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STARTING OVER: Advice and Support Thread
#1
   

Okay, so I come to you all with a request for some heavy-duty practical advice. maybe you're in a similar place in your life.  Sorry about this, and the length of what follows...

I find myself in a situation in which I think I might need to start over. New job, new place to live, new life. I'm in my mid-40s and am getting tired with living the same way if not worse than I did when I was 25.  I have creative aspirations (don't we all) but find that life keeps getting in the way of them...

What I like about my current life situation: The building I live in, being close enough to help my Mom in emergencies when she needs it -- which is often, not having to commute to work, being able to support myself, my personal belongings, my general location.

What I don't like: Specific toxic people having too much control over my home (roommates and landlords with issues) and work life (co-workers and lack of human resources support), not making enough money to help my Mom out (food, bills, medical supplies) as much as she deserves, not having any semblance of a career or daily life experience to be proud of, coming home from a toxic situation to another toxic situation with no energy to create or build a better world for myself - often just sitting in my room in silence, having no local support circle of friends or family to talk with about these things (except online peeps like you all) or to catch me if I fall so to speak, not being able to own a car for freedom of movement in case of emergencies or even just daily life.

I feel that I'm not far away from ditching my job and most of my things and just walking away from everything, but I can't quite do that... If I just upped and went off the grid, nobody would be there to help my Mom, and I'd have no health insurance (which I need in my mid-40s-and-rising). I have started looking at my belongings and began thinking, "How much could I get rid of, if I needed to?" I wouldn't get any money out of it, as most of my stuff is valueless to anyone but me. I'd maybe get $800 or $900 tops if I sold off all my expendable worldly possessions. And this is what it's come to... Me wondering how much money I could get for everything in my world, if I had to find a new place to live in this area.  If I were to find a new apartment, the area being what it is it would most likely be a smaller place at higher expense.  If I relocated to a cheaper area, it would most likely be a shit job even further out of my knowledge base than I am now.  

Right now, for example, I work in a Mom and Pop "company" as the online sales and shipping guy in a staff of maybe nine people, with no advancement or future prospects.  If this place folded, I'd be up shit creek.  My jobs when I lived in the boonies included sweeping up warehouses, washing medical transport buckets with bleach and loading trucks for an outfit that had a hydraulic loading platform collapse on my foot and only getting ten days' sick time out of it for my trouble.

I look around at my life, at people all around me getting all the breaks and giving orders and I see/feel like I'm doing something very wrong. But if I do "what's right for me" and me alone, my Mom suffers, and I fail.  Unless it's such a good opportunity that I could afford to relocate or travel to her from wherever I am at a moment's notice. 

I have writing, directing, film/video theory, history and production experience as well as creative/personal/voice-over/people skills... but most local gigs in my line don't really seem to care anymore (nobody's hiring here) and if it's all in "who you know" then I'm really sunk because it seems that I don't know anybody and have no family connections or money to cruise along upon.  Blue-collar work is fine as long as I don't feel like jumping off the roof at the end of every day.  

I'm sorry to post any of this, really. It feels like a failure of a sort, an admittance of weakness
Maybe you feel alone in your particular situation too, or have in the past. 
Maybe someone was there for you, somehow, or told you something useful that helped?.

Thanks for even reading this far and staying with me.... And again, I'm sorry to trouble you with this.
And if you're in the same boat, talk about it here.  Open up and share, if you can.  Sometimes it's good to just get it out of your system and be heard.  
And you never know.  Maybe someone reading these words (and yours, perhaps, below) is in a position to help, somehow.  Stranger things have happened.

I've mentioned in the past in a thread or two that I've been looking for a new life. I feel like now's the time to start that search up again.  Maybe you feel the same way too?
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#2
hey man:

I was in a similar position about 10 years ago. I felt like life was passing me by and I took strides to make some fundamental changes in my life that really did wonders for me.

