folks, but to me that normally means something technical or business related, not "artsy/fartsy" unless you are really sure that's what you want. Take a look at your major and see if you can come up with a list of jobs it will qualify you to do. If you can't, I'd re-assess the major. I was Mechanical Engineering – because it was the most general engineering program available and I was a co-op (alternating work/study program) in college, graduated at age 22, and still had no clue when I graduated. I happily ended up working in information management after one major false start on a career. My first job (many years ago) was with Southern Bell, and one of our senior managers had a degree in Forestry. So expect that your life plan may change dramatically from what you can see today and be ready to seize the day when opportunities arise.
If you find that college isn't for you, go apprentice and learn a trade. I can't imagine not needing good tradesmen, and many successful business entrepreneurs are in this arena. For many years I've found that a college degree is primarily useful as a corporate "door opener." Many career doors are closed without the degree, although many of the sharpest and most capable people I've worked with had their only degree from HKU - Hard Knocks University.
The worst thing you can do is get to your life's end and say I "shoulda woulda coulda" done something with my life, but didn't. As Mr. Anthony noted, when you are lost and don't know which way to go, any direction at all is good. Don't just sit there, figure out a short term plan and GO! You can (and must!) be ready to shift your course when the big picture changes in your mind.
I just want to say that everyone is different and the "either be proactive and fix your life or be miserable for the rest of it" approach does not work for everyone. Talk about easier said than done... I know that an important lesson I have learned in my journey is that sometimes, a very small change can make a huge difference. When I try to take on too much change at one time in my life, I am not able to appreciate the specific effect each individual change has and if for some reason a negative side effect emerges from the change, I can't pin point what the root cause is either.
Figuring out what you want to do with your life can be one of the most difficult things you'll ever try to do. Some people never figure it out. There are a few things about this. First of all, it may take a long time. Know that if you never stop discovering and learning, you continue to give yourself the opportunity to find something that you are passionate about that you can make a living doing. That's not always possible though and I think it's also important to recognize that if you are able to find a job that is pleasant enough, you can also find joy and fulfillment doing things that you love outside of your 9-5. Either way, it's important to not let fear of the future consume you. People find happiness in many different ways.
I guess I kind of think the pursuit of happiness is the most important thing in life. Having said that, I think it's great that you say that your health and well being are your priority right now; and I think many people here would agree nutrition is the most important factor in achieving optimal health. I would suggest, as I'm sure you already know, that your very first step should be quitting the fast food. I am sure this seems daunting, especially as I'd imagine you probably don't know a whole lot about cooking your own food. But you are lucky to have supportive friends... perhaps one of them might show you a few easy recipes? I, as well as I'm sure many other people in this community, would also be more than happy to help suggest easy ways to get started, if you ask.
In regards to what you describe as your lack of drive... I just want to point out that I would describe most 19 year olds I know as having a lack of drive. I certainly did at that age. It's ok. Keep learning, try to find things that do motivate you, make note of behaviors that seem to generate positive results and try to replicate them regularly.
I'd also like you to know that you are at an age where many girls are still extremely immature and wouldn't know a good guy even if they were trying to find one (you'd be surprised how many of them are subconsciously looking for guys who will treat them like shit). I know it took a horrible guy and a devastating breakup to make me realize that the love of my life was actually someone I had considered as a best friend for years. Beauty is on the inside (I know I'm so corny!! sorry lol).
Stay positive, take whatever steps you can right now to try to make a change for the better and if you need help, just ask!
Thank you. I know that a degree is now just primarily a door opener and something you need to have, but I wouldn't mind working in any field so long as I "somewhat" enjoy my job. I understand there are many days where you just feel like shit and want to quit, but there are also days where you are upbeat, positive, and love what you do. Any opinions on the military by the way anyone? I am considering leaving school to do this. I'm not sure how I feel about it, maybe I should go to career services at my school and try to figure something out up there to maybe steer me in the right direction. I am not doing so hot in my classes right now (like I said previously, unmotivated and somewhat lazy and burned out).
