Need some life changing suggestions

Perhaps this is an odd request, but…

I need suggestions as to what I could do that could be a complete change from my current life. I don’t mean a new job, or a new hobby, but something fundamentally different.

My life is a fairly standard 21 year old American life - still living at home, working a crap part time job, taking classes sometimes when I can, big macs, sitcoms, video games, the whole deal.

Something that would reduce my quality of life would actually be a bonus, as odd as that might sound. For example, going off to some third world country to volunteer to help with food aid or disarming land mines or something (if they even recruit random volunteers for that) would be a viable option.

Joining the military would also be a drastic change - far more drastic than merely changing jobs, as it’s a major life commitment. Also a valid example of what I’m looking for.

This whole consumerist, priviledged, warm, comfy, convenient, drone thing isn’t working out for me. I need to find viable alternative routes. It doesn’t necesarily have to be a permanent thing, but at least something that will last long enough to have a profound impact on my life.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Get away. When I was your age (I swear I won’t talk about going to school) I put all of the stuff I wanted to keep in storage, bought a backpack and camping supplies, and started hitchhiking. I went from Florida to the Canadian border, the back down to Virginia. I spent a couple of months back country camping and hiking the Appalachian trail. Really gave me an appreciation for what I was capable of doing if I put my mind to it.

It sounds like you have come up with a pretty good solution yourself. I would give some serious thought to joining the military. For instilling some real responsibility, discipline and purpose in your life, there’s nothing like it.

What classes are you taking? Do you hope to earn a degree? Why not move out of your parent’s house move to a bigger city in your state (where ever that is) and go to school? You can’t live a much poorer life then trying to pay tuition and live off student loans and a part time job.

I have a few friends who went to school, got degrees in education and then went to third world countries to teach. Talk about different!

Peace Corps Promote world peace and friendship by living in a community and helping communties build a better life.

Volunteering Abroad

Habitat for Humanity Local, Nationwide or International opportunities to help people build their own homes.

AmeriCorps National Community Service Organization

Definitely travel - maybe even further afield that welby suggests. I left my home and my family when I was no more than a boy, in the company of strangers, in the quiet of the railway station running scared - sorry, had a Simon & Garfunkel moment there. What I meant to say was that I left my country 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.

I went to Asia on a whim and a one-way ticket, and let fate take me where it would. I only planned to be away for three months, but I didn’t come back to Europe for three years. Best three years of my life. Gives you a different perspective on your own life and culture, makes you responsible for your own actions. Toughens you up. Highly recommended. I’d say, if you were prepared to live frugally, you could do a year in South-East Asia for about $8,000 without seeking extra funding. Go for it!

That is my leading choice based on pure want, but has some large impracticle issues.

I wouldn’t want to just join the military - I would want to join a specific service which would garuntee the maximum chance to see combat. Military, ordered life in itself doesn’t appeal to me, but it represents a chance to act on primal warrior spirit.

The problem is that the units most likely to see combat have extremely stringent requirements, and several times more qualified volunteers than positions to fill. I’ve been in bad shape for most of my life. I can easily fix this, but I’m worried enough joint and other damage has been done to disqualify me from things like army SF or rangers.

I have the will and determination to work hard for it - and I’d have no problem getting into good shape, given time (I went from ‘sweating from climbing stairs’ 370 to ‘swimming 3 miles is no big deal’ 205 in about 7 months a few years ago).

But I’d be likely be 23 before I joined the army, which is, I’ve heard, considered old to be applying to such a service unless you’ve spent the last few years in the military. Given that there are thousands of soldiers out there who have been physical athletes all their lives, who’d be 5 years younger than me, and who’d have just as much determination as I do, there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t even get a chance to prove myself in training - that my application would just be rejected. In that case, I’m stuck in the military most likely doing something I don’t want to do for 3 years, and that’s a serious consequence of failure.

Get a real, serious job.

Dedicate yourself to finishing school with a decent degree.

Move out of your parents.

There are any number of things you can do to break yourself out of your whitebread life. You don’t need to move to India or anything.

Further despondent sayeth not, lest I be Pit bound.

I’m studying standard IT/network tech stuff at school. I hate it, and the idea of doing that for a living is terrifying. I did it largely because it was the path of least resistance - I was good at it, and, at least when I started, the job market for it was really good.

Moving out to go to school isn’t the sort of life change I’d want, because there’s nothing I can go to school for that I’d fundamentally want to do. I wouldn’t be changing my life to something less… consumerist and dronish - I’d just be expending more effort to assimilate myself in such a world.

