Quarter Life Crisis

I’m in a strange mood today. Well, I’m a bit strange most of the time, but today I’m in a particularly strange mood. For some time now I’ve felt like my life has been stagnating, which I guess has been made worse by my splitting with the Ex. For a long time, I’ve held a distant dream of travelling but it’s now developing into a serious want, which isn’t helped by my awful penchant for impatience. In fact, it’s getting to me so much that I’m blogging from work, something I’ve actively tried to avoid.

It was something I’d discussed often with the Ex but we had wildly different views. His idea of travelling contained way more adrenaline than mine. He wanted to go trekking in rainforests and hiking up mountains and to be honest, I’m a little too chicken for that. I just want to see the world, without having a near death experience, so we never made plans to travel together since he’d only get annoyed at my reluctance to hike up a mountain because of my ridiculous fear that I’d slip, fall back down again and die.

There’s a couple of things that have brought about this current bout of…wanting. One, was a post I’d read on BAExpat’s page, which I came across as it was ‘Freshly Pressed’ (lucky thing). I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since and I’d recommend the read: http://baexpat.com/2012/02/16/the-most-important-thing-youll-ever-learn/. He’s doing what I wish I was…

The other thing is my career. I have a great job but I’m getting more and more bored. My problem is that to move on in my chosen field (which is specialist), I need more qualifications. I left school at 16 and went straight to work. No college, no uni. The qualifications I have above GCSE level are either NVQ or professional qualifications, but not at the required level for me to achieve my ultimate goal of working abroad and earning a decent wage. Nor are they enough for me to leave my current job and go into another specialist role at the same level or salary. And to be honest, the thought of applying for and starting another job in London just depresses me right now. After some investigation, it looks like the course I’ll need to take to get me to a decent standard lasts about 2 years, at a cost of £10k. My company would pay for it, but it means I’d have to stay here for another 2 years once it’s completed. That’s 4 more years working here. The twist is that within the next 18 months, it looks increasingly likely that there’ll be a massive reorganisation which means the threat of redunancy. And the draw of taking redundancy money, which would be great. It means I’d be able to pay off my debt and travel without worrying about sustaining an income to pay my bills. The downside? If I study, my company would take the cost of the course out of that lump sum. Not so good since it would likely eat up most of, if not all of the money.

In an ideal world, I’d wait it out, hope for the redunancy money, pay my bills off and get out of here. But then it doesn’t solve the issue that when I get back, I’d still have to study to get to a decent level in my field.

What to do, what to do?

I don’t want to study for another 2 years and then not be able to travel. A lot can happen in 2 years. I look at my friends getting married and having babies, and it’s the last thing I want. Well, it isn’t. Of course I want to settle down and stuff, but you know what I mean. I’m free and single for the first time in almost 10 years and I feel like I should be doing something with my life. Who knows what could happen. I could meet a really great guy, my soulmate, and get married and start popping out babies in 2 years time. I’ve seen it happen with my friends. But equally, my sensible head is saying that I need to get this qualification. It’s something that would set me up for the next x years of my working life.

The other thing about travelling, is that it would push me out of my comfort zone. I can be naturally shy and tend to stick to routine. I don’t like to eat from dodgy places. I like comfort. But I wasn’t always like this. I used to be outgoing and gregarious. I want to be that person again. It feels like I AM this person inside, but I’ve supressed her for so long that I don’t know how to find her again. I hate that I didn’t do what everyone else did. If I’d have gone to college and uni, I’d have the qualifications I need already. If I’d have gone travelling when I was younger, I’d not feel so lost right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret committing to a long term relationship at the tender age of 17 – I’ve learnt a hell of a lot. It’s just that it feels like its come at a price. Namely, my life.

The thing is, it feels like I’m running out of time. The longer I put off studying, the harder it will be to progress in my career. But the longer I put off travelling, the less likely it will be to happen. It feels like this is one of those moments in my life where I have a crucial decision to make, like I’m on the cusp of…I dunno…something. Or maybe I’m just putting too much pressure on myself and doing what I tend to do…over analyse.

Oh, life.

And apologies, I think this is the first whingy post I’ve done. Shall not be making a habit of it!

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9 thoughts on “Quarter Life Crisis

  1. Have your head consider that being 100% debt free is good for your credit rating, good for your health in terms of mental zen, and good for your freedom because you can literally take any other job and be relatively wealthy. And don’t let your head be taken in by the promise of a degree getting you an even better job, because after you net out the college expense and time served to the company, you will wish you had been free.

