When I was 18 years old I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I went full steam ahead in to a major that I knew was for me. And for four years I loved it. I loved the hands on experience, I loved my small college, and I loved the career path I was on. I loved it so much I even decided to get my master’s. I felt it would make me more marketable; maybe even increase my earning potential. I was set. I was content. I was excited about what life had in store for me. I was satisfied with my life decisions.
Then, I turned 25. Now, I had thoughts during graduate school if this career was what I really wanted, but I chalked that up to the fact that I was in graduate school. Wrong. First thing I learned upon finding my first full time, full salary job, is that my career path didn’t pay very well. I had always known that it wasn’t going to make me the kind of money doctors made, but I also hadn’t factored in the 25 years of school loans I would be paying off. Or the fact that the credit card I had used to pay for my certification exams, GRE, and school books was going to take more than the year I had given myself to pay off. I know what some people will say “money isn’t everything” but from my experience that’s what people say who aren’t struggling paycheck to paycheck. Or the people that don’t need to deny themselves nights out or a concert every now and then because you’re constantly worried about money. Whether we want to admit it or not money is important. It isn’t the most important thing, but, it is IMPORTANT. Here is the worst part about turning 25; I also realized I had very little passion for the career path I had taken. So now not only was I making very little money, I had lost passion for a career I spent six years preparing myself for. Put together a lack of financial stability and the loss of passion and I have myself a full blown quarter life crisis.
I spend hours out of the week trying to figure out what the next best path for me is. And what I have found as take my turn down the path of the quarter life crisis is I am not alone. I want to be passionate about the job I have. I want to know when Sunday night rolls around that I am not kicking and screaming about it being Monday tomorrow. I also want to know that if there is a concert in town I want to go to I don’t need to save for two months to do it. I would love to know that I could go back to school and not worry about how many more school loans will pile on. But I am not there yet. I think that when I turned 25, and it didn’t all of sudden overtake me when I blew out my birthday candles, life hit me. The realities of where I am on my journey hit me. I am still in my 20’s so I want to have fun, I want to explore life, and find things that I can do simply because I have passion to do them. But I also am half way to my 30’s when I will start thinking about starting a family, settling down, and having a career path that I can picture myself doing for years to come. Being 25 is a sticky place to be. It often feels like your half between a carefree life and a life where you need to start making very important decisions. And the maddening goal is to find balance between those. Balance, the most obnoxious word to my 25 year old ears. The thought of trying to find balance is exhausting because I am not sure yet what balance would even look like for me. I hope that balance is a good paying job that I am passionate about. However, I am aware that this may not be what happens or that might not be the balance I find. At this point I am just hoping 26 balances out 25. Maybe help me feel a little less crazy? Really all I can hope is I am not up all hours of the day contemplating what I am going to do next with my life and actually be on the path to doing it.