I turned twenty-four two months ago. While you may be thinking that “quarter-life” comes at age twenty-five, I’m going to use the argument that most folks don’t live to be one hundred and it’s close enough. I’ve heard people talking about said “quarter-life crisis,” but it has really started resonating over the past few months.
While I was in college, I had this idea of what my life could look like and the things I would accomplish if I worked hard enough and branched out as far as I could. So I did, and my experiences were far better than I could have ever imagined. I moved to the United Kingdom three months after graduating college, for goodness sakes. I put my degree to use, I traveled, I was given creative freedom in my job, I developed relationships like I had never experienced before; I couldn’t have begged for a better opportunity.
Though I was in a [seemingly] perfect situation to apply for jobs and other opportunities, I felt a familial obligation to come home and be close to my loved ones for a while. A lot happened while I was away, and I knew I needed to take care of some things and give my folks a peace of mind. I do not regret this decision for one second.
I came home in December after four months in England and started serving and bartending to support myself during what I thought would be my downtime until my next move. (A giant pride pill was swallowed, and that’s okay. Egos can diminish good character.) I started diligently searching for opportunities close to home that would benefit the kind of life I would want to live. I applied to graduate school at Western Kentucky University, the same place I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations. I loved my first experience at WKU and had formed many good relationships in my time there, so I was confident that I could land a good opportunity there again. I had mapped out the route I thought was best. I was offered a graduate assistantship that I had earnestly wanted. Things were lining up very well.
After being accepted, I kept working and doing the day-to-day life things. With each passing day, I started to question my decision more and more. You see, I have never wanted to stay in Bowling Green. While I love my ol’ Kentucky home and all that I have experienced here, there is a curiosity and a yearning that isn’t satisfied. I love the people and culture of the Bluegrass state because they built me, they are familiar and comfortable, but I do not yearn for a comfortable life. Not right now.
Despite my gratitude for all I have done and all I know, I have an uncontrollable and undeniable sense of curiosity and I yearn change. I like challenges; I thrive off of them. I discover things about myself in new places and in conversations with new people, things that I never knew to look for, but they make perfect sense when they come to light. While I could make a very comfortable and likely successful life here in the Bluegrass, I don’t want to.
I backed out of the graduate program I applied for at WKU. I am confident that I could have been successful there, and equally as confident that I will find a more suitable program elsewhere when the time is right. It was an opportunity that I was forcing on myself in order to find comfort in knowing my next move and trying to please other people, something that is too common for people my age. I am so very grateful that I listened to my gut, my body, and my anxiety as they were all telling me that this wasn’t the right decision.
So what do I want? What’s my next move? Good question. That’s where the whole quarter-life crisis comes in. I have been at war with myself every day for months. I reflect on the places I have been, the things I have experienced, the thoughts and beliefs I have formed and the ones I buried and walked away from. I’m floating around in this weird time/place after one life-changing experience and have been fiercely hunting down the next one, and believe me, it’s right around the corner.
The life I lead is one to be eternally grateful for. I have a loving and supporting family, I am in a beautiful relationship with my favorite human, I’m educated and financially stable, I am well-traveled, and I am healthy. I recognize my many blessings and I do keep them at the front of my mind most of the time. That being said, I am human and I get wrapped up in contemplation more often than not. I live in a constant reel inside my head — images of me living life in different ways, in different places, and how each scenario would affect my loved ones differently.
My over-analyzation of life for months on end led to my quarter-life crisis. It haunts me with the following thoughts:
+ Am I supposed to “have my shit together?”
+ What does that even mean?
+ Why is life more confusing in my mid-twenties than it was through puberty?
+ I went to college. I got the degree. I don’t want to work in my field. HOLY F. DO NOT FREAK OUT. STAY CALM.
+ I want to see the world, and I don’t want to wait until I’m nearly a geriatric to do it!
+ Am I irresponsible?
+ Is it okay to work less than ideal jobs until I land in a place I actually want to be with the person I actually want to be with?
+ Am I still a confident, independent, strong woman even if I am ready to start really doing life with my partner at a young age? (YES. Because I say so. Because there is no damn time like the present and I like life a helluva lot better with him in it.)
+ Are my mentors be disappointed in me for not having a “real job” yet?
+ Am I wasting my time or waiting for a good opportunity?
+ Should I give a damn what others think?
+ Damn it, KaS, don’t have a panic attack every time someone asks you what you’re doing these days!
+ Will my family be hurt when I finally leave for good?
+ Is working for a nicer house and sparkly things really all life is about? Cause I don’t want it.
+ How did life slow down and speed up all at once after graduation?
+ Did I peak at twenty-three? For the love of all things holy, please, no.
My biggest fear, the one that drives me around the world (and crazy), is not living my life to its full potential. I am hell-bent on creating a life that I actually want to live. It is my goal to live on purpose, not to merely survive. I can’t settle for a life that I think others may see more suitable and stable for me. After taking it easy for a few months and going out of my mind in this post-college/pre-real life time period, I am taking a leap of faith and taking full advantage of the contacts I have made to discover new pathways on this life journey that I won’t discover until I start running forward again. I mean, why wouldn’t I?
Next week I will embark on a new adventure in hopes of finding new opportunities. I don’t know exactly where they may lead, but I am following my intuition and looking forward to seeing what unfolds. I hope you will follow me on this journey as I close this “in betweenies” chapter of my life. If you’re in a similar stage, I feel your [first world] pain and I am more than happy to talk with you about it.
Stay tuned and I will announce my next adventure next week! Any and all prayers, positive thoughts and vibes are graciously accepted.