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@kitboga My inability to make decisions keeps me back in life

NOTE: This is kind of long, and my first post. I hope I followed guidelines correctly. Thanks for reading all this if you managed to slog through it, and thanks @Kitboga for bringing this awesome resource to light. Also, if you’re reading this and thinking that you might like to post but you can’t because it’s “too attention-seeking” or “weird”, etc, know that your feelings are valid and if I can do it, so can you. Think of it as beneficial to others who might have the same problem as you but are too scared to put themselves out there.

Here’s my issue. I really can’t figure out what to do with my life, and the indecision manifests itself in an all-encompassing paralysis. Yum!

I’m uncomfortably close to 30, which was my arbitrary “have-stuff-figured-out” age, and as much as I know that doesn’t matter, and people find “their calling” or success at any age, it’s hard not to spiral into a panic about the future. ESPECIALLY because I’m living at home with my parents.

Here’s the life story:

I grew up as “the gifted kid” with high expectations for myself. After a lot of stress and indecision, I decided to attend college away from home. I passed with ok grades and a degree, although I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of it because I was in a depressed haze brought on by life stuff. My few college friendships didn’t stick after college, and I’m still paying off the loans for a degree that isn’t really useful without additional schooling.

I’ve had several customer service or admin type jobs, and I absolutely despised the corporate vibe, and the fact that everything was about the bottom line. After a couple of years in a particular office, I decided I had enough and took a course to get a certificate so I could work abroad. Well, I was able to spend some time in a foreign country, but it really had its ups and downs. I’m not really sure if the line of work I was doing was “my thing”, but it’s one of the few job options that’s in demand for expats specifically. As it was my first time away from home since college, I realized I wasn’t as “over” my college issues as I thought I was, and continued to struggle with mental health. I thought I would meet a bunch of expats and learn the language of the country, and although I made a couple close friendships that I wouldn’t give up for anything, I definitely didn’t achieve all I wanted.

I expected I would get another job abroad after my contract ended, but it fell through and I ended up doing some community-oriented work with a great organization back home. I like the goal and vision of what I’m doing, but over time my enthusiasm has faded a bit. It’s hard work for not much money. My current job pays minimum wage, so I’m living in my parents’ house again. I feel like people who know me look down on me for this. My friends here are old high school friends, and we’re not super close.

I’ve considered going back to university, because part of me really, really wants a “do-over” with a Masters degree now that I’m a bit wiser and slightly more stable. However, I’m not sure if I’d choose the same thing I got my bachelors in. I’m also worried:

  1. That I’ll choose the wrong thing to study and be disappointed (I’ve tossed around many different subjects as possibilities, but my mind changes constantly. They’re all pretty different fields.)

2.That it’ll turn out the exact same way as college, with no friends, mental health worsening, and debt.

  1. That I won’t even be able to complete the applications, because last time I considered it, many of my professors I had the last time I went to college were ill-disposed, didn’t feel they could remember me well enough to write a positive recommendation, or did not answer. The academic world is kind of insular if you don’t already have the right contacts.

So I haven’t even started the applications and I can’t even bring myself to explore possible colleges because I feel like I should have more figured out before I take those steps. The thing is, it’s been years with no action on my part, so I’m not sure if this is just something I should give up. I have also wondered if I should keep trying to work abroad again, since my best friends live abroad. I’m also very aware that I’m getting older and neither of these options are super stable, providing health insurance or savings, etc. Thus, the spiral into a panic.

TLDR; I’m not sure if I should pursue more university, try again to work abroad, continue with the non-profit work that I’ve been doing, or something else entirely, and it makes me feel stuck in life because I can’t take action.

Despite being lucky enough to have several different avenues I could consider, there’s a common theme of dissatisfaction in my life. I’m starting to wonder if there’s just something wrong with me and my mindset, and that’s why I can’t stick with anything. On the positive side, I did make a therapy appointment that’s coming up, but I don’t even know where to begin with all of these issues I’ve kind of bottled up for 10-ish years. Wish me luck!


hi there,

Since it’s grad school, could you make an appointment to talk to an academic advisor, esp since the Masters may not be super aligned to the Masters focus?

Have you ever sat and written down/plotted out visually the various pathways you have available to you and seen a representation of where they realistically lead? The best we can ever do is to make the best decisions we can right now, with all the knowledge we have right now. Regrets can be merciless if let is transform in paralytic fear. I’m glad you got a therapy appt soon, I’m sure with a little guidance, you’ll be able to take the first teeny tiny steps.

Let us know how it all goes, we’d love to walk with you thru the process! You got this, even if you feel you don’t. :slight_smile:

@knowone I don’t think your post was too long or “attention-seeking”, this sorta post is what the wall is all about!

Your life story is one that I can relate to quite a bit. I went through life trying to make the “right” choices and was paralyzed in a sense because I never actually MADE choices. I would describe a lot of my life almost as if I was just watching it unfold and I was along for the ride. Years later I started to realize that not making choices was a choice. That I was losing certain opportunities because I wouldn’t make up my mind. That got me thinking about what really is the “right” path and at this point I’m convinced that there isn’t actually a “right” choice most of the time.
You could try to evaluate a choice based on morals, how they might effect your goals, how they might change things with your family or whats important too you… but eventually I found myself realizing I was trying to evaluate choices around what other people did and if it was what I was “supposed” to do.

I’m not sure if this helps or is encouraging at all, but over the past few years I have been learning to make my own choices not based on what I am “supposed” to do, but how I feel they’ll help me/my family/my community. I’ve started worrying less about if they’re the “right” choices for 5 years from now, and focused more on if it’s the “right” choice for right now.

Funny enough, I have been feeling more happy and fulfilled making “my own” choices. Even when they don’t work out, or hindsight says I made a “mistake” – they’re my choices. My adventures. My stories.

Sounds like you’re a passionate person with some dreams / goals of the future. I would encourage you to keep meeting with your therapist and working towards making choices. The world needs you and I bet you have some pretty unique adventures to go on friend!

  • Kit