What am I doing with my life?

I wasn't quite sure where to post this, but it seems to fit best here.

I am a 44 year old male and I am trying to work out what I am doing with my life and where I am going.

This post may sound like I am unhappy or depressed, but I am not (I don't think!), just unfulfilled and it is probably fuelled by the time of year. I am not really sure what I am seeking from responses, but hopefully some advice or something kick me into action.

Basically, as I say, I am 44, single and never married and have no kids, I am in a job and career that is 'ok' (I don't hate it, I don't love it) and living in the house I was born in all those years ago. Probably the last point is the most unusual, so I'll start with that first.

Living in my childhood home

Let me go into my background a bit as I am sure this affected how my life has turned out.

I am an only child and when I was born in 1979 my mum was 36 and my dad was 38, which, back then, was unusually old to have your first (and only) child. But this was because before I was born my mum had a number of miscarriages and a stillborn baby and had a very new operation that allowed me to be born. I know that just a year or two previously she had been told she would never have children, but my mum and dad sought a second opinion. I was very much a last throw of the dice in that respect.

At 11 I passed my 11 plus and went to an all-boys grammar school. That, combined with having no brothers or sisters meant I had very little interaction with females until I was 18 and went to Uni.

I had three fantastic years at Uni in Sheffield and then lived and worked up there for a year. However my year working there wasn't the same as being at Uni and gradually people drifted off home so at the start of September 2001 I moved back home myself. Unfortunately within two and half months of moving home my mum died of cancer.

In normal circumstances I think I would have moved home, and immediately started to look for my own place/a place with a friend, because after four years of living independently I don't think I could gone back to living with my mum and dad (even though I got on with both of them really well).

However with my mum dying I didn't want to leave my dad at home by himself as he was understandably devastated. So I lived at home, got a job and tried my best to get through the next couple of years and cope without being with my mum.

About three years later, just as I felt my dad was getting back onto his feet and I felt like maybe I could move out, he met someone else (20 years on they are still together). She lives literally just around the corner and he began spending more and more time there, so I had pretty much had my own place and I thought I could save the money I would be paying on rent to get a deposit for my own place so I continued living at my childhood home.

In 2009, I decided rather than use the money to put a deposit on my own place I would travel around the world. I spent two years travelling and lived and worked in Australia and New Zealand, and it was the best thing I ever did.

I moved back home in 2011, and somehow I am still here.

I could move out, but I couldn't afford to buy a place by myself, so I could rent, but I literally have my own place to myself here. I pay my dad rent, but much less than I would do on the open market, and he pops back a couple of times a week. It also means someone is looking after the house of course.

But if I moved out or moved in with other people I feel it might do me good, as I live by myself. But then I am 44 - I don't even know if people still do that at my age!

Work

I have worked in Marketing for 20 plus years. It is ok, but nothing more. I don't find it fulfilling. I started a new job last June, which is fairly isolating, and I have little contact with other people, which I know isn't good for me, so I have decided that when I have been in the job for a year I will start looking around again. Which leaves me with two options:

Continue in Marketing, but working for an organisation or in an industry I am passionate about.

Change career completely, which I have thought about before, but it would mean retraining and taking a salary cut which I can afford to do. I am leaning more towards this and am looking at degree apprenticeships and considering something in health or fitness, nutrition, generally helping people. So I have a few months to work this out.

Relationships

I like to think I am a good person, but I have been single for large portions of my adult life. I find it easy to make friends, but I find it really difficult to make that real 'connection' with someone, which I feel like I did last year (but for various reasons nothing could happen).

I know being in a relationship doesn't necessarily make you happy, but I would like to find someone to share my life with. I am also aware that I am an only child and while my dad is in very good health, he is 82 and I don't want to be completely on my own in 10 years time or so...

I have done online dating and been on a few dates, but whether I am being too picky or not it has never gone any further and I think I would rather meet someone by finding my tribe of people as cheesy as that sounds.