1. Go to the gym. Do it, no excuses. Got three times a week and make it a ritual. In addition to improving your health, the very process of working out releases endorphins that help your mood. On top of that, it does wonders for increasing your metabolism and helping you sleep.

2. Cut the shit out of your life. Stop associating with toxic people, stop involving yourself in toxic situations. If it's bringing you down, you don't need it.

Long term: start researching what you want to have for a long term career. Have a few options and research what it takes to get into those fields. Make daily, weekly, and other goals to get you moving forward on deciding on the next phase of your life. When you dial in on what you want to do, go full force into it. Don't worry about your age...plenty of people change careers at this point in their lives, so just embrace the change and do your very best. You have many years of earning ahead of you so don't think that it's too late to try something.

I don't know what to suggest on your mother. is there no way that she can be left on her own if you were to pursue something out of state? Research options. I understand your need to take care of her, but don't ever forget that you need to take care of yourself first.

Good luck. Nothing but good wishes sent your way.
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#3
Thanks for the response... Some good suggestions. I'm on some of them now, actually.

1. I actually am on a health regimen and kick. I've lost thirty pounds in two and a half years. Going for thirty more!
2. That's what I'm after, cutting out the toxic shit. Between roommate shit and work shit, that's two thirds of my life. Helping my Mom actually gives me some sense of purpose. In a way it's what's been getting me through.
Long term: I'm on it. I've been writing a lot, with the intention of submitting the material to an agent locally. I haven't done this for a while, so it's a battle to stay focused and feel like what I'm doing is worthwhile and more than a pipe dream.

Thanks again, JB... very much.
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#4
That's great that you're working on your writing, and if that's your longterm goal, then more power to you. Me, I personally identified computer programming as a field that I wanted to go into after 'Plan A' didn't work out. I took out loans, went to school, and eventually got my foot in the door as a QA tester. Ten years later, I'm a Senior Business Analyst and kicking ass professionally. That was my path, and it took a lot for me to take those first steps. You can do something similar career wise with your next career if you want. The key is to take that first step and don't allow yourself to get sidetracked. It's easy to say 'I'll do it tomorrow, I'm playing RDR2 today'. Don't do that...make commitments to yourself and keep them.

again, best of luck!
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#5
Take some classes at a local community college and sign up for some dating services.

I'm not religious, but some people appreciate the community aspect of joining a church.
"I'd rather have hope...than nothing at all."
-Illyana Rasputin, X-Men: Omega #1

"But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive."
-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Twitter: @BartLBishop
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#6
...and DO NOT get rid of your stuff (unless due to financial necessity). You don't need to throw regret (or more regret) into this mix and if you're anything like me, you WILL regret it at some point. You keep things around that make you happy for a reason..
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#7
No real sage advice but good luck to you with whatever path you take going forward.
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#8
Take the smaller apartment. You said you don’t have a lot of stuff, and you need to get away from the roommates. Your next chapter needs an HQ, a Batcave. And the place you lay your head cannot be a place you hate.
“I feel a connection with you. A man connection. A mannection.”
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#9
Your mom would want you to do what's best to help you get your life on a course you're content with. If that means moving or less time to help her, so be it. She can move TO you when you're in a better place, if that's what's needed.

What is your education level/degrees? Where do you live? Have you looked into any sort of student loans so you could perhaps re-train yourself? The only field I know of that is desperate for folks of any age, and which offers a meaningfully guaranteed lifestyle improvement (once you're in the field), is IT work. You'd be surprised what even entry level IT guys can make. I'm going to be honest: anything creative or arts related is a bad bet when you're in your early 20s, it's a 1000x worse bet when you're in your mid 40s. I wanted to be a creative writer. I went to law school. Following your dreams is a good way to wake up in a nightmare.

Course correcting in your mid 40s is going to be rough and you're not going to have time for ancillary considerations. Life can be based a whole lot on luck, so please don't think that your problems are all your own creation.

Working out, specifically lifting heavy weights, will help a ton. It will improve you physically, increase your mental toughness, strengthen your immune system, and prevent injuries. Make time. Do it.

