life

Journeying Through a Quarter-Life Crisis

Journeying Through a Quarter-Life Crisis - The Palmetto PeachesWarning if you came here looking for answers, I’m sorry. I have no solutions. I’m 11 days away from turning 27 and I’m no expert on navigating quarter-life crises — or life for that matter. What I can do is share my experience.

Earlier this year, on a cool Thursday morning at work, I closed my office door as I was in the midst of a panic attack. Something in the email I just read made me flash forward and I saw myself sitting at the same desk in five years, doing the same thing. I couldn’t catch my breath, my mind was racing and I started to cry. I felt stuck. I let myself get all of that emotion out and then I started breathing deep relaxing breaths like they teach you in yoga, settled my mind, fixed my makeup – thank god my mascara was waterproof – and responded to the email. However, I wondered if this was the onset of my quarter-life crisis?

Quarter-Life Crisis — It’s a Real Thing

A Google search for quarter-life crisis delivers 7,720,000 results. That’s right over 7 million results. A Harvard Business Review article outlined the four typical stages:

  • Stage 1 – The first stage is a feeling of being trapped or locked into a commitment. This commitment could be a job, a relationship, or social group.
  • Stage 2 –  The second stage occurs as people begin to separate themselves mentally and/or physically from the commitment that is making them feel trapped.
  • Stage 3 – In this stage people really try to explore new options. This can involve quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making them feel trapped.
  • Stage 4 – This is the rebuilding stage. This is the time when you have more clarity in life and are more motivated to pursue the things you want.

As I clicked through dozens of articles, I became less concerned. Personally, this seemed less like a crisis and more of a battle against complacency. Now I’m not saying this isn’t a real thing. I completely understand people going through this cycle of stages. Hello, my panic attack at work clearly fits the parameters of stage 1. However, I’ve always been one to set goals. I’ve come to realize that sometimes my deadlines for them are sometimes a little unrealistic. While I may not have achieved everything I want right now, I have achieved a lot.  My breakdown was really a moment of awareness that I can do better and there is nothing wrong with that.

I’m going to stop calling this a crisis and just label it a transition.

Slowly, but surely, I’ll start feeling less like I’m pretending to be an adult and more like I actually am. I hope the same happens for anyone else journeying through a quarter-life transition.

 

Do you think the quarter-life crisis is a real thing? Are you going through it  now or have you been though it? Leave your thoughts and any advice below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

 

5 Ways to Move Forward After Failure

“We should hang out more! Let me know when you’re back in town!”

How did something so endearing make me feel so awkward?

I was already back “in town” from Atlanta, and I’d been back for a year. That’s how.

Most highschool graduates pursue college or work as a way to move away from home. My motivation to attend college didn’t kick in until the summer before my senior year. After living with my dad for a school year, I packed enough things for a weekend and never returned. All of my clothes and photo albums were going to stay there…without me. With very little privacy and even less space, I was happy to be reunited with my sister. But reality reappeared when  I started to see what life would be like if I didn’t start supporting myself: dramatic and depressing.

5 Ways to Move Forward After Failure -- The Palmetto Peaches

In my mind, college was the only realistic way out. I took my SATs in October of my senior year, and didn’t officially choose a college until April 2016. Needless to say, I had a late start.

This was my first poorly planned escape, but it wouldn’t be my last…

Fast forward 8 years later. To avoid confusing anyone reading this, and myself while writing, here’s a timeline.

August 2014

  • Hit my version of rock bottom in Charleston, and took a hiatus in Columbia.

September 2014

  • Visited Donni in Atlanta, and started applying for jobs after falling in love with the Food Truck Park.
  • Applied and interviewed for jobs. (FYI: I did 4 rounds of interviews with one company, and they didn’t have the decency to tell me I didn’t get the job. No email. No text. No nothing.)

November 2014

  • Moved to Atlanta with $11, and a plan that included sketchy social media clients.
  • Continued applying and interviewing for jobs.

December 2014

  • Took on a new client who wanted instant results. I knew our styles weren’t a good match, but it paid my rent.
  • Settled and stopped applying for jobs.

January 2015

  • Joined the 27 Club.
  • Finally started making enough dough to pay the bills and have a little fun. Life is great!

February 2015

  • Ended freelance contract with a client I worked with for over year. Well, I assumed it ended. He stopped responding to my calls, texts and emails. Oh yeah, and he stopped paying me.

