Quarterlife Crisis Bucket List

Planning for my trip and feeling a little bit stuck. Looking back at a bucket list I made about 3-4 years ago for inspiration…

As you may know, I have really struggled the past couple of years in regards to what I want to be, do, in my twenties.  I graduated from college in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and from there I worked at a residential treatment facility.  The whole time I was there I felt “stuck”.  I yearned for adventure, but I also wanted stability.  I wanted to follow my dreams, but I had to reassess those dreams and figure out if I still wanted, for instance, to be a famous broadway performer.  Here I am now, unemployed, and finally ready to take action.  I have thought and thought and overthought, reflected on my past, and gotten to know myself pretty well.  I am mentally prepared for the adventure that awaits.  A coworker at the treatment facility once mentioned while leading a group that he had made a bucket list and had achieved most of the items on that list.  He said he was surprised at how do-able it was.  Although that was a couple months ago, I remember it and he inspired me to make my own sort of bucket list.  Things I hope to accomplish before 30 (I just turned 26 in May): – Get a book published. – Hike through Switzerland and Austria. – Salsa, buy a woven item, and hike a rainforest in South America somewhere. – Become fluent in Spanish (currently at an intermediate, conversational level). – See (2) big rock concerts. – See (2) broadway musicals. – Become part of a social/humanitarian/”make a difference” sort of group. – Learn to cook (1) exquisite dish. – Go ice-skating at Christmastime at Rockefellar Center. – Recite a poem at a snap-clap open mic night. – Learn to play a few fun songs on guitar and perform/sing them with disadvantaged children/people. – Take a roadtrip/photo tour out West via Route 66. There.  Now I can be at peace.  I have finally made a concrete plan and will now have a sense of purpose, rather than sit here paralyzed.  When I begin to have doubts, I’m going to tell myself to think positive, and believe that these things are achievable.  These are not lofty goals. I also made a list of what I hope to achieve after 30: – Kayak in Alaska – African safari – Visit Thailand – Hike to a waterfall in Hawaii – Become a teacher – Work in an orphanage – Get married – Have children – Publish a couple more books I’ve also made a list of what will remain unfulfilled dreams.  I accept that I will never be: – Famous actress (doesn’t everybody have that dream? could not handle the ruthless competition and the loss of personal life that comes with fame) – Broadway performer (my voice is mediocre and i simply don’t have the energy for it) – Part of a traveling theater troupe (I’ve realized that it sounds fun, but would not be fulfilling for me) There.  These next few years will be an adventure, and I will keep you posted along my merry way!  Cheers! (I am not British, just a pretentious moment)

Went to the beach with Silvia and Cynthia this morning.  We got rained on and came back to the apartment.  I was grouchy and stayed in my room while waiting for the shower.  Worked at the cafe from 4 to 11.  Read The Price of Salt on my breaks.  Finished it on the train.  The happy ending made me emotional.  Came home and took a cool shower.  Felt good physically but mentally was preoccupied with fears about my future.  After drying off and putting on pajamas the fears shrunk away when I reminded myself to be confident and change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Slept in until 9:30 and laid in bed most of the day.  Waited for burst of energy that never came so forced myself to get up and take a shower around 3:00.  Early evening met trans cafe coworker at Cheesies on Belmont.  Was too busy there so we went to Chipotle then to Theater Wit for a production of All’s Well That Ends Well.  Stopped at the grocery store on the way home and got peaches, strawberries, bananas, greek yogurt and english breakfast tea.  Now I’m home in bed and going to fall asleep reading The Price of Salt, a lesbian romance that was recently made into a movie starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.  Tomorrow I have the day off and am going to the beach.  Hope it’s good kite flying weather.

I’m 30 now and for some reason it feels better than 29.  I feel young, like I’m starting fresh.  For my birthday I ended up flying a kite at the beach and then going out for a burger with Alex.  I decided not to do anything epic because I want to save my money for the adventures I will be having later this year.  I want to travel this summer but I’m beginning to think it makes more sense to wait until August when I have enough money saved to come back and have enough funds to get resettled without having to depend on anyone else.  A friend from the cafe recommended waiting until after my brother’s wedding this fall (was going to go before and be back before the wedding) so that if I decide to stay overseas for a longer time than planned then I’ll have nothing holding me back. Maybe I’ll work overseas.  But then there’s theater to consider.  I want to audition or perform in some capacity and make it a part of my life, and possibly a career.  There’s also writing to consider but I can do that anywhere.  I guess I could do theater anywhere too.  Anyway I need to stop talking about it and DO something about it but don’t know where to begin. I think I need to talk to people because I’m lost when I try to plan my life.

On Saturday I put my two weeks notice in at the cafe.  I mentally struggled before putting the notice in because I’ve made friends at the cafe and I like the neighborhood I live in now so I’ve been imagining staying here and having a memorable summer in Chicago with beach volleyball and board/video game nights and have been considering the possibility that sometimes it can take a year and a half to fall in love with a city.  Maybe the reason I haven’t fallen in love with it is because up until now I haven’t made connections here.  But I connect so well with the people at the cafe.  One of the gay guys (not a trans one to avoid confusion) is planning on having a game night with a few of us at his apartment soon and that’s exactly the kind of way I like to spend a Saturday night.  May 30 will be my last day there and May 31 will be my last day in the apartment.  My last day at the school is June 9 so for that week I’m going to stay in a hostel.

My plan is to move back to Michigan for the summer.  I’m going to stay with my parents and work with my dad at first while I figure out what I’m going to do. (Where I’ll travel, where I’ll work when I get back). I’m not going to be depressed like I was last summer at my parents.  I was broke and felt stuck and lost and undecided and full of regrets.  I’m nervous that will happen again and I will continue to not leave the house and will feel stuck and have no love life or social life because I won’t have a car to take me out of the small town to places where there are lesbians.  I won’t let it happen though.  I WILL NOT LET IT HAPPEN! What do I do?  Buy a car and hold off traveling?  By the end of June I will have $4000 saved and I’m comfortable traveling with about $3000.  Maybe I need to travel with less?  Anyway, I need to talk to other people who’ve done it and plan smart and that will eliminate all of the worries.  Regardless I am proud of myself for taking the what seemed like impossible step back in February toward doing what I had to do (get a second job) in order to be able to travel this year.  I am thankful that I found a job at a great place, too.

Financially I have done great in Chicago.  I owe a lot of it to answered prayers because I felt out of control and completely dependent on something bigger to help me survive.  I worked hard and trusted that I would be okay. I moved here with $3200 a year and a half ago with no job and within a couple of months found a job making 25,000 a year with benefits doing something I believe in.  I’ve been paying off debt and it’s gone down I think by about 4000 or 5000.  A year and a half later I’m moving back to where I came from with more money I had when I left.

HOWEVER, my spirit is suffering.  It’s been a dark and lonely period of my life and I’m transitioning out of that.  I’m unhappy and I know I need to focus on my soul now.  I need to create and love and listen to music.

I want to end on a positive note so I’m going to share something positive that happened recently.  The night after my 30th birthday I went back to the beach to fly my new kite.  I’d had an unsuccessful time getting it in the air the day before but on the night after my 30th I happened to run into a gust of wind and watched the kite rise higher and higher until it reached its full length.  I was so excited and experienced something like joy as I stood there in the moonlight with lightness in my chest and a feeling of awe at the wonder of aerodynamics.  I took it as a sign that everything will be okay and I will not have a nervous breakdown or lifelong depression about things I missed out on in my twenties.

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