Your post was pretty heart-breaking to read, I feel so awful for you.
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#10
IT and nursing are the two almost guaranteed income earning careers right now. See if either one appeals to you.
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#11
Caregivers for hospice work are in huge demand.
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#12
If you absolutely want to be a writer, apply it to something practical and in-demand, like marketing.

Like me!

Then save the fun movie writing or fiction stuff for hobbies on the side.
"I'd rather have hope...than nothing at all."
-Illyana Rasputin, X-Men: Omega #1

"But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive."
-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Twitter: @BartLBishop
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#13
Thanks for the advice and kind words, all. The living situation might be settling itself out. Basically, that, plus the typical garbage at the job, started doing a number on me in the last 48 hours. Things are looking up today, though, and hopefully by November 1st, the toxic personality within the apartment will be sorted out once and for all.

I'm also on a well-overdue vacation next week, and have planned to finish two writing projects with my time off, getting a jump start on the whole NaNoWriMo thing. I hope to finish a script I've been kicking around far too long, and a children's story someone local with a connection offered to have a look at.

In hopes that the turnaround continues on the upswing for forseeable future, is there anyone else out there that needs help? A kind or helpful word? Have you had enough of a particular situation? Though I started up with my own personal difficulties in the thread, if anyone else out there is in the dark and needs help, feel free to post about it. You guys have been great here. I'd love to be able to return the favor...

Anyone can talk about movies. Sometimes, it helps to talk about yourself. It helped me, anyway!
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#14
Didn't you want to move to the west coast at one point?
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#15
Yep, gotta put aside some cash first for the move. I have two IRL friends out there now. One just got there, so I'm giving he and his family some time to get unpacked and set-up. Look forward to getting out there and looking around on a visit.

I'm not sure how soon a proper move-out will happen, but it's a goal.
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#16
If you want to hard-reset your whole life, a cross-country move is the way to do it. My wife and I took the plunge 18 months ago and it took about a year to not feel freaked out by the change.

It also meant both of us restarting from a dead stop career-wise, and it's still kind of touch-and-go if I'm being honest.
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#17
(10-25-2018, 06:07 PM)engineer Wrote: I'm also on a well-overdue vacation next week, and have planned to finish two writing projects with my time off, getting a jump start on the whole NaNoWriMo thing.  I hope to finish a script I've been kicking around far too long, and a children's story someone local with a connection offered to have a look at.

You said you wanted to course correct and get a new direction in life.  This didn't sound like a "there's a jerk at work and I've been a little down in the dumps" type of an issue.

Unless these creative writing projects are reasonably likely to lead to better employment opportunities (. . . is that realistic?), wouldn't it be a better use of this time to begin taking a very hard look at relocating/re-training?
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#18
(10-25-2018, 02:56 PM)Overlord Wrote: Your mom would want you to do what's best to help you get your life on a course you're content with.  If that means moving or less time to help her, so be it.  She can move TO you when you're in a better place, if that's what's needed.    

What is your education level/degrees?  Where do you live?  Have you looked into any sort of student loans so you could perhaps re-train yourself?  The only field I know of that is desperate for folks of any age, and which offers a meaningfully guaranteed lifestyle improvement (once you're in the field), is IT work.  You'd be surprised what even entry level IT guys can make.  I'm going to be honest: anything creative or arts related is a bad bet when you're in your early 20s, it's a 1000x worse bet when you're in your mid 40s.  I wanted to be a creative writer.  I went to law school.  Following your dreams is a good way to wake up in a nightmare.  

Course correcting in your mid 40s is going to be rough and you're not going to have time for ancillary considerations.  Life can be based a whole lot on luck, so please don't think that your problems are all your own creation.

Working out, specifically lifting heavy weights, will help a ton.  It will improve you physically, increase your mental toughness, strengthen your immune system, and prevent injuries.  Make time.  Do it.  

Your post was pretty heart-breaking to read, I feel so awful for you.

