I Don’t Fit In (Anywhere)

At 25, I’m still wondering where I fit in the world. Do I have a purpose here and am I fulfilling, or even enjoying that purpose?

I’ve been exposed to so many different facets of life, I can even determine which one I feel most comfortable in. I’ve heard the terms “social chameleon” or “social nomad” used quite frequently on the internet. Basically it’s a person who is able to seamlessly integrate themselves in different social groups. They don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Am I saying I am one of those fortunate enough to fit in any social situation? Absolutely not. I’ll explain.

If I divide my main interests up, it would be running, video games, and programming. So why would I not fit in where my interests lie? Whenever I am in the middle of these groups, I always clam up and shut down because every person I interact with in these groups seem to know insurmountably more about said interest than I do. While it’s a great learning experience, it makes me feel small, kind of “noobish”.

With running, I could join a group and go on runs with people. Except people in those groups are all in much better shape than me and would leave me in the dust within 5 minutes of running. For the most part, they’re training for races. How often do you find a running group that just runs with no purpose in mind? My body is also unbelievably fragile that I don’t think I could train for a race anymore. Besides that, their knowledge of running would surpass mine. I think of myself as a running nerd, no question about that, but when you put me in a room of fellow running nerds, I slowly realize that I know less than I thought I do. Can’t really contribute and fit there if you have nothing constructive to say or do.

I think about people who enjoy video games, such as myself. It should be all-inclusive, so long as you play and enjoy them. It’s also the stereotype. I don’t think I fit the bill. What is the bill, exactly? Is it a basement dweller eating Doritos and drinking Mountain Dew playing World of Warcraft for 18 hours a day? It might be the most prominent stereotype, but certainly don’t fit that one. I probably just haven’t found the right group yet. Or maybe I just don’t like video games as much as people I know do.

I majored in computer science. I never felt I fit in for one second in college. It’s probably because looking outside in, I felt the least “nerdy” one. I had one person tell me I don’t “look like a CS major”. He didn’t give me any context as to why I don’t look like one. Was it because I wore more running/track type clothes than shirts with video game logos on it? Quite possibly. Maybe he thought I was just too dumb, yet surviving all these years of the program. I never felt as smart as other people and couldn’t talk as well in the terminology they understood more than me. That kind of psyched me out.

I’ve explained why I feel I don’t fit in 3 of these groups, but I think the most challenging is which one pulls to me more. Every time I jump into one group, it feels as if another group is trying to pull me in. It’s almost a tug-of-war battle. I almost feel I don’t want to assimilate into a group fully with the risk that I will abandon a group completely. Maybe I should make a group that blends these 3 interests together. Maybe I already have and I’m its first member. Or maybe I should learn to blend into these groups better so I don’t have these fears of not fitting in and sticking in social limbo. That would be nice.