It’s been two years since I entered my quarter-life crisis and I don’t feel any more relieved. I still feel unsettled, and the feeling keeps growing.
I can’t totally put my finger on the problem because by all means, I am living a truly great life. My job is meaningful. The people I work with are incredible. I work for a company that saves peoples’ lives. I have had two amazing, supportive, and inspiring managers. I’m surrounded by people with experience and influence. My job is so many things and more than I could ever hope for. I have an incredible boyfriend who’s also my best friend. We have a meaningful relationship that makes me want to be better and think about my future. He’s my best friend. We laugh, we fight, we make up. I have great friends, I laugh a lot.
So why the hell do I feel like something is missing? While I know that life is about more than work and boyfriends and friendships, it’s taken me a while to actually realize it. I feel this tugging at my heart knowing that I need more.
I grew up under circumstances that made me into a driven, intense workaholic. My mantra, as was my parents, was that if I study and work hard, I will do well in school, I will have a great education, which help me secure a great job – all under this big assumption that these things will make me happy – that I will be fulfilled.
And I was, for a while. But then you realize there IS space for more if you allow it. If you want it.
During my first two years in the workforce, I really did feel fulfilled – 100%. I had so much to prove. I was learning an incredible amount of information and was completely out of my element – I had a fire under my ass. I wanted to show everyone that I deserved to be here and that not only could I sustain myself, but I could thrive. I had a boss who scared the crap out of me (okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but there were definitely times that she did). She is bold, intelligent, quick, creative and forward thinking. I looked up to her (still do) and I grew immensely under her stewardship. I was so focused, life was work and I was happy with it that way.
All of these factors drove me day in and day out for about three and a half years. It wasn’t until I achieved these short term goals that I realized that my job might not be everything to me. I questioned for the first time if work could sustain me at this level for the next forty years. Don’t get he wrong, the work is still interesting, but I wasn’t exactly JUMPING at the chance to work extra hours at night.
It struck me that work isn’t all there is to life. That eventually work does become work and that holy fucking shit, this was the rest of my life. Looking forward to Fridays and dreading Mondays, checking work emails even though I promised myself I wouldn’t over the weekend. Stressing endlessly if/when I got a text from my manager. This was my life now.
So there has to be more, right? I know there’s more I just don’t know what that is. Is it traveling? Is is writing this blog? Where did my passion go? Was it ever really real? What do I want my legacy to be?
I don’t know what to want anymore.
And the worst part? I don’t know how to remedy this. It’s one thing to determine what’s making you ‘unhappy’ but what about what makes you ‘neutral’? I’m not unhappy, I’m honestly pretty darn happy, it’s just that I KNOW there can be more, that I can offer more. It’s not like I haven’t been trying — I even bought a career workbook (self-help book, let’s be real), but I still haven’t figured it out. I think I just want something to look forward to.