I try to be strong. And, in the grand scheme of things, my problems really aren't that bad -- I know, insert line here about how everyone's problems are equally bad to them. But objectively, I know mine aren't. Still... My parents' new puppy got hit and killed by a car today. It was an accident; it was so fast he couldn't feel it. He wasn't even a year old. He was the same breed as our old dog, who died less than a year ago (lived until 12). I should have been there; maybe I could have stopped it, or at least I could have helped. But I accepted a Thanksgiving invitation this week to some fellow Ph.D students' potluck dinner, rather than going to my parents' and losing time that I could be working on finals papers. Needless to say, I'm not working on the papers right now. I wanted to be ahead of the game, and life seems to keep on getting in my way and fucking it up. I'm 30; I turned it this year, and while people say I've accomplished a lot (I have two other graduate degrees), I have nothing to show for it. I wanted to be a screenwriter. My screenplays sit in drawers, unproduced. I wanted to see all the continents before 30. I only made it to three. First-world concerns, I know, and it almost seems embarrassing that these are my problems, but they eat at me every day. I just can't help but think that I'm doomed to failure. Everything always seems to have some sort of reverse Midas curse -- all this potential, all these possibilities, and they're always ruined. ... and these Ph.D students? I'm not close to any of them. I don't feel like I can talk to them and tell them about any of this. I moved away from my parents to attend the Ph.D program in a nearby city (an hour and a half away from them) and to have friends. I don't have anybody close; I'm good at making acquaintances but can't seem to ever make solid enough friends that I can really rely on. Again, I'm not suicidal per se, but I just feel like I've wasted what I have been given, and that this whole past year has been deliberately trying to screw me over. I'm tired of constantly getting roadblocks, and the puppy's death is hitting me harder than it probably should (considering I didn't spend half as much time with him as my parents did). I can't help but feel that I should have been there, though, and I can't help but feel that I am somehow cursed (as stupid as that sounds). I wish I hadn't had the opportunities I had -- feeling like I've squandered them, and like I'm on the verge of squandering them again (since God knows these papers will be a wreck and nowhere near my best work), hurts more than never having had them at all. I don't know. Thanks for reading. Sorry if this is stupidly naive and self-centered, but that's where I'm at right now.