I think it was Chelsea Handler that said,” My 20’s sucked. I didn’t know what I was doing.” That’s how my 20’s are too, Chelsea. There’s a panicked feeling that falls over me when I think of where I’m going to be when I turn 30.
My real goal is to show up at my 10 year high school reunion wearing a size 4 Gucci dress paired with MuiMui heels with a gorgeous entrepreneur as my chaperone. Then I envision myself handing everyone a copy of my latest novel saying, “Bet you never thought the weird girl, would end up being so super-hot and incredibly successful?” Then I would brag about the school I built in rural Philippines and leave early to catch a flight back to LA for a very important meeting. Because I’m important in this scenario. I’m very successful and my accomplishments are very impressive in this scenario. This is definitely asking for a lot. I’m not crazy. I hear myself but better to dream big than dream small.
Millennials really get backed into a corner though. We work our asses off to get a college degree. You have to sell your kidney to afford college. People wonder why my generation is the generation of sugar babies and webcams. We are so broke we are literally selling our bodies to stay above water.
If Obama’s plan for free community college goes through, that is going to cut people’s debts in half. That’s awarding doe-eyed high school graduates time to get an ambition to work towards. The next generation will have so many opportunities because of this simple new policy. It’s going to be phenomenal to see what they do with this opportunity.
But now let’s talk about my generation. When I’ve said the phrase, “Quarter Life Crisis,” people over thirty seem to laugh at me. Is it real? Yes, it is. I think people underestimate the plight of the millennial 20-something college graduates. We have so many options but we just keep grasping at straws with desperation. All we know is we want to have fun. This we can agree on. So we drink and watch too many cat videos. We find inflated feelings of self-importance through social media comments. Then we hope that one day we’ll go viral.
I think many of us have been coddled and told we can be anything we want to be. So we leave high school with a small list of accomplishments, then we go to college and things seem great and then we get out to the world and everything is still. We no longer have this cookie cutter life path to tread upon carelessly. We have to actually make decisions. Where am I going to live? What am I going to do? Where am I going to get money? How am I going to be happy? What are my priorities?
It’s so much pressure and most of us still just don’t what we want. Most of the panic comes from the adults I’ve met. Not my parents, they are very accomplished and well-adjusted. I’m talking about adults I’ve met. These are people I do not want to be like at all. For example, my ex-boyfriend is 4 years older than me, he’s 27. I talked to him recently and his biggest accomplishment is owning a house. He literally has no education past high school, he hasn’t been able to hold down a girl friend since me (5 years ago) and he has had the same job since high school, managing a fast food restaurant. Can you say, underachiever? Then we have my old co-worker. He is in his 60’s, he lived with his mom until she died and now he lives in that house. He’s been at the same job for 30 years (book store clerk) and never been promoted to a management position. Along with that, he has no relationships beyond family, no friends or romance. They have the same thing in common, they were highly intelligent and for whatever reason, be it laziness or bad luck, ended up with a life lacking accomplishments and happiness. My worst nightmares! I am clawing at the walls to try and ensure I have a life I can be proud of.
My friends and I sit around a table drinking beers coming up with the next step. Stay abroad? Get a career? Go to graduate school? They all sound great in theory but which of these is the road to success or failure? We hear endless tales of people taking the road to failure. The person with incredible stories of travel and adventure ends up coming back being broke as a joke and working a back in a minimum wage job to attempt to pay back the insane loans they built up. The person getting their master’s and Ph.D’s then having employers say, “You’re too qualified.” Then they are right next to me, organizing DVD shelves. Or the person that went straight for working at a high profile job and then they find out, they studied and worked so hard, to only find out they hate their job. Any one of these bad scenarios could be us. Just like any one of us could be the next Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling or Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
We grow up being told being rich and famous is the key to happiness. Then we find out through tragedies like Robin Williams, it’s really not. But what is happiness? Will I be happy teaching English abroad and working from one workaway project to another or will it be a lifetime of being very lonely in very beautiful places? Will I be happy going to get my graduate degree, continue my learning, or is it more money down the drain in an attempt to get a job I will theoretically enjoy? Will I be happy starting a career in Los Angeles or will I just enslave myself to a 9-5 servitude to a job that sucks my life energy?
I can’t know. I have no idea. I play scenarios in my head over and over of what my life will be like in 3 years. I’ll be working as a senior copy writer at a travel branding company. I will be a travel blogger bouncing from one place to another. I will host a TV show where I do these kinds of rants often. I will marry a wealthy man. I will just adopt five dogs and be a bartender. Where will my nirvana lie? Where do I start on my ladder to success? Can I please just have something to rub in my high school friends’ faces?
Sometimes I just tell myself, if I can just get a job that will let me live happily in a one bedroom apartment with a dog, I’ll be happy. I’ll work it out. Ultimately, I am coming up with all of these options. And I theorize about end results and then eventually I have to put all my chips on one square then spin the roulette wheel. The only sure thing in life is I’m going to die, eventually. I better make it a good life because it can be cut short anytime.
A quarter life crisis is when you have one chance, to decide what your life is going to be, then you kind of freak out about what choice you will make. My quarter life crisis is right now. I have this one moment to choose what is going to be my life path. And of course, it’s a daunting task. The only thing I can do, I assure myself that everything will work out I follow my bliss.