I think the quarter life crisis is more common than we think. And even if it does happen around the 25-year mark, it certainly isn’t a one day—or even a one year, type of deal. Every Saturday morning I wake up in my 400 square foot apartment, split between three people, and I panic.
The walls of the city start to crash in on me and suddenly I feel short of breath. Do I like my career? Do I love my career? Do I like living in this overpriced, filthy shithole? But then again, what’s better than the buzz of the city around the holidays? And where else can you find the variety in culture? I waver back and forth while I frantically clean my apartment, looking for more space to breathe. I just need space to breathe. I need space and friendships that are true. I need space to foster true friendships. I need air. Cue exhaustion. It’s 11:12 in the morning.
Here in Manhattan, we are the movers and shakers. We live life to the hilt because we are deathly afraid of standing still. We are afraid of complacency. We will not settle until we are great, until we have great careers, great amounts of wealth, great relationships, great sex, great attention. We’ve all come to the same place to find the same things, none of us willing to settle for the things we’ve found. We’ve come to the most challenging city in America so that we can say we put our blood, sweat, and tears into the life we have. None of us willing to settle, none of us finding anything to settle for.
I often think about life outside the city. Cars and space, reasonably priced food, and the way a fresh mowed lawn smells. On Saturday mornings like this one, I think that by the end of the week I’ll be gone. The things that keep me alive are not here among the concrete. The things that sustain my existence are the ocean breeze, the sun on my face and sweet smell of the barbeque mixing with the sound of good friends mingling.
The hardest part about leaving the city is the idea of quitting. If I quit Manhattan, then I become a quitter. And when you’re a mover and a shaker, you’re not a quitter. To quit anything is bad form. I think about the glamorous image living in Manhattan, (land of Carrie Bradshaw) portrays to people—the fabulous dinners, the trendy drinks, the socialite sexiness. If I were to toss in the towel on living here, am I taking myself out of the race for success? I’m too competitive for that and I’ve certainly come too far. But man-oh-man…one more weekend filled with meaningless bar banter and pretentious assholes and I very well could up and, dare I say it, finally leave?
And so, I panic. Am I wasting the best years of my life in a place I’m not completely happy with, among others who are also not completely happy? But if I leave, will I find true happiness? And so the tug-o-war continues. I love my career but I often wonder if it’s worth living in a place I hardly like.
What about the quote that says happiness is a way of travel, not a destination? Whoever said that clearly didn’t live in Manhattan.