‘I’m Broke and Mostly Friendless, and I’ve Wasted My Whole Life’ By Heather Havrilesky

 

‘I’m Broke and Mostly Friendless, and I’ve Wasted My Whole Life’ By H. Havrilesky

‘I’m Broke and Mostly Friendless, and I’ve Wasted My Whole Life’  By Heather Havrilesky

Excerpts:

Hi, Polly,

I feel like a ghost. I’m a 35-year-old woman, and I have nothing to show for it. My 20s and early 30s have been a twisting crisscross of moves all over the West Coast, a couple of brief stints abroad, multiple jobs in a mediocre role with no real upward track.

I was also the poster child for serial monogamy. My most hopeful and longest lasting relationship (three and a half years, whoopee) ended two years ago.

…I used to think I was the one who had it all figured out. Adventurous life in the city! Traveling the world! Making memories! Now I feel incredibly hollow. And foolish.

How can I make a future for myself that I can get excited about out of these wasted years?

[Signed],
Haunted

Dear Haunted,

…When you carry around a suspicion that there’s something sort of embarrassing or pathetic about you, you find ways to project that shame onto completely innocuous things.

You find ways to tell yourself that everyone is laughing at you behind your back somewhere, possibly at a party where they are serving beautiful tasty drinks but you weren’t invited. You’re too old now. You’re no longer exciting or important. You don’t matter. You never really did.

Shame creates imaginary worlds inside your head. This haunted house you’re creating is forged from your shame. No one else can see it, so you keep trying to describe it to them.

You find ways to say, “You don’t want any part of this mess. I’m mediocre, aging rapidly, and poor. Do yourself a favor and leave me behind.” You want to be left behind, though. That way, no one bears witness to what you’ve become.

It’s time to come out of hiding. It’s time to step into the light and be seen, shame and wrinkles and failures and fears and all.

…But your concept of yourself makes no sense. You got it from a rom-com. Age 35 is not an expiration date on your beauty or your worth. It doesn’t matter if every single human alive believes this.

It’s your job to cast this notion out forever. I’m 48 years old and I’m determined not to tell a story about myself that started in some beauty-product boardroom, among unimaginative corporate marketing professionals. I fail at this quest often, but I’m still determined.

…If you want to build a life with a partner, and have a more satisfying career, and maybe have children, you need to treat yourself like a treasured child starting today.

If you had a daughter who was 35 years old and felt like all of her traveling and moving was a giant mistake that embodied everything BAD and shortsighted about her, what would you tell her? You’d tell her she was wrong. You’d say, “Your life is just beginning!”

Learn to treat yourself the way a loving older parent would. Tell yourself: This reckoning serves a purpose. Your traveling served a purpose. Your moving served a purpose.

You’re sitting on a pile of gold that you earned through your own hard work, you just can’t see it yet. You can’t see it because you’re blinded by your shame.

It’s okay to be in debt and worried. It’s okay to feel lonely and lost. It’s okay to feel tired of trying. It’s okay to want more and wonder how to get it. You’re just a human, this is how we feel a lot. It’s not irregular or aberrant to feel despair.

This is part of survival. Your shame is forming your despair into a merciless story about your worth. Don’t let it do that. Build something else from your shame instead.

More of that page can be read here


See Also:

Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem by Olga Khazan

Nay-Sayers and Failure on the Way to Success: Singer Elvis Presley

You’re Not Failing Enough, by Diane Paddison

Being Positive, Associating With Positive People Can Increase Your Chances of Success by K. Elkins

How To Overcome Self-Criticism and Lack of Motivation by Bryn Mooth

Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failure by Amy Crawford

Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway – The Self Help Book by Susan Jeffers

Recovering from Failure – articles by various authors

Become More Resilient by Learning to Take Joy Seriously by Brad Stulberg

How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova

Top 10 Regrets Of The Dying by Dale Partridge

Why the Best Success Stories Often Begin With Failureby Amy Crawford

Ten Famous Artists Who Had to Deal with Rejection During Their Lifetime by Lori McNee  

How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova

“I got a letter saying I wasn’t what they were looking for” – news reporter Lester Holt 

The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 by Jonathan Rauch

Japanese Runner Finishes Relay Marathon on Her Hands and Knees After Breaking Her Leg

The Secrets of Resilience by M. Jay

Why the Fear of Rejection Overrides One’s Ability to Ask for What They Want or Need

How to Stop Caring About What Other People Think – Don’t Let A Little Criticism Hold You Back, by Simran Takhar

After 27 Rejections, Dr. Seuss Almost Burned His First Unpublished Book – But He Hung In There and Went on to Become a Best-Selling Author

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