Hobbies

This is where I made big progress in 2023. I do CrossFit twice a week and run four or five times a week. At the end of 2022 I joined a local running club. It wasn't a proper Athletics club, but it is run by a proper running coach and we do proper training sessions once a week.

Finding that club has been the best thing I have ever done, and I have never felt more part of something than I do this group. It is a wonderful bunch of people, and I have made 4 or 5 really close friends, who I think the world of, from it. When I talked previously about finding my people, this is what I meant, we are all on a similar wavelength and we all get on really well.

I've also got fitter and faster and joined a proper Athletics club one other day a week and have a number of half marathons, road races, a marathon and cross country in the schedule.

Additionally I joined a CrossFit gym about ten months ago and again I have met some good people through that.


And that is it really, like I say I am not sure what I hoping to get from this post, maybe some encouragement, maybe some advice, or maybe just someone telling me a I need to sort my life out!

Maybe it is an early mid-life crisis, but I feel I should have achieved more when I see most of my friends married, with their families and houses and I can't quite work out where I went wrong, as, like I said, I like to think I am good person, kind and generous and I have kept myself in good shape.

Also I know being in a relationship/having a good career/owning your house etc, doesn't make you happy. So I am not quite sure what I am searching for!


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Comments

  • njkmr
    njkmr Posts: 99
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    All I would say is that if we all wanted the same ,did the same ,acted the same, it would be a dull world.
    I certainly don't think you need to follow the path others have trodden just so you can feel normal.
    Doing your own thing and being comfortable with it is to be admired so certainly carry on doing your thing.
    I truly believe if things are meant to be they will happen and from what you say your living a full life that has suited you so far. If a partner comes along then great, if not then continue enjoying your life as it is.
    Good luck for the future , and whatever it brings.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,809
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    Would you be more committed to the work if it was a different field? Marketing is a skill needed in all sorts of places. Or do you definitely want to do something different?

    You've made friends, would you feel more fulfilled if you were able to do some voluntary work?

    I do have several single male friends older than you, including one still in the family home. It seems to be that keeping friendships going can be hard, but an active social and professional life is needed.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • gwynlas
    gwynlas Posts: 1,620
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    So circumstances have put you were you are but you do have a life of your own and seem to be enjoying most aspects of it. Your father finding  a second fulfilling relationship after becoming a widower is proof that this is possible in later life.who is to say when you might meet the  one.
    There are some areas that might make you feel better ie by changing workplace or career and making the house more  your own, changing decor to suit you and inviting friends around  might lead to deeper relationships. You might have already done this but the fact you refer to it as your childhood home implies to me that littles changed in all that time.
    I acknowledge that you might need to carefully  broach this idea with your father as he might need to move back in with you should his or his partner suffer failing health in which case you could become a carer by default. I have friends in similar circumstances who feel as only children that all responsibilities rest on them It might be that your father remains in good health for the next 20 years but you are possibly in midlife yourself and need to decide on the way forward.
  • Arthurian
    Arthurian Posts: 789
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    Sounds like you need to find the right girl, so push things along by making more opportunities to meet one.  Changing workplace could help a lot with that, also suggest that your keep-fit friends meet up in a pub afterwards, and look around once you're in there.  Ask your fitness friends to join you in a pub quiz team entry and once there make conversation with a girls' team? Try meetup.com to find your tribe.  Might not work, but you can only try!
  • Cairnpapple
    Cairnpapple Posts: 86
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    I wouldn't usually recommend them since they're unregulated, but this sounds like the exact situation that a life coach is designed for? Or if you work for a large company, they often have short-term counselling (6/8/10 sessions) for free through either an employee assistance programme or health insurance, and you don't have to be in crisis to use it - that could be a money saving approach if talking things through in a more structured way feels useful. 


    With regards to living with people, could you do it the other way round and take in a lodger? If you don't need it financially, you'd have the opportunity to be picky and prioritise finding someone sociable with similar interests.

