Dear Ciretta-pillar

Dear Ciretta-pillar,

So I’ve been ill for a while now, I’ve been off work for four months and currently going out of my mind, the worst thing is when I’m looking for someone to turn to I’ve realized how little certain people have bothered, I’m not saying ‘come and be my nurse’ but hey when you’re out and about on your shopping trips wouldn’t hurt to see if I wanted anything! I have bit my tongue and not said anything because I’m not sure if I am over reacting with being poorly.

What would your advice be, do I sit back and let it bother me or actually stand up for myself and tell these people a little more support would be wonderful? I also fear I have the issue of confronting someone and an argument occurring which is what I don’t want given the circumstances.

Thank you.

Well first of all I’d like to say I hope you get better soon. It must be really frustrating to be in your situation – not only because you feel rubbish but because you’ll naturally seem a bit cut off from people if you’re stuck at home and not being able to get to work.

This might not be what you want to hear, but: people are god damn selfish. Everyone has problems. It’s normal to be stuck in your own little world, feeling sorry for yourself about your own shit you have going on and wanting to find your own people to “vent” to without having to care about someone else too. I’m not saying this is ok, it’s just the way society has made us think. We very much have a “the world revolves around me” mentality.

I’d hazard a guess that the majority of the people that are letting you down don’t even realise they’re doing so. Do they have other commitments (children, long hours at work etc.) that mean they’ve probably not given your situation much thought?

My advice to you is to simply communicate better. If you want something, ask for it – that’s how you get things done in this world. Don’t feel like you’re being a burden on people in asking for help; the ones that really do care about you would much prefer you to come to them with your problems rather than sit there worrying yourself and having no one to talk to. Can you imagine how some of them are going to feel if you explain you’ve felt like no one gives a damn?

Rather than have a go about it, just explain you’ve felt a little helpless with your illness and that you’d really appreciate some support. Tell them about the things that have been hard, like getting out and about to do your shopping, and chances are they’ll offer to do it for you next time. People are  shocking when it comes to keeping up-to-date with their friends if they’ve got their own things going on – so spell it out for them. You want support.

Don’t assume you’re bothering people in asking for help. Once you explain yourself they’re probably going to respect the fact you were so concerned about burdening them with your problems. You seem a decent person and that won’t go unnoticed.

For the people that simply don’t care enough to help: they aren’t worth wasting a second of your time getting worked up about. No matter what they’re going through themselves, no problem is worth less than another and a real friend would be there for you. You asked if you should “stand up for yourself” but it really isn’t a case of having to do that. Friends are support networks and if it only works one way for some of them they aren’t your real friends.

If anything, you can take a positive from this in that you can see who the people are in your life that are truly there for you. Don’t make any assumptions yet; as I said before, give these silly people a chance and explain your situation properly to them. I can guarantee there’ll be a lot of apologies and “I didn’t even realise!”-type things coming your way.

Communication is key. 


Dear Ciretta-pillar,

Right, so. I’ve got a metric fuck ton of hobbies and things I want to do in my life. But one of the main issues with fitting them all in is that my career path takes up a massive portion of my time. Essentially I’m finding it impossible to fit them all in.

What should I do?

Making that decision between committing your time to the things that you love doing and to something that will mean stability for you in the future (like a career) is a toughy. In an ideal world we’d do both, but so few people are fulfilled in their careers nowadays and even if they were there just isn’t enough hours in the day for a range of hobbies too.

My answer really depends on your attitude towards your career: are you doing something you love? If “no”, life is way too short to be wasting your days being miserable and unfulfilled. And for what, the money? Money does not equal happiness, but I’ve written a whole other blog post about that. If you’d like to read, click here.

If “yes”, you just need to find a balance. We all have a million-and-one things we’d love to try or put loads of time and effort in to but become swamped by work or home life. Your free time is special – I mean, if we have free time for hobbies constantly they become more of a norm rather than something we look forward to doing. Would we really appreciate the things we truly love to do and gain fulfillment from if we did them all the time?

My advice to you is to write a yearly bucket list. It sounds like you’re starved in general, whether that be creatively or you’re not getting out enough or whatever. You’re filling your head with new things you want to do in order to be “more fulfilled” but never really doing any of the original ones. It must get overwhelming. Write down a list of things you are going to try this year. Organise your thoughts; some things don’t have to be done straight away and can always go on next year’s bucket list if you are still passionate about them.

Decide what you want to do the most and promise yourself you’ll do them in your free time rather than sitting and watching mind-numbing TV or spending hours trawling through your Facebook news feed. A bucket list can be both a reminder and motivation to get things done – you get some sort of inexplicable satisfaction in ticking the last thing off for the year. It sort of proves you’re “on track”, right? If there’s things left incomplete by the end of the year, evaluate how important they really are to you. If you’re sure, move them on to next year’s list. If not, get rid! There’s so much more to focus on than the half-hearted stuff.

Be realistic. You might really really really want to go to Africa, but do you have the time or money to get that organised right now? Save this sort of thing for another bucket list rather than sticking it on “just in case” and coming out disappointed. This whole process of getting your hectic thoughts down on paper will make you properly consider what’s important to you and what is just curiosity (which is fine, too, if you have the time!) At least this way you’re cutting it down considerably for when you do have free time.

It’d be easy for me to say “just do what you love” – we aren’t all willing to drop everything and move back in with our parents for financial support while we spend day after day painting. Just remember to find that balance: organise your thoughts, do what you “need” to do and then really appreciate the time you have to do those extra things that make you happy.

As I mentioned before – if your job is just something you have to get through each day in order to get home and do the things you actually enjoy, maybe it’s time to rethink it. Tomorrow is not a guarantee; do you really want to waste today being miserable in order to do that thing that fulfills you “another time”? Something to think about.

8 thoughts on “Dear Ciretta-pillar

  1. I can relate to this, as someone who loves his career path and wants to do so much in his free time, I find it so incredibly difficult to strike a balance between the two. Making a yearly bucket would be absolutely perfect for organising what I want to do and deciding on when I can do it, rather than um-ing and ah-ing all the live long while over something I think I have time for but don’t.

  2. I honestly never read blogs, but this one keeps me interested! Time and time again I come back to read the posts. I enjoy this one as it is nice to see your advice giving technique! I like the way you gave the person options/ideas on how to manage their problem. Keep it up! xo

  3. I just read your blog and I totally agree with this. I’m stuck at a dead end job at a pub and can’t decide what I actually want to do in life and just need help finding the direction of where to go.

    1. I really hope you have found a positive direction in your life, Norm. I totally empathise with you as I have been in the exact same situation. I won’t spend too long giving advice as a lot will have changed since Jan 2014 (!) but if anything you should be able to look back on this and see the steps forward you have taken as motivation to keep going.

  4. Again i really really enjoyed your blog (even enough to repeat a word!), i like the sound the a yearly bucket list and think i may have to write one myself as i hell of a lot things i want to do and with work 365 days a year just doesn’t seem to be enough, Thanks Ciretta x

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