Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My grass isn't greener

It's funny really when I think about it. Although 'funny' in that way where you feel like you might be hysterically laughing to stop yourself from collapsing on a heap in the floor crying.

I never would have thought in a million years that I'd be sat here in 2013 saying I'm in a worse place than I was in 2012.

I know right. How could anything be worse than 2012? Going from being made redundant, to having to move away from my friends and family in Hull, to being unemployed for a few months, to ending up in possibly the most depressing job where I got bullied. I lived in a city where I had no friends, other than The Person, oh and in the middle of it all I had a pretty spectacular meltdown.

2013 was the ultimate in fresh starts. Literally moving on the 1st January to a new place and starting a new job on the 2nd January which I was loving. There were challenges in the form of living in my sister's box room and having The Person live all the way in Preston but I was feeling fairly positive.

So how is it, that 2013 is heading towards a close and I feel worse than ever?

It's as if multiple things have conspired against me that seem determined to try and block my happiness everywhere I turn and, with no potential solution for some of them in sight, I can feel the 'badness' (those looming, crushing feelings of awfulness that seem to always be hovering over me in the background but I manage to keep at bay) starting to begin it's slow and painful creep over my shoulders.

For a start, the place I live in is tiny. I don't really know how to stress that word enough. The main 'town' is literally a street. A small street. We have one high street clothes store which is about the size of my living room. Luckily I'm not that interested in clothes shopping because that may have pushed me over the edge a long time ago. The fact is that there is just nothing to do here. Basically once you've visited the castle you're kind of out of things to do.

Frustratingly there's a whole host of things to do pretty much on my doorstep. I'm not a million miles away from some decent cities - Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, heck even Birmingham isn't that far away. There's the National Forest practically tapping at my window and National Trust properties galore. The problem? Absolutely none of them are accessible if you don't have a car.

Welcome to the sticks people, where public transport is non-existent and you are left with a situation where visiting Pets at Home and Wickes is the highlight of your weekend.

I have a huge bugbear about people with cars not understanding what life is like without one. I would love for them to come here for a week and be faced with constantly having to say "I'd love to, but I can't get there." or "I'd love it, but could you give me a lift?" Nothing like being 30 and not being able to independently get anywhere to make you feel good about yourself. The closest town I could get to is Burton, which takes 45 minutes on a bus, despite being a 25 minute car drive away and I think I can get to Leicester, although it appears to take 1.5 hours and involve a convoluted and difficult bus journey where you may have to get off a bus but also might not have to - I've been too scared to try it in case I just end up on a bus for the rest of my week.

I do technically have access to a car in the form of my sister's tank but to borrow that means a mile and half walk to her house (and back home again after dropping the car off) and actually, funnily enough, she needs to use her car as well. I'm probably not great at asking for it when I need it because, again, nothing like not being able to independently travel anywhere etc etc.

Secondly, I am 30 and it is well known that the older you get, the harder it is to make friends. I have been here a year and still don't have anyone I can call a friend. Don't get me wrong, I get on with lots of people at work. Lots of people - lots of chatting, lots of laughs - but they are restricted to 9-5. There has been nothing which has materialised into an outside of work friendship. Actually a lot of that is again down to location - most people don't live in this town, but live in other places and commute in, so they're not about to meet up or do anything with. Those people that do live here have lived here all their lives and are the ultimate in small town cliques - no matter how well you get on with them in work, it's not going to translate to an offer of a night out.

I am an extrovert in the true sense of the word. I need people around me to gain my energy. My spark comes from talking to people and interacting with people. I'm not like introverts, who see social interaction as something that drains them - it's honestly my life force.* Me without friends is just not pleasant. And on top of not making friends here, I have slowly but ever so surely drifted away from my friends back home. It happens, people get boyfriends, you don't live there any more, life moves on and leaves you stranded behind it. But it means I have no-one to talk to about the crushing loneliness I'm experiencing here.

All of the above has added up to put pressure on my relationship, and whilst I don't really want to go into that on here (at the moment) things have not been great between us and we are needing to do some emergency repair work. Which is actually difficult when you have nowhere to go because you have no transport (begin that loop again.)

Which brings us to wok. And again without wanting to go into that too much - things have not been great there. My role has changed due to unavoidable circumstances and whilst I appreciate that a new role has been found for me it's not a) what I wanted to do and b) I'm receiving absolutely no guidance at all on how to do it. It's frustrating and just really really gutting because I'd finally found something that I wanted to do and thought I was doing well at.

So there you have it. The holy trifecta of work, relationship and friends has slowly but steadily crumbled over the past few months, leaving me feeling like I'm hanging over a precipice. One from which I have no escape because there isn't a bloody bus back from said precipice.

I joke.

Not really.

