Those who are closest to me are all too familiar with my fickle nature: notorious for taking on a vast array of hobbies; eager to explore creative ventures (sometimes to my detriment); and always working towards reinventing some aspect of my ordinary life.
Ten years into my quarter-life crisis, I was nowhere near to figuring out my career, let alone my life’s purpose. The proverbial carrot and stick approach to living a successful life only added frustration and disappointment to an already beaten and bruised ego.
Lost, scared and desperate, I ran to the closest book store and purchased a mount of self-help books hoping to find reassurance and direction on how to cope with the anxiety attacks, self-doubt and overall dissatisfaction with my life. In retrospect, I probably would’ve saved myself a lot of aggro and time had I just gone to a therapist to “sort” through my issues, but my stubborn and self-reliant nature wouldn’t have it.
I took a risk and let go of promising career in corporate sales and marketing to do what exactly? I had no clue. However, one thing was certain, I wasn’t happy.
Hello, roller coaster of emotions. I upended my life and explored new passions at home and in the work world. One day my mood is on the upswing, and the next I’m listening to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides and Now on loop, feeling despondent.
It also didn’t help that my family believed in the traditional method of measuring success: income, position and education. So my decision to drop everything and change course did not go over very well. The endless lectures and guilt trips that followed were torture. It took a lot of work to learn to toughen up, filter out the demoralizing rubbish and appreciate their efforts as a gesture of love and concern.
The process was a drag. I initiated the change in my life and it was painful to confront all the aspects of ME that I did not like. I hit the PAUSE button, did some soul-searching and eventually arrived at point where it was ok to mourn the life that was and appreciate the process of rediscovering me. Moving on FORWARD, I sampled hobbies/jobs without stressing about the endgame and allowed myself to enjoy mini-victories.
Now at 36 years of age you would think I would’ve kicked my quarter-life crisis to the curb. No so. If there is one thing I learned from this experience, it is that life is not static. Change is constant and transitions are a fact of life. I no longer hang my happiness on achieving things in life, but instead on the exciting and often unpredictable journey arriving at the goal.
The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be. Oprah Winfrey
Life can be a fickle pickle, but with every challenge, heartbreak and disappointment endured, one is presented an amazing opportunity to become a stronger person, a more compassionate individual and a deeper human being.
So go ahead. Trip, stumble and fall. The world looks different from the ground. The view and the lessons learned may surprise you.