Quarter Life Crisis – Part 1

November 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

I think I’m in the middle of a full-blown quarter life crisis. The good news is, it’s a legitimate stage of development in life, so at least my confusion, anxiety, and self-doubt have a name. Let me explain how I came to this realization.

This morning, I woke up to an email from a friend asking, for curiosity’s sake, would I still leave the Navy if I had never met my husband and was single? The answer is yes. The Navy has been good to me, but it has served it’s purpose and I’m ready to move on. OK, I’ve finally come to terms with that decision… but her email got me thinking about how being married is going to affect where I go from here. With that already in mind, I read an interesting post on one of my favorite blogs which raised some important questions about marriage, sacrifice, and choices. (It said MUCH more than that, I’m summarizing big time.) This really got me thinking. If I were a single lady, I would be free to knock out my Master’s degree at a school of my choosing, and on my own timeline. However, I’m part of a team now, and my decisions no longer affect just me. Since I have a husband that I’m quite fond of, I choose to live together with him as a family wherever he is stationed… but that could very well mean the school I wind up in isn’t my top choice. Or, grad school may not be an option at all. On the one hand, I feel like it’s very grown up of me to accept that I will not be able to do things my way all of the time anymore… but I’m an independent, type-A kind of woman, and that’s a tough pill for me to swallow! By accepting the possibility that my own plans and dreams might not occur in the way and in the timeframe I would like, am I being mature? I feel like I’m trying to talk myself into being OK with sacrificing a little piece of my dream, and I’m struggling with it.

So what will I do when I leave active duty, if I’m not able to go to grad school right away? I imagine I’ll have a job very similar to the one I have now; doing finance for the government, only as a civilian. I’ve already started discussing it with my COC. It’s a very practical, logical move on my part, and let’s be honest… in this economy, it would be stupid of me to walk away from that kind of job opportunity. But… is it what I’ve always imagined myself doing? Do I feel passionate about my work? Does it fulfill me? Not really. So the question is, if I choose to do what’s practical now, will I have a chance to do what I really want to later? I like to imagine I will, but I’m secretly afraid… you know how way leads on to way, and before you know it you’ve gone down a path and can’t retrace your steps.  I’m worried that allowing my dreams to temporarily take a back seat is the beginning of their undoing… what if the time/place/resources never align while I’m following my husband’s career? Another huge factor to consider is the question of kids… something I’ll try to tackle in Part 2 of this post. I’m sufficiently freaked out for one day.

§ 2 Responses to Quarter Life Crisis – Part 1

  • Marilyn says:

    Some things never change! Your thought process is somewhat familiar to what I went through many years ago. Yes, you are talking yourself into being ok with the give and take which, by the way, is part of any marriage, military or not. That’s not a bad thing.
    Guess what? The time will come that your husband will do exactly the same thing for you.

    And if your plan doesn’t come to fruition as imagined, that is OK too, because you may find yourself living a life that you NEVER could have planned.

    That’s exactly what happened to me! Do you think I would have ever lived in Africa, not once but twice, thanks to the Navy?! Would I have met all those great folks who are still on our Christmas card list years later? I doubt that my individual experiences would have been quite as enriching. I know four young adults (yes, our kids)who had some pretty cool opportunities and are quite well-rounded because of their change to travel and live in different cultures.

    In recently reconnecting with my high school classmates (from an all girls’ high school), I’ve been so impressed at the variety of their career directions in the 40 years since graduation. We’ve all had some pretty interesting life experiences for any number of reasons. I’ve been especially interested in talking to classmates who, like myself, are on our second, third or more career path and still on the road to discovery. Our reunion tag line was “Looking forward to the future” and that is so true in more ways than one!
    So, Kelsey, as one of my bosses used to say, “Go with the flow!” It worked for me!

  • Frenchie says:

    D’accord Marilyn! “Man plans, God laughs.” ~yiddish proverb

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