Last year, I may have been unemployed and without friends but I lived in a city. There was plenty to do and plenty to explore and there were other places that were on our doorstep that we could get to because there were public transport links. Living here is like experiencing cabin fever on a major scale and feeling as though the other shoe is about to drop...


*For a cartoon which incredibly cleverly and easily explains the difference between introverted and extroverted people please see this How to interact with the introverted cartoon - it will honestly help you you understand the differences between the two. 


  1. Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that you're struggling, Becks :(
    I wish there was something I could do to help.

  2. I don't know what to say or suggest really, but your post hit a familiar nerve with me. Is there any way you can buy a car or move back to civilization (or make plans to)?
    I've always lived in the sticks so it doesn't bother me plus I have got a car which I would be in the same boat as you if I hadn't got. I've lived here over 5 years and haven't met anyone to call a proper friend although thanks to your cartoon I can easily diagnose myself as introverted which is why it doesn't really bother me.
    You have some good friends on Twitter so don't bottle things up. Things will get better, keep that chin up :)
    If your work role has morphed into something else perhaps it's time to search for something new?
    I've been little short of utterly useless but I did want to leave a comment to let you know I hear you.
    Hugs x

  3. I read this post with a heavy heart for you. I am sorry things arent going great and Christmas is the one time of the year which amplifies these feelings.
    I am a military wife so know how difficult it can be to make new friends. We moved here about a year ago and we housed off the camp meaning no-one to talk to/meet. I also consider myself an extravert and every house move knocks my confidence. I am a stay at home mum of two so the only way i got to meet new people was to go to local mum and tots groups. Not really my cup of tea but needs must!!! I eventually found myself a great group of friends but have tried to do different things whenever an oppurtunity has come up. I have attended bath bomb making courses, hand sewing classes, fit for life classes, the local coffee and craft group. Im sure access to a car is the main problem. We saved up and boutht my husband a 50cc moped. It cost £350, £7 pm insurance and £6 petrol so i got to use the car during the day.

  4. sorry hit publish by accident, sending ((hugs)) and hoping things star looking up soon x x x x

  5. I am so sorry to read all of this. :( It's shit. I could give you all the pleasantries, like chin-up and look on the bright side, etc. and there is absolutely nothing wrong with those, a person needs to hear those! But I won't. I can draw so many parallels with all that you've said. There are a number of shitty things happening in my life at the moment; things that I'm really struggling to carry around, and a precipice describes the situation pretty aptly. So, I feel some camaraderie with you here. I suppose I manage to tell myself things will be OK and I'll be alright, because I've been here before. But there's a point where that's a struggle in itself? Also, in my experience, people assume you are this uber strong individual that doesn't have any *real* problems. And if you do, they'll all blow over. Oh and 'your life is awesome isn't it?!' Yeeeaaahh... No. But maybe that's just me.

    I think your honesty and being able to write about this here is pretty brave! (I'm envious) Perhaps unloading like this, along with all the comments and great advice you have received, will help. I really do hope so. I mean, the above comments are a lot better than my miserable words (I'm sorry! With another bombshell yesterday, my cheery bone is broken!) and I am sure the ones that follow after mine will be too. The only thing I can really say is that having a job that you are happy doing makes a huge difference (which I am sure I do not need to tell you) so looking for something new is perhaps what you need? Again, probably something you've already considered and I'm not sure on the abundance of available opportunities where you are but if you can, maybe just take the leap?!

    Finally, how is the best way to say 'If you want someone to talk to, I am all ears.' or maybe 'We could totally meet in Birmingham, that's not far from me either (or some other please that isn't)!' without sounding like a nut job? Oh, there isn't. So, I'll just leave that hanging there. Like a bad smell.


  6. I can empathise with a lot of this. I live in the valleys with trains only running once an hour or every two hours on a Sunday. All my friends live in Cardiff and plan things last minute meaning I miss out if I've missed the last train. My boyfriend lives an hour away by bus and I commute two hours a day to work and back. My life is spent on trains, with delays and sitting next to screaming children.

    My boyfriend drives so he can pick me up but seeing friends is difficult and they assume I'm ignoring them now that I have a boyfriend or assume I can't make things so don't always invite me. The struggle to make time for work and a social life with all the commuting is leaving me drained and not fun to be around.

    It's hard to make friends if you're not part of something like school or a mum with toddler groups to attend. Are there any reading groups or WI meetings(or something more exciting) in your area? These would only take up an hour or two every couple of weeks but would be a nice chance to meet people.

    Maybe we could get a bit of a Norbury mini reunion planned for the new year?

  7. What a shame you haven't got better public transport. I take it here isn't much in the way of groups or clubs etc in your tiny home. I hate not having a. At anymore but at least I live in a city where I can get taxis (can't walk to the bus stop you see). If ever you do want to. Brave the bus to Leicester, I'm more than happy to meet up for tea and cake!

