A Quarter Life Crisis
Chapters 25 & 26 - A quarter life crisis!
When I was a teenager (pre having my daughter) I had my life all planned out. My favourite subject at School was German. I was brilliant at picking up languages. I knew that career wise, being a linguist was what I wanted to do. I was to finish school at 16, go on to study my A-levels at sixth form, then go off to university to study German and Arabic. I would then finish uni aged 21, travel for a couple of years, come back get a job working for the UN in translations, move to Berlin, meet the love of my life and be married and pregnant by age 25.
So you can only imagine how I felt when I turned 25 in May of 2016 and none of my life plans had become a reality.
I had two children - a 9 year old and a newborn baby and my relationship with my partner was on the rocks. I had decided that at the end of my Maternity pay, I would not return to work with the promise of my partner supporting the family financially, so that I was able to be at home with the kids for a few years, then return to work full time once my youngest was in School.
What should have been a joyous occasion of me celebrating another year of life with my nearest and dearest, turned into a day of me doing housework and my partner forgetting to say Happy Birthday.
I had made plans a week earlier with my cousins and friends to go out for a meal, but when I woke up that morning I felt so low I didn’t even want to leave the house.
I was 25, jobless, 2 children and in a relationship with a Psychological manipulator who would spend money so recklessly that it was putting a lot of financial pressure/stress on me.
This was NOT the plan at all. I kept asking myself so many questions.
How did it get to this? Why am I not happy? Is this what your mid 20’s is supposed to feel like? I can’t possibly envision myself marrying L, so why am I even still in this? What about the kids? I need a solid plan to provide a better future for them as I can’t rely on L. Am I wrong for feeling this way? What the hell am I doing in life? Is the post-natal depression back in full force?
I wanted to explode. The one question that I kept asking myself over and over was ‘what the hell am I doing in life?!’ Am I the only one feeling this way? On one hand, I had friends who were doing so well at life. They had recently purchased houses, were married or had plans to and had jobs that they loved.
Then on the other hand, I had friends who were at a loss. They had reached a crossroads and were not sure about what it was that they were doing. However, at this point I didn’t know it.
Fast forward to October 2016. I ended my relationship. We had been sleeping separately for months and had barely been intimate with each other for a long time. I was unhappy, fed up of all the lies & false promises, mentally and physically drained from all the emotional abuse and needed to get out. I wanted better for myself. I wanted better for my children. I was unhappy being with him and I needed my kids to see me happy again.
I knew people would think the worst. I could just picture the comments in my head.
“Oh my gosh, she’s got two kids from two different men and she’s not with either of them - what a mess”
“Wow, single Mum again. She sure knows how to pick ‘em”
“Her baby is only 6 months old and she’s not with the Dad. I would never do that.”
Each time I thought about leaving him previously, I was plagued with the thoughts of people everywhere judging me. I couldn’t bare it. Everyone would think I was a failure and a mess, when in reality I had no choice! Was I to stay in an unhappy relationship just for keeping up appearances sake? Or do I go for it, rough it, suck it up, begin to build a better future for myself and my kids and be happy?
I chose happy, but boy did this come at a price. The effects of the relationship had taken its toll on me. I just didn’t think very much of myself at all.
I was 25, not married and with two children! A far cry from that dream I held as a teenager.
I didn’t tell anyone for a long time as I felt so much shame. Following on from the break up, I realised just how much I had changed. I had gone from being a bubbly, confident, ambitious 22 year old that I was in the beginning, to this tired, drained, exhausted 25 year old who no longer knew what I wanted from life.
May 2017 - chapter 26. I felt I was starting to feel better. This time I celebrated because for the first time in 4 years, I felt I had reason to and I did so with those closest to me. I was so much happier this year. I had got rid of all the negativity in my life and had begun to look to the future again in a more positive light. I made a new list of all the things I wanted to achieve in the next 5 years.
After the buzz surrounding my birthday stopped, it sunk in. Like a slap to the face. I was 4 years from 30 and still hadn’t achieved any of my teenage goals. You know 30 is that age that everyone basically thinks (even though they might not say it) that you need to have ‘made it’ by. It’s one of those things that just is.
Here I was at 26 and what was I really doing that was contributing towards a better future?? Who was I? Time was just slipping away. Surely I was destined for greater things?? I love my children, but I felt like there was more to me than just being a Mum. Is this what a mid life crisis feels like? The more I looked on Social Media at successful people my age, the more I got stressed. I wanted an instant solution. I was a single Mum wanting to better myself but to no avail. I felt like the ultimate failure. I cried pretty much every day. I felt so shit about myself. I felt like I had taken 10 gigantic steps backwards. Even though I was doing a course in something I enjoyed, I felt like I was letting all my talents go to waste. I just didn’t know where or how to start.
I remember watching a programme on Netflix called ‘El Chapo.’ It’s pretty similar to Narcos - the story of Pablo Escobar. For a split second I thought I could make it as a drug dealer, then I remembered who I was and that I’m not about that life. I would literally make the worst drug dealer EVER and probably get caught within an hour of operation. So then I thought about being a gangsters wife. Then I remembered that I didn’t know any gangsters. So that plan left my head as quickly as it entered it. 🤦🏾♀️
Anyway back to reality. So many people were doing well around me and I was so inspired to do the same but just didn’t know how or where to begin.
Although my ambitions were different to those of when I was a teenager, I struggled to see how I could achieve those, being on my