    Get out of there and travel. That’s my advice to you.

    • Thanks Edward :) Being debt free would be a dream. The only problem is that these reorganisation rumours are just rumours. That said, my department is usually the one that facilitates them, which is why I’m about 90% sure it will happen within the next 18 months, it’s just a case of how long I can hold on for. Lots of things to check, like will my length of service continue if I take a career break and all that stuff, but even since this morning I do feel much clearer as to what I want to do :)

  2. Now for my bit, and it really is only from life experience….I am sure you have seen Steve Jobs’ address to Stanford University students. I loved this when I first watched it

    I really love the sentiment about following your passion, and I do have to say that I believe following your passion does not mean following your head :)

    Did you say you could take redundancy and pay off all of your debts?? and then travel….wwoooohooooo. Are you still here? :)

    I know as a person who has also recruited many people that when I read that they have had a the balls to do something different and also been out and see some of the world they excite me, and I know that this is a person who will take that risk.

    Life is full of risks – some are not worth it – but some you need to take, and push your boundaries otherwise you do end up very quickly in a job that bores the pants of you and feeling quite jaded about what you could have done.

    I was in a similar position 3 years ago. I took the money and went to travel the world. I treid not to post too much on Facebook as I know that can be tiresome to those who are stuck in the freezing UK when you are lying on a mountain in Argentina or a pyramid in Mexico thinking…’why did I not do this sooner?’

    I think you already know what to do. It is a great post and certainly does not come across as whingy. Life is not a dress rehearsal….that can sound worn at times, but it is so true. I now love my life and never regret leaving my old job. I did have some back up financially and also the confidence that I would be okay whatever – but I am now back to working very hard and do wonder why I allowed myself to let practical things such as money and security get in the way of finding the joy in my life. I have a holiday booked for the summer and over Christmas and now…mmmm….I may look for one at Easter.

    Follow your heart!

    • Ha, no I wish. If they offer redundancy, I believe the minimum for my age, length of service etc, will be around £10k. The cost of the course would also be £9-10k and they do recover it. So I’d be left with very little. I do know what to do. I had some very good advice and I’m looking at potentially utilising the 6 month career break option, or going for a couple of months at least.Finance is the biggest worry for me – I have to save and pay off bills at the same time. Not necessarily to get rid of them all, but enough so that I don’t have to break my back working to ensure my bills get paid while I’m gone :) I’m planning on booking Brazil next February anyway so that’s a great starting point!

  3. I went through a very similar (almost) quarter life crisis last year–I was becoming bored with my job and questioned my whole career future. I took a leap and started my own PR and while it’s been a lot of work, it’s my passion and I haven’t looked back. If you ever decide to take a major career leap, I suggest definitely have a solid outline of a plan in place. It can be very overwhelming and scary otherwise!

    • Wow, congratulations :) I don’t want to change career, but I know where I want to get to. I work in employee relations (labour relations in the US) and I love it. But I do want to work abroad and go as far as I can. I know I need the degree, it’s just a question of timing, I guess

  4. Hi freechik,

    I know this is a hard one, but maybe I can help. Since I was 14, I always seemed to be in some sort of love relationship. There were lulls, of course, when I didn’t have anyone. The truth, though, was that I loved being in a relationship. Then again, I too had big dreams. My parents couldn’t afford to pay for college, so I worked, and put myself through school.

    But at the same time, I missed out on a lot of opportunities. I didn’t travel; I was so bogged down with college. I debated getting my master’s, but that also would have taken up another two years of my life and yet more money. In the end, I realized that I had to follow my heart. What would make me happiest in the end? I wanted adventure, of course, but I also wanted stability. I had what seemed like innumerable relationships. I would have liked to travel, but life at the time, just didn’t seem to allow for it. It all depends, really. Take a step back. I know it’s a ton to think about, but trust me. If you take the time for self reflection, you may be better able to make a decision that makes you happy.

    Just to give you an idea, I decided against a higher college degree, and focused on finding someone wonderful throughout college and in the years thereafter. I did find the love of my life, and I got my degree. But most of all, I found happiness. We plan to travel later on, and that is something to look forward to.

    That’s my two cents. I hope I’ve helped.

    • Thank you :) my heart is telling me to travel, just my head has a way of over-ruling it. I think the main thing is that I don’t want to feel like I’ve missed out. I felt like that in my relationship at times and don’t want to make the same mistake again…

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