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I'm wasting the prime of my life. What should I do?

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Question - (6 July 2018) 11 Answers - (Newest, 10 July 2018)
A male United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hello all,

I've been in a rut for 8 years now and can't shift it. I'm alive but not living I guess. I have no drive or ambition. I can't remember the last time I thought yes I really wanna do this. Problem is I don't know what I want nothing makes me jump. I've tried ant depressants and they just made me dopey plus I don't think that's the right way. The one only thing I do know I want is a gf but that's only because I haven't had sex in 8 years lol. Which eats away at me. I just don't have the confidence to go for it and Ive give up before I started. I've already wasted my 20s. Can my 30s be any good? And what's the best way for me to start. Thanks

View related questions: ambition, confidence

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (10 July 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntIt sounds like you are certainly in a rut. You have tried medication but that won't work unless you get the proper help and support also. Have you spoke to anyone professionally?

The best thing to do is start with one thing at a time. Personally if it was me I would start by seeing if the environment around me is something I would be proud of? If not then I would clean and spend my time decorating.

Then I would look at my diet and fitness. Am I eating healthy? If not then I would start cooking more and experimenting with new dishes. I would join a gym because not only would it give me more energy it helps mentally as well.

Then I would go and look for a job that I could be happy in. At the moment I am in the medical field which makes me happy as I know I am helping people who are poorly, previously I worked with children with special needs, that helped as it gave me a purpose and ensured that I was needed and that I was making a difference.

Then I would look at my social life and ask myself if I am in a rut? I would try and make time for friends and make more off an effort to meet new people and try new hobbies.

After this I would look at how much time I spend sleeping and ensure I am getting enough sleep but not over sleeping! Then I would look at activities that could be cut down on like watching tv or playing games. If I had free time I would try read a new book or look at some self help books, even join a library!

After all this I would then feel I was confident enough to try and find a partner, not so I could have sex but so that I could spend my life with someone!

Yes this all seems a lot and it can take a long time to happen but one thing at a time and tick it off the list as you go along, you will feel so much better! Remember if you feel like giving up there is no rush to succeed as long as you are making small differences that is what is important!

Remember when you are an old man lying in your bed on your final days would you want to look back thinking I could have made more of an effort in life?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 July 2018):

Do you like to eat? Everyone loves to eat!! I looove to eat and that is what motivates me! I work during the week and I go home immediately after work cuz I just need to be in the comfort of my own home, kick off my shoes and walk around in my undies. That's what makes me feel good.. then starting Friday night, I'm on the hunt for food - new restaurants, food I've never tried before, or whatever cravings I may have - I eat and eat them all!!

I could not give you advice on where to meet girls, aside from the gym and the bar, which neither do I frequent.

I guess if you start enjoying yourself and your life, everyone around you will see and feel it.. they'll be attracted to the new you!

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (7 July 2018):

chigirl agony auntYour whole life is your "prime". Just wanted to remind you of that.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (7 July 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntToday is the first day of the rest of your life. Regardless of what has - or, in your case, HASN'T - happened in the past, you CAN change things moving forward. Stop focussing on the past; there is nothing you can do to change that. Instead, focus on the present and the immediate future (not too far ahead at first, just a step at a time).

As a first baby step, change your routine. What do you do on days you are not working? Lie in bed? Watch tv? Play games? Change that TODAY. Get showered, dress in clothes which flatter you (because that will make you feel good about yourself) and get out of the house. Go for a walk somewhere nice. Or look up a friend and go for a drink. Or go to an art gallery if you like that sort of thing. Whatever you enjoy, go and enjoy it. It doesn't matter WHAT it is as long as you do it.

What makes you angry? Or happy? Do you get angry when you hear about people being homeless? Or children being abused? Or animal abuse? Or litter? Do you enjoy music? Or theatre? There must be SOMETHING which makes you feel like you would like to do something to help or would like to have a go at joining in. Look up a local charity or group and see if you can join and help in your spare time.

All baby steps but that is how you change your life. You can't turn it around overnight.

Come on, get up and get out. Take that first step.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (7 July 2018):

Women like successful,motivated,smart,interesting,well dressed,clean,athletic, daring, kind,reliable,generous,thoughtful,sociable men, who can protect and support them and preferably who drives a car. Do you have some or all of these. Start working on the ones you don't have and you will see you will have no problem in finding a gf. Good luck.

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A female reader, BettyBoup United Kingdom + , writes (7 July 2018):

BettyBoup agony auntYou are right, medication is not the best way to improve depression and should only be used if you are severely depressed to help get you up to a place where you can make the changes in your life to be happy again. Or, as I know some people believe, if you are one of those people who benefit from taking medication directly. I personally have needed to improve my life, to beat depression, and I know that if I hadn't done so, pills wouldn't have done much.