I agree with everything written here apart from the IT work. Yes, there are plenty of jobs out there and they do pay a little more than Food services but you have to specialize in a field to get the best dollars. I will say that Web Developers/App development and data integration programmers are doing gang busters in the financial sector right now but you also need a couple of years accounting or need to be a awesome developer. 

I also agree with JB, although he's way better at being gung ho than me. I left England and moved to a new life. It was a long time ago now, but back then I had a house and was a partner in a semi successful (for Grimsby at least) business. For sure, put some time into yourself. The better off you are the better off you're mum is going to be. Also, I'm not trying to sound heartless, but you need to look after you. If this was England you could get a place for your mum and apply to be a full time carer. That way the Govt looks after some of the financial burden. However, we are not in England, so your best bet is getting out there, finding a place with actual opportunities and taking them. 

A lot of people asked me how I ended up in Dallas. The answer is women. The real question should be what kept me in Dallas and that answer would be the work. You gotta get some place that has more opportunities for you to go through. Also, get a vehicle of some sort. I know some folks on here don't have cars, but I can't have that. Since I was a wee lad I've always been out and about by myself.  Bikes, scooters, motorbikes and lastly cars. You don't need a ton of money to get a car. Do what you can to get mobile. It will open a ton of doors for you, literally. I slept in a car for a while. I have no idea what I would have done without that motor. 

Anyway sir, good luck to you! Let me know if I can do anything. 

I have a similar made up job title as JB as I'm a senior IT business analyst. Which means I do the same things I did on the helpdesk for people with a better job than me and I get to spend millions of dollars!!! I got here with no skills but the willingness to sweat my sack off and having a bit of a head on my shoulders. I started out resetting passwords for Earthlink for fucks sake. 

If at anytime you feel that you don't have what it takes, here's a couple of examples of the mouth breathers I work with. As a joke we swapped a couple of keycaps on a keyboard and that just about ended someones career in shipping. They thought the keyboard was busted because when they hit A it typed E. They had no clue that the A was where the E key used to have been. Secondly, we have a manager here, and all they do is listen to smooth jazz and rake their miniature Zen garden thing. They spend the whole day forwarding emails to guys who work for them and take their replies and make them his own. This dude is on about 100k a year. It's shocking.
"I'll live to see you eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I'm going to ram it into your stomach and break your god-damn spine!"- Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man.

PSN and Steam gamer tag: rockbollocks

Blizzard ID: Rockbollocks#11635
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#19
(10-25-2018, 06:32 PM)Overlord Wrote:
(10-25-2018, 06:07 PM)engineer Wrote: I'm also on a well-overdue vacation next week, and have planned to finish two writing projects with my time off, getting a jump start on the whole NaNoWriMo thing.  I hope to finish a script I've been kicking around far too long, and a children's story someone local with a connection offered to have a look at.

You said you wanted to course correct and get a new direction in life.  This didn't sound like a "there's a jerk at work and I've been a little down in the dumps" type of an issue.  

Unless these creative writing projects are reasonably likely to lead to better employment opportunities (. . . is that realistic?), wouldn't it be a better use of this time to begin taking a very hard look at relocating/re-training?

The home situation is:  A jerk in the house who became a legal and personal safety hazard who we've had a difficult time ridding ourselves of.  Because of various elements of the situation involving lawyers, landlords, roommates in fear and such, we've had to be very careful how we've handled it all.  (Saving texts and emails as evidence, that sort of thing.)  It's been boiling since basically May/June, to the point where things were going sideways so much that I was trying to figure out if I'd need to move somewhere else, which was a high anxiety for me.  The work situation: someone who tends to bring the room down that the boss won't remove (who frustratingly is also often quiet, so it's always a "When's he going to go off, this time?" thing), plus lack of human resources help (the boss is a nice guy but far too distracted, which ended up costing me some health insurance money, pissing me off) making some work days much harder than others.  These aren't end-of-days problems, but they were coming fast and furious, and between this and worrying about my various lacks as a provider of assistance for my Mom, really do a job on the spirit. I was mighty shaky yesterday, and again, thank you all. It'll be a slow process but I am working to bettering my situation and hopefully my sense of self.

