Feeling a bit lost and alone

I have a feeling that this post is going to be incredibly negative so please feel free to close the page. I’m only writing about how I’ve been feeling recently as I’ve always tried to be honest and open as a blogger.

Contemplating life

I always try to be positive as a person. Unfortunately, recent events have left me feeling a bit lost and completely alone. I’m 38 and should be able to cope with all the crap in my life, but for some reason, I can’t. I feel like my life is completely out of control at the moment and I don’t like it.

Last month, my close friend and mentor was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Although I’ve kept in contact with him via text messages and emails, he’s rarely able to speak to me and I doubt that I’ll get the opportunity to see him again. I’m going to sound incredibly selfish, but I miss having someone sensible to talk to, having someone to turn to for advice and having someone who always made me laugh.

I just want the opportunity to say ‘thank-you’ and ‘goodbye’.

After sending off dozens of applications and attending several interviews, I was finally offered a 12-month temporary assignment doing a similar job to my previous job. I’m aware that I should be thrilled that someone has been prepared to ‘take a chance’ on me and to offer me a job. However, I haven’t worked in an office environment for several years and whenever I think about having to relocate, find somewhere to live etc I start to feel myself getting stressed out.

I’ve got so much respect for people who are brave enough to relocate to a completely different country. I’m 38, and at the moment the prospect of moving the relatively short distance from Birmingham to Oxford is giving me anxiety attacks.

I know that I should be pleased I’ve got the opportunity to make a fresh start, to meet new people and to (hopefully) make new friends. Unfortunately, at the moment I’m scared that I won’t be able to cope with the job, won’t make any friends and will end up returning home after a couple of months.

The festive period is already starting to stress me out and it’s only November. I’m completely skint and have no money to spend on Christmas presents for my friends and family. The fact that it’s my own fault for spending four years doing a PhD and another two years searching for jobs makes me feel terrible. I feel like I’ve let people down.

Finally, I’m 38 and single and I feel completely alone. I’m scared that I’ll be left on the shelf forever and will end up living alone with only cats for company. My mentor used to tell me that he knew loads of people who were “single by choice” and were “perfectly happy” living alone. However, I’m not single by choice and I’m starting to hate living on my own. The vast majority of my friends either live miles away or are married, have children and rarely have the time for a ‘girls’ night out’.

I’m all too aware that my family knows that I’m incredibly unhappy at the moment and are worried about me. I know that they mean well, but this just makes me feel like I’m a burden and a failure.

Hopefully, the combination of starting a new job in January, getting some routine back into my life and meeting new people will help get me out of the huge rut I’m stuck in at the moment. I just need to be brave enough to move out of my comfort zone.

Have you ever felt completely lost?

What advice would you give?

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28 thoughts on “Feeling a bit lost and alone

  1. Helen says:

    Emma, thank you for sharing this. I’m sorry that you are having a rough time at the moment. I too have felt completely lost, although for different reasons, I used to long to be found. Things then finally started to get easier.

    I hope that things improve now. I’m sorry I have no advice to give, I wish I did, but if I lived nearer I would pop over with beer and pizza to set the world to rights with you.

    xx

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Helen. I’m sorry that you have also felt completely lost, it’s not a great feeling. I’m pleased things eventually got easier for you. I know that I’ll feel a lot better when I start my new job and get some routine back in my life. I’ve spent the last five years living alone and need to push myself out of my comfort zone and to meet some new people. It’s a shame you don’t live nearer as a beer and pizza session sounds awesome. Hopefully I’ll meet you at a Decathlon blogging event xx

      Like

  2. natrun73 says:

    Sorry that you are feeling like this.

    I live in Bicester it is only 15mins on the train to Oxford I am happy to meet up and show you Oxford. I am 44 and by choice live on my own. I also run with a group in Bicester and a member of another club I am also happy to meet up anytime for a run.

    Keep smiling 🙂

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Nat. That’s a really kind offer. I’ll actually hopefully be living in Wallingford but it would be good to meet up in Bicester or Oxford. I’ve already tracked down a running group in Wallingford and will make sure I join them on a few runs once I’m settled in. I used to think I wanted to live alone, now I’m getting older I’m not so sure.
      I’ll do my best to keep smiling!

      Like

  3. AnnaTheApple says:

    I’m so sorry to read this. I do understand what you mean – fellow singleton who used to live alone! I loved living alone, but now I’ve regressed even further to living with my parents so… Life is what it is. Surprisingly I think I prefer living with my parents now as well.
    Make the change. Honestly, step into the unknown and make the change. It’s scary and horrible and terrifying but life is not a rehearsal. Oxford is a beautiful and lovely place. Plus with your academic background, a great place for you. Also, I can come and visit and do the Oxford parkrun there with you 🙂 Get out of your rut and embrace the scariness. You’ll never know until you try.

