When I was in college, our professors often told us that many doors were going to not just close but slam in our faces. And while persistence and hard work were necessary, 90% of the game is luck and that it was up to us create our own opportunities. That is how I graduated college, knowing that doors were going to slam in my face and the only way forward was to create my own opportunities. I remember one of my classmates asked, “What does create our own opportunities mean?” Our Professor said, “That is an excellent question,” and moved on. “That is an excellent question” was all we got. So off I went with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, an incredible understanding of the human condition and myself, all sorts of knowledge, and a Theater Degree. So I did what every other person who graduates college with no clue what they are going to do with their life does. I tried to Google it:
“What am I going to do with my life?”
“How can I be successful?”
“What is successful?”
“What steps do successful take to get there?”
“How do I create my own opportunities?”
“Can I make money doing something I am passionate about?”
“Does who I know matter?”
“Can I ask for help?”
“Can I be happy at work?”
“I don’t know what my next step is. What do I do.”
And I couldn't find a concrete answer on Google. So I panicked and told everyone I knew that at 23, I was was going through a quarter life crisis. But my quarter life crisis was really just anxiety and nervousness because I didn’t know what to do. I had strange skills and qualifications, a college degree, lived at home with my parents, and felt totally lost. I let those anxieties turn into hopelessness and I let that define my crisis.
Here are three definition of crisis:
1. “A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.”
2. “A time when a difficult or important decision must be made.”
3. “The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.”
Looking at those definitions I absolutely believe someone can have a quarter life crisis. But I also think us young twenty something year olds are far too quick to label those 2-10 years after college, that are full of change and uncertainty, as a quarter life crisis. My quarter life crisis wasn’t a crisis. I have encountered too many crises to consider my quarter life crisis a crisis. I’ve endured (and continue to endure) the loss of my brother, growing up with an alcoholic father, eating disorders, and body dysmorphia to name a few. These chaotic crises consumed years and transformed who I am as a person and the way I look at the world. And I think that is exactly what a crisis does. I don’t believe in “make or break” or “sink or swim.” I don’t believe the things we endure define us. I think those difficult, huge, catastrophic events just become a part of who you are and that part of you continues to change over time. It never goes away or is overcome entirely. No crisis averted, just crises persevered.
I'm not sure how I feel about the saying “when one door closes another door opens.” Sometimes there are prolonged periods of hallways, with no door. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THERE IS NO DOOR? Well ladies and gentlemen; I say grab a sledgehammer and just knock the wall down. Use your resources, think outside the box. Sometimes you have to play “the game,” that’s true, but you never have to play by the rules.
Life hasn’t exactly been easy but for me, it gets better. In those dark hopeless moments, all you need to do is endure and then persevere. Just remember that tomorrow will come. Allow others to help you or give yourself permission to seek out help. I wouldn’t have made it without my friends, family, mentors, and therapist. You don’t have to do anything alone. In fact, using your resources is one of the greatest ways to cope with crisis.
I am turning 25 in exactly 5 weeks and I am the happiest I have ever been. That being said, I have no clue what I am doing. I just got broken up with in an email by someone I cared a whole hell of a lot about. I have no clue what’s going to happen to me in the next year, let alone the next month. I have 0 savings and I basically live paycheck to paycheck. Do I have life together, NOPE. Not even kind of. And I am finally OK with the uncertainty because running has given me a purpose. It’s proven to me that I can do things that not only scare the crap out of me but that you really can do anything with enough hard work. I never in a million years thought I could ever run a marathon, and yet here I training for my second! I honestly started running as a way to run from my problems. But running became the solution. It became the sledgehammer I used to knock that wall down. It was me making my own opportunities, without even realizing that was what I was doing. A lot can happen in a short amount of time. You just have to persevere and know that tomorrow will come. And remember the end of one things is the beginning of another.
Until Monday friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.