I have just turned 30 and I am a single male with much freedom. Reading some of the stories on here makes me feel like my life is rosy in comparison, but still I am in despair for my situation. I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. One good piece of news could turn it all around but I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to come. Worryingly, I know that when my run of bad luck does end, I will soon forget how bad things were for me. It could end today. I could be working tomorrow and getting back on track before I know it. I don’t know how to write this, but I have so much to say.
Okay, when did my problems begin? I was doing a chemistry PhD from 2003-2007. I never even started my thesis. Why? Fear of failure I suppose, and because I can’t motivate myself to work at things. I am very intelligent but not hard-working. I hate that. I scraped through life and landed in a bed of roses with that PhD. By now I should be earning many thousands of pounds, working in research. But it didn’t make me happy. I was working with people who enjoyed the work, and that got me down. I wanted to get out of the PhD before the end of the first year, but I convinced myself things would get better, that I would get better and work harder. Most importantly, I didn’t want to let my boss down. His previous PhD student quit after a year so I had more pressure on me to finish the course.
In 2007 I moved back home with my parents, where I have been for the last 3 years. I should be relieved that I’m out of the PhD, and free to pursue happiness. The first year back home I worked really hard on my novel. I met a girl in 2007 shortly before I moved back home. We were together for 18 months, even though I was hundreds of miles away for most of it. This was my first and only long-term relationship. I told her that I was nearly finished writing the best novel in the world ever, and I just needed a bit more time to finish it. This went on much longer than anticipated, a year in fact. I told you before how I’m not a hard-worker. This was an exception. I really, really believed in my novel becoming the next big thing. I worked very hard on it for a long time, trying to make it as perfect as possible. When I finally finished it I was skint. I had spent the few thousand pounds I had saved up from my PhD. I live very cheaply, these last few years even more so, and this will hopefully benefit me in the future when I am back earning. I decided I would self-publish my novel, partly because I don’t want to share the profits with someone who didn’t work on it like I did, and partly because I don’t believe anybody else would want to publish it.
So, after I finished my novel I went to work in a factory to raise some money, to pay off my bank overdraft and to eventually print up a few hundred copies of my book. My memory of the next 6 months is somewhat hazy. I couldn’t get work to begin with but I slowly became more and more regular at the factory until I was virtually full-time, earning a good amount of fast cash. I paid off my overdraft but didn’t publish my book. I made the mistake of showing it to a few people (including the girlfriend), and asked them for some feedback. I just wanted confirmation that I wouldn’t be wasting my money. Here is the greatest book in the world, be the first people to read it, tell me it’s wonderful and we’ll all be famous and rich forever more. That was the plan, but what I couldn’t have predicted was that they refused to respond. Particularly, my ex-girlfriend, since she had so much to gain from it’s success. To this day she maintains her silence. I would love it if she could spend the time to write one sentence telling me she didn’t like it. Nothing. The longer she was silent the worse it got. Is she silent because it’s so good, or so bad? It makes no sense either way. She dumped me soon afterwards. As with the PhD failure, this was a relief. I wanted to be with her about as much as I wanted to be a research scientist. I was with her because she wanted to be with me, initially. I never really fancied her that much. Our relationship was based upon a strong friendship. Like the PhD, I kidded myself into thinking things would get better between us. I wanted to break up with her several times but couldn’t do it because I didn’t want to hurt her. It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous. I fully agree, I don’t deserve love. Regardless of me not fancying her, she was the best thing that ever happened to me and I didn’t want to lose her. I was most likely clinging onto the friendship. I tried to get her back, but I don’t know how sincere I was about that. I think it’s the age-old phenomenon of wanting what you can’t have, and taking the things you do have for granted. When I was with her I took her for granted, and I was stunned when she broke up with me. Now, I hate her. I never believed I could even dislike her, let alone hate her. She won’t talk to me. She won’t answer my very easy questions. Why did she decide to break up with me after I showed her my book? I’ve racked my brain for 18 months trying to answer that question, knowing all along that she has that answer and it won’t cost her anything to tell me. It makes no sense. So I hate her for it. I didn’t like to keep asking, and presumably she thought I had stopped wanting to know the answer. I asked again a few months ago. She said she was very busy and didn’t have the time to write a detailed response to my book, but would get back to me soon. I told her I didn’t want a detailed response, just a one minute paragraph would be extraordinarily brilliant. I waited, and waited but nothing came so I cut her out of my life altogether. Deleted and blocked from Facebook, and if she ever contacts me I have resolved to ignore her and not respond, even if she miraculously comes up with that one-minute paragraph. I tried cutting her out before, but she bade me a merry Christmas on Christmas day and my hatred for her dissolved away and I remembered the good times we had. Hating her now is not going to be easy. She could melt it away again with very little effort, but I have to stand firm. I have to try and convince her that she has done me a great wrong. But it doesn’t register. She doesn’t seem to care. She has caused me a lot of suffering these last 18 months and I want her to know. I want her to experience this suffering. So if she contacts me I will ignore her like she did me. My hatred for her is not really because she is bad, but because she used to be so great. There are worse people who I don’t hate. Yes, you may say I deserve to be treated badly by her, but I genuinely believe she has been eighty or ninety times worse to me by refusing to answer one simple question, than I was by being too pathetic to break up with her, and waiting for her to do it instead. I have the moral victory at the moment, but she could take it with one simple answer. Does she want me to have the moral victory? Is that why she won’t respond? Is there still some amount of love for me in her?
