Quarter Life Crisis

 

A few days ago, after dropping my brother off at his girlfriend’s place and waiting till I have to pick him up again, I found myself sitting in my car in the parking lot of a nearby Burger King.

I had a lot on my mind. Money problems and just this heavy feeling of dissatisfaction with my life hovered over me. My lack of progress with my writing goals and everything else weren’t helping. So whenever I get in a mood like this, in order to keep it from deteriorating to full blown depression, I picked up my trusty yellow writing pad and wrote a list of my problems, a list of what I wanted, and a list of actions I could do right now to get what I wanted.

One of the things I’ve wanted for a long time now was to move to the United States; perhaps in an artsy and more liberal sort of town, somewhere in California I was thinking.  So when I was trying to think of how to make this happen, one of the obstacles was my brother. He’s currently living with me, and I can’t really do anything till he turns 18 next year.

As I was setting up a deadline, I realized that when he turns 18, I’ll turn 26.

26.

Twenty-six.

Two-Six.

And just like that, a realization hit me across the face like a wrecking ball.

I’m going to be in my late twenties very soon.

Very, very soon.

Holy shit!!

It’s been a decade since I know for sure I wanted to leave Puerto Rico. Over two decades since mom moved us here and never looked back. That’s too freaking long. What am I waiting for?

And it’s not just the move. I have no career, no education, no friends, and not even a potential soul-mate/significant-other. I feel like I’ve been waiting for my life to start for ages now. What am I doing? Why am I waiting?! It’s not just going to happen all by itself.

It’s not like I’m going to live forever. My mom died when she was 44 years old. If I inherited her lifespan, half my life is already gone.

This is unacceptable.

Thus drastic changes need to happen and happen soon.

For starters…my younger brother is going to go back and live with his aunt.

I suck at parental guardian. He doesn’t have much respect for me anyways (I made this decision the moment I discovered he lied to me and stayed at a friend’s place for two days instead of staying with his aunt for the weekend). I can’t be his babysitter forever.  I’ve done all I can. His life is in his own hands, just as my life is in mine.

Now I’m unshackled. I no longer have a valid reason for staying in Puerto Rico.

Well, okay there is still the whole I have a house, a car and a job here, and don’t have the income to live in the USA and pay rent at the moment. But I’m going to be 26! No more excuses.

So, I’m going to look for a job and an apartment. Not sure where yet. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d really appreciate it.  I’ll start by looking into my first dream choice of San Francisco (though I’ve heard it’s insanely expensive, nothing’s going to happen if I don’t at least look into it).

Next, I’m not going to mess around anymore. If I truly want to be a career novelist and illustrator, then I have to work twice as hard a professional in just one of those fields, especially if I want to succeed without formal education.

Discipline, Hard Work and Relentless Persistence.

Hopefully, these will be the keys to my success in this endeavor…and save me from ending up homeless and living on the street.

Thing is, this has always been a weird dream of mine. I’ve always admired and looked up to those who trained, and trained, and sacrificed, and worked until their hands bled. It’s the main reason I love the Olympics, sports movies/manga, and the Oscars. I keep imagining all the hard work and effort they had to put in to get to where they are and I’ve always wanted to do that. Lock myself up in a room, go nearly insane, and emerge victorious with quality, masterful work.

But I always held back. It was most likely a self-esteem issue. I didn’t think I could do something like that. I’m nothing great, after all. I don’t have the drive, passion or skill for such a feat.  Also, it’ll probably kill me or make me miserable, and in the end I’ll burn out quickly and have nothing to show for all the hard work.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

It’s gotten to the point where, I’m no longer striving for a goal. I mean, yes, I have the goal to make a living from my work….but like I said in a previous post, that is a secondary focus and should be secondary.

This is my life. I can’t spend the rest of it just worrying about how much I’m making and how to cover my expenses. These are important, for sure, but what I want to do…is to live a life I enjoy NOW instead of later.

That’s all.