March 2015

  • Doesn’t renew 3-month contract with “get rich quick” client. Another client abruptly ends contract due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
  • Started accepting monetary and food donations from my sisters.
  • Initiated panic mode.
  • Began applying for jobs again.

April 2015

  • Gets hired at pizza place in hopes of being able to pay April and May’s rent.
  • Pizza place catches on fire the day before my first official shift, and has to close for 2 weeks.

May 2015

  • Moved back to Charleston with $9.

Clearly, I was the problem. ? Those clients did what I allowed them to do. Lesson learned. Dwelling on my series of unfortunate events, reminded me of one very important thing: no matter how many people contributed to my failed attempts to in life–I’m responsible for myself.

5 Ways to Move Forward After Failure

(Also known as: 5 ways to avoid living an unnecessary stressful life like Ace)

1. Cut the pity party short. Staying in your feelings for too long can result in rapid weight gain and increased irritability–so I’ve heard.
2. Save money. Although your pity party may involve a lot of Netflix and hiding from human interaction, it may also involve wild nights out and retail therapy. Ballin’ on a budget is a major key. Before you know it, a year will go by and you’ll start calculating all the dinner dates you should’ve skipped to make a down payment on an apartment.
3. Make a plan, and write it down. I (kind of) had a plan after leaving Atlanta, but it relied too much on other people’s actions. Ask yourself: How am I going to make my next move less stressful? What needs to be done to avoid this crap from happening again? Once you find the answers, set an action plan. Examples: Submit 10 applications per week. Save $100 per month.
4. Connect. Reach out to old friends who put you in good spirits or inspire you…not the ones who contribute to you going backwards.
5. Hang in there. It may not feel like it at the time, but things could always be worse. Just try to stay positive while working towards those goals.

Has life thrown a few curveballs your way? What did you do to move forward?

Ace Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Spring Cleaning With Ace

Donni wrote a post about Spring Cleaning her life, and included a to-do list. I started writing my own list shortly after that, but never published it. So I’m back…with updates!

Ace’s Spring Cleaning To-Do List

1. Become financially secure. A wise man named Meek Mill said, “The money turned the noodles into pasta”. I’m just trying to graduate from Oodles of Noodles to Olive Garden fettuccine. Although money doesn’t buy happiness–it pays my rent, feeds my body, puts clothes on my back and allows me to type this post via Xfinity WiFi. Those things make it easier for me to sleep at night, and sleep makes me happy. You know what else makes me happy? Hazelnut coffee. How do I get hazelnut coffee? I pay for it with money. No shade to myself, but I’m super basic. I don’t care about brands or labels, and I’d rather spend money on food than clothes–so it’s not about living a luxurious lifestyle. It’s about easing my mind. Don’t let my hippie vibes fool you, because unfortunately, I’m a worrier and a planner, which is why my list is beginning with making more money. [Update: I’ve been on a few interviews and will start a new job with real co-workers next week!]

2. Reduce my anxiety with daily meditation. I just finished Oprah and Deepak’s “Manifesting True Success” 3 week meditation challenge. If you haven’t tried meditating, I STRONGLY suggest it. You’ll be surprised how helpful 20 minutes of quiet time can be. That’s right, 20 minutes of silence with your thoughts. My goal is to mediate before my morning coffee and right before bed.
Spring Cleaning With Ace--The Palmetto Peaches

3. Make healthier choices. Is it best for me to eat PB & J sandwiches and Ramen all the time? NO. Can I afford fresh vegetables, fancy ass chicken and gluten-free water (I probably made that up) everyday? NO. On top of that, I have a crazy sweet tooth, and I rarely ever have just one alcoholic beverage–so I’m going to start slow with changing those things. I won’t buy Sour Patch Kids every time I go to the store, and I….ok, I don’t have a solution for alcohol consumption yet. Work with me people. Healthy food maybe pricey, but physical activity and portion control are free–so I will try to keep that in mind.  [Update: I have twerk sessions in my room on the days I don’t go for a 3 mile walk. Plus, the new gig will cause me to be on my feet and walking for at least 5 hours per shift. I’ve also been aiming to drink at least 64 oz of water everyday.]

