The Infinite Sadness

Monday 15th February, 2021

It's midnight.

I've been having trouble sleeping a lot anyway, but a day or so ago I got a message out of the blue from an old friend.

I've known the guy for years, we've always had a good relationship - he was always someone around who I could have a good chat to and things wouldn't seem any different, but we never really hung around.

He lived up my road and we went to the same schools growing up, albeit we weren't in the same sets - he was always a few below me.

He's one who has natural intelligence but what makes him succeed is his drive and business acumen. He worked hard, be it in studies, at the gym, or trying to earn any extra cash on the side.

The reason for all that waffle was because on our call we came to talking about how he was. Turns out, he's doing very well. At 22, he's got a mortgage, bought quite a swanky three bed house, and moved in with his girlfriend. He works in the city, already on stupid money but he said once he passes his final exams his minimum salary will be at least £60,000 per year. Not bad at all.

While it was lovely catching up with him after I got off the phone that rising dread started flowing through me - that empty, hollow chest; the dry mouth; the heavy heart. "And what have I got to show?"

Which begs to the real big meaty question that's been plaguing my mind for the past few nights: "What is success?".

In comparison to my friend, I'm nothing short of a failure, the complete antithesis to him. I under-performed in my A-Levels due to slacking, and not working as hard; I'm still on minimum wage, living at home; my girlfriend left me; I dropped out of uni from poor engagement with the course and just not enjoying anything.

Maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself. At least I enjoy my job, and the people I work with, and it's a 10 minute commute away by car. I like to think now I have found a very solid network of friends, and it's quite sizable compared to others.

But still, that nagging feeling of failure won't leave me.

I suppose I've always felt that way for two reasons. One is because I come from quite a successful family anyway, at least of my Dad's side. My Uncle had a very powerful position at his job in a world-class bank, earning money I couldn't even think of. My Grandad owned a plastics factory, and even in his retirement still earns a sizable income from rental properties. My cousins are all very clever, going to grammar schools and studying STEM subjects at top 20 universities. I pale in comparison to them. One of my cousins went under such a radical physical transformation in a year you can't recognise him between photos, the sheer dedication he put into himself. They're all lovely to boot, no-one has a bad bone in their body. Even my dad, as much as he downplays his job, is still on almost a 6-figure salary, and we live in a lovely area in an equally amazing house.

Two: I was always meant to feel like a failure from some of my peers. Hurts more when you used to consider them friends. I think it's just so ingrained in me that I will never be successful that it follows me around everywhere like a looming shadow. One could even argue it's even manifesting into reality at this rate.

So where do I go from here?

Go back to university? But even then have I missed that train? Will I be too far behind everyone else?

Self-study? But as my historic results show I am awful at self-learning and motivation.

I don't have any answers in this post, just vague philosophical questions: throwing it out to the poor sod who's sat through reading my moping.

A happy ending would be I picked myself up, got down to the gym (when it's safe to anyway), and studied by myself and got a high paid job in the city.

But I don't think my medication is strong enough to make the dream a reality. Yet.