The Stages Of My Quarter-Life Crisis
Politics and Activism

The Stages Of My Quarter-Life Crisis

Soon after starting my grown up job, I felt lost more than ever.

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After spending the last 16 years in school, I was finally out with my fancy new degree to start my career path. I started my “big girl” job the Monday after I graduated from college. For the past sixteen years, I had been expected to graduate from high school, pick a specific career path, go to college and study that career path, graduate with a bachelor’s degree and start my career. I loved the idea of being grown up, getting my own place, paying bills, working hard and working up the chain. Soon after starting my grown up job, I felt lost more than ever.

For once in my life, I was completely free to live my life how I wanted and that was extremely scary. I had been living my life fulfilling expectations that were set for me by society. I felt so very stuck and lost. How could I feel so lost? I had been making decisions for the past sixteen years, so how could I be so unhappy with my life? I felt like I was having a midlife crisis at the young age of 21! I still had not had any adventure or learned about the world. I had learned so much about the world of Human Services and exactly what career I wanted and what kind of future I wanted, but yet I hadn’t even started living my life.

Being 21 is Very Difficult

By half of society, you are viewed as a young adult and should start paying bills, living on your own, starting your career, etc. On the other hand, you are only 21 so you don’t really know anything, so your opinion doesn’t matter as much. Also to want marriage or kids is extremely odd because you're only 21. I struggled every day with what I wanted. Sometimes I felt older than I was and felt like it was time to think about settling down, other days I felt like I was only 21 and what was I doing.

Never Knowing What I Want

For as long as I could think getting a job going home making a nice dinner and spending time with my loved ones was exactly what I wanted until I actually started doing that. Lucky enough for me, I am dating someone who goes with the flow and is always looking for adventure. The Monday after a long weekend during the summer is always so depressing. This particular Monday was extra depressing. I got to work and just was so unhappy about being there that I took my lunch early and called my boyfriend. I vented about how I had only ever lived in NY, that I am never brave enough to try something else or go anywhere else, and that it was the time I venture out. By that Friday, we made the decision to quit our jobs, sell our furniture, pack our cars, and move to California.

Following Through With Our Plan

The scariest thing I have ever had to do in my life was telling my parents and family that I was moving 3,000 miles away from home. It didn’t help much that my brother also was planning to tell them that he joined the Marines. We clearly have poor planning skills. I told my parents that I was only 21 and I had started to settle already and that it scared me and that I wanted some adventure and I wanted to live somewhere else for a while so I could see what it was all about.

My dad said something that will always stick with me. He said: “that’s why you work hard and take vacations to see the world and to spend time in other places.” He was very right, because that is what everyone thinks, and that is what we are told to do. Instead, I was going to take a so-called “working vacation." Two weeks later both of our cars were packed, our apartment was empty, and our route was mapped with no set date of when we needed to be there. Our plan was to move to California and stay with family for a bit until we got jobs and then move into our own place.

Our New Adventure

Bright and early one Sunday in July, we said our goodbyes and got started on our 3,000-mile drive. A lot of people said we were crazy for both driving separate but it was so peaceful but yes tiring at times! We took one week and drove through some amazing farming fields, camped in random campgrounds, had dinner at small brewery’s, climbed the continental divide, stayed with old but now new friends in different time zones, drove 8,500 feet above sea level and explored Puebloan cliff dwellings, spent some time gambling in Vegas, and finally made it to California. These were probably some of the best moments of my life. I got to do it all with my best friend.

Excitement Wearing Off

Finally, we were at our new home. Only it did not feel like home, it felt more like a vacation. After the first week, my boyfriend and I both started new jobs, soon after we moved into our own apartment. Moving three thousand miles away is extremely hard! At first, it’s a whole new adventure and it’s exciting because there are so many new things to see and do. Then you start to get into your old routine and it starts to get very lonely and sad. Moving away was one of the better decisions I have ever made. Yes, I may be broke and missing family and friends, but I have grown so much as a person, and have had so many amazing adventures. I can’t wait to have more.

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