July 19, 2013 - submitted by Ali, United Kingdom

I'm stuck. I have a job I hate, some of my friends are leeching my positivity, I drink too much... I honestly feel like my life is spiralling down. Have you any advice how to get out of this slump. I'm 29, single and pretty miserable. I want more from my life.

The Oracle replies:

It's good that you recognise and acknowledge your problems rather than ignore them. It's even better that you want to do something about it. Life's too short to be miserable but worry not, you can do something about it.
If you're a regular reader you'll know I'm all for goal setting so when I mention some tips for change, please don't panic or feel overwhelmed - take them as steps to a better life.
Sit down and work out a job/career change plan. Think about what you like doing and what you can see yourself doing every day. Look at whether you will need to re-train or relocate. Then set about doing it.
Next - ditch those friends unless you're prepared to confront them and tell them how you feel. Sometimes we keep friends just because they've been around for a long time but sadly there are times when you just outgrow each other or the dynamics change so don't be afraid to walk away. It's your life and you don't need people bringing you down.
Keep a drink diary. Log every thing down from the amount to the units. It won't be doing your body any good but while you're feeling low, it's not a good idea to imbibe a lot of alcohol - it's a depressant. Drink plenty of water and start to lower your booze intake. Find a non-alcoholic drink to replace your usual if you can. A mocktail or alcohol free beer/wine can help con yourself into thinking you're drinking. You'll start to feel better physically and mentally. Alcohol is SO calorific but those calories have no nutritional value.
I advise some activity like running or swimming where you can keep fit whilst having thinking time about your future.
There is nothing wrong with being single at 29. Embrace it. Love will come but don't worry about it. Right now it sounds like you have a lot going on so maybe it's not the best time for a new relationship anyway.
Also bear in mind, many people find 29 (and 39) milestone ages as 30 (and 40) approach. It's quite common to assess your life at these stages but hopefully you will just see them as birthdays and a celebration of life.
Try to surround yourself with fun things that you enjoy or take up a new challenge /hobby. Remember, life is for living so get out there and enjoy it.
Over to you.

That's actually the first step towards changing: realizing the fact that you want more in your life. Don't waste a single minute waiting for something magical to take place. Everything is absolutely up to you. Where would you like to go? How can I get there? Start planning your itinerary towards your goal, and never look back. Don't listen to people unless they have something positive to say. Analyze, where would like to work. What are the required qualifications? Do I meet them? If not, how can I get them? What do I have to do? Are you passionate about anything? The drinking problem is probably linked to the fact that you feel miserable, once you start getting on the right way, you'll just leave it aside. If you can't stop it, ask for help. Once you start feeling happier and better about yourself, men are going to sense the good vibes, and you'll probably find a steady partner to enjoy life together. The only person that can interfere between you and your dreams, IS YOU. And remember, it is never too late. Suppose you do nothing about this, and then in 3 years everything is going to be the same. Start this now, in 3 years you're be grateful and joyful to life. Take a piece of paper, write down the things you would like to change, and right next to it write how you can start changing them. And then after some months or a year right next to it write, solved. Good luck. Carolina.

You have named the problems already: your job and your alcohol consumption. I know that’s easier said than done, but you will have to change those two things if you want to have more from your life.
Your job: I don’t know if it is WHAT you do or WHERE. Maybe a change of the employer is enough, if not then change your profession, it’s not too late at 29.
More difficult the thing about the drinking: you’ve done the first step, even to realise and to admit that you do have a problem with that. Some people don’t manage this ever. It won’t be easy, but you will be strong enough to handle this. Watch yourself when and why you drink, when you can stop, be careful with buying alcohol at all, don’t persuade others to drink with you. You could write down your observations to get control about yourself. Depending on your addiction you might get professional help.
Maybe when you have another job then you will not feel the need to drink so much, or when you
have the alcohol under control you will like your job more again. But somewhere there will be the solution, probably everything else will be the result of this. I’m sure you can do it. L.Q.

Guess what? I was in the EXACT same boat as you until very recently. It's not fun, and I'm sorry you feel this way. But, there is hope!
1. You need to get away and listen to your inner voice. Go on a solo road trip. I'm serious. It is impossible to ignore your deepest feelings when yours is the only voice you can hear.
2. Quit your job. If you can't quit due to financials, set a date to quit your job. This act alone is so freaking liberating...
3. Stop talking to the negative friends, OR try to help them to be more positive. If the latter is too much of a time-suck, just stop talking to them, and they'll go away. Some people don't want help, only attention. They aren't worth your time.
4. This sounds fangirly, but...the music of Frank Turner helped me a LOT. I love Coldplay too, lol, but FT is amazing at writing songs that cut right to the heart of silliness. Reasons Not to be an Idiot, Photosynthesis, If Ever I Stray in particular. Start there.
5. Make time to do the things you love! You don't want to say it, but you're depressed. I was too. I'm not now, because I decided to stop feeling bad about everything after all of the above. All the luck and love I can send, Kelly.

