Conquering the Quarter-Life Crisis - Part 2
As a follow-up to my article “Why does turning 25 feel like a mid-life crisis?!”, this is basically a sequel that includes some things that I’ve learned over the past year that have helped point me in the right direction, and hopefully it will help some of you quarter-lifers, too.
Now, for those of you who haven’t read my previous article, I’ll briefly sum it up for you.
I had just turned twenty-five. I suddenly realized that the dreaded 30 was slowly creeping around the corner and I was facing a few problems, those being:
- I did not want to spend the rest of my life with the person I was in a relationship with
- I had no idea how to tell the person I was in a relationship with that I did not want to spend the rest of my life with him
- I did not want to spend the rest of my life at my dead-end job rotting in a cubicle
- I had no idea how to tell my boss that I did not want to spend the rest of my life rotting in a cubicle
- I wanted to travel. Not a trip to Disneyland traveling. Backpacking through Europe traveling. Life-changing traveling.
And so, the quest began: what can I do to ensure that, if I get married and settle down in five years, I can take the plunge down the one-way aisle without any fear or regrets?
Without further ado, here is Part 2 to conquering the quarter-life crisis, for anyone who may be going through this same turmoil...
Okay, first things first. Well, as I previously mentioned, the dead-end relationship was the first thing gnawing away at me. My boyfriend wanted to get married, but when I searched for that feeling of eternal bliss when I thought about spending forever with him, it was nowhere to be found. So, I dumped him and moved out. And then he got a new girlfriend. And then I did the whole “I’m sad he’s with someone else and want him back” mourning grievance for about a week. And then I was over it.
Sooo, moving on to bigger and better things. Next, I got my own apartment, which allowed me the freedom to really utilize my newfound free time and figure out what the hell it was that I wanted to do with my life. Which brings me to the hardest part of conquering the QLC: what do I really want to do with my life? And is it too late to do it?
Well, the first question I can’t answer for you, but the second one I can, and the answer is no. It’s never too late to switch careers, or majors or whatever it is that you want to do. And this is coming from someone who discovered six months before receiving her college diploma that she did not want to be a business major. But I digress…
Anyway, I read a story once about a woman who went to some sort of soul searching retreat and the leader asked everyone to think of the one thing they’d always wanted to do in life and write it down. I remember asking myself when I read it “what is the one thing I’ve always wanted to do in life?” and the first thing that came to mind was writing, because I’d always loved to read and write ever since I was young. And the second runner up to writing was music, which is also something I loved to play and listen to since I was a kid.
And sure enough, a month later, I met a kid who was a music writer….
Bright lights and heavenly choir music engulfed me. A music writer… Yes! That’s it! That’s what I want to do with my life!
Now, the only question was, how do I go about doing it? I have a sucky business degree that I loathe, and I don’t have a journalism degree. Nor do I have any published writing experience.
So I did a few freelance blogging gigs for a music website, and after gaining some published writing experience I ended up landing a freelance writing job for a Boston based Magazine writing for their weekly music column. But it still begs the question… how do I pay my bills doing this full time? Freelance writing is great, don’t get me wrong, but unfortunately unless you have a lot of it coming in, it’s highly unlikely that you can quit your day job and write full-time and make enough to live on.
And then I had revelation number two: I read a musically-inspired romance novel. I then stirred up the combination of my love for music and my childhood desire to write novels and, over the past year, took my music writing experience and other experiences and concocted a novel of my own. Then I set out to find out all there was to know about how to publish a book.
The only problem was that, between working full-time and writing for the magazine part-time, it was really hard to find time to sit down and do all the edits and rewrites I needed to in order to make it perfect. So I started saving and dreaming of the day when I could be independently wealthy, write for a living, travel when I wanted to, and never have to rot in a 9-5 cubicle job again.
And then it happened.
My boss called me into her office one day and said “I’m really sorry but we’re going to have to lay you off. There just isn’t enough work to keep you here.”
Now, most people say “Oh that’s terrible” when I tell them I got laid off, but in truth, it was the best thing that could’ve ever happened. I was in a good situation because I had been saving for a long time in hopes that I could actually take a year off and focus strictly on writing and traveling, I just never thought it would happen so soon, nor did I know if I’d have the balls to actually quit. And now I didn’t have to.
So for the past year, I’ve been focusing on writing and traveling, seen about half of the U.S., and had my novel signed by a literary agent. But the greatest part is having the freedom to write and travel and do the things I’ve been wanting to do since… I turned 25!
My point is, for everyone that can relate to feeling lost in the quarter-life crisis chaos, my advice is to do a few things: the first being to really think back on your life and think of the one thing you’ve always wanted to do in life. And then go and do it. I know it sounds easier said than done, but it really isn’t. If you keep a positive mentality that you can do it, you will. And after that, the rest will fall into place. Do what you love, do the thing that deep down you've always wanted to do. If you hate your job, find one you love. If you’re in a relationship that makes you feel like you’re settling, don’t be in it. If you want to be in a relationship, find people that share similar interests as you, and go to places where you’ll meet those kinds of people. If you want to travel, then TRAVEL! And remember that a positive mentality is the key to success. If you think you can do it, you will. After all, you only live once...
(And as a quick follow-up to this article, I published my first novel "Sound Bites" last year, and incorporated my own quarter-life crisis struggles into the story, so feel free to check it out below!)