It’s weird, it only dawned on me just this week that I have been working pretty much consistently since the age of 16 (so nearly a decade, whoa). I mean, granted I did take a gap year abroad in Paris, but I was still technically working. As an Au Pair, I still had the responsibility of taking care of children and having to be a pseudo-parent.
At the same time though, I had the liberty to do what I wanted whilst still being paid. Not only that, but I was in a different country and the world was truly my playground. I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school and my French teacher suggested I become an Au Pair. Since I’d already been working at a daycare it seemed totally doable and the next thing I knew during the summer of 2011 I was flying off to Paris.
Anyway why am I talking about being an Au Pair in 2011? So I’ve spent the last month or so “FunEmployed” and while it’s been a pretty difficult time in terms of career prospects… I’ve also never felt this free & alive since that time I went off to Paris. Although, there are some days where I wake up and ask myself, “Wtf am I doing with my life?” and spend a good chunk of the day feeling depressed/sorry for myself, but overall I think I’m actually happier as a whole.
In essence, the concept behind “FunEmployment” is the same as a “Gap Year”. How many of you actually took the time to give yourself room to breathe after graduating high school? We all need breaks. Now obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, but a lot of the world is questioning the direction of their career, relationships, and overall meaning in life—don’t worry it’s called a quarter-life crisis and it’s normal.
Now, I don’t want anyone to think my job was bad per se, I was a nanny and restaurant manager previously. As far as nannying is concerned, I truly do love it. I love taking care of kids, they are so innocent, honest and curious. The world hasn’t yet deprived them of their inherent joy of everything around them. I think the reason I wasn’t happy was because I never really stopped again (since Paris) to think about where my life was headed. I worked, went out, went to school, maybe took a trip somewhere for a festival or somewhere else… but more or less, this was my schedule that repeated itself. Maybe I can toss in there that I was working out too and had other hobbies, but that’s beside the point. When you’re in this cycle you don’t really take the time to stop and take a look at the bigger picture.
One of the points I am trying to make is that despite your distinguished degree, you still find yourself despondent on the daily with the thought of having to go work, go to school, etc, or maybe you did land that dream job of yours, but discover that it’s strangling your creativity. You’ve just spent the last four years in college or past few years working this job, but now what? What the hell are you even doing?
Simply put, a quarter-life/existential crisis is a time of intense soul searching and stress. Typically, we feel this way for a number of reasons some of which include feeling that we aren’t achieving our fullest potential or are “falling behind”. So many of us are unhappy in our career/job/life choices and it really wears on us. We lose sleep, our diet suffers, we’re upset and we feel stuck. Take the time to take a step back and reassess your life.
All of us are unique, highly driven, intellectual individuals and the takeaway for those of you reading this is that you need to take control of your life. Do something for yourself, seek out your friends for companionship, don’t let your degree/career define and tell yourself this is all normal – because it is! It’s also super important to have someone who you can be completely honest with and just open up to. So seeking out and talking to those close to you is key to feeling better.
There’s this lock bridge (well, a few) in Paris right above La Seine that has a plethora of locks on it from people leaving little tokens of themselves there. When I was in Paris, I always used to think about how every lock represented something so much more than the love notes on them. To me, they were a representation of the struggle of values. There’s so many different roles we can assume in life, just like there are so many locks we can choose to look at/potentially unlock. “Am I a nurse? Am I an entrepreneur? Oh, but wait, I also want to become an artist. Who am I?”
I know that I want to become a nurse practitioner, but until then I’d like to explore the different avenues that are possible for me. Such as, this very blog that you are reading right now. That’s why my blog will realistically probably not be centered around just music because I also am super into writing streams of consciousness like this that can potentially be beneficial towards someone. As well as art, fashion and health.
If you’re unhappy or questioning the nature of your reality, make a change.
Oh and last thing, whether or not you’re still in school, working a 9-5 job, working late nights at a restaurant, or doing who knows what we’re all in this together. This isn’t a competition, this is real life. Stop comparing yourself to others and basing your own progress in life off of others. Everyone has their own path in life, own it. Run it. Do you.
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