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Am I too old to make positive changes in my life?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Dating, Family, Friends<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (16 February 2017) 5 Answers - (Newest, 22 February 2017)
A female United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

I'm just going to preface this by saying that I know I may receive answers that I may not want to hear, but I just need honest answers so that I can have closure.

When is a woman too old to find someone, to get married, get into a profession or make a similar drastic change in life? Have I missed the boat?

Lately I have been depressed and I strongly sense that I've missed the boat in life as far as realizing my dreams and making something of myself. I wonder where I "went wrong" and in retrospect think it was pure stupidity and think things could be different if I weren't, frankly speaking, such an idiot. I'm thirty-something and have nothing to show for it. I feel like I've reached the age where I'll never find someone to marry, but the worst part is that I feel like I'll never belong anywhere or be connected to the world and that I'm forever detached. I feel like the boat sailed away without me and left me stranded on the harbor.

I've floated through life and ricocheted between unemployment and shitty jobs but I've never had a real profession and I'm starting to despair. I want so much more from my life but I'm overwhelmed at how much I've wasted. My parents say to get something with benefits and I see that they mean well, but my heart sinks a little when people tell me that because I hate the idea of just falling into something and defaulting through life. I don't have any real dreams and feel this huge void. It gnaws at me.

I'm so far behind my peers that I feel inadequate. Most of my classmates are in fairy tale marriages, have beautiful families, they're purchasing homes, they're important professionals and a couple of them are seriously famous. I had a similar education and feel like I have no excuse to fail at life. I hate myself for letting everyone down.

I wish I could just be married but I feel like like men would perceive me as undesirable because of my age... I would like to lose weight but I feel like I'm too old to be thin or attractive anymore. I'm sick of struggling in shitty jobs and lacking direction or purpose. I wish I could just get married or go to veterinarian school or something. I love animals, art and science and I have a secret dream of becoming an animator or writing a book but I feel like that's ridiculous. Shit, I can't even write concisely and it took this Victorian style novel just to get my thoughts out.

Is it possible to make a change and be successful?

Thanks, if you have read this novel. I just needed someone to listen.

View related questions: depressed, lose weight

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (22 February 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntIt is not to late to make a change. It is only to late after you have taken your last breath here on earth. So what would you like to change? Why not sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and make some plans?

So career wise? Why not apply for some courses in veterinary? Look for animal related work. So something you will enjoy doing.

Then in your spare time write down notes for a novel. Yes it may be hard to get published or made famous, but will give you a great sense off achievement.

Catch up with friends more. Make more off an effort to hang out with them. If they have children offer to babysit. Try get nights out with them and meet new people.

Why are you to old to lose weight and be healthy? You are never to old for that. Go walking, eat more fruit and vegetables. Eat more protein based foods. Join a gym or a womens fitness class.

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A male reader, sQript Cuba +, writes (20 February 2017):

You can do and should do whatever you want until your last dying breath. Because that is truly when it is too late.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (19 February 2017):

chigirl agony auntTime is abstract. The past and the future are not solid things you can grab and take a look at, or put on display. The only solid thing you have is here, now, today. So are you too old? Are you still alive? Yes? Then why would you be too old? Your brain hasn't expired, nor has your body. You are here, now, today, with every possibility to do whatever you feel like.

Age is a number. Really. It's not really a relevant number at all. Take that number out of the equation, and look at the other factors at hand. Can you physically make the changes you want? Can you mentally make the changes? Can you afford the changes? If yes, then go ahead. If no, then try to adjust the things you want to fit into what you can do.

Don't measure success by what others say or think. Measure your own success by your OWN standards. What would it take for YOU to feel like you have succeeded? See it clearly in your head, concretely, describe that exact feeling of feeling you have succeeded. Then find out how to get it.

Often we will be surprised when doing these mental games. We often confuse what WE want, with what OTHERS want for us. We often confuse our personal success, with how others rate success for themselves. But we all have different standards, different life goals, different sense of purpose, different desires. It can not all be measured by the same standards.

I can measure my "success" by how much money I make a year. And I can feel completely like a failure. Or I can stop and think about what I mean to others, how I have helped bring joy to the life others, which is something I have worked at for years to achieve and be able to do. And I know I am successful, because I can make someone smile just by thinking of me.

