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How I've Failed At Literally Everything I've Tried

by Stacey Vella 18 days ago in healing · updated 17 days ago
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Stepping Off the Wheel

I used to have a hamster when I was younger; I saved up all my money over a few months and spent it all on a cage, sawdust, an igloo shaped house, a water bottle, hamster food and what I would later find out to be a very obnoxious and aggressive hamster. This seems an odd place to start for an article that has absolutely nothing to do with hamsters, but it feels fitting as while I write this I feel as though I’m caught in an endless cycle. Running from absolutely everything and getting absolutely nowhere. Chocolate, my somewhat disappointing hamster came to mind as I recall endless nights lying awake disturbed by the sound of him running endlessly on the wheel in his cage. That’s exactly how I feel. I remember the day I bought him, I felt drawn to him because he was pressing up against the glass looking for a way out. Perhaps I saw myself in him, me – very much not a hamster trapped in a life I didn’t know how to navigate and constantly – fruitlessly searching for an exit. Not an exit to life itself I’d like to point out, rather an exit to the cycle I’d wound up in.

I’m 27 and I’ve just moved back to my mother’s house, for the fourth – Maybe fifth time? Like I said, an endless cycle. This time I was living in London in a shared flat, with an ok balcony and my own space for once. Don’t get me wrong, living with 4 strangers has its disadvantages but I was happier there, even if the kitchen was always a mess. It would be a lie to say I was happy because I wasn’t, and I haven’t been for a while, but I was happier. I think maybe it was because I had the sense of freedom and the sense of accomplishment… I might not have had the best job or the biggest bank account, or the healthiest lifestyle but I was living in London ‘on my own’ and had the pretence that I was successful and perhaps even going somewhere. I didn’t feel like quite so much of a failure. I wasn’t the 27-year-old that did nothing with her degree and ended up back at her mum’s.

Now I’m back it feels like my failures are glaringly obvious. It’s as though I never left - or tried at all. I look at my friends and they all seem to have their shit together, some have a house, a family, a savings account. I don’t even have a driving license. I won’t actually have a job at the end of next month either. I don’t seem to be able to ‘figure it out’. It’s like I’ve spent the last God knows how many years wasting time, failing at everything, and having to start over again and again – and again. At this point failure has started to seem like the only, inevitable outcome, with me ending back up in my childhood bedroom. So you can see why I feel like I’m a hamster on a wheel right?

It's not that I haven’t had dreams and plans, because I have – I’ve had lots, perhaps too many. I’ve wanted to do so many things and yet, I’ve not really done any of them. Travel for one thing has always been at the top of my list, something I’d idealised and set aside for ‘soon’ but ‘soon’ never came, there was always something stopping me – usually one of the things I’d failed at and a subsequent complete lack of money. There was never a right now but there was always a future, although somehow almost a decade has passed and I’m still saying the same thing - and it feels like there's less of a future. It’s the same for the other plans I’d once held in high regard, I haven’t done any of them either. It’s like that saying – something about the donkey that starved because it couldn’t decide which way to go to get the food…I’m the donkey, I haven’t starved but I haven’t done anything (and I’ve just willingly compared myself to a donkey, bring on the ass jokes).

So here I am with absolutely nothing to show for the 27 years I’ve been on this planet – unless you count all the things I’ve failed at. I don’t know exactly how or why I’ve managed to fail at everything, but I do think it has a lot to do with me as a person and the choices I’ve made. What I do know is that Chocolate was running on his wheel until the day he died and I refuse to be on mine any longer.


About the author

Stacey Vella

'Life is difficult, and I am a very useless person'

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (10)

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  • McKenzie McQuade5 days ago

    I also found this very relatable. In high school I didn't have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up so I went to college hoping I would find something but just ended up trying a bunch of different majors before giving up and moving back in with my parents.

  • Annie Edwards 8 days ago

    Wow. I found so much of this so relatable! I oftentimes have felt “behind” my peers, etc. I have really had to work on that self destructive mindset that creeps in, and it’s not easy! It’s a constant battle. Your analogies are beautiful, and really give this such a unique, attention-capturing touch. This writing is beautiful. Very well done. ♥️

  • Alex Blackmeer11 days ago

    I'm 32 and in the last decade I have tried more than 10 completely different jobs in 4 European countries. I have started about 5 or 6 different courses, both in Universities and online education. I had times when I managed to live alone in a big flat and with a nice car, and I had times when I had to share a room and use a bus every day. Be brave and be bold. Change the place where you live, change your job, and make new friends. Life is a journey. It has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, be proud that at least you had the courage to try. Life is about experiencing, not about achieving stuff.

  • Zeinab Who?17 days ago

    I could have written this! Details may vary, but the essence would have been the same. I will get off the wheel too. Today! Thanks for sharing. Very well written. I was totally engaged from start to finish.

  • Madoka Mori17 days ago

    This hits very hard and very close.

  • Gina Corrine17 days ago

    Hi Stacey, I also can relate very much to what you're saying. Thank you so much for this very honest and relatable piece. You are not alone in your feelings. We're all just trying to "figure it out". Your time will come. I always say "there is a time and a place for everything". <3

  • Mark E. Cutter18 days ago

    I relate very well to these sentiments. I'm sure it won't help to say that you're young yet, but oops. I said it anyway. We all bloom at different rates. Maybe finding a smaller stick to hit yourself with might help (yeah, I never did that either). Well, you can count it a tiny success that you picked up a subscriber today based on the quality of your writing, so there's that.

  • Alexis Creamer18 days ago

    I couldn't agree more with Rose in the recent comments. There is no way to truly even begin to piece together how fragmented our society is, and how its standards ways, and stratification systems leave our nervous system completely hijacked "We're either this ______(fill in the blank for nonrealistic standard) or we're nothing at all." When all we truly have to do is just be. Even if "being" is sitting on your floor at your mum's house and listening to music. Just Be. and have pride in knowing you are ABLE to just breathe and be, and that alone is enough. You are living and the very purpose of your life is to be present, in whichever way that looks to you, in whichever way that brings you the most peace, joy, and ease.

  • Kendall Defoe18 days ago

    Life isn't a wheel, a race or a trap. It is a road with a certain amount of fog on the horizon. No one knows where they are heading and nothing has been set in concrete. Here you are, writing and sharing your work, thoughts and ideas with the world. That must mean that you can see that there are others out there who want to know what you know and understand your life. Never give up on what is just up ahead...even if the fog doesn't lift right away... 👌 And I never had a hamster... 🐹

  • Rose Leffler 18 days ago

    I’ve been thinking about stuff like this a lot lately. The truth is that humanity has only existed for a fraction of the time Earth has existed, and technology, society, etc. for even less time. We haven’t had a chance to catch up to ourselves yet and we don’t know the long-term consequences of how we live now. Before, we were just surviving. We were farmers. Success was measured in how long you stayed alive. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you—but there’s a LOT wrong with the system. You’re not alone in feeling this way.

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