Dear Uncle Mat,
I need a way out and fast. Well, maybe not too fast, but I need to open a door or a window or a crack in the floor. I need to break up with my boyfriend. He is a loser. He hasn’t worked since last summer and has turned into a lazy bum who lies around my apartment all day. I think he is an alcoholic. He drinks every day and sometimes doesn’t get out of bed till right before I come home from work. It’s sad and pathetic and I just can’t respect him or even conceive that I loved him. I don’t know who he is. On top of that I have a new boss at work and she does not like me. She just keeps pushing me and pushing me harder. I want to quit, but I don’t know what I would do. I am also headstrong and know she wants me to quit, so I won’t give her that satisfaction unless I am going somewhere better. But where is that? I am a degreed professional, but this is the only company I have worked for and I don’t feel confident about interviewing since it has been more than five years. I also need a new car and still have student loans I am paying off and credit-card debt that just won’t go away. Especially since I am supporting two.
My question for you is how do I totally renovate my life? I have considered moving home to live with my parents for a while, but that seems so embarrassing and like going backwards. Do you think it’s OK to live with your parents as an adult? I have always kind of looked down on that, but now I am feeling so desperate that I am willing to try anything. Do you have any other ideas? Help me. I need a new life.
A Woman on the Verge
Dear Woman on the Verge,
You sure need a lot. I’m not saying that is bad. Sometimes enough neglect or lack of life maintenance will leave you with a lot of needs. It is possible to wipe the slate clean in one big gesture, but before you push the big red button, make yourself a list. Two lists.
The first list will be everything you like about your life. You definitely have a grasp on what you don’t like, so make sure you know and preserve what you do like. The second list will be what you want to change. After you make the lists, go back and number them by priority.
This should make you feel either a little lighter, or totally confused. Hooray! The confusion is fine, but this list does have your exit plan on it. You should share it with someone you trust. Then you just have to do it. Your life won’t change itself. Well, it might; that is usually how you end up with a drunk boyfriend living on your couch.
There are online resources and all kinds of self-help professional-development books out there to help you prepare for a career change. You could even take a class at the local community college or university. This kind of continuing education will boost your confidence and hopefully give you some newly inspired career direction.
You might also approach your boss. Let her know you are struggling a little but want to excel for the company and find more enjoyment in your job. You might be surprised. Maybe she is just pushing you to see what she can get out of you and where you can go for the company. Maybe this is an opportunity. Just be professional and approach it as a discussion about opportunity and development, not whining about being overworked or beat up on — that is a ticket to the unemployment office.
Move home if you want to. It’s OK to live with your parents if you are there for a reason and have goals. Living with your parents will not make you a loser. If it helps you stabilize your finances and make a career change or get your boyfriend off the couch, then do it. Now if you don’t have a happy home life with your parents, don’t go for the drama. It won’t pay out.
Be imaginative and fearless. Just remember that you don’t want to make any obviously frying-pan-to-the-fire moves.
Much love and an exciting new life,
Your Uncle Mat
Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.