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna. This is going to sound terrible but I’m not convinced I could cope with living with either of my parents again. I’ve never been very close to my parents and would feel like I was invading their personal space. I’ve got 12 months to find myself a permanent job to make sure I don’t have to return to Four Oaks.
      I know I need to make the change and to step into the unknown. Life definitely isn’t a rehearsal and I’ve already wasted two years faffing around after completing my PhD. Where I’m moving to – Wallingford – is beautiful. My new office has a gym and is located next door to two major employers of hydrologists. As a running hydrologist it’s pretty much perfect and I should be feeling really excited. I’ve no idea why I’m so nervous, it’s pathetic.
      It would be great to meet up at a race or parkrun at some point in 2018.

      Like

      • AnnaTheApple says:

        It’s absolutely not pathetic. It is a hard and scary thing to do. But tho you might not believe it, you are a strong person and can absolutely do this.
        P.S I realise not everyone could go back to living with their parents. I’m very lucky. But sometimes I do want to kill them 😉

        Like

  4. runeatralph says:

    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. I wish I had some wisdom or advice for you, but I don’t. Just know that you have a community of runners and bloggers that care about you and hope for the best for you. We are here for you.

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks for the really kind comment. Sharing my recent negative feelings actually helped me more than I thought it would. I’ve had people I’ve never met sending me messages. I’ve also been reminded that as a blogger and runner, I’m not completely on my own.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. swosei12blog says:

    Sorry to hear that you have been down in the dumps. I was in the same boat as you, professionally. Going on a million interviews only to be told that I was too qualified, did not have enough experience, overeducated (I thought having a Ph.D. was supposed to make getting a job easier), etc.

    A couple of pieces of advice:
    1. Try to look at the small positive things (easier said than done).
    2. Look at moving to another country as a new beginning to awesomeness.
    3. Do not compare yourself to other folk’s Facebook experiences. I notice that people only talk about good/positive things on Facebook, so you think that everyone else is doing better and that you suck at life. Later on, you find out that people are in the same boat as you.

    Good luck with the new job; I just started a new job last week.

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks. Congratulations on the new job, I hope it’s going well. I think my biggest issue was finding dozens of hydrologist jobs I couldn’t apply for because my expertise is in low flow/drought hydrology and the UK seems to be completely obsessed with floods at the moment. Although I have practical experience (I worked as a hydrologist for six years before starting my PhD) my experience was apparently out of date. I was only told I was too qualified three times. I think having a PhD actually made finding a job more difficult. Most roles only really ask for an MSc degree.
      Thanks for the advice, it’s very useful. I have tried to stop focusing on the negatives, there are loads of positives in my life, and I just need to focus on them. I think moving from Birmingham to Oxford is enough of a challenge for me at the moment. I actually avoided Facebook for almost a month and felt a lot better. You’re right; people only tend to talk about good/positive things on Facebook. I’m pretty sure a lot of people are too scared to admit they are struggling.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Scallywag (@ScallywagSprint) says:

    Hi Emma, I’m sorry to hear you are feeling this way but acknowledging it helps.

    With your mentor I advise you write to them (email counts!) telling them what they have meant to you. It will mean a lot to them. Let them know you’ll visit if they let you know they can have visitors.

    Well done on your job offer. All change terrifies humans, even that which is positive,which can sometimes make it harder as others are not supportive like they would be if it were a ‘negative’ situation.its allowed to be scary.

    My advice for your change would be to ENGAGE – join a run club, plus a club of any other hobby you have or may be interested in. Even if you want to hide at home. Unfortunately no one meets connections at home.

    Agree with your family to not swap gifts this year. Tell them what you want is to spend time together.

    Routine will definitely help how you feel – it alleviates the anxiety from change! You can do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Scallywag. Acknowledging how I’ve been feeling has definitely helped. As soon as I realised I probably wouldn’t get the opportunity to visit my mentor, I wrote him a lengthy letter. I’m managing to keep in touch via text messages, but I’m a little concerned my “I’m thinking of you” type texts are irritating the crap out of him. Hopefully, when he finishes his treatment he’ll feel well enough for visitors.
      Change definitely scares me and I’ve always been a worrier. I’ve got a lot worse as I’ve got older. I suspect most of my current negative thoughts are because I don’t want to fail. I want to do a good job and to make my mentor proud.
      I’ve told my family that I can only afford to buy presents for my nephew and niece. Next Christmas will be better as I’ll hopefully have a bit more money.

      Like

  7. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    Sorry you are feeling this way but it is totally natural.
    I’d say give the move a chance, moving to a new place you never know who you will meet (friends or otherwise) and how your social circles will change. Maybe the job does lunch time runs, or maybe there’s a running club nearby to join in with? Or you might live closer to a parkrun and get more involved with that community.
    I suppose try to break things down into little steps too, and almost avoid the big picture for a bit to make sure that all the steps are attainable? Good luck!