4. Read a book. I really don’t know when I stopped reading on a regular basis. Maybe after the Accelerated Reader program ended, and I no longer got prizes for finishing Babysitter’s Club and American Girl books. Even though I don’t read as much as I should, I do admit that a good book or poem sparks my creative energy. It’s also a sweet escape from my own issues. [Update: I’m almost done with Chaka Khan’s autobiography, “Through the Fire”–an autographed copy, btw. I’m a sucker for bio-pics, so I loved being able to imagine how I think her life adventures really happened.]

5. Let people go. I do this thing where I want to keep people in my life exactly the way they entered it. It could be because I’ve lost so many loved ones, or because of my Middle Child Syndrome. It could also be because I hate feeling like I was stupid enough to not see a sad ending coming–ya know, because I’m psychic. (FYI, I also do this thing where I diagnose myself). You’ve probably heard the saying “people come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime”. Personally, I like to know right away a person’s purpose in my life, but it doesn’t work that way. My auntie (in my head) Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them the first time”. The signs are usually always there, but I’m a classic, stubborn Capricorn. The goal is to not think about another person’s purpose so much that it distract’s me from my own. I’ll deal with any bumps in the road when they appear–not before I even have a chance to get to them.

Inch by inch, y’all. Inch by inch.

Have you written your own Spring Cleaning To-Do List? Share it with me by commenting below!

Ace--The Palmetto Peaches

2014 Was Drunk

“Go home, 2014, you’re drunk.” Me, everyday last year.

My 2014 was drunk. I’m not talking about that good, fuzzy wine-drunk–I’m talking having a $75 tab on $1 vodka night drunk. This time last year, I was sleeping on my sisters’ couches. After a series of unfortunate events, my cute bachelorette pad in Downtown, Charleston was no more. It didn’t burn down or anything. I was just broke. Whenever I say I’m “broke” my aunt chimes in with some inspirational speech about how being broke or broken refers to losing my spirit, heart and mind. I didn’t lose those things in 2014, but I felt like I was damn close to it.

My drive, my passion, my self-confidence– all of it was packed up in plastic bins and cardboard boxes, right next to my high school yearbooks and photo albums. As much as I’d love to blame the clients who weren’t paying me what I was worth, or the cold weather that made me never want to get out of bed–I can’t. I settled. I got comfortable. I was not myself. I kept a pretty decent poker face though. (Nope, that’s not why the call me Ace.)

Photo Credit: Jennine Jacob

Photo Credit: Jennine Jacob

Lately I’ve been keeping it real with myself. Everything that is happening or already happened, is a result of MY thoughts and actions. My high school Global Studies teacher, Mr. Orvin, told us we could either adapt, move on or go extinct. Adapting aka settling is where I went wrong, and I have too much to accomplish before I go extinct, aka give up–so moving on is my best bet.

I’m not completely where I want to be yet, but 2015 is already better. I’m in a new city, with my own space, working on something I’m excited about. I have a long list of things to not do this year, but instead of dwelling on them–I’ll focus on the things I want to do and achieve.

  1. Meet the Queen Bey. I’d be okay with making eye contact with her, or just caressing her leg–whichever comes first.
  2. Be present. I’m a Capricorn. I’m a worrier. I’m a planner. I get it, whatever. And although those are the things that make me who I am, they can be annoying. I’m trying (like really trying y’all) to not dwell too much on the past, and to avoid trying to fix something that isn’t even broken yet.
  3. Gain and maintain financial stability. Bruh, I am tired of being the friend with the flask in her purse, not because she’s a lush, but because she’s on a TIGHT budget.
  4. Work for MYSELF 100%. I’m still working on my entrepreneurial spirit, but Lord knows I’m tired of the freelance #StrugLife.
  5. Visit 5 cities or states I’ve never been to. My list so far: Savannah, GA; Denver, Colorado…Yeah, that’s it.
  6. Master meditation. When I’m going through it, Oprah and Deepak are my BFFs. I live for their free guided meditation challenges. My goal is to be able to do it on my own.
  7. Fit all my clothes the way I did in 2011. I lost 40lb in 2011 *flips hair*. But I’m pretty sure I gained like 30 in depressing ass 2014.

So far, 2015 is giving me that fuzzy, wine-drunk vibe. I’ll keep you posted if I’m hung over or not. Was your 2014 drunk like mine? What are your goals for 2015? Comment below or share them with me on Twitter @TheAceAlexa!

acesiggy