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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Missing Out On Life
Letter #: 380363
Category: Self-Improvement

Original Letter

I need advice. im tired of hanging out with my little brothers friends.I need to get out. im 18 yr old guy and i just graduated. im hungry for the night life. i hear about friends of mine meeting girls and partying every weekend. im not saying that my brothers friends are not my friends either. i met them through my brother. im sick of sitting on snapchat or instagram and waiting to see if anyone is doing something. i want to do something. i want people to want to know what iim up to. Im tired of being that aquaintance everyone knows. i feel trpped inside an invisible box that i have almost broken out of. im tired of texting people to see whats going on. im useless with women. i had my first kiss at prom. i get all anxious, severely anxious, when i talk to girls im attracted to. i live in probably the most boring town in the illinois where there is nothing to do. i feel like im running out of time. im missing out on stuff i could be doing. alll i want to do is do. i dont want to be a wisher anymore. i need to get out and breath

Elder Response

Thanks for writing in.  This sounds familiar. Think I could have written the same note at your age. Hard to figure out what you want to do and who you want to do it with.  I think the era you're in is a bit like no-man's land; you're not in high school anymore, but not in the workplace either; you're old enough to want more of a social life, but not old enough to hit the places that require you to be 21. 

The good news is that things change, and they change quickly.  Time really isn't running out. In fact, you're just starting. Having said that, it appears there are some things you need to consider. 

One, get a vocation. Whether you go to college, or trade school, or whatever, start to build your skills so you're employable for the long term. At your age, this isn't easy, but start doing something that builds your resume. Over time, nothing will be more important that build strong work skills. Yes, it is a pain, but you gotta pay the bills.  Also, while building these skils and work experiences, even if you're in common labor, you tend to meet a lot of people. And the good news is that the people in the workplace are not subject to some of the same peer pressures as school. They're all just trying to get by, so acceptance can come easy. 

Two, look for friends in other places. Whether old acquantances, or new, try to find people like yourself and take an interest in what they're doing. Ask questions. Listen. Build relationships that matter, that aren't driven by what you have done before. Gyms, sports teams, outdoors groups, churches, all can be places where different people meet. The key is to learn about the type of people you want to become friends with. This can be kind of an art, but it's possible. If you don't like certain types, go a different direction. Find what suits you. Again, this can be tough, and can take some time, but the more you're interested in things, the more interesting you are. 

Three, find a way to expand your horizons. Being in a smaller town, and at your point in life, being with people who you may have known for a long time, it may seem that that is all there is. It's not. There is a lot of media out there, and everyone has opinions on what you should, or shouldn't do. To me, it seems like there is so much going on, that people have a hard time just figuring out what they actually want, or who they are. They just float through and get pulled along by the tide. It may be that you need to find things that you agree with, that will actually guide your life. 

I know this can sound vague, and difficult. But in my experience, especially at your age, I spent a lot of time reading, talking to others who I respected, and learning lessons that would guide my life, things I actually cared about, not that were fed to me. College helped, but I continued looking into these things on my own and they formed the basis of who I became. And topics stretched from psychology, to philosophy, to religion, to politics, to literature. The point is that there are a lot of smart people out there. Find out about them. 

Four, and this may be the toughest, don't let your anxiousness with the opposite sex stop you.  Just accept that your awkward  (who isn't?) and get into it. One idea is to just approach them trying to be friends, and forget about the whole dating part of things. Then if it happens, great. If not, so be it. Sometimes the fact you want to make such a good impression causes un-needed anxiety.  The less you try, the better of you'll be. And again, you have time. You'll find your stride. 

The fact is, it ain't easy figuring out who you want to be and you're right to want to get started. Maybe you just have to take the first step in each of these areas, then keep going. 

Hope this helps. And remember, you have time. 

Best Regards,

CraigJ


    

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