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria. I’m definitely going to give the new job a chance, I’d be stupid not to. Hopefully I’ll meet some amazing people and make some new friends. There’s a gym on the business park my new office is located on so I’m sure I’ll meet some runners there. I’ve no idea if the job does lunchtime runs but I’ll be sure to look into it. I’ve found a couple of informal running groups and there are a couple of parkruns near Wallingford. I’m hoping that once I’ve got my accommodation sorted out I’ll feel a lot more positive.

      Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks. I’m sorry you feel the same. It definitely isn’t easy. I’ve spent the last three years (probably more) pretending I’m happy when I’m not. At some stage in the near future I’m going to tell my family how I really feel.

      Like

      • My Safe Room says:

        Yea, that’s where I am now.I recently told them and tried to explain but they didn’t fully understand. They didn’t understand that sometimes the way u feel is out of ur control. They don’t get why I get down. So if your going to tell them, I’d advise u to go in remembering that although they can try to understand, no one can really fully know what go through but they can atleast try to be there to support u. I hope you feel better soon.

        Like

      • Emma says:

        Hopefully they’ll understand one day. That’s probably why I’d never tell my family how I’ve been feeling recently, they just wouldn’t understand. As far as they are concerned, because I always pretend that everything is okay, I’m happy and have an amazing life. At the moment the reality is a little different. I also hope that you feel better soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. wanderwolf says:

    Scallywag has exactly my advice. I would add that for the people who care about you, the best present you can give is taking care of yourself and being willing to share that self with them. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The last thing that can help is withdrawing!!
    Also, I’m really sorry about your friend. Is visiting him out of the question? If so, continue being grateful for the contact you can. If it’s possible- do it! Again, ask friends/family for help if you need it.
    Finally, it’s good to know that you feel that way still at 38. I feel this way at 26 and if it’s something that I may have to deal with for a while, I may as well try and find positive ways to cope with it now. 🙂
    You’re clearly a strong woman. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have bad moments. Times like this, just focus on getting through one day at a time. Getting up and doing one good thing for yourself/someone else is already an accomplishment.
    Thinking of you, Emma!

    Like

    • Emma says:

      Thanks Wanderwolf. When I’m with my family, I always pretend I’m happy. I don’t think they have a clue how I really feel. The only person I was completely honest with was my supervisor. I don’t think I’ll be able to visit my friend any time soon, he’s just too unwell and it’s not fair of me to keep asking him. We are keeping in touch via emails and text messages.
      When I was 26 I had a career, great circle of friends and felt far more confident. I made a stupid career move at 30, moved away from Birmingham, lost touch with my friends and completely lost my confidence.
      At the moment I’m still getting up, running, working on my final paper and helping my elderly neighbour as and when he needs it. There are loads of positives in my life. I just need to remind myself that I am a strong woman and that I can do virtually anything if I put my mind to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dangerouslanguage says:

    I didn’t read all the comments so I hope I won’t repeat something that has already been said.. I am sorry you are having a rough time – feeling lost can indeed be really discouraging. I try to remember a few things when I feel like this. Since I tend to overthink stuff and go into overdrive (granted, I’ve been working more on changing this lately), I try to do one thing when I begin falling into this pit – I talk to someone (friend, colleague etc.). I do not open up easily so it’s a double challenge – but I realized it helps a lot to have someone just listen as well as hear that they actually went through the same (or similar) issues. This brings me to another point. We live in a culture that perpetuates the idea of constant happiness. This is, of course, horribly annoying, but makes coping quite difficult for people, especially when they compare themselves with other people (and we all do this to an extent). I read one beautiful thought about this – we compare our “inside self” to the external self of other people, which is always more or less a representation of how we want to be seen. So what we see and perceive, and how it actually is, are quite different things. All in all, we have a vast array of emotions and letting ourselves feel, process and accept them is important. Lastly, and probably most importantly – I always remind myself how easily circumstances change, either for the better or worse. A year ago I would laugh if someone had said how certain things would turn out. Joke’s on me – I managed to surprise myself with some events, feelings and attitudes, and I’m actually looking forward to see what will be the next surprise.
    I hope this helps at least a bit.. Take care and remember, day by day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emma says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my most recent post. I think part of the issue is that the one person I felt I could talk to is now unable to talk to me. I’ve always found it difficult talking to people, he was about the only person I’ve ever really opened up to. It’s difficult because I literally have no one else I feel I can talk to at the moment. Although I’m generally always smiling on the outside, I’m probably crying on the inside. Hopefully 2018 will be more positive and it’ll be a case of New year, new me. I hope that your next surprise is positive.
      Keep on blogging and good luck with the research.

      Like

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