I think you should go out, meet new people, talk with them and so on. Feeling something new in a life is always positive and when you always stay with the same friends you can feel bored and you don't often meet new people when you're part of a group (meanwhile your friends are still your friends but go breathing somewhere else!) You must find something that motivates you. I guess it could be a hobby or a project like a travel or realizing one of your dreams. You must have faith in life there are always great things happening when they're unexpected. I also think you have to wake up and do something before you're feeling too bad. You must keep in mind that you’re the master of your life and that what is happening to you (even if you think you didn’t deserve it) can be sensed as something good or bad according to your mood. If you’re feeling bad about something, forget it! Don’t think too much of bad days you had but remind good moments you spent even if they aren’t many. Hope all goes well for you. Claire, France.

I think we lack meaning in our lives. In a world filled with technology and instant gratification, finding joy is hard. Sometimes it seems so far away, you think you'll never find it again. I've been in those times of despair. Felt like the world was bubbling up and pouring into my mouth, suffocating me. I knew I needed a change. I'm more on the 'drastic' side of life, so I moved countries, forced myself to make new friends and begun to believe in me. I asked the meaningful questions to my friends. I asked them if they were happy and actually listened to their answers. By learning about them, I learned the positive aspects about myself. I remembered how much I loved life as a child and drew from that - I draw from that every day.
I cried about Cory Monteith today. Sobbed like a baby on the floor of my bathroom. I didn't really even know that much about him. I cried for his loss. He'll never know the true joy of holding his first born child in his arms... or the impact he had on a mother of two in Kent sobbing into her hands uncontrollably for over an hour. I bet if I met you Ali I'd see the joy and goodness you possess. The laughter you bring to others and the amazing imprint you leave behind each day. Don't ever forget how special you truly are and how much we appreciate you. M. xx

At this point in your life, you've got your youth, health and knowledge right by your side. These things will not last forever and should definitely not be taken for granted. There's simply no time to do things we don't like, because life is too short. I would say: Quit your job if you don't like it. If it's just not the kind of job for you, you can keep working, but nothing is going to make it any nicer. You're young so you'll definitely find a new job. In order to get out of the slump, I would say pack your bags and go into that beautiful mysterious world waiting out there to be discovered, meet new people and become amazed by the beauty this world has to show you. Happiness will not just magically appear in your life, you have to find it yourself. Buck Beak.

First, write down specific goals for yourself. But before you can do that, you have to identify the kind of life you actually want. So, think hard about that. Then, set your goals and for each one write down specific steps that you need to do to accomplish them (no matter how small...even if its just "buy a notebook"). Make sure you set up dates for each step and an ultimate date by which you want to accomplish the goal (you might need to adjust your dates as things play out, but keep going!). All this effort takes discipline...which means doing things that you don't feel like doing in order to get ultimate results that you want. Finally, look at other people (famous or not) that seem to have the life and career you want and find out (through research or asking them directly) how they got to where they are... then, try to do exactly what they did or at least try to follow their example as closely as possible. Sincerely, SB26.

"I'm stuck". How could you say that? As long as you are breathing and living, NOTHING IS EVER STUCK. Life is dynamic. You are dynamic.
Be true to yourself; if you hate your job, QUIT. Find something that brings out the FIRE in you; something that ignites your passion. This is very hard, I know, especially during these hard times. But why continue with this way of living when it leaves you dying? Same with your friends. You're supposed to shine with them, not suck out the luster in you. They're not worthy to be called your "friends". Drinking once in a while is healthy, too much is obviously not. Talk to real friends, your family, your pet if you have one. Find other recreations, healthy ones, if possible. Read a book. Do yoga. Walk. Run. Find healthy distractions. There is more to life than being drunk.
YOU HOLD YOUR LIFE. You got the steering wheel. Drive hard and drive good. There is always more in life. You are always more. YOU CAN DO IT. I hope the next time I hear from you, your letter would be signed "I'm 29, loved and pretty. Ali." Jade, 19. Philippines.

the only one thats able to change your life is you. dont think too much about what you could do, just go for it. changes come step by step. you will feel how something else will get way easier, after making the first step. actually everything starts to become lighter. get rid of things you dont need in your life, especially persons that only consume your lifetime. stand up for your opinion and your needs. there is a thin line inbetween a healthy egoismn and a complete douche. but egosimn is healthy not negative. care about yourself, no one else is going to take that responsibility. remember: you got this one life. take and life it. create it the way you wont regret your steps not even your mistakes. mistakes are part of your personal evolvement. and honestly the way it goes now, you could regret it when it goes further. its like cleaning up. you gonna run from one edge of the room to the other. and it might look worse before it looks better. but there's always a progress. good luck to you. Silver.