It sounds like you need a life overhall. You want to feel good about your life and yourself. You need things to look forward to. A girlfriend will come along when you are thriving and happy.

If you are bored of your job, you can either, work harder at it, to make it better and more enjoyable for you. This could result in a pay rise or promotion, bonus! Or you can look elsewhere, if promotions aren't available I'm your current job. Is it the work you dislike or this particular job? If it's the work itself, why not retrain?

Now for your home or non-work life. It sounds like you do not have hobbies you enjoy. There are many things you can do that are good for lifting your mood and make life more fun or exciting. Choose something that involves moving your body or a creative outlet. Both have been proven to improve depression symptoms.

Also, socialize, spending time with people who are kind to you and lift you up is vital. Avoid negative or mean people and make friends with people who you feel good around. A girlfriend will come into your life when you are happy and through meeting new people.

Good luck.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 July 2018):

Books can help a lot when you're in a rut. If you don't like reading or feel like you're too busy, try listening to audiobook versions while you're getting ready for work, cooking dinner, or cleaning.

Here are my suggestions:

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by William McRaven

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (6 July 2018):

Hello all it's op here. Just to say thank you for the advice and replies. I understand it sounded quite vain. I guess it's just frustrating knowing how much time I've wasted and still do. I know the issue solely should be solved with myself. Only issue is nothing makes me tick. Will try the advice given thanks again

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (6 July 2018):

Whatever you're doing now, continue while consider cross-training into a new field of work. It may require re-schooling; or taking on a job that offers on-the-job training. Often people are in a rut; because they're working in a field of employment that offers no challenge, or the job is too menial to give them pride and motivation. Taking pills will not raise your ambition.

You don't get a girlfriend solely for the purpose of having sex. Perhaps a friend with benefits; but that gets messy. Someone may develop feelings, while the other may not.

You have to focus on one thing at time. You're in your 30's and you don't know what to do with yourself. Relationships don't workout when you're aimless and feeling dissatisfied. Women want attention, affection, and to be treated with love and respect. They want a man, not a boy. You're dealing with unresolved mental-health issues, and have no goals.

Get your life in order before pursuing romance. You may find a lady here or there just wanting to hookup; but they're not going to put-up with a guy in his 30's who doesn't know what to do with his life. No sir, not for very long!

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (6 July 2018):

Code Warrior agony auntThe best job advice I ever got was when I was in a rut at work and thinking about finding a new job. One of my co-workers told me that, for the next 30 days, I should just ignore my feelings and work as hard as I can. If, at the end of that 30 days, I still want to find a new job, then I should do so. I took his advice. It didn't take 30 days for me to break out of my rut and realize that I had just become complacent, which turned into boredom, which killed my job satisfaction.

So, you should do something similar. It doesn't matter whether you know what you want or not. If your room is dirty, then clean it, completely, and keep it that way. Next, take on the rest of your place. Clean it, completely, throwing away all of the useless junk, and keep it that way. Don't think about whether or not you want to do it, just do it. Give it your all. Once it's clean then look at your walls and your living space. Does it inspire you? If not, then change it so that it does. Paint and decorate in a way that inspires you. Make it a place that you are proud to have someone else see.

You used to enjoy something at some point. Maybe you used to work out, or did a hobby. Whatever it is you used to do, with your newly inspiring interior, start doing it again. Working out, doing the hobby, whatever. Try giving it your all. If you don't like it anymore, then try something else.

It's amazing how inspiring a small success like cleaning your room can be. It can inspire you to do more. Small steps, taken every day are what will get you out of your rut. Just set yourself a small task that can be done in an hour or 2 and then allow yourself to enjoy the accomplishment. You will soon see the way out of your rut. Your attitude will slowly change and that will lead to other opportunties.

My wife and I just went through it in preparation for an appraisal of our home. We cleaned like mad over the 4th of July and it's amazing how good the house looks and how insipring it is to have all of our decorations pop again rather than the clutter getting the attention. I've already started a bathroom remodel. The power of small successes is infectious. Don't ever underestimate it.

I wish you well.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (6 July 2018):

Honeypie agony auntStart with a full physical, OP

The GF can wait.

Get the physical, get your hormonal levels checked (this goes for men as well as women).

The start working out. I'm not saying TRY to become Arnold Schwarzenegger or that you MUST have a 5 pack, but adding exercise to your life can improve HOW you feel.

Do you take care of yourself? Eat right? Grooming?

Then either work on this yourself or consider a counselor to help you.

WHAT do you have to offer a partner?

You say " I have no drive or ambition." " I just don't have the confidence to go for it and I've give up before I started. "

IS that what you would want in a partner?

Do you have ANY hopes and dreams - other than "LOL I want sex?" Are they realistic? Why aren't you going for them?

Work on yourself to the point where you feel you have something to offer. A GF is NOT just for YOUR benefit, it should be a mutual thing. A back and forth, a SHARING of your lives and experiences.

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