Note: my friend Rex and I like to exchange “letters in an email” and the subject line here was: I need help. I wrote and sent this email on October 11, 2011. I recently found it in my archives and chuckled at how much–and how little–can change in a year. I’ve inserted links in of all the things I actually did manage to do, but other than that, I left the email untouched. I love that New York City wasn’t even on the horizon at this point, and that so much of this still resonates with me: I still don’t know what I want to do next and I’m still overwhelmed by the options.
What am I doing with my life? What do I want to do with my life? Why don’t I know what I want to do with my life? I fear I am in the middle of a quarter-life crisis, my friend.
I know what I am doing until December 17, although, as with everything, that’s all negotiable. One more week of work, one glorious week in Melbourne without work, one week at the Great Barrier Reef
, one week in Hawaii, two weeks camping in the Outback
. The fact that I have volunteered to go camping, to pay big bucks to live without outlets and modern comforts (namely, my straightener) is the first sign that I’m in a quarter-life crisis.
After that, the world is my oyster. As much as I love oysters, I feel like I’m at the Cheesecake Factory when what I really need is a little In & Out. Pages and pages of menus, unlimited options, so many countries and cities and life experiences when what I really need is to just be able to choose from A, B or C, no substitutions allowed.
Why must I be the only girl who travels halfway across the world–TWICE–and doesn’t have anyone fall hopelessly in love with her? Don’t you always hear about these couples–jeez, you, for example–who find love on the other side of the world and thus change all their life plans to be with their beloved on some deserted island? Why must I be so damn independent and young and hopelessly unromantic?
The way I see it, I have a few options:
a) Go to Southeast Asia
, as I always planned to do post-Australia. Live somewhere cheap where I can stuff myself sick of Pad Thai and attempt to get a freelance writing career off the ground. The problem with this plan is that it terrifies me. Firstly, Asia is so far out of my comfort zone, it’s unreal
. I hate being lame and saying that I’m scared to do it by myself, but honestly, I’m scared to do it by myself. The whole attempting to actually BE a writer–like, a real one who has her name in ink on a printed page and who can write it as her profession on her tax return–is also scary enough that I want to just give up already.
b) Do a Working Holiday in New Zealand. It’s pretty there. I could work as a waitress. I could cross bungee jumping off my bucket list. They speak English, and it would be cheap and easy to get there.
c) Move home.
I miss home. I am not someone who left because I didn’t want to be there
. I have waves of overwhelming guilt, where I wonder where the line is between being independent and being selfish–this is generally induced after talking to Mimi
. I looked up plane flights back to SF, searched jobs in Silicon Valley for the first time last night. Maybe it’s time to move to the city. There are so many options in San Francisco: go back into PR, write and waitress, sell garlic pretzels at Farmers Markets, become a flight attendant. Or go to Sacramento and take over the family business: lame, I know, but it would mean a heck of a lot of vacation days.
d) Go back to Nice. God, I miss Europe. I miss being a train ride away from an entirely different country. I miss just how beautiful the Mediterranean is. I miss speaking French and pretending to be fashionable and eating gelato in a sunny courtyard.
e) Move to Central or South America. I really want to learn Spanish, dude. However, I don’t know if I could handle the laid-back attitude to being on time, and I fear they might try to teach me to dance.
f) Yoga school in India. Mostly because I would love to tell everyone who knew me in high school that I am now a yoga teacher, just to see the shock on their face. And I would like to rub it in Mr. Fresques’ face for giving me a B+ in yoga senior year.
g) I could do this all freaking night.
I want to go sailing in Croatia
, and meet Amanda in Boston and road trip across the USA
, and eat coconuts on some deserted beach in French Polynesia. I want to go to Morocco and South Africa and Dubai. I want to do all of this without touching my savings account, and I don’t want to buy expensive plane tickets, and I don’t want to go to romantic places or dangerous places by myself. I want someone else to decide my fate for me, but, not really, because inevitably, I’ll want to do the opposite of whatever they tell me what to do.
(p.s. this was written sincerely as a letter to you, but I’m tempted to put it up as a post on my site. So that might happen, mostly because I wrote this instead of writing anything productive this evening.)