Tuesday, October 9, 2012

1/3-year Life Crisis-Am I The Only One?

Doctor. Teacher. Actress. Nun (note: I went to Catholic school and it was a short-lived thought). Lawyer. Pharmacist (my parent's dream). All of those above mentioned careers are respectable (or at least a calling: see nun) and span the list of future jobs I considered during my early years, say the kindergarten to 3rd grade time period.  I just assumed after college this plan would be laid out and I'd work until I got married and had children. Or a dog. As I got older, my ambitions changed and I wanted to be a journalist or actress and live in LA or DC.  In college, I fell in love with politics and planned to work on campaigns in some capacity. Then I moved to Myrtle Beach for what was ostensibly "just the the summer" and stayed for two years. Funny how plans change. And moving back I found a new career path-recruiting and HR which I do love.  I also still wrote on the side, would volunteer on campaigns and still dream about what I would do one day as a grown up. That was ok at 25 maybe. At 30? Probably not. But I ask, am I the only one? And from what I can tell, I'm not.  The quarter-life crisis is talked about more frequently, made popular by a hit book and Oprah appearance. However, the 1/3  year life crisis isn't discussed as much but remains ever present.  And, I'm here to tell you: it's ok. It's more than ok, it's to be expected. Here's why:

1. The economy. Career specialists theorize people will have 4 or 5 career changes in their lifetime now. Certain occupations may be excluded from this but many are not. Jobs are limited, certain areas in the country recovered faster and more specific degrees are needed for this market.

2. Technology.  Everything is literally a Google search away. Whatever it is, you can find it online. Everything from medicine to dating has been taken to the grid. We have more options than ever for everything. How is that not confusing?

3. Marriage. People are getting married later. People are also getting divorced younger and starting over. It's not our parent's world anymore. Women are earning more than ever and are more educated than men in some cities. This creates weird dating dynamics. And people get married now because they want to. It's no longer a necessity or a business transaction. Plus, with online dating and Google (see technology) dating is no longer your typical courtship.

Now, there are a myriad of other reasons as to why at 30 we feel unsettled and well, not grown up. I'll be the first to admit that I like myself more at this age, I'm more confident and I have a much better perspective on what matters than I did at 25 or 20. However, I still wake up in the morning not knowing what I want to do when I grow up. Maybe that's what keeps us motivated, finding the answers and pinpointing our passions. And while our technology driven modern society creates some of these issues, it also is the reason why we can still can dream at any age and pursue our passions.  Maybe it isn't such a crisis after all.  Maybe we won't have a boss we want to staple things to all the time. I'll keep dreaming.

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