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Avatar universal

How late is too late to Get A Life?

Is it really "never too late to be what you might have been"? So said George Eliot. But she was a writer of fiction, and from a long gone era. But I wonder if it's really true or just feel-good claptrap, because it affects me directly.

I am in my early 40s, and owing to rather complicated personal, psychological, and family considerations (depression and ADD to name just two), I basically have never grown up - emotionally, socially, financially or aspirationally.

I rely on well-to-do but elderly parents not just for material support, but for my primary reality check with the world. I have worked full-time exactly two years out of the past twenty, mostly drawing a salary from a "paper" company run by my family. I have never owned a home, car, or been materially in debt. I have perhaps four close friends, whom I might contact a few times a year. I have had exactly two close relationships with women, both of which ended badly, and my dating life ended approximately ten years ago. All in all, I approach the world most of you live in every day with a mixture of cynicism, longing and guilt.

One reason I've been putting it all off so long is that I have very bad memories and associations surrounding responsibility, and especially, failure to meet it. If I had a top-ten list of least favorite things in life, they would include ambition, trying, planning, fitting in, staying on schedule, following through, and delivering on expectations (even my own - especially my own). I somehow have to take everything I do very seriously - work, studies, life - so seriously, in fact, that I give almost nothing my full effort. It's just too damn depressing.

Case in point: Right now I'm doing my damnedest to flunk out of a master's program in English. Notice I didn't say the word not. I had to stop studying entirely about a month ago. It was a kind of cognitive panic attack. Since then I've negotiated incompletes with my professors, but I still will not start writing my final papers. I'm just not going to give in to panic until I absolutely must - and of course, then it will be total.

I don't wish any advice about grad school (I got some good counsel from people on another board). I guess I just wonder what it takes to pull together a halfway respectable lifestyle when you're not only past 40, but haven't even ever really been a fully functioning adult. And what are the odds? They can't be great. My issues in life stop most mental health professionals absolutely cold - I've been in and out of counseling since college, including 11 years in group therapy, and I've been able to use almost nothing I learned.

So what is is going to take? I've long suspected I am going to need to hit bottom - to risk some kind of complete breakdown just to feel some sense that I am a human being and not just a mess of weakness, waste and pain. Worse, I am saddled with my past. I have done so very little - what can I possibly deserve?
3 Responses
535822 tn?1443980380
Well you have a terrific talent for writing, thats for sure ,I dont read a mess of weakness, waste and pain, ..why do you want to hit bottom? Does it matter you think you have done so very little maybe you werent ready to do anything, you wouldnt be here writing to us so now you are ready, ,In my opinion you need to get some motivation, possibly you didnt get any from family and as you didnt have to look after your self. So now you have realised you are motivated and want to make a mark in life leave something of you behind. How about you make a list,of stuff you need to do,  find some independance. By the way stop thinking and get doing, it is our thoughts that make us feel bad,its impossible to have any negative feeling without first creating a negative, corresponding thought .It is within your power to do anything you want to , what is so dreadful about the past you are saddled with . Come on NapCat time to stop napping..good luck
189897 tn?1441130118
COMMUNITY LEADER
   I agree with margypops, you are one hell of a writer. Keep writing.  Its obvious you have a lot to say and you can say it very well.
   You are also at an age, that when you were in school, there was not a lot of knowledge about ADHD..  I can remember teaching kids in the 70's and 80's and we didn't really have a clue what was going on back then.  A ton of your symptoms are classic ADHD cause and effect.  Makes me wonder if you have done much research into ADHD and what it can do to you.  This forum is littered with examples of what happens if it has not been appropriately dealt with.  
  You might try taking a different approach to the whole process.  One, of course, is to really become an expert in the field so that you know what you are dealing with.  Another way is to look at some people who actually think it can be used to their advantage.  You might try reading a book by a UC Berkley honors student with severe  ADHD about growing up with ADHD.  The book is  called - "ADHD and Me,  What I learned from lighting fires at the dinner table," by  Blake Taylor.   Basically, "the Cal freshman tells hjow he made the ADHD work in his favor."  The article also mentions two other good books - "Driven to Distraction" by Hallowell, and "The Gift of ADHD", by Honos-Webb.
  Hey, if you have got 11 years of counseling, start contributing here.  We seriously need some of that expertise (and experience).  It also will give you a strong sense of doing something worth while.  Read some of the other posts to this forum.  You are not the Lone Ranger.  There really are a lot of people with similar experiences.  If you go back far enough, you will find adults writing about their ADHD and it will ring a few bells for you.
  Finally, you are only saddled with your past if you choose to ride that horse.  It is what you do now and in the future that counts.  You need some weapons and one of them is knowledge.  Get it and use it.  
  Oh, and keep in touch!
Avatar universal
hey woman, i'm 74 (just two days ago) and while i've done some of the stuff that you say you haven't -  so what?  it's not so much what you've done or haven't done as what you're doing today.  there's a book by gary emery, Own Your Own Life, that, i believe, if you not only read but actually applied to your life would get you well on the way to a bright and glorious future.  besides being ADD i'm also a recovered alcoholic/drug addict
(actually alcohol is a drug but i mention it so that it's clear to those who might not class alcohol as a drug) and i've a myriad of physical health problems and am bipolar to boot.
and all i can say is that life is good.  i'm well on my way to becoming what i might have been.  that's one of the things that i have on the wall in my living room.  another suggestion is that you might want to look up Recovery, Inc., a mental health group that was started way back in the 30s and that i attribute with getting me started on my way along with AA and NA.  hey, i've needed all the help i could get.  please do not consider what i've said as advice as such.  i've only tried to share some of those things that have been so very helpful to me in my journey.  happy trails to you NapCat.  if i could and can do it anyone can!
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