This I Believe

May - Arcadia, California
Entered on May 5, 2007

I call it a “Quarter Century Crisis.” This is a strange phenomenon which occurs usually after college graduation when entering the work force – transitioning into becoming a real adult with real responsibilities. This is when all that you thought you knew of yourself and aspired to be takes a sudden turn and you begin to reexamine everything – past, present, and future.

Like most overachievers in school, I envisioned myself in a three-piece suit while climbing the corporate ladder. A couple of years later I decided that successfully pioneering big business ventures would be my passion. Regardless of the route, the end goal was to accumulate wealth and prestige, and the more the merrier. After all, as a minority woman in a male dominated society, I had a lot to prove. But soon after having a little taste of the vicious business world and meeting the go-getting sharks which inhabit it, I started to challenge all this is presumed valuable and important.

Now, 25 years old and having moved to the hustling and bustling City of Angeles, I have encountered so many people with deep passions and desires. Aspiring actors, persevering entrepreneurs, and number-driven sales reps who are all after the same thing – money, power, respect. I hear their stories and see the expensive price they pay for it. I watch from the sidelines as they sacrifice their time, engage in unhealthy relationships, tolerate the intolerable, compromise their morals, and many times put first things last and last things first to obtain their goals. Even when they are so close to reaching their goal (because it’s always at arm’s distance), I hear their continued complaints of discontent. It seems like they are smacked with this thing called “irony” when they realize that the things they thought they wanted most really weren’t all that they were cracked up to be.

But really, I only have the authority to question the origins of my personal wants and desires: Did I make society’s default goals to be my own with the presumption that accomplishing it will truly make me happy? Yes! I am guilty of it. I have always, and still do, admire the movers and shakers of the world. But now, instead of admiring them for WHAT they have done or achieved, I admire them for WHY they chose to strive for it. Is it for pride, fame, or frivolous spending? Or perhaps it is for their quest for accomplishment or making a positive difference in society? I believe the latter are examples of real goals that will give me true satisfaction and worth the price that I end up paying. I am still trying to sort out what I want out of life. But going through a “quarter century crisis” made me look introspectively, and I hope to continue to do so in attempts of avoiding the seemingly inevitable “mid-life crisis.”