A couple of years ago I turned 25, broke up with my then boyfriend, quit my boring good-ass paying job and moved to New York with a few thousand in savings and no plan. Thus began my quarter-life crisis.
After graduation, when you walk across the stage, proud of this amazing accomplishment, praising the Lord above for seeing you through on those long nights of study or partying, and your family is acting crazy in the audience singing your praises when your name is called like a mass choir, the professor, president or whomever gives that piece of paper, don’t tell you what happens next.
Yeah 25 is a long ways off from college graduation, but when the first job ends and no one picks you for another better, job what the hell is supposed to happen?
I went to New Orleans for the Essence Festival in 2012, where I met some great folks (including my current boyfriend) and had my first full press trip experience as a journalist. I had been a journalist for years before then, but that was with a little newspaper in South Los Angeles where news only happened in South Los Angeles.
Anyway, at this junket, this glorious crew of Black writers from all over the nation sat at the table with some of the most fabulous Black celebrities. I sat next to Laz Alonso, the actor. Yes, he is all that in person.
At any rate, we were all chatting and he told us a story about how he got put on in the industry at 30. At the time, he was wearing a suit, you know doing business on Wall Street or something and decided to change careers. What was going to be his legacy? He became an actor and the rest is history.
That got me the thinking… umm… 30 isn’t too far from now. In fact, I can see those glorious curves on the 3 rising in the distance. I had to ask myself “What are YOU doing with your life?”
The answer is: I don’t f*cking know!
And like an ominous rain cloud, time is not being my friend right now. At least it doesn’t feel like it.
I’ve applied to a gillion jobs, written a gabillion articles, and networked with a massive amount of people. Where, who, what is the next step? Do I suck? Where’s my crisis turnaround? Where’s my Laz-arus story?
My man is sooo sweet and encourages me to chill out and hold steady. But damn! That’s hard because all of my proverbial peers appear to be shooting out rainbows of success and being jobless (minus the side-hustle bartending) was not part of my vision.
I got some fortune cookie wisdom recently about being happy-jealous of other people’s fortune. You know when your girlfriend tells you about how she’s engaged to the first man she fell in love with and you’re happy, but jealous it ain’t you feeling? Yeah that. I had to straighten up and check myself.
Further, I was reminded that lack begets lack: thinking of what I don’t have will ultimately result in having nothing at all. In the wise words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that!
While the wisdom is great and definitely timely, my quarter-life crisis rages on… two years later. But I’m finding ways to move with the waves instead of crashing against them. These days, I’ve proudly adopted the ‘slasher’ title (writer/bartender/advocate/////)
Since moving to New York, I got booed up (high-five), sued (pending results) my former roommate (thumbs-down) and got caught up in the middle of a drug bust in Brooklyn (crazy story).
In all of that I’m learning that things aren’t as bad, cut and dry, and serious as I’m making them. I’m learning to relieve myself of those standards and expectations I’ve set for myself or others have set for me. I’m thankful for the opportunities to learn, grow and try new things.
Life is good and all. I just hope I’m doing it right.