I’m 22 and I feel like there’s absolutely nothing new or interesting in the world. I live in a small college town with my med student SO of 3 years. It seems like the only things to do here are go shopping and get drunk, and I don’t drink. I’ve been here a year now and I haven’t made any friends. I’m not talkative, really; I talk about things I’m interested in but I don’t like talking if the other person doesn’t seem interested,and I’m not good at knowing what to say or starting up a conversation.
Most people are older than me, the town is kind of a detached suburb, lots of elderly people and folks with families. The nearest city is 90 minutes away. Pretty much all I do with my SO is go out to eat, watch movies and go to the stores.
I like writing and recording music, and I’ve learned a lot on audio engineering on my own in the past year, and learned to play the drums last few months, but I haven’t found anyone like-minded. I get angry and frustrated a lot more easily. I’ve lived in bigger cities, so I never really felt like I lived in Texas - the one people make jokes about, the one that votes Republican.
Y’know, son, this is gonna’ sound really dumb and corny coming from an old fart like me, but I have a suggestion. Now, I’m not whooshin’ you, I’m not making fun of you, I swear to God, I am dead serious.
Give the SO a FF (and if you don’t know what that is, or if it puts you off, don’t read any further, you aren’t man enough to do the rest.)
Enlist in the U.S. Navy. Not the Army or Marines, you’ll get your ass shot off in a worthless desert somewhere just so some guy in Washington can feel like he has a pair. Not in the Air Force because you’ll ende up as either a desk pussy, a grunt humping ordnance for the glamor jockeys, or in the Special Services, where you’ll get your ass shot off …
As you are enlisting in the U.S. Navy, make damn sure the recruiter knows you want to work on the flight deck of the Ronald Reagan or the Abraham Lincoln or some other combat-intensive aircraft carrier. Nothing will make you love life more than narrowly escaping death every single day for six, eight, ten months at sea. When you are not at sea, do all the things your shipmates do. Don’t worry – some women like to be treated that way.
When your enlistment is over, retire to a small cabin somewhere cold and snowy (I’d recommend Nederland, Colorado, but anyplace west of Nebraska will do.) There, write everything that comes into your head. Write first thing in the morning with strong coffee coursing through your veins; write at night with cheap whiskey addling your brain. Just write, goddamnit, write!
When you have written your first masterpiece (You’ll be about 28, maybe 29 by now) hitchhike to New York (you’ll be broke by now) and pound the pavements of the Big Apple until an agent, an editor, a publisher, anyone finally buys your book and publishes it.
When you’ve done all of that, e-mail me and tell me how my life would have been if I’d done that instead of sitting on my ass 35 years ago whining about how fucked my life was at the tender age of 22.
If you decide to not take my advice, shut the fuck up. Your life is pretty damn good right now.
Try learning another instrument. Do you play anything besides drums? If not get a guitar. Or take up keyboards. Or whatever. Some years ago I took up classical guitar, and it’s now come to the point where I have hardly any interest in playing what I had used to play before that, which was blues and rock. I didn’t intend for that to happen, but I have found classical guitar so fulfulling and fun that it’s one of the things in my life that I live for.
Many people around your age go through experiences similar to what you’re experiencing. Now I want to refrain from jumping to conclusions, so let me offer some questions and suggestions that might get you on a more solid footing.
While in college, most people mentally form a plan for how the rest of their life will go. Some make a detailed plan, others a more vague one. Typically the plan will address how their career and family life will unfold, and possibly other things. Did you have such a plan? If so, are you starting to question it, or to see that things aren’t unfolding the way you expected?
You said that your SO is a medical student, but you didn’t mention whether you’re working or still in school. I assume that a 22-year-old is working their first full-time job after college, though similar questions might apply if you’ve gone into grad school. Is your job turning out differently than you expected? Do you have trouble relating to coworkers? Do you have some ideals, which you’ve found that you can’t uphold at this job? Do you get angry at your boss, the rules, the bureaucracy? Do you find it, contrary to expectation, boring?