  • Exodi
    Exodi Posts: 2,769
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    edited 4 January at 1:31PM
    To focus on the relationship bit (as I suspect that may be the biggest single benefit):

    Relationships

    I like to think I am a good person, but I have been single for large portions of my adult life. I find it easy to make friends, but I find it really difficult to make that real 'connection' with someone, which I feel like I did last year (but for various reasons nothing could happen).

    I know being in a relationship doesn't necessarily make you happy, but I would like to find someone to share my life with. I am also aware that I am an only child and while my dad is in very good health, he is 82 and I don't want to be completely on my own in 10 years time or so...

    I have done online dating and been on a few dates, but whether I am being too picky or not it has never gone any further and I think I would rather meet someone by finding my tribe of people as cheesy as that sounds.

    If you asked 100 people off the street if they felt they were a good person, you would get 100 yes's. We as humans are inept at measuring our own vessel (you could say this an extension of the Dunning Kruger effect).

    It's no criticism, if you asked me, I would also say I'm a good person. Yet I make no significant donations to charity, I don't volunteer my spare time to good causes, I don't go out of my way to help people outside of the sphere of my life. 

    My point isn't to challenge whether you are a good guy, more to highlight that we are bad at assessing ourselves.

    You said earlier you keep yourself in good shape (and you probably do as you are in a running club), but do you think this is how you would be viewed by others? I have family members that allege they are in good shape despite being obese, because they qualify being good shape as not being regularly in and out of hospital. I'm not just referring to being overweight by the way (being underweight is also a problem), if you are only doing cardio and are kit skinny, you could think about ways to become more muscular.

    Next up, I saw above you live with your dad (you may correct me and say 'technically, I live alone and he pops back a couple times a week), but this is inevitably going to be a red flag to a prospective partner. Anyone living with their parents will downplay it, so you can expect every person on a date will translate it in the mind as 'he lives with his parents'.

    I also have to ask respectfully, you mention you can't afford to buy but could afford to move out, but it doesn't make sense because you pay reduced rent. Does that presumably mean you are amassing a pot of savings that you could move out with in the future (i.e. the difference between what you say you could spend on rent, and what you currently do?). Again, I think it's more attractive to a prospective partner to have a goal of buying a house in the future than "living with my dad, why would I move out when I save money on rent?".

    Another quick thing... online dating can be absolutely brutal for men... yeah, you really need thick skin and not let it bother you. That's why I think it's important to be the best you can be.

    Lastly, you say being in a relationship doesn't make you happy but I'm not sure I agree. In a way, I feel like my wife (and future children) has given my life purpose.

    (don't mean to come across as critical, I've been where you are!).
    Know what you don't
  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Posts: 9,199
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    If the running club I was a member was anything to go by, it was a Dating Agency in Lycra!!!

    Lots of new relationships formed there...not always legitimate!  ;)     But we had a few weddings too.

    Does your club have other social stuff going on, where you're not all just sweaty and out of breath.   Do you go for a drink afterwards etc.


    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 2.57% of current retirement "pot" (as at end January 2024)
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,453
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    You do cross-fit 5 times a week, have joined a running club and a proper Athletic club, which is great.

    But seriously limits your potential friends and future relationships. Because they all appeal to a similar type of people.

    You need to broaden your range of interest, not least so you have a wider range of topics to discuss. Drop one activity a week and spend a bit of time sampling other (probably non-sporting) activities. Any environmental voluntary activities locally?  Any mates with whom to go to gigs, concerts occasionally. Extended family with whom to engage?

    Two of my good bachelor friends found wives attending weddings. One confirmed, ultra marathon runner, and full blown eccentric. The other still rather bitter but moving on from the breakdown  a long, long relationship. Another friend went on a trekking and camping holiday and came back with a new love. In each case they were outside their normal comfort zone. I'd add that the first two were probably much better dressed and manicured than normal. But both relationships weathered the reveal.

    And I agree, sorting your finances so you can buy a house would be a good idea, although it won't ensure you a partner.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
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