  8. Hi,
    I just wanted to tell you that this scenario is not uncommon. I've been experiencing it myself since I turned 18 (I'm now 34). My one saving grace has been my husband who I met shortly after leaving uni. If it wasn't for him, I'd have probably left the country (yes thats how desperate I found things). I've lost all contact with my school friends - one of who was my bridesmaid, I only made three 'proper' friends at uni and I'm still in touch with them albeit it meeting two or three times a year which is a struggle, and its only in the last 6 months or so that I feel I might be making a couple of new friends in our new village - but that is purely through association from my children going to preschool. I'm a social person, I like nothing better than a good session putting the world to rights, giggling over tea, splurging on a coffee and cake in a cafe, or any other social activity. I have a wide variety of interests, and yet, as i get older (gosh I'm so over the hill at 34 -being sarcastic) I do find it extremely hard to get beyond the 'hi, how are you, see you later' conversation that i have with other parents at the school gate. One thing that has helped me is that I got volunteered in a local community project. Through that, I've had regular monthly meetings and am gradually building friendships. It is so incredibly hard getting 'your foot in the door' of established friendship circles but it can be done.

    My suggestion? Give yourself a time limit - whatever works for your situation. Within that time limit, see if there is anything you can do to improve your lot - perhaps there is a community organisation, voluntary group or something, anything, where you can offer your time in the evenings and that might provide an opening to possible friendships. If that doesn't work, and when your time limit comes to an end, move on. Don't linger in a place that causes you distress - its simply not worth it. Sometimes things just don't work out and the important thing is not to dwell on it. Every day (ok except when he P's me off) I am grateful for my husband, without him my life would be miserable and lonely. I feel for you and wish you luck in turning things around.

  9. I was so sorry to read this and hear how shit things are.

    I agree with PussInBoots - setting a time limit may be helpful, so you know there's an end-date in sight if things don't improve.

    I find making friends incredibly difficult, but have found joining local groups (a craft club and a book group) useful. When I couldn't find a book group that suited me, I set it up myself!

    And although the buses are ridiculous - an hour and a half! - I am only down the road. I may be an internet stranger but it would be great to meet up for a drink some time. Or you could show me the bright lights of Ashby ;)

  10. Life is such a pile of bollocks sometimes. I can't really offer any wisdom or decent suggestions here, and it would probably come out all patronising and rubbish if I did. I will just say- please rant into my inbox or onto my timeline if this is helpful, please keep reminding me not to drop out of society a la the early part of December so I can tell you when there are hot guys on the television, and also remember that there is only so much one person can handle at any one time, and whatever anybody else things/says/feels the need to judge, do what is right for the one person who is handling it all- you.

  11. Oh dear...What can I say? I'm not sure...I want to say heaps to help but I'm sure if I did you'd have something to say back that would make the comment redundant.

    I can say something about the friendship thing...I am far away from my friends and I feel the links and ties loosen and undo. It sucks but I have to accept it is a part of life. I try to keep in touch but some of my closest friends have almost scolded me for it and called me needy...which is really unfair when I am simply trying to keep something going and connected. However, I have recognised now that whilst my inability to let go can be a curse, it is also a blessing because I keep at it with the correspondence whatever people want to say or believe. When a person enters my mind I send a text or little message when I can and I try not to leave it a year. Twice a year correspondence in the worst cases means you never fully lose touch and as we grow and drift apart it means there is always a link that means we might also have a chance to grow back together later down the line and I have seen that this can happen so I always have hope. This is why I still have connections with people from school.

    It is one of the Guardian top regrets of the dying -not keeping in touch - so whilst your friends may be hopeless it doesn't mean you have to be. Keep at it. They'll appreciate you for it later I suspect. And if they don't now...still believe they might later and if they really are douchebags about it...walk away but never write them off. Get back in touch in a few years and see.

    Things will change for you...Just look at my sister. I never imagined she'd come out on top from all her woes and worries but she stuck through it and now I'm actually jealous of the position and potential she might possibly reap. She's a good example of how things can go your way eventually and whilst my situation is a lot better than it used to be too I still feel I'm not achieving my potential but I see my sister and I know I need to stick it out and keep going and that whilst I live and breathe there is still possibilities and hope for things to shape and form into the dreams I have for tomorrow.

    Maybe 2013 hasn't been so great but maybe 2014 can be the year that something has to give and changes follow again...you'll get there. And you know you always have us to vent to and escape from it all....xxx

  12. Sorry to hear times are hard for you. Being in a small town with rubbish public transport is how I grew up and I remember how desperate I was to leave and get me to a city. I still shake my head at it when I go back to visit. I really hope you figure out a way to make it better for yourself.

    I love the introvert cartoon, by the way. It does make a lot of sense!


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