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Not financial - kind of ranting

October 17th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Like I said in the title - this may be kind of a rant and not really financial. You may want to skip to a different one.

So, you've been warned.

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Ever get the feeling that no matter what you do, you're still standing still and going nowhere fast?

Ever attend some group function where you don't know anyone and have no idea how to break into any of the clusters of people to meet anyone?

Ever hear yourself talking to people (when you finally muster up the courage to actually talk to someone in one of those clusters) and hearing what's coming out of your mouth and think you sound like a bitter, negative and just plain sad person?

Ever find yourself wondering if life is ever going to really change, or if its gonna just stay the same status quo forever?

Ever wonder how you lost the ability to make connections with new people and how you seem to have lost connections with all your friends?

Ever wonder how you're going to get through yet another Saturday night all alone?

Ever wonder how in the world you can get away from someone (like, let's say, your landlady) who doesn't get the hint to stop talking via body language (or still doesn't get the hint when you verbally say you have to get going)?

Yeah, that's me alright.

I attended my local church for the third time today. It was a service in the park. The service part was fine - it was just the standing around feeling like an idiot while all these people who knew each other already formed little clusters everywhere that wasn't so great.

Then once one of those little clusters finally pulled me in, for lack of things to say, I hear myself being a little too brutally honest about why I left teaching and the fishbowl of pastoral/teacher life in the church. And then saw people trying to get away from me as fast as possible as I'm kicking myself in the rear.

I stink at small talk.

Then of course there's having nothing to do on a Saturday night other than surf the internet or watch a movie with my landlady. When what I'd really love to do is go find someone to play card or board games with - or just get out of the house. (If this was a once or twice a month occurrence, that'd be one thing. It's when it is 90% of the time ... and then the other 10% is usually a weekend spent with mom and stepdad .... well...)

Not to mention I had to go and read one of those insightful articles about singles that tell you not to stay home - but get out there and be seen! Ok if you're single, have money to spend, drink, and oh, actually have someplace to go! But lets just say that you're single, broke, don't drink, and better yet, have no place to go - what then?!

Oh yeah, lets talk about the connections thing. It appears that pretty much all of my friends have gotten way too busy in their lives to keep a connection with me. Even my one nearby friend T seems to have pretty much dropped me - haven't seen her in six weeks, and hadn't heard from her in a month before that. And yes, I did attempt to contact her several times.

Other people I've met through various functions - and seem to have made some kind of a connection with - simply vanish.

I'd like to have a life. Really, I would. My life right now consists of working 4 days a week at the gym where I see a few people throughout the day - some of whom don't even bother acknowledging me; coming home and walking the dogs; sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours either doing school work, or more likely, just surfing; and of course the scintillating brief chats with family.

Then of course there is the weekend.

I'm attempting to get back into regularly attending church. For many reasons, one of which is to try to meet new people, and sadly, another partial reason is to fill hours. (more reasons than those two, but they are sadly two of them)

But that still leaves Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday to fill. In my faith Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is supposed to be "set apart" from the rest of the week. So things like watching TV, doing schoolwork or shopping aren't generally done. (not Jewish)

I want to change my life. I want to figure out how to be that elusive single person who has a life and is perfectly content.

I wish I could figure out the answer.

I've tried meet-ups (meetup.com -site where people of similar interests in local areas can arrange get togethers). Had no luck in making any connections that made it out of the meetings.

I'm trying at church - have tried before as well. Somehow everyone is already part of a couple, or if not, already well stocked with people in the church, so makes it difficult to add myself in. But, I keep hoping that somehow, somewhere, I'll find someone who actually has time and space to add me to their life once in a while.

I would just so love to find one person to go walking with, or several people who like to play games, someone I can connect with like I did with T, but maybe without kids or hubby - and preferably live close enough to actually spend time together, even a couple times a month!

In SO many ways I am blessed. I have a job. I have a roof over my head, and plenty of food to eat. I have plenty of clothes to wear. I have a great family who loves me. I'm having the opportunity to return to school and pursue something that might actually be an enjoyable career.

But is that all there is to life? Work, shelter, and non-husband/children family?