I appreciate the suggestion, it’s just that that particular solution doesn’t really change things in the way I need them changed.

None of this would change the fundamental nature of my life. I’d make more money, have a few more responsibilities - but that’s it. Net result is being in basically the exact same life. Aside from pay, being a network administrator is the same thing to me as working at a gas station (which is what I currently do) - both are equally meaningless and mundane.

Become a hermit. Head off to Idaho/Nontana/equivalent harsh back country, leave the electric grid behind, and leave off the land for a year or so.

If nothing else, that’ll take care of getting you lean and mean and eager to plunge into anything else our civilization offers.

Go read Why I left Harry’s All-night hamburger joint, by Lawrence Watt-Evans. The protagonist is in the same spot you are.

The military is the last place you want to go if you don’t know what you want out of life. They’ll just give you a purpose. Sure, Lucretia is right in saying it’ll teach you discipline. But what I read from your posts is that you’re mostly looking to find out more about yourself.

Listen to what jjimm says: into the great wide open, man. There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered, and waiting to teach you about yourself.

I’m afraid I’d have to disagree with you, Coldfire. The military is a great place to learn who you are and what you have inside. People often learn in basic (depending on their service) that they have more strength and mental toughness than they thought possible.

You find yourself working with lots of different people from lots of different places, and you are expected to get the job done in a professional, timely way. Your capacity for teamwork and self-discipline are qualities you find out a whole lot about, very quickly, no matter what job you do.

Many people come to some very firm ideas of what they want out of life while serving, whether they decide to stay in or not.

I agree that you need to get out and do something. Travel, bum around, join the peace corps, go be a human shield. Fine those are all great ways to gain more experience.

But it does piss me off to see a child of privilige whining about it. I did three fucking years in stir before I got my head together and decided having a soft, ‘priviliged’ life, a job and a family were all worthy goals.

That’s why I advise you to head overseas and work for OXFAM or CARE or something. That should give you some perspective on priviliged vs non-priviliged.

Lucretia, you make some valid points. However, I wasn’t saying the military is a bad solution overall. I’m just saying it might be a bit of a narrow scope of possible outcomes, in terms of what it is you want out of life. In my opinion, you’d learn a lot more about the world and yourself by traveling the globe.

Welllll…in my 18 years in the military/a military family, I’ve lived in California, Texas, Michigan, Okinawa, Misawa (northern Japan), Germany, and Maryland. I’ve visited Korea,Italy, Austria, Switzerland,the Czech republic, Poland, England, Scotland, Canada, Mexico, and your own beloved Holland. Does that count?:wink:

I do see what you are saying, and travelling around the world as an unencumbered civilian is certianly a great thing to do, as well as a perfectly valid possiblity for SenorBeef. But if he’s looking for some real purpose as well as some broadening life experience, a lot of people find that the military fits the bill.

I second the Peace Corps idea- you’ll be exposed to a new way of life and help others at the same time. If you don’t want to be involved in someting that organized, I’d recommend moving to a non-english speaking country and learn a new language by living it. Your life will change.

If this were the pit, I’d tell you what you could do with yourself. That may be a little harsh, because I may have suggested something I didn’t mean in the OP - but the condescension isn’t something I’m going to react well to either way.

I’m not a “child of privilege”, relative to my peers, in the least. I’ve lived most of my life at the lower edge as far as the standards of life go in this country. It’s not like I’m some spoiled rich kid whining. I was only comparing my life as priviledged compared to kids who have to worry if they’re going to die of malaria or starvation.

I’m not sure what “in stir” means, but I’m glad you’ve found satisfaction in such a life. I don’t think I ever will - and if I do, it’ll be after some major life changes down the road.

I didn’t criticize anyone who chose to live this life, or your condescension might be justified. I just said it wasn’t for me.


What are you trying to imply here? That I’ll suddenly realize why my nice, cushy, plastic-wrapped life was the best thing ever to happen to anyone as soon as I see people who didn’t have as many gadgets and food as I do?

I don’t think I have any lack of perspective on “priviliged vs non-privileged”. I’m just disgusted by the sitcom, starbucks life.

Sorry to take that harsh tone, I don’t want this thread to go sour. And I appreciate the suggestions he did give me. But I think the accusations of “whiney spoiled kid” are unjustified if all he knows of me is what I said in my OP. And reacted accordingly.