Originally Posted by Rig D
Haha you are fine! It's good to get some input from the opposite sex. I personally can't stand girls around my age. I am by no means the try hard "nice" guy that a lot of people are, which is trying real hard to be nice and expecting something in return (sex) as opposed to being a genuinely nice person. Maybe one day I will find that person. But as of now it is very unimportant to me. It used to bother me never being in a relationship but now it would be the worst thing for me.
Originally Posted by Marie20
Dal, the military MAY be an option for you, but you must do lots of homework before you opt for that, once you enlist, you are definitely committed. Age wise, I'm Viet Nam era, but never served, I drew a great number in the first draft lottery, so my advice is second hand, from experiences gleaned from friends & family. Basically the same "learn from others" advice I gave before -- Find some guys who've recently been there, done that -- should be some at your school, look for some sort of military alumni group on campus. In the past, I'd say it would probably be OK. Today, not so sure that that what the military is used for and how it is used is "on target." So, that is my personal bias, and it is negative.
1. You may get to "see the world"-- possibly one grain of mid eastern sand at a time
2. You may get hurt, permanently disabled, or killed.
3. Once you enlist, you are locked in. You may also have your time in the service extended without your consent, so your 4 year enlistment may be 6 years or possibly longer (see below)
4. There's an old saying: There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way. Seems to be a true-ism from all I hear.
Now for a military success story: My younger son graduated from high school, was about as directionless as any guy could be. He went to a local "commuter" college, was a mediocre student. After freshman year, he left, enlisted in the Army. The army worked its historic magic on him. He was a combat medic, advanced to sergeant, served two tours in Iraq, left when he was able to. When he left, he had a clear life direction, and highly motivated. Went back to college, paid for by GI bill. He just graduated, now waiting to start his chiropractic program mid year, currently getting experience working for our family chiropractor. Army was wonderful for him in terms of personal maturity, responsibility, focus, direction. The negative aspects of this story: my son became progressively "down" on the what/when/why of our involvement in Iraq. His second tour was forced on him when he was not allowed to leave after his 4 year enlistment. They extended his enlistment against his will, ended up serving for 6+ years.
I already know a lot about the deployments and stuff. I just wish I knew WHY I was in school and what I hope to accomplish. I am just extremely unmotivated/depressed right now. I am already one of my classes and I usually have All A's (my gpa is like a 3.7) but all this just hit me at once and I just seem to not care anymore, and I can't make myself care.
Originally Posted by Rig D
From what you've said in your responses, it sounds like you are having more than the normal "why am I here and which way do I go" angst typical of young guys. Dal, you really need to get talking with some folks, it doesn't sound like wrestling with this on your own is going to shake it out for you, and the anonymity of this and other blogs isn't really effective for getting deep into things. You need to get some real "face time" with people on the issue.
Two things I strongly suggest for you to do:
1. If you have any sort of belief in a Supreme Being (even if it is only vaguely acknowledging the possibility,) go talk with your pastor/priest/rabbi. No doubt there is a Christian program for students somewhere on your campus. Find it, talk about your problem with the group's leader, that is one of the things he/she is there to do. These religious leaders will have had others coming in with similar life issues, and providing life counseling is one of their core activities. Their perspective and advice may be just what you need to get re-oriented, and they will be skilled in assessing if you need more help and providing referrals if needed.
2 Head off to your school's placement/career center and talk to them. Their testing/advice may give you better direction, and hopefully their counselors are trained and skilled in determining if you are having significant issues and route you into more help if needed.
To repeat what I said before: Don't just sit there, figure out a short term plan and GO! You can (and must!) be ready to shift your course when the big picture changes in your mind. Your short term plan right now should be to go talk with some people with the objective of figuring out your longer term direction. Please, seize the day and GO! Your plan will shift, change, evolve over time, but you gotta take the first steps.