Q is for Quarterlife
When I first started GenPink my first goal for myself was to find some fellow twenty something, non-mommy, female bloggers. The first person I found that fit this description was Zandria. I found her blog via BlogHer. I was immediately intrigued by her 101 Things in 1001 Days List (I still plan on doing this). Over the past year I have kept up with her blog and have since found a huge network of other twentysomethings as well. I knew that since Zandria was my first internet blogging buddy that I definitely wanted her to guest write this series commemorating my first year.
This guest post was written by Zandria, a contributing editor of BlogHer and expert twentysomething blogger.
When I started writing my blog over five years ago – at the age of 22 – I was in the midst of a full-blown quarterlife crisis. I was taking college classes but I didn’t know what in the world I wanted to do; I was working in a call center (a job that I hated, but I made decent money); I was just beginning to feel normal again after having major surgery on my back the previous year to correct scoliosis (a procedure that left me with permanent steel rods attached to my spine); and to top it off – due to all the stress, the worry, to my feeling of powerlessness – I’d lost thirty pounds due to restricting my food intake.
That’s the state I was in when I started blogging. I was officially a mess.
The reason I started writing online was because I’d decided to take a semester off from college. I was leaving my home in Virginia to spend a few months with my aunt and uncle in southern California, and I wanted a way for family and friends to easily keep up with what I was doing while I was gone.
I was granted a leave of absence from my job, I drove cross-country by myself, and I stayed in California long enough to get my head together – at least “together” enough to feel ready to go back to Virginia and resume college classes the next semester. I completed my last two years of school, and I spent one of those four semesters in a study-abroad program in Amsterdam.
My quarterlife crisis? It was all about searching. I spent many hours on the internet, looking at career options, reading about people who had made big, life-changing decisions. I wanted to know how and why they ended up where they did.
I didn’t know WHERE I wanted to be, or WHO I wanted to be. I thought if I discovered the answer to at least one of those questions (but preferably both), I’d be well on my way to being happy. That’s what I would say to myself, and to other people, all the time: “I just want to be happy. I’ll move wherever I need to move, I’ll do whatever I need to do, as long as I’m happy.”
Throughout my mid-twenties, I remained in crisis mode – just not to same extent. I was able to regain some of the weight I’d lost. I returned to California after I graduated from college and ended up staying for a year. Then I moved to the metropolitan DC area in the fall of 2006, which is where I still am today.
Last summer, not long after my 27th birthday, I said that I had survived my quarterlife crisis. What had changed? How did I reach that conclusion? It’s because – although I still don’t know what I want to do with my life – I’ve reached a level of acceptance. My job isn’t perfect, but I work for a nonprofit that has a great mission, and with co-workers who believe in making a difference. I don’t live in a fancy house, but I do live in a safe, fun area, with a roommate that I like. I’m no longer stick-thin (thank God), but now I work out on a regular basis and I’m more comfortable with my body than I’ve ever been in my life.
Having accepted my life doesn’t mean I’m 100% content with where I am, but that’s okay. I’m growing, I’m adapting, I’m changing, and I’m keeping my eyes (and options) open. In the meantime, I’m not settling. I’m living.March 19, 2008 in ABCs-20s, guest, quarterlife crisis