Fear of Flying: The Quarter Life Crisis5/21/2012
At twenty six years old, I’m living a life that I don’t recognize as my own. This is not what I pl...
At twenty six years old, I’m living a life that I don’t recognize as my own. This is not what I planned for myself, and I am left wondering what my purpose is. And when I think about the word life I automatically think, I'm doing this wrong.
I am going through a quarter life crisis
I'm stuck. I can't go left, I can't go right, going forward seems impossible, and going backwards is out of the question. For years, I've said that I would go to college, graduate, go to grad school, finish that, and start building my career.
Things didn't really work out that way. I went to college and started working. Work consumes my life therefore leaving no time for me to do anything involving school. It forces me to take fewer classes, spend less time studying, therefore leading me to believe that I might not be able to do it all at once. I know, people do it all of the time, but their determination is not mine. I am constantly wondering if my sanity is still there because I feel like I'm being stretched way too thin.
Not too long ago I tweeted Bassey Ikpi about college, and out of nowhere I said, I've been thinking about quitting. Now, I hadn't been sitting around giving it any serious thought, but as I sat there and really took in what I had written, I realized just how serious I was. I've worked damn hard in college while still putting in crazy hours at work, and even at one point losing my job because the company was closing. But I didn't quit. I couldn't fathom not being in school. Not finishing. I can’t say that I feel that way anymore.
I personally don't feel like I am where I am supposed to be in life, because I am no longer sure where I want to be. It feels weird writing that, because I have had the plan for my life written down for so many years. I mapped out the road that I was going to travel, and I knew just how long it was going to take me to get there. I even highlighted the few stops I'd have to make before I reached my destination. But those goals are different, that girl/woman who created those goals is different. She's not the same, she doesn't have the time she had when the plans formed in her head. I'm twenty six years old, I don't want to be that person in college who changes her major every semester, or gets to the finish line and realize that I haven't even chosen a major yet.
For as long as I can remember, people have had a clear idea of what they wanted me to do with my life. Who they thought I would be, thought I should be. Few people asked me what I wanted. But when they did, and heard my answer, they would say, I don't think that's for you... What you should do is... You're great at... My being great at something doesn't mean that I'll do great if I go for it.
I'm not afraid of getting old, I'm afraid of running out of time
I'm sure that like me, you've heard, it's never too late to...and that may be true, but who wants to be fifty still trying to “get it right”? I don't. There is a timeline of what you should be doing at every stage of your life, where you should be, what you should want. And the general consensus is, if you aren't there, you are most definitely doing something wrong. Although I don't feel like I'm a failure, I do ask myself what have you done? And the fact that I have to actually sit and think hard about what I've done bothers me.
My mother recently came to me and said, I'm so proud of you and everything that you've done. I looked up at her and asked what I'd done. She rattled off all of the things that made her proud of me, and when she walked away I started thinking, but those things don't make me proud. Listen, making your parents proud is all well and good, if that's what you're shooting for. But if you aren't proud of you, is it even worth anything?
"Everybody has a calling and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and to get about the business of doing it"~Oprah
I know to some people a quarter life crisis sounds dramatic. But it’s real. The feelings are real, the anxiety is real, and the fear of not being the best you that you can be, or achieving anything, is real. I don't know why it happens. I don't understand the emotions that come with it. But I accept it and plan to work through it. I've never allowed anything to stop me from going after what I want. It just so happens those wants are a little different now.
Alana is a twenty six year old English major who currently lives in Los Angeles. You can find her at sincerelyalana.com where she rambles about life and love, or follower her on twitter @sincerelyalana