Basically several elements came to a head in the last few days that have been making me question my place in any of it.  It really was a reaching out for advice on my part, and I'm thankful for that which you've all offered and the kind words!   Even though things are slowly smoothing down again, I'm weighing options.
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#20
Since 2015, I've been trying to balance work with being more proactive about chasing my dream of being a writer and a filmmaker. In that time, I've completed two short films that I don't think are shitty, an ultra-low-budget screenplay that I intend to self-produce, a full-length novel that I'm currently rewriting, and I'm about 60% of the way through a screenplay based on said novel.

I'm 39 years old. I don't think it's "too late" for a fresh start. Hell, we're expected to work until we're, what, 65? 70? Are we supposed to give up at some point if we're not mega-successful by the time we're 30? I mean, you can, I guess. But why?

I spent too many years making excuses. "I don't have an agent; I don't have the money; I'm just unlucky." It wasn't a good use of my time. Once I stopped worrying about roadblocks, I started building my own road.

So follow your passion and enjoy the satisfaction of doing things on your own terms. It's not easy. But neither is living with the disappointment that you didn't give it a try.
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#21
(10-25-2018, 10:35 PM)bradito Wrote: Since 2015, I've been trying to balance work with being more proactive about chasing my dream of being a writer and a filmmaker. In that time, I've completed two short films that I don't think are shitty, an ultra-low-budget screenplay that I intend to self-produce, a full-length novel that I'm currently rewriting, and I'm about 60% of the way through a screenplay based on said novel.

So follow your passion and enjoy the satisfaction of doing things on your own terms. It's not easy. But neither is living with the disappointment that you didn't give it a try.

That's excellent!  Between age 18 and 32, I completed a short film that won a Massachusetts Cable-TV Award, a film in college that was offered a spot in the New Hampshire Film Festival, two full-length feature screenplays (one low-budget comedy that nearly got me an agent*, one big-budget action comedy) and a short film script that got me some attention, though all of these scripts remain unproduced, for now.   

Then, well, I got a really good job that kind of took me out of creativity for a bit.  I was making money then.  Then some things happened that made me start to doubt myself (unemployment, depression, a job in NYC that didn't work out, what-have-you) and after a while I was just happy to be able to support myself.  I never have been able to give up the dream, though.  I've been fostering a little nugget of an idea and sporadically reworked it, now and then, over a few years while earning a living, while I kept up a blog for some time to stay creatively balanced.  (Pretty much the same kind of material I post around here.)  Now the new idea's first draft is almost finished and the kids' project first draft, much shorter, is at about the halfway point.  Feels good.

(*) "Nearly" in the following respect: The agency turned out to be bogus, but they did send me a full-on contract after reading my submission. My roommates called me at work, thrilled, and I raced home to see it. As I read it, I noticed that they were trying to get me to pay them $500 bi-annually for the right to represent me, which is seriously not how it is supposed to be. I had them checked out by the Better Business Bureau before signing anything and, yeah, they had one sole published client in their stable and were just a few years before that in home plumbing. They knew someone who sold something to a cable network or something. Over the years they got a "stay away from" reputation.
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#22
Excuses seem to derail just about everyone at one time or another. It's a lesson we all need to suffer through.
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#23
Just relocated this thread from last year. Earlier, I spoke with an old friend who's been working as a life coach for some time and got some solid, step by step advice on how to start in the right direction again. After a month in which both my Mom and I have been in hospital (her, twice) for various things and some apartment related issues coming up, this call and pep-talk couldn't have come at a better time.

In the last year, I did finally complete my writing project - my first positive artistic achievement in more than a decade. Next will be to get some feedback on it from two local people who are in a position to help it move further.

Moving forward, spiritually upward and toward greater days and reward. Headed that way. Smile
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#24
Attaboy Engineer! Get yours!
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