Shortly after I finished my book I got into gambling. Her birthday was coming up and I didn’t have much money left. I made just about enough profit to take her away for a few days. We went to Edinburgh in the depths of Winter and had a rather miserable time. The previous year, when love was new, we had a wonderful few days in York. In the first month after her birthday I was struggling to get work, but I had continued to nurse my gambling addiction. In a way it was nice to have a vice, since I don’t like alcohol and can’t be bothered with drugs. It made me feel a bit normal to know I could be addicted to something. In February I began to get 2 or 3 shifts a week but I continued to gamble. I wasn’t making profits but I wasn’t losing much either. By the Summer I was working full-time and in mid-Summer I went a bit stupid. I tried to recoup my £150 losses with one final big bet that was sure to come off. £400 on Germany beating Finland in a World Cup qualifier. It couldn’t NOT happen, and when it did I would neutralise my gambling losses and be able to quit. Guess what, they drew 1-1. Ridiculous. Immediately I put another £400 on Italy beating Cyprus. Even more likely to happen, yes? Cyprus went 2-0 up. Argh! Fortunately Gilardino scored a hat-trick late on to win the match for Italy, but I soon lost that money anyway with a few more bets I don’t remember. £800 gone in a couple of days. That was as bad as it got for me. For some gambling addicts it gets so much worse. I’m lucky to only lose that much, but it still bugs me, and I still think about trying to win it back one day with one monster bet on something else that can’t not happen. I continued to gamble for a few more months. In a way it was money well spent, because every second I was gambling was another second I wasn’t thinking about my ex-girlfriend and wondering why she won’t talk to me. My last bets came in December for the Club World Cup. I got very lucky and I finished with a flourish. I believe it was the semi-final match between Atlante and Barcelona. I bet against Barcelona, a few hundred pounds I think. Atlante took an early lead, which meant Barcelona’s price went longer. I reversed the bet and Barcelona went on to win 3-1. I think I did very nicely out of that. Better than if I had just backed Barcelona from the start. I was a lucky boy, and I thought that was a good time to quit gambling forever. I haven’t gambled at all since then, not once in all of 2010 although I have been very tempted to. I promised myself I was one bet away from joining a Gamblers Anonymous support group. I didn’t want to do that, so I didn’t gamble again. But mainly the reason I haven’t gambled this year is because it would be too much effort. It’s important for me to get good value, and that can only really be done on a betting exchange. High street bookmakers hold no appeal to me. I went in one last year with my brother-in-law who wanted to buy a lottery ticket. They are such miserable places. I will never get so bad that I will have to beg, borrow and steal in order to have something to go to the bookies with. I promise that. I used two betting exchanges. One of which I asked to have my account blocked for 6 months. I could reactivate it now but that requires me writing a letter to them asking them to reopen it. That’s not going to happen. And if I opened a new account with them they might notice it’s me, block it and penalise me or something. I have forgotten the password for the other exchange I used. I have emailed them once before to get into it, and I could do it again but I don’t want to. If I could remember the password I would almost certainly have bet with them this year. As it is, I can’t and I haven’t. I think it’s better that way. Besides, I had more need to gamble in 2009 because my ex-girlfriend problem was bigger, and I needed the distraction. Time has partly healed the wound she has made. I suspect I will get back into gambling one day, when the next really bad thing happens to me. It’s a daily struggle and I still frequent the gambling exchanges to check on prices for things. It’s now nine months since my last bet. If I haven’t quit for forever this time then I never will.