Thankfully all I need for my idea of a perfect life is a change of location, a simple job that pays my minimum expenses, a few great people I love to keep me the occasional company, and hours and hours of writing and drawing.

~~~

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6 thoughts on “Quarter Life Crisis

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  1. I turned 26 back in May, so needless to say I know exactly how you feel. Right now my biggest obstacle to achieving my goal, however, is finishing this damn novel i’m working on. Have already set up two deadlines back during my quarter-life crisis days. 1, finish the book by Sept 14th which clearly is not gonna happen as that is in what 3 days hehe. 2, finish my book by Nov 22nd, because I want this thing done by the end of the year. If i can do that, then I know I can make this happen.

    And these deadlines are the only thing keeping me sane hehehe if i thought I had to go another year with this book unfinished, my God… lets just not even go there.

    Good luck with your own endeavors 🙂 Got at least one supporter here in the US of A though . If you ever need anything creative-wise, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

  2. Amber – wow, big step! Let’s see, recommendations on a place to live…

    Big cities have a lot of opportunities, but – as you mentioned – the cost of living tends to be very high. Small towns have low cost of living but fewer opportunities (and generally not much culture). My advice would be to find someplace in the middle: a city that’s big enough to offer you lots of chances at a job (and fuel your artistic side), but small enough that you won’t spend all your money on rent. Columbus, Ohio is one of countless examples – I lived there for several years, it’s a pretty nice place with lots of businesses and lots to do, yet the cost of living is very reasonable. Of course, the winters there are extremely cold (by Puerto Rican standards) so maybe a comparably-sized city further south would be better.

    Other factors to consider: California gets earthquakes, the Gulf coast gets hurricanes, the Midwest gets tornadoes, the North gets blizzards. Choose your poison.

    I’ve lived in both Ohio and Texas and have traveled extensively across most of the rest of the country. If you have more questions, feel free to e-mail me (see my Contact page) and I’ll do what I can to help.

    And, if I can offer just a little unsolicited advice: have a very definite plan for what you’re going to do when you get to the U.S. As I’m sure you know, a change of location will not (by itself) solve your problems, and if you aren’t prepared, you may end up disillusioned – new skyline, same problems. I think it’s great that you’re going after what you want, and I encourage you to do it…just hoping you look before you leap. 🙂

    1. As I’m sure you know, a change of location will not (by itself) solve your problems, and if you aren’t prepared, you may end up disillusioned – new skyline, same problems.

      I definitely know what you mean. It’s been one of the other reasons why I haven’t even tried to move yet. I felt I can’t leave if it’s only because I’m “running away” from something. But now a good handful of my problems have been solved, I feel more confident.

      After much thought, it everything goes according to plan, I’m heading to Georgia next year. Returning to school and all that jazz. I’m looking forward to cooler climates and change scenery.

      Thanks for the encouragement 😀

  3. OK, I hate to crush part of your dream, but…

    Don’t move to California!!!

    Gas is over 5$ a gallon there. Contrast with here in temperate, non-dry andnon-freaky weather Virginia, where it’s 3-ish at most. This is just one thing…

    I know a lot of people think of CA as the American-dream-type place. I, who have been there, happen to think that’s–well–just a dream. 😛 Not to be discouraging; if you want to move there, go ahead! I’m just saying, there are plenty of other legitimate, artsy, liberal places (read: most college towns in America) that are less expensive and less dangerous to live in than San Fran. *shrug* Also, you might not have thought of this, but the landscape of where you move to has a HUGE effect on your mind and whether you like it. The West Coast is fairly dry compared to Puerto Rico; in terms of climate, the East is more similar. You’ll be in for culture shock either way — but perhaps a drastic change is just what you want. 🙂

    Just be warned: California drivers are complete jerks. Lol, sorry to anyone from California!

    1. There’s no way California drivers can compete with Puerto Rican drivers. If I’m going to have a culture shock, it’s probably going to be learning how to drive in a place where people actually follow traffic rules.

      But yes, I’m totally okay with the change of landscape. I’m looking forward to cold weather and dryness (I’m so sick of humidity, I’m not even kidding). And if it ever does get too much, I don’t ever plan on selling my home in PR so I can always come back.

      Thanks for the warning and advice 🙂 I’ll check out California a bit latter when I’m more prepared.

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