I recently turned 26. I had wonderful birthday celebrations; dinner with friends and a delicious Pam Grier themed cake the day of my birthday. I spent a lovely evening with family at one of my favorite restaurants and lastly a successful overnight trip to Monterrey with two of my closest friends. Turning 26, albeit terrifying was incredibly fun and encouraging, more so than I could have ever imagined; so why do I feel so lost and empty?
I thought this overwhelming feeling of emptiness was delayed shock from the recent transition into my late-twenties, but I’ve found that after a staggering moment of clarity often comes intense sadness. I experienced an ‘Oh God!’ moment one often has after assessing their life; that moment was a major wake up call for me. However, the wake up call wasn’t about the areas of my life I typically find disappointing, i.e. my love life, living situation or even my career but rather the simple fact that I am not living as spherically as I should be. I know myself so the speed at which I progress in life is as important as the progression itself. I realized that despite the fact that I have been working towards building the life I have always wanted to live, I have lost my way. I’ve allowed myself to be led off the path of becoming the person I’m meant to be. Quite plainly I have convinced myself that my floundering has purpose.
This epiphany or wake up call has come with an intense level of anxiety. Depression, emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness and a complete loss of direction have been my companions for the past four days. I feel more lost now than I have in a long time; perhaps not since my adolescent years. My new theme park of emotions are the direct result of my ‘Oh God’ moment but what gave life to the floundering behavior masquerading as purpose?
This week I realized there have been many contributions to my current condition, all of which I have fed over the course of roughly 5-6 months. I have allowed myself to build a life in the environment from which my goal was to overcome. I have become comfortable in a life that I have continuously tried to change for the better; an unfulfilled life, a life in danger of becoming mediocre. I have allowed my life to be defined by negative societal influences, friends, family and unfair self-imposed pressures. Amidst my functional depression I realized I am the only one with complete power to change my life, not loved ones, friends or unrealistic expectations. Last night I decided to embrace this quarter-life crises and focus on letting go and being alone. In the past 6 months I have spent too much time allowing the behaviors of others to shape my own. I am starting a new journey to re-center myself and reaffirm that I am important and that I deserve the life I have always dreamed of.
This new journey consists of spending time alone and limiting all social activities with friends and family. I am not cutting ties or eliminating relationships but simply focusing on doing the things that I would normally do with other people, alone. Making decisions alone and accomplishing goals alone. I have four main focuses in my life that lately I have been a bit dispassionate about; progressing my career by becoming a Certified Professional Technical Communicator, building my creative career as a poet, healthy living and lastly living adventurously. I must now return to my goal of spherical living and give all of myself to the four focuses above.
Experiencing a quarter-life crisis has been horribly distressing yet a much needed blessing. Sometimes life shakes you up a bit by throwing you through a fire ringed loop to get you back on track. My journey will be difficult but I suspect incredibly liberating as well. My first step is going out alone this weekend and taking myself on a date if you will. I plan on doing dinner and a movie at Westfield in San Francisco and perhaps in the afternoon visiting the SF MOMA (I haven’t been in forever!). My plans may change but whatever I decide I have never been more excited!