First of all, thanks so much for the feedback about going public (or not). I think I'm going to follow the line of logic that I can always tell people about it later, but can't exactly take it back once it's out there... so for now, it's just me and you, cyber-friends!
Moving on, I was at a work-related conference recently and attended a session on navigating the "Quarter Life Crisis." The description said that the quarter life crisis happens in your mid 20's to mid 30's and involves pressure to have "it" all figured out. I usually don't go to sessions like this because they are geared to my personal life a bit more than my actual job, but I decided to be selfish and check this one out.
According to this presentation, there are four stages to a quarter life crisis. And I think I'm only in the first stage.
Stage One - feel "locked in" or "trapped" by previous life choices (i.e. career, job, house, partner, etc.)
Stage Two - feel a little more empowered to make a change. Don't feel so trapped any more, and have the notion that you MUST get out
Stage Three - the trial and error separation. You get out of that previous trap in stage one.
Stage Four - rebuild your life, making new commitments that are truer to who you are.
I have been feeling very "trapped" lately, no doubt about it. This feeling is rather pervasive in my life - I feel trapped in my job (is this really where I should be right now?), my job field (did I make a mistake when I got this degree? Should I be in a different sector altogether?), and lately my location (we have a house and jobs here... does that mean I'm stuck in this city forever? I'm not sure I like living here!).
So yeah. Classic Stage One, wouldn't you think?
But as I listened to the presentation, I (of course) kept thinking about my fertility struggles. Because what I feel MOST trapped about is my inability to have children. Compared to any other feelings of being locked in or stuck, infertility pretty much takes the cake. And that got me to thinking. Maybe those feelings of being trapped in my job, field, and city are just by-products of the root of the problem - infertility.
Here's the part where I really start to over-analyze myself.
If infertility were something I could CONTROL to make a change, like most peoples' stage one culprits (i.e. relationships, jobs, location, etc.), then I sure as heck would make a change and move on and rebuild my life. But hey guess what. I'm not in control. And despite my best efforts, it's not changing.
So maybe I am projecting this trapped feeling into areas of my life that I CAN control. Like my job, my field, and my city. My "trapped" feeling from infertility has overflowed its proper compartment in my brain and has spilled into other areas more manageable, like my job.
I had a long conversation with a friend this week about my need for control and how frustrated I am that my need is not being met. And how I have started to over-control other areas of my life to make up for this lack of control. For example, I am on a strict gluten free diet. I have said goodbye to pizza, beer, sandwiches and nearly every delicious gluten-filled cake, brownie and pie. This is crazy, because I usually have no food willpower whatsoever. But now: my diet is something I can control, so I do. I have been running longer, faster, harder and better than ever before. Because I can CONTROL whether or not I park my butt on the couch or hit the pavement.
I left that conference session feeling depressed but satisfied. I enjoyed the presentation. The room was completely overfilled with people around my age (within a decade). People filled every seat and open spot on the ground, with lots more standing at the back. The good news: I'm not alone. These people might not all be battling infertility, but they are battling something. Everyone has their own crap.
The bad news: I feel as trapped as ever. Maybe even more so, because I'm realizing that perhaps I was tricking myself into thinking my entrapment (yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not the correct way to use that word) was fixable. And if it all boils down to infertility: it's just not.
So I'm not sure if I'm really going through a "quarter life crisis" or just a "fertility crisis," but maybe it doesn't matter what you call it. I'm just trying to figure out what's happening in my head lately.
But I am curious - have any of you had your own quarter life crisis (that fits the model or otherwise?)? What happened? Did you make it through and are you better for it? Do tell!