Different ways to measure success, find out what you want, and how you should measure and feel your personal success. And then remind yourself of this, if/when you start to think how OTHERS measure you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 February 2017):

Funnily enough, when I started reading what you'd written, I thought: "I like this person, she sounds really honest and upfront and although she's obviously really down on herself she doesn't hate her peers for seeming to do better than her. She writes really clearly and well and I bet she likes animals". Don't ask me how or why I had that hunch about animals, but I did.

Your self esteem is in your boots right now. It's not at all unusual for women in their 30s and 40s to reach a point where they feel like they're under-achieving, for whatever reason.

You call yourself 'stupid' and feel like you've wasted so much. But the impression I get is that you're just not a strategic, cunning person and you don't go through life constantly thinking "right, what can I get out of this?". My guess is that you have 'floated' through life because your relatively selfless compared with others, and you haven't always insisted on putting yourself first and foremost. You sound like a nice person to me. But you also sound like the kind of person that might become depressed and bitter, unless you do develop new ways to assert yourself and connect to your values. I think this is what you are now trying to do, but haven't a clue how to go about it.

Well, I'm not an expert. But you like animals and you write really well. So, I would suggest follow those things up. You've already stated you wish you would go to veterinary school - and there's your answer. Find a way to do it. Find out what qualifications you need and how much it would cost and give everything you can to following your dream. If you are a vet (or even a vet in training) you - and other people - will not care so much about your age - not that any of you should anyway, but unfortunately, yes, we do live in an ageist society and it's up to us to try to change that. This kind of profession will draw from what I suspect is a kind and giving nature, and you will really receive rewards back from this, in terms of helping animals.

As to the writing part - at the moment, you are not even letting yourself write because your poor self-esteem kicks in and you put yourself down. You do write concisely, clearly and in an engaging way. There are so many things you could do with this. It will certainly help you to get through vet. college. And it could take whatever turn you want in connection with that; you could start an online blog, for example, about your life experiences and your determination to change and the experiences you have whilst training. Or you could begin to write children's stories about animals. The possibilities with this are so many. But I think if you can prioritise getting into vet. school, then the writing will follow.

However, none of this will work if you don't get some support for your depression. I have suffered from depression and I know the best advice I ever read was to treat yourself as you would a dear friend. What would you say to a friend who was in your state of mind? Would you ask her to crucify herself with honesty that inclines to self-criticism, if not self abuse? Or would you ask her to value her honesty whilst also being kind to herself, giving herself the benefit of the doubt? I suggest make a list, right now, of all the good things you have and have done for others, however small they may seem - even having a desire for change is a positive thing - scary, but ultimately positive.

If you feel your depression is serious, then get counselling immediately. Bear in mind that, without meaning to, the people around us can sometimes position us within their lives in ways that don't always do us favours. When you start to change, it can ruffle feathers amongst others, who may be used to you being the 'under-achiever'. You will find out who your friends are when you do make the changes you need; look to those who encourage and support you, and let go of those who don't. It may be helpful for you to look deeper into why you feel you haven't, yet, found your 'calling'; maybe their is another reason - and it could even be the habits of other people, friends and family, subtly but steadily 'keeping you in your place' - not necessarily for nasty reasons, just because of habit. I don't know, but it is a possibility. And I say this because I was struck, a little, by how vague your parents advice to you is. To say to you to find 'something with benefits' is very vague and I would find this confusing. It may be they love you but simply haven't got it in them to have given you the more specific, and strategic advice you've needed all along.

Time to grow up now. Get specific information and specific advice that will enable you to move forward. If it helps to get started, take on some voluntary work with animals; this will immediately connect you to what you love. And start your own journal - journal all your thoughts, endlessly, for as long as you like and don't allow yourself to put yourself down. Take a whole notepad and fill it and another one if you like - just keep going, write it all out and your writing will grow with you.

As to the attracting a husband; my suggestion here is focus on your career first - men will always be there, but the men with similar values to you won't arrive in your life until you have connected to your values and start putting them out there.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2017):

"When is a woman too old to find someone, to get married, get into a profession or make a similar drastic change in life?"

When she thinks she is.

"Is it possible to make a change and be successful?"

Yes.

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