I gambled a lot in 2009 but I earned much more from working. This year I haven’t worked a day, so even though I haven’t gambled either, financially I am worse off than when I was gambling. I haven’t even been on jobseekers benefits this year. I had a bit of savings from last year but mostly I have been living off my parents. At age 30 this is extremely unacceptable. But I’m stuck in a rut. I had planned to go cycling around Europe for a few months or years, but when 2010 came around I changed that plan and decided to enrol on a PGCE (teacher training) course instead. I figured it wouldn’t take long to get on one and then I could go cycling until the course starts in September. Getting onto a PGCE is a long slow process. I’m sure the system was dreamed up by some moron who has never gone through anything like it themselves. You can only apply to one course at a time, and on average they take a month to reject you, without telling you why. It’s flipping demoralising. And the thing is, due to the recession we are in, lots of people are applying to teacher-training. I was doing it because it’s genuinely what I want to do for a career. Children love me for some reason and I will be a wonderful teacher one day. I finally got my first interview in early Summer but I was massively over-confident and under-prepared. I couldn’t even answer the easiest questions like “why do you want to be a teacher?”, and I think we were all scrambling for the door by the end of it. Even though it was a tragedy of comical proportions, it didn’t put me off applying to the next institution. I failed not because I didn’t want to be a teacher but because it was my first interview in a long time. The next interview went much better and I believe I was very close to getting on the course. There were 8 candidates competing for only a few places. They said they would let us know within two weeks. I got my rejection in the third week and the reasons they gave were quite weak. Presumably, I was right on the edge of getting in and they were struggling for a decent reason to reject me. “There were significant weaknesses in your communication skills and ability to interact with the interview group; You did not engage with notions of equality of opportunity and cultural diversity.” The first reason corresponds to me arriving for the interview and sitting down with the rest of the group without talking to them. I’m shy around strangers, particularly adults. Does that mean I’m a bad teacher? They want extroverts, that’s their loss. Put each candidate with a group of children and then see how they do. Wouldn’t it have been weirder if I was being chummy with people I was in direct competition with? Having said that, as the day went on I began opening up to some of my fellow candidates anyway. It was just that first impression that ruined my chances, after hardly any sleep or food and a last minute cramming session the night before, preparing my presentation. The second reason for rejection is even more surprising. It refers to the first activity of the morning in which we were divided into small groups and asked to discuss the subject of under-performing gypsy and traveller children in the school system. I think I did alright, certainly not so badly as to be the cause for my rejection. They must have been scraping the barrel for reasons. As I say, me not being on their course is their loss. I have to believe that, even if it isn’t true. I then had a few more interviews during the clearing process. This time I was allowed to arrange as many interviews as I could. For most of them it was the same old story of there being several strong candidates for only a few positions. Lancaster was a bit weird. I left after an hour because I didn’t want to stay a minute longer, let alone a year. This was partly because I hadn’t prepared a presentation and because I was too much looking forward to going to Lincoln two days later. I suspect my Lincoln failure was similarly due to me not being extroverted enough during the group discussion exercise. Again, their loss. I had one more interview after that, and annoyingly it went really well. And the word was that there were 6 places on the course and only 5 applicants. Not getting on that course really troubled me, and has temporarily put me off wanting to become a teacher. I have an interview tomorrow for a course next year in East London. Currently I am due to go, but I might not. I’ve had enough rejections recently, each one costing about £100 in travelling costs. And do I really want to be an EastEnder! I think I would prefer to work as a teaching assistant for a year or two, but getting work anywhere at the moment is tough. Even factory work. I probably could go back to the factory I worked in last year, but it would be like ‘going back’, and they all think I’m cycling around Europe. How do I tell them I’ve been twiddling my thumbs for 9 months instead?
And, I have another reason for wanting to stay in Somerset. A girl. This time it’s one that I fancy. And not only that, but I’ve fancied her for 18 years. We were in the same form at secondary school and we only recently got back in touch. She’s incredible, but I’m not worthy. I need to get a job before I make any serious moves. Even then, my fear of rejection holds me back. I’ve clumsily stumbled into the friendzone. She says I’m hilarious and considerate and all the things girls say they want in a man. But I’m old enough now to know that what girls really want is an unattainable bad boy. We want what we can’t have, and we like to go against the advice of people, because we think we know better and want to prove the world wrong. She will end up with another bad boy no doubt, and I just hope I won’t be around when it happens. So maybe a good reason to go to East London, or even join the Royal Navy. If I make myself unattainable, maybe she will decide she wants me after all! But I think the thing to do is stick around, get a job, and continue trying to seduce her. Against all my own advice telling me to give up. My heart knows better than my brain. Or does it? If I quit, I will almost definitely lose her. So I have to keep trying, even if the final rejection kills me.
Getting work at this time is difficult, because we elected a party of morons at the last general election. They think spending cuts is the solution to the recession, but I don’t think they understand how money works. It goes around and around. It’s not a resource. You could either pay somebody to work in the public sector, or you could pay them to be unemployed. Better to get them doing something, I think. and most of the money you pay them will come straight back in taxes as it circulates inside the financial system that is our economy. I feel like I am surrounded by morons half the time, morons with the power to control my life, be they the government or the universities and employers turning me down for PGCEs and jobs. I feel quite helpless. It makes me feel a little bit grateful that I’m not working or studying for any of the people who have turned me down recently. I don’t want to do a PGCE with a university that doesn’t know a good thing when he walks in through their doors.
I feel as though I am just one piece of good news away from turning my life around, but that wait has gone on so long. And I worry that I will soon forget these anxious times. Had I got onto that second PGCE I had an interview for, I would have missed out on all the lessons I’ve learned since then. I wouldn’t have fully appreciated how tough life can be. Even now, reading some stories from people with real problems, I wonder if my life ought to get much worse than it currently is before my recovery. One day I will be rich and famous. I just hope I won’t take my impending success for granted. And I hope I will be able and willing to help people in my current situation. I don’t want charity, I just need a lucky break. Where is it?
Since writing this post Koala Badman may have helped people, but has not within the last 4 days. Koala Badman is a verified member, has been around for 2 years, 7 months and has 1 posts and 11 replies to their name.
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