I’m not much of a planner.
For people who grew up with Type A me, this sounds like I fell off a bar stool in Iowa City and hit my head. While I have actually seen this happen, (LOL college bars *shudder*), that’s not the case.
A few weeks ago, my mom mentioned that I’ve really “mellowed out” in age. I want to say old age, but I’m a quarter of a century, trying to ignore the fact that I’m in the midst of a very real quarter-life crisis. (If you click no other links, you HAVE to click this one. Buzzfeed GIF articles are my favorite form of “Oh my God, so accurate LOL.”)
Planning things to the letter doesn’t really work for my anxiety or my self-esteem (Oh, what’s that? Your ideal life plans failed? YOU MUST BE THE WORST AT ADULTING), but I recognize the use of knowing where you’re headed. Otherwise, you’re just wandering around like a drunk chick in the Ped Mall, heels in hand, trying to figure out if pizza or a burrito comes next. And then perhaps later, you’re ditching said shoes in someone’s lawn because they hurt your feet and your drunk self-decided you didn’t need that kind of unnecessary pain in your life (This last part I actually did. Fuck those shoes, for real).
I’ve always had a picture of what life would look like at 25. Actually, I’ve had pictures, because the idea of committing all the way to one thing is still a fear I’m working through (while simultaneously kind of avoiding. See? Adulting so well. *eye roll* Sorry, Dad).
In the oldest picture, I’m just out of graduate school – maybe pursuing a Ph.D. For whatever reason, since kindergarten, I always assumed I would go to grad school. There’s no real logic there. It was just something I always thought I had to do.
In another, I’m in heels, with a bitchin Ariana Grande high pony, rocking something stylish and working as an executive HBIC at some big company. Think Sandra Bullock’s character in The Proposal (there’s that high pony again). However, I don’t like walking around in heels, and sitting in an office all day sounds like the biggest soul suck ever.
In one, I’m working for a company I’m crazy about. I’ve found I work better in situations where having an entrepreneurial mindset is both appreciated and encouraged. I credit The University of Iowa and JPEC for introducing me to the magic (and terror) that is being an “entrepreneur,” whatever that even means. It feels like everyone is an entrepreneur these days.
In another, I write stuff that people actually read. If I wrote as often as I daydreamed, I’d probably have finished one or two of the many books I’ve started. I should probably work on that now that I have all this unforeseen free time. *thoughtful chin scratch, pondering life options face*
While all of the pictures are nice, the reality looks (and feels) much different.
- I’m 25
- I have no idea what I’m doing with my life or what I would really like to be doing
- I never thought that would be the case
In the last few years, after starting a business during my undergraduate studies (LOL CRAZY, DUMB, CRAZY, DUMB, but also kind of AWESOME, (and dumb)), I learned the only real way to accomplish anything while holding onto your sanity is to let go of the need to always know what’s about to happen. This is one of the best things the “entrepreneurial life” taught me.
The more rigid your plans, the more difficult to adapt when things go wrong. And for anyone who has tried to forge their own path, you’ll know that it always goes wrong. All the time. Every day. Multiple times a day. If you’re lucky, you squeak by with maybe one mishap per day. This is rare, and a moment to rejoice (but only a little bit). It’s also a possible sign that you’re not growing or taking risks when you should be, but this depends on where you’re at in the process, and honestly, it never really feels like you know.
Starting a business was a fantastic accident. I didn’t plan to; it just happened. That’s also generally how this entrepreneurial thing goes: You stumble into something and decide to run with it. It was grand for the three years that I put into it. It was also exhausting, terrifying, and overwhelming.
But, as sometimes happens, the same love I stumbled into, I’ve stumbled out of. Now, I have a puppy of my own, with whom I want to spend all my free time. I no longer get the same thrill when gaining new clients, or spending 6-8 hours a day running around, caring for a billion adorable furbabies, and I’m well-past wiped out from the “never actually off work” feeling. In short: I’m burned out.
I’m phasing myself out of that part of my life and finding myself in an unexpected place.
In all of the time I’ve spent working tirelessly, I’ve landed in “life direction purgatory” – a scary place where I’m not really sure what I would love to do with my time.
The problem is, I’ve been spoiled.
I was able to work for myself early on in my professional life. I got to make my own rules, set my own schedule, and spent my free time doing “work” that I genuinely enjoyed. For some, it takes decades to get to that place. For others, it never happens. I count myself lucky beyond belief, but it also makes the thought of working anywhere that I’m not over the moon about seem a lot like volunteering for a seat in Hell.
Now I need to figure out what I love doing. (I can already hear my dad quoting one of his many phenomenal emails to me):
So while I don’t know much, here are the things I do know (HUZZAH. Positivity!):
- I love being outside
- Animals have always been fascinating and exceptionally cool to me
- I love weight lifting and obstacle course racing (OCR)
- I’m passionate about team dynamics
- Routine and monotony murder my creative capabilities and starve my attention
- I can’t stand being micromanaged
- I love to dance, and EDM music has been an obsession since I was 10, but I don’t do drugs, and I’m approaching a point in my life where being a go-go dancer probably isn’t something I should be seriously considering
- I like helping people, but there’s a limit to my patience and tolerance
- I love GIFs. A lot. They make all the conversations I have look exactly like what’s going on in my brain
So I love some things and hate others. I haven’t yet found a way to create my own solution that combines the passions I have with solutions for the problems I see. All signs point to entrepreneurial ventures. I need to have more purpose, and right now if it isn’t clear yet… I have none. I feel like I’m that person standing in the big fountain, fishing out coins. “HAS ANYONE SEEN A GOOD IDEA IN HERE FOR ME? I’M LOOKING FOR SOME PURPOSE!”
So I’m 25. I have no idea what I’m doing, what I want to be doing, or what’s ahead. In the meantime, I will write. I will lift. I will keep thinking about stuff that makes me excited to jump out of bed in the morning. (This list is pathetic, I am fully aware.)
And soon, I’ll have it all figured out.
LOL, who am I kidding? I’ll never have it all figured out. But I’ll have some direction. And that’s really what this whole thing is about, right? Remembering Frost. Choosing the road not taken. Finding my own path. Picking a direction… One Direction… (HA HA JUST KIDDING… KIND OF).
7 thoughts on “25 and LOL… WTF Am I Doing with My Life?”
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Two thoughts, one, the path not taken has many branches; two, when you get home, in my office and over my knee for rolling your eyes. That is never acceptable. Ever.
Keep dreaming, keep searching, and enjoy the hell out of the ride. You only get one, and there are no do-overs.
Keep searching, never settling for seconds–in work or in play–and you will find the yellow brick road.
And with no guarantees, maybe what you discover will make Oz seem paltry. But whatever or wherever you end up, the journey will have been the hot fudge sundae.
Screw the little, mundane events and details, and go for the big picture. Then you will make a larger difference. But regardless, savoring the journey, you will make a difference.
Insert after “hot fudge sundae” Harry Chapin’s line from “Greyhound”: It’s got to be the going, not the getting there that’s good.”