And then of course I take a look at myself in one of the 15 deleted video clips of a message I made for my brother. Do I really look like that? Forget the slow, steady and sensible weight loss, and bring on the speedy as a silver bullet loss! (No, I won't really go that route. I just feel like doing it when I think of my image in those deleted clips.)

.... I was looking at my sidebar and noticed my 3 personal goals. #3 is "Give of myself to others, and enrich my life with friendships old and new."

This entire post is all about me, isn't? How crappy I feel about my life. How I can't seem to make any new connections or maintain old ones. There is nothing about how I'm giving of myself to others.

Maybe that's a large part of my problem. I'm so focused on myself that I've become myopic.

***Warning - Religious talk ahead***

Even though I'm attempting to attend church regularly again, it's not really for the right reasons. First and foremost it should be about improving my walk with Jesus, and in so doing, being a light to others. Not about meeting other people to fulfill *my* needs of friendship/companionship.

I call myself a Christian, but I'm not so sure I can really claim that. A Christian is a follower of Christ. Christ was someone who cared about others so much that he sacrificed his own needs to make sure others were taken care of. He forgave people who were unimaginably evil towards him - he didn't become bitter or continually rehash old hurts.

I've made my sacrifices for others (one person in particular.) But I didn't do it particularly cheerfully, nor leave that time without somewhat of a bitter taste in my mouth for time and resources lost. I say I've forgiven and moved on, but then I hear myself talking (like today at the outdoor church) and realize that I really haven't.

I need to change my focus. It may be the only way to change my life for the better.

Now, just to figure out how to do that.

13 Responses to “Not financial - kind of ranting”

  1. fern Says:

    Laura, please don't beat yourself up so much. We've all gone through times when our lives seemed less than ideal. I know it can be very difficult making new friends, even for the most outgoing of people. I guess my only suggestion, aside from not giving up on church, is to maybe consider joining one or two other groups you're interested in, whether it's a volunteer thing or a community group of some sort. Just go, attend the event, and enjoy it for what it is, and try not to worry too much about making friends immediately. I think these things take time. Just count getting out of the house as a step forward, and I think if you stick with it, you'll feel like you're getting to know people.

  2. LuxLiving Says:

    If you're introverted in personality it can be tough. Hubster and I were just talking about this last night, from way back in the day when I was single and often lonely on the weekends. I seemed to be missing the ability to 'make connections during the week' that spill over into the coveted 'weekend plans'. Baaaa! It was very tough for me at times and I feel your pain.

    Fern has given you one of the tips. How about volunteering at a local animal shelter? I didn't bar hop either. Tried it-hated it. I just got to doing stuff that mattered to me. I rode my bike alot. Walked the nearby park alot. Made lists of errands and chores ahead for the weekend so that I didn't find myself with the what-to-do next syndrome on the weekend that often sent me into the doldrums. Went to some co-workers parties that I wasn't too thrilled about attending because I'm not a social butterfly. Turns out I met Hubster at one of those events.

    Church is also about community and if that one doesn't provide it for you after a few more bouts of attendance, maybe keep searching? How about catching a few of those people who you think you flubbed it with and telling them you had bitter overload that day and to please give you a second chance, via "I can be a bright spot upon occassion." I know you are very often one of the brighest spots HERE! Even when your car has clunked you six too many times. You do give of yourself here quite often. You are giving at your new home. You are giving at your work when your boss is a doodle-head. You are giving with your family. Don't let that thought beat you up, because it isn't true. Doesn't make the goal of doing more in that vein unnecessary, maybe you just need to focus on a new area of giving?

    How about a goal of looking at church next time for someone else who might appear to be even more alone in the crowd and trying to be a bright spot in their life. Maybe ask the pastor there who could use a visit or make a coffee date with them for a Saturday. Maybe they aren't who you'd normally consider friendship material, but you might be surprised. One of my best friends while in my 20's was a 90+ year old woman. One way I've made connections at church over the years has been having a birthday/anniversary card ministry.

    Good luck with these feelings. If you are ever lonely on the weekend just give a shout this way, I'm usually around! I wish you lived closer and were interested in one of my sons - I'd take you for a daughter-in-love any day!

  3. lizajane Says:

    Don't be so hard on yourself! Everybody has these days sometimes. I was thinking about the volunteer things too, for something you're interested in. And maybe the church group was the wrong one. Try a different group next time. You don't come across as bitter or angry to me, so maybe that was just an off day. Best of luck!

