Strange sense of out-of-time-ness

Lately I’ve had a strange feeling. I’m 26 now. I graduated from college at age 22. I worked at a few different jobs, and made some decent money and got some good experience, but I found I just needed some more specialty skills to “compete in the global marketplace” and so on. And even to keep my job whenever companies had layoffs; I was just too disposable. I also found there were a few things and kinds of work I really liked.

So I went back to school and I’m studying Logistics (at one of the best in the nation/world!). I keep getting this strange feeling, though, like I’m a little out of place. I’ve aged REALLY well - people think I’m younger than my 5-years-younger-than-me brother. SO I fit in fine. If anything, I feel like I’m smart than I ever was. I’m so much better at math it amazes me.

At the same time, I just feel a little out of place. I’m not able to do the school thing and work full time, so I don’t make a lot of money. I’m always a little worried about my age, like I feel late to the party. I may not be really “eligible” until 30 (then again, it’s hard to get married much before that these days). Still, I’m trying to put myself out there and meet some lovely lasses. But I just feel off. I have to live with a relative so I can afford school, which I don’t mind but still makes me feel like a loser.

For moral reasons, I’ve avoided sexual activity my entire life. I don’t think it’s right. I drink now and then, but not very much. Yet I also get this message that I’m somehow defective for not getting smashed every weekend and fucking drunk college girls.

Am I just weird? I mean, intellectually, I think I’m doing the right thing by trying to re-invest in some very valuable education. But the sacrifices necessary don’t so much bother me financially as emotionally. I feel like I’m somehow missing out on life. Am I just crazy? (Well, yeah,I am, but about this?)

You say you feel like you’re missing out on life? I’d say that isn’t too surprising considering that your values seem unusual for the culture around you. I’ve always felt that way, slightly out of place around the majority of my peers. But there are people, lots of them, out there who won’t have any trouble accepting that. It sounds like you just need to find yourself a social circle that doesn’t have a narrow-minded outlook. Even if they don’t hold your particular views, there are people out there who will respect them. I always found it easiest to start with others who may be sort of outsiders to the stereotypical college culture you describe, for whatever reasons of their own. My current group of friends is a pretty equal mix of foreign students, geeks, and Christians (I can only be described as one of those three), and several of the normal drinking, partying college kid type who happen to be open-minded about people who don’t necessarily think like them.

It sounds to me like you’re trying to figure out how to fit into life instead of life fitting into you. It’s like you’re trying on shoes that are two sizes too big and then wondering what’s wrong with your feet.

smiling bandit, I don’t mean any offense at all, but there is something I feel I have to say.

You say you’ve been avoiding sexual activity all your life because you feel it is wrong. Not because you’re not remotely interested (evidently), but it’s not right. I just want to be sure you have thought this through, rationally and in the linear fashion of classical discourse. It is wrong, why? If it is wrong because of your religious convictions, I am curious as to whether it actually says in the scripture thereof that (premarital? all?) sex is a sin, specifically. It seems to me that a lot of people assume certain things are sinful simply because in modern (post-Puritan) times, they’re considered “naughty”.

Sweetie, I’m not trying to give you a hard time, or be a jerk. But you asked. So, when you say that you feel that you are somehow missing out on life, I beat down my impulse to say, “Yes. Yes, you are.” and say instead: Perhaps. If you are having a nagging suspicion that you are missing something, I would say that it at least indicates that you may not be entirely comfortable with the policies you have set for yourself.

It is dumb to do things you genuinely don’t want to do because of peer pressure, BUT by the same token, it is also dumb to remain in a role or mindset you have rigidly defined for yourself at some point in the past, and may have outgrown, simply because it’s what you have always done.

I’ll bet there are some cool logistically-inclined ladies on your campus who might like to go and have a cup of coffee now & again to talk about efficiency and effective forward flow. And many ladies can be amazingly understanding about the financial limitations of the people they have coffee (or even a beer) with.

I’m just sayin’ – you don’t get do-overs. Have some good times, and only feel guilty if you do something bad. “Naughty” doesn’t count.

Well, before marriage. I wouldn’t have a problem getting married if I met the right lass. However, I’ve basically been horny as a moose for a decade now.

Brujaja nailed it.

Of course you feel “a little out of place.” You ARE a little out of place. 26-year-old virgins were unusual in my single days 25 years ago … I can’t imagine they are common now.

But that’s fine (if utterly inexplicable to amoral sex fiends like me :smiley: ). If it works for you, so be it. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too … if you choose to adhere to a set of principles which are unusual, you have to accept the fact that you won’t always fit in.

ETA: Oh, lord (so to speak). Rereading my post I can imagine a lot of people indignantly saying there is nothing odd about retaining one’s virginity until marriage, and that plenty of people feel that way. Hmm, perhaps they do. In that case, I suppose it would be wise to seek them out …join a church group or something where you know you WILL fit in?

Well, smiling bandit, you’ve got one thing going for you right off the top – I love guys who refer to a girl as a “lass”! Utterly charming. :wink:

Let me ask you this, if I may. Do you talk to girls? Do you ever go do social things in a small group of mixed gender? (Example: you, another guy and a girl from class meet for coffee or study together.) I’m sure you must have to take some non-logistics-type classes to finish your degree, right? Like philosophy of some sort, or political science, or ethnic studies? What I’m getting at is, in classes of that sort, if the teacher is doing it right then there will be lively discussions about social issues or ethics or art or whatever. For me at least, that was when certain people would begin to stand out to me, because of the things they said and the way their mind worked.

But you did say you were trying to put yourself out there & meet some lasses ( :wink: ), so maybe you already know all that.

Well, I can tell you this: if you do meet somebody, the vague but unsettling feeling you are talking about will evaporate, and soon you won’t even remember it. And, I think you have a lucky username, I have no idea why.

The thing about “missing out on life” is this- nobody can have every possible experience in life, so everybody misses out on something. You’re going to miss out on something, no matter what it is you do or don’t do.

Part of the reason I say it is because I’m major part Irish. But also because “girl” seems too childish, even unfalttering. “Woman” seems too focused on the future - wife, mother, employee. Lass, on the other hand, carries connotations of a female who might be maturing, maybe not quite there, but still interesting and on the cusp of womanhood.

[quote]
Let me ask you this, if I may. Do you talk to girls? Do you ever go do social things in a small group of mixed gender? (Example: you, another guy and a girl from class meet for coffee or study together.) I’m sure you must have to take some non-logistics-type classes to finish your degree, right? Like philosophy of some sort, or political science, or ethnic studies? What I’m getting at is, in classes of that sort, if the teacher is doing it right then there will be lively discussions about social issues or ethics or art or whatever. For me at least, that was when certain people would begin to stand out to me, because of the things they said and the way their mind worked.

[quote]

Funny thing that - I keep looking, but I can’t find some groups like that. :confused: It’s weird. But I do try and ask lasses out frequently, particularly if we have some mutual interests.

I know what you mean – I went to college very late myself. And in addition to the age difference, which stood between me and the majority of my fellows, it seems that people are somewhat more standoffish just in general.

About the most accepting and friendly scene around here is the “hardcore” (punk) set. They tend to be nonconformists anyway, and in general are inclined to be sort of anti-cliquish.

But, I don’t have a clue what kind of music scenes you’ve got in Tennessee, or if there are any logisticians with purple mohawks. :smiley:

FWIW, I do know a couple in their early 30’s who both have careers in logistics and recently moved to Texas from L.A. They’re not punks at all; but he plays a mean guitar. And they’re big fun to drink with!

Hang tough, my friend. Wish I knew some better advice.