I think you should start thinking about doing something new in your life, like getting another job, for example. I think that's not gonna be hard for you because you have experience. In reffer to the other thing, I believe that you should leave the carapace, gurl! Like talking to more people in your work, maybe there's someone interesting that you didn't discovered yet (it may be not for boyfriend, a friend that can have other friends to let you know ;)! Take a chance! About the drinking bad-habit, fight against that, you need to change your life that's a good aim. If this can't help you, think about your family or someone you love that would be really happy if you do this for yourself.
Best wishes, Sofia from Argentina.

You are not stuck, because realizing that things need to change is a positive step toward making them change. First, you need to get rid of your negative friends. I know this seems harsh, but there is a quote that says, "You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those weighing you down." The drinking may partly be a result of plain boredom. Get outside, take a walk, drink a super-charged smoothie. Maybe getting rid of some of the negativity in your life will help as well. And lastly, the job. Make a list of "dream jobs." Brainstorm ways to get yourself into those jobs. List pros and cons. And then pick a job from the list that you could reasonably achieve and make yourself a plan. Just thinking positively about your future will improve your present. Melinda.

Happiness is our birthright, Ali. We are all meant to shine, as children who live under the sun, do. Lift your eyes. This is only the beginning.
It seems as if you have a good grasp of what is going wrong. And now you've come of age to remedy these problems. Those "friends" who are anchors around your neck, drop them by the waist side and carry on. They can do nothing else for you.
Many of us have jobs we thoroughly dislike, but we have lives outside of work that we revel in, doing work we love outside of work, which makes the current job situation tolerable, until the next turn around the corner. Turn your mind into a playground instead of a prison and explore the possibilities and ideas churning in your mind.
A book I would recommend is James Altucher's "Choose Yourself". He gives excellent advice for the exact situation you are in. It's also quite entertaining.
Ali, sometimes you need to remind yourself that it's just a bad day, not a bad life. This slump that you are in, this too shall pass. Remember, you are the heroine in your life. Gina.

THE most important thing in life is who you have around you! If you have leeches around you you are going to feel drained! Also drinking too much causes depression. The solution is simple - stop hanging around with negative people and start taking action to achieve some worthwhile goals. What's hard is only starting - once you start you will feel happier and continue. All you need to start is stop thinking you will do it tomorrow and start right now. Good luck - I know you can do it, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Best, Fraser.

It sounds as if you are a little burned out, life is just become routine and boring. Your friends are not even helping and the drink is certainly not the answer. You say you are single and unhappy but until you are single and loving it, you won't be attractive to anyone. Being happy is about making it happen, doing and giving and getting to know who you really are. Explore news things, listen to new music, try to develop a new talent, find a way to rekindle passion in your life and understand your job and your mates and a boyfriend don't make you happy, YOU make yourself happy. Have fun discovering your true self, Laurie.

Do not be miserable - do something! Prepare a list of things that you always wanted to do and do them one by one. You will see that your dreams are coming true.
Do crazy things, go for interview for a job you never thought you would do, meet new people, talk with strangers! Out there is a world full of energy and amazing things and people. If you want more from your life take as much as you can. Magda.

It takes some guts to have such an introspective analysis. Identifying qualities that make your life miserable is already a starting step. Not all people realize what they need, love or passionate about in life. The ones who do, are the people who are successful, whom we consider role models. Nevertheless, personal happiness don't necessarily come from a sense of accomplishment. Keep trying new things and be open. At the first, everything else will seem attractive, but they will soon bore you. The activities/acts that keep you occupied even after repetitive trials are what will keep you company, and happy. You can get a sense of improvement, henceforth excellence, once you develop interest in an activity. This might or might not be a career choice. After all, we all live only to be happy even if the deeds to attain it are painful. Vamsi.

My dear, everybody come to this life with some mission to do, something important to be recorded here. You have to waste time looking at the mirror, find who you really are, then rule your self and do what you found in your heart. Love changes everybody. Murilo.

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