  4. monkeymama Says:

    Even married, I can identify with your post. If I could say the one thing that REALLY lacks in my life, is friendship. & I have find it a billion times harder in recent years. I think on some level people are just more rude (I have vented about that a bit). I am have gotten pretty fed up with the relationships I have formed in the last few years, and have mostly moved on. (On the flip side - it's a very unsettled region - and whenever I click with someone the MOVE. Which makes the whole thing more frustrating). My dh had an interesting insight though. In school, college, and working with young people, you form a lot of friendships while spending a lot of time with people. That just doesn't happen so much as you age. I've discussed my frustrations with him, and he has a point.

    I, for one, decided I am making the wrong friends. Of course, the few people I click with are way too busy for me. Though for me, I know the street can often run both ways.

    I wouldn't beat yourself up about the church thing either. There are a lot of social and other benefits to a church. I know so many people who utilize their church more for social reasons than anything. (Not that they aren't Christian, but that they find comfort in the people/community in their church more than anything else about the church).

    Aw, I read your post and thought, "I wished you lived closer." You are definitely a bright spot here, and it is always easier for introverts to make connections online. But if you ever want to play Scrabble or card games online, just let me know. I am totally game. Big Grin We should start a SavingAdvice online gaming thingy do. Can't you play some games on Facebook? & there are other free options - I know I have played Scrabble with my mom and sis remotely, before.

  5. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Wouldn't it be nice if we had some kind of teleporting thing so distance wouldn't matter?

    I'm going to look into volunteering at the animal shelter, maybe that would work. Hopefully I can find a no-kill one, because I don't know that I could stand getting to know an animal who'll be put to sleep. Frown
    I tell people that I am basically a shy and reserved person. Most of them have a hard time believing that because I tell them that after we've gotten to know each other ... when I'm not shy around them. I can be outgoing under the right circumstances - but put me in a large group where I don't know anyone, or even in a large group where I do know people but everyone is already in little groups talking, and I clam up. A lot of time I feel like I'm on the outside of life and looking in.

    The thing about church - I'm the common denominator. I've felt this way for a long time, through various church groups. At my previous church home I had T most of the time to sit with or talk with, and once in awhile I had Mr B and his family. If nether happened to be around, then I would most often end up all by myself. In other church home's before that I chalked it up to being cautious about making friendships where it may turn out to bite me in the end (church school teacher fishbowl - and that actually happened in CA - two people I thought I'd formed a good trusting friendship with ... bit me in the rear) ... but in reality its been the same story ever since I left college in Tennessee and moved to Texas my Junior year. My last true real friendship came from my roommate freshman/sophomore year - but now I've even lost touch with her (we are in rare contact via FB, but we used to call each other at least once a month or email ...).

    So ... I don't know that trying for yet another church home is the answer. I need to change whatever it is that makes me feel like this first before I can say whether or not a particular church group is right or wrong for me.

    Monkeymama - that does sound like a fun idea - getting SA'ers together to play games online. Smile

    FB might not be such a good idea though for people who're trying to maintain anonymity. (People who've read my blog long enough don't seem to have much trouble finding me on FB - just so people who know me in real life don't find this blog ... I don't mind people I know well on here knowing my true id.)

  6. monkeymama Says:

    I agree on FB, but I know I have seen your FB - I think your name was on your email or something - you mentioned people had looked you up. So I would feel comfortable adding you. Not necessarily everyone. I will e-mail you later. I was trying to look at the old yahoo games I used to play, and every time I clicked on their scrabble (literati), my computer froze up. My other computer is out of service at the moment. I will try again later.

    Yahoo is cool because you can play games and chat. But I think FB can probably do the same. I haven't tried Yahoo games in years.

