Welcome to My Quarterlife Crisis

Be forewarned, this is a long-read post and my main reason for writing this is for posterity. If you actually read this entire shpiel, I owe you a drink. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that you have something else in common with me.

The part of this life that I seem to have the hardest time with is my career. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a great job now that I absolutely adore – I do something that I like, I get to empower people to explore a little more and I get to experience a lot of wonderful things that I wouldn’t be able to try otherwise.

However, there is this little nagging part of me that feels an intense sorrow over not having lived up to my potential.

navy intelligence

In high school, I was in Navy ROTC and absolutely loved it. I was convinced that I wanted to join the Navy as an Intelligence Officer. Then, in my senior year, I became pregnant and my focus shifted to making sure that I could juggle my school work, full-time job and pregnancy with a clear head. I gained a lot of weight – something that I haven’t really had a chance to completely shake off – and was never able to join the Navy because I am still overweight.

As time has passed, I’ve become a single mother and full-time custodial parent. Joining the Navy now would mean that I would be gone for at least 6 months; my son would need to live with his father and I would need to quit my job – would the benefits really outweigh the cons? I decided to shelve that dream and tuck it away to a place that I know I’ll never reach.

Stem Cell Research

After I gave birth, I decided to go to college. Since my Elementary days, I have had an intense interest in all sorts of life sciences, especially microbiology. I decided then that my future was in Stem Cell Research. The new technology was a hotly debated topic in politics at the time and I felt that eventually the tides would change – that the United States would realize it’s error in banning stem cell research and that life-changing technologies and treatments would be possible with the hard work and dedication of stem cell researchers.

The caveat: I am absolutely horrible at math. I knew that my Microbiology major would require a lot of math courses, so I decided to continue the course and learn the math as I went.

Bad idea. My first semester of remedial Algebra was stressful to say the least – algebraic equations seemed to dance on their pages, mocking my stupidity. I quit – I took a look at my abilities and realized that I was never going to understand math and that if I wanted to be any good at my job, math was going to be a major aspect of that.

philosophy degree

I changed my major to Philosophy. I was happy in that major, spending two whole years studying Socrates, Plato, Jorge Luis Borges, Descartes and countless other thinkers before me. I really enjoyed these years and felt that I was actually studying something worthwhile.

Then I realized: what am I going to do with a Philosophy major? I spent some time talking to a few Philosophy major graduates who hadn’t found jobs long after their caps and gowns had been stowed away. The few careers that could take off with a Philosophy degree are in law or in Professorship.

I had the crazy idea that I would create a career of my own – I wanted to become an expert in a form of philosophy / psychology / clinical / religious study called Theology Psychology. Studies continued, but my son’s father decided that we should all move to Clovis, NM – well over 450 miles from my home town. I would not be able to continue my studies there or in the surrounding cities – and so it was there that my dream of becoming a Philosophy Professor or expert in Theology Psychology died.

Four years later, I decided that my future was dim in Clovis. Although I met many good friends there, the most I would be able to do with my life was to be a call center employee.

This was not going to be my life. As much as I liked working in technical support, this was not something that I could see myself doing for the next 30 years of my life. The time had come for me to to return to El Paso on my own.

I came back to El Paso a single mother and I vastly underestimated the financial strains that I would experience. When I returned, I enrolled back into college and found myself a job working for a stock brokerage. The collapse of the Greek bank system, the mortgage crisis and bank bailouts soon contributed to my company laying off over 150 employees. I found myself broke and unable to care for myself or my son. My car was repossessed a few months after, having been unable to pay for it. Those were some rough times – I wrote a blog post about it explaining the situation much more in depth.

Things got to the point to where I had to send my son to live with his father during which time I would get ‘back on my feet’. It was during this time that my actions shaped where I am today. ‘

work

I found a great job and spent my free time writing articles for free for numerous publications – I built connections and added items to my resume all at once. It was through these experiences and connections that I landed the fantastic job that I have now, handling Social Media and Multimedia for Destination El Paso.

That little monster stays perched on my shoulder, though. Constantly whispering “What now?” or “What’s next?” or “Is this what you will do for the rest of your life?”

I don’t have the answers to any of those questions. That’s life, I suppose – a neverending, meandering maze full of unexpected twists and turns. For now, I am embracing what I do now – social media – and learning to become better at my profession.

It would be an interesting thing to look back on this post 5 years from now…