I swore it would never happen. But, a month ago, I found myself succumbing to the dreaded quarter-life crisis.
I might not appear a typical candidate for the condition. At age 22, I landed a writing job out of college, which afforded me the opportunity to occasionally interview big-name celebrities or report on the NCAA basketball tournament. On the surface to many, I was living the dream.
On the inside, however, it began to feel much different.
The week after I turned 24 in 2013, chaos at work — and a few episodes outside of it — left me reflecting on my 20s and, with an epiphany, declaring: “What the hell am I doing?”
I enjoyed my job sometimes, but becoming a writer wasn’t the goal I’d envisioned since childhood.
Thus, the following ensued:
1. Anything but my current profession sounded appealing.
From law school to becoming a personal trainer, almost every career path suddenly seemed alluring. In May, while watching HBO’s “Entourage,” I became inspired as the character Turtle proclaimed he’d earn his MBA through UCLA Extension — Hey, why not? I immediately Googled “UCLA Extension.”
2. No competition is off-limits.
In April 2013, I entered my first NPC competition, and in June, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon with Team in Training. The distraction from work had its advantages: Through the NPC contest, I got in the best physical shape of my life. On the flip side, I went overboard, packing a week’s worth of protein bars and abstaining from alcohol while in Atlanta for the NCAA basketball national championship.
3. Extinguishing former flames.
I sought the advice of various people — some I hadn’t spoken to in a year — as I contemplated a career change. Consequently, I discovered certain friendships were best kept in the past. And, I kicked my on-again-off-again love affair to the curb.
4. I quit.
I knew a month before I pulled the plug that I’d be quitting my job as staff writer. I gave myself that month to plan the next step, and once my two-year milestone at work hit, I was out the door.
5. Packing up.
On July 20, I’m headed to Boston to gain on-camera experience and, briefly, live three hours away from my dream home in New York City. Once I return to Louisville, I plan to volunteer overseas so I can see the world outside the U.S.
For now, I’ve surrendered a full-time salary and a semi-glamorous job, but I already feel a million times happier — all as a result of my quarter-life crisis.
I’m throwing myself wholeheartedly into the career I hope to achieve in sports broadcasting and the entertainment industry. For the last two years, I wrote other people’s stories. Now, I’m wiping the slate clean and taking the time to write mine.
I can’t say for sure where I’ll be in the next quarter-century. But, I can tell you this: In this moment, I’m headed toward the life I desire.