  7. whitestripe Says:

    i have felt the same before, and i still do occasionally.
    all of my friends dropped me after school finished (because i never 'made the effort' to see them - in fact they only asked me a handful of times to go out to clubs and pubs, which i just hate - so i guess i did it to myself, either by picking the wrong friends or not making the effort *shrug*)

    i don't do well in group situations. i find it really difficult to start conversations with people and get really self concious as well. to top it off, i always seem to pick those people to talk to that don't contribute to conversation. 'so what do you do?' i ask them 'i'm a receptionist'... ummm... that must be fun? *Sigh*

    i've made one close friend through work, and i am now friends with a lot of DF's friends' girlfriends, who are all really nice. but still, if my colleague is busy, i really don't have any one to catch up with. i am trying to make friends, but it's difficult once you're an adult Frown

  8. LuxLiving Says:

    Sometimes it seems like everyone else is buddy-buddy with lots of folks. But, I'd bet there are more and more people feeling like you do - on the outside! Gaaa! It's the nature of the way our communities are set up now. There are few folks who know everyone in the neighborhood like they used to.

    Have you done any Myers-Briggs testing to see what your strength & weaknesses are? As an introvert myself I do MUCH better online or in writing than in RL. However, I've gotten better at schmoozing as I age. I figure the worst that can happen is they literally bite me? Eh, who cares. I'd just have to bite back. Wink

    For now, I just keep in mind that lots of people are uncomfortable with small talk and I try to keep the conversational ball bouncing back to them if at all possible. AND, our mutual loss if they don't want to get to know me and won't let me get better acquainted with them. Some folks just have issues.

    The crowd w/pre-formed mini groups is a tough nut to crack. How about 'I'm doing a survey?', or 'I'm doing ANOTHER survey" question/s that could move you in and out until their walls come down?

  9. dmontngrey Says:

    I'm with Monkeymama here: married/single... doesn't make a difference. I don't know to make friends - I never have been good at that!! I don't see it changing anytime soon. I too have often thought I'd love to hang out with you if we lived closer to each other! I really like what you contribute here and I'm certain that spills out into real life as well. Smile

    I've just decided to be ok with my life, whatever it may be. The rest will fall into place. The lonliness at times can be brutal though. I think that's how I ended up online in the first place. That's actually how I met DH - in an online chat room 11 years ago.

  10. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Thanks again everyone for your comments. I truly appreciate them.

    Monkeymama,

    Yes, before I got smarter, my email did have my full name - so if I replied to someone via my email instead of replying directly in the comments, they got my full name. Smile Got your email.

    whitestripe,

    After I graduated from college here in TX, I moved out to CA for two years. So I lost touch with many of the people from the TX college, but still kept in contact with some from TN (deeper friendships there all around.)

    I get that too - really self-conscious when talking. I had a really bad speech impediment when I was little - couldn't say the word vegetable correctly until I was ten! Sometimes even now if I'm overtired, way nervous, or over excited, I still flub up my words.

    It *is* hard to make new friends as an adult. That's part of why I feel so badly that T seems to have pulled away from me.

    Lux,

    You're probably right - a lot of people feeling like they're on the outside - maybe they're just better at hiding it.

    I too am much much better at writing things out than talking in person. I have taken the Meyer's Brig before, and Introvert was part of it, but I don't remember the rest. It might be interesting to take it again.

    Heh. I like your survey question idea. I don't know if I'd have the gumption to pull it off though - just to go up to one new person and talk about anything takes me 5 - 10 minutes of self pep talk. The only difference is if I'm sitting next to someone, like at a seminar or during church, then it is much easier to talk to them if I see they don't have anyone to talk to.

    dmontngrey,

    Sometimes I think I've gotten to the point where I can be okay with how my life is. Then it will just hit me - like Friday night after telling my landlady I better go since I try to not watch tv on Friday nights ... then thinking to myself, "self, what are you going to do anyway?" Then Saturday at the church picnic thing, and later on that night the feeling of wanting to be with friends and doing something really dropped like a ton of bricks.

    Maybe I can convince some of you to move to Texas. Smile We do have the lowest amount of unemployment in the US (I think we still do, at least) and of course we have pretty great weather (most of the time.) Big Grin

  11. lizajane Says:

    ...and you don't have state taxes, right? That's another +.

  12. frugaltexan75 Says:

    That's right! Big Grin We don't have state taxes! Major plus!

  13. whitestripe Says:

    you could move to australia Smile its sunny here at the moment, and interest rates are set to rise again, you could earn 5+% on your savings... And apparently we are not in recession any more. Am i tempting you?

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