You’ve written a little bit about your troubles with starting conversations. Do you have emotional difficulty with conversation? Does conversation seem superficial? Do the people around you seem superficial? Do you want deeper conversations–and a correspondingly deeper relationship–but don’t know how to create them?
Do you spend a lot of time brooding over unimportant things that other people say or do?
Do you think about the state of the world, and your own insignificance in it? Is this what makes you angry and frustrated?
Have you considered changing jobs, or making some other big life decision? Is there something you really want to do, such as traveling, which your current situation doesn’t allow? Would you like to devote more time to your music?
Like I said, I’ve been there and so have many other people. I have some suggestions that you might find helpful, but first I’d like to know if I’m shooting in the right general direction.
If your bored with your life as it is your going to have to take risks,ie.pack the job in ,the place where your living and do something entirely new somewhere entirely different.
This may mean something that your not entirely comfortable with at the moment .
You cant keep the security you have at present AND have excitment .
And if it doesnt work out at least youll appreciate it more if you go back to the comfort zone .
Sunrazors advice was pretty good except for the bit about floating around on all that nasty wet stuff, keep your feet on the ground mate and when you enlist you can go abroad and enjoy fresh mountain air or get a nice suntan in the other place ,and if your STILL bored you can join S.Fs and become a real soldier,get some adrenaline in and hopefully shoot some other cunts arse off rather then vice versa.
If thats not your cup of tea then how about Backpacking?
But whatever you decide its down to you actually put the process in motion.
Correct. That’s how I eventually ended up in Thailand. It’s very difficult to cut one’s ties like that, I knew so many who must still be stuck in Podunk, West Texas, because they couldn’t just pick up and leave. I did, finally. Took awhile to get up the gumption, but it all worked out. My life now is never boring, and I mean NEVER. He needs to give it a shot; if he doesn’t then he needs some way to change his environment where he is.
Yeah, you more or less nailed it. I quit my job because I was sick of the management’s lack of respect and my small take for a lot of work. I sing, play guitar/bass/piano and now drums and I’ve pretty much wanted a career in music since I was 15. I devote a lot of time to it now but I’m crap at promotion & networking. We went to San Francisco on her school break/my vacation time and it was the most liberated either of us felt the whole year.
You don’t need to join the military to get out. You just need to get out. I left a constricting small town, moved around for a few years, and ended up right where I need to be. It’s worth it to trust your gut that the constricting small town is not the right place for you. It sounds like your SO would be happy elsewhere too. I guess things are dependent on her schedule right now, but start planning. Work a couple of jobs if need be to put money away for moving when the time is right. Then just do it. In my case, the only safety net I ever had was my competence and ability to survive, and it’s worked out fine so far.
The career in music CAN happen, it really can. You just have to live someplace where they’re paying for it, be willing to work hard & start at the bottom. It helps if you’ve really got some chops. I, personally, know a few people who are doing this for a living and a bunch of people who do it on the side for fun.
Yeah, I was right where you were and at your age, too. Small towns suck at that age, I agree. FWIW, I joined the army to get out of the town and get a new start, and boy, did I get one. I wouldn’t suggest joining the army. Maybe the Peace Corps? If nothing else, you get out of the small town into some totally foreign place where you can look back on your present life with a whole new perspective. Right now, you’re way too close to the problem to see it clearly (And on that note, telling Ron to shut the fuck up is a little harsh. As I’ve said, I’ve been there, and being full of potential in a small town where you’re lucky if you can find a job doing dishes is no fun.).
Looking back at those months stuck at home between college and the army, I consider them to be sort of GULAG-lite. I was in exile. The army turned that around.
Then again, you do have an SO. Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I met my wife in the army, but enough of that. I don’t want to be the reason you break the relationship off.
I’ll leave you with this: It’s not easy to just dump your present life for a new life you don’t know anything about. No matter how much your life sucks at the present, it’s familiar to you. It’s comfortable. You have your routine, and you have your friends, and none of that is easy to give up. I didn’t even have a steady girlfriend in GULAG-lite, and it was a hard, hard decision. Good luck to you.