The Real Quarter-Life Crisis

October 2010

It's four o'clock in the morning, and I can't sleep. Turning on my computer, I check out a few dating sites -- there isn't much to do at this time, especially when you live alone. I quickly sign off when I start to get messages saying, "How cum ur still up? Cum to me in Battersea xx" and "Morning Elo11, looking good. Are you awake?" I forgot that people can virtually see my presence on this particular site. Gross. Online dating is so weird; I never thought I'd be trying to meet someone this way.

Standing up, I switch on my lights and rearrange my body on my bed into work position. In the next hour, I think about another wave of career choices, look for a part-time nanny job (it seems that's all you can get with a Psychology degree) and weigh my options regarding new apartments. But wait, there's actually nothing I can afford. Nevermind.

My stomach starts to knot up and tears stream down my cheeks. My sadness increases with the realization that nothing seems to be going right in my life. I am beyond overwhelmed. Thoughts of frustration and questions live in my mind. They seem to have taken up a permanent home and more than anything, I want them to go away. I'm so sick of feeling lost and confused.

What do I want for my life? Certainly not this. I look around at the ugly light-colored Ikea furniture that the rental agency picked to decorate this apartment. I barely own anything in this room. It's not mine, not part of my life; it just encompasses it. All of this is temporary and unsettled -- fleeting. It has all been used before. I want a place to call my own. I want to be able to afford the dark-colored furniture. (Is it more expensive or something?!) I want an oven in my kitchen and a kitchen that isn't five feet from my bed. I want a washing machine, a television and bathtub.

I want a home where I don't have to listen to the guy above me stomp around the room early in the morning. I don't want to hear him pee when he gets home from work every day. Oh, except for Thursdays; he's off on Thursdays. I don't want vomit to fall onto my bed at one o'clock in the morning after he decides to throw up out the window. (I thought it was rain at first until I picked up my blanket and smelled it.)

And don't even get me started on my love life. I have scared off yet another man in my life (this one only lasted two weeks) and have no other prospects. My ex won't speak to me and has merely mailed my clothes back in a complete ball of mess. I don't know what I did to make him hate me. He didn't even write my last name on the address label -- all it said was "Emily." I guess I'm glad that everyone who has broken my heart, well, has since they weren't right for me anyway, but that doesn't mean I'm less lonely.

I want to find Him -- the one -- and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I've stood in front of it twice, but never went to the top. I decided almost 10 years ago that I would not take the magical ride up and look over the City of Light until I was with a man I loved. That seemed like the perfect scenario to me; little did I know I'd still be waiting.

As I blew out the candles on my cake at dinner (now eight hours ago), my wish was to find love this year. We'll see. I've made that wish every birthday since I can remember.

Hoping things get better soon.


Update: I decided to share this personal piece for those of you in that place of confusion and despair right now. Please know you're not alone and that it won't be like this forever. It's been four years since I wrote that letter to myself, and my life has completely changed. Ironically, I did meet my dream man online about nine months later, and we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower soon after. And when it comes to my career, I'm no longer a nanny but a proud business owner helping women around the world find happiness and make their own dreams come true. I promise, everything will get better. You are remarkable, and you will find your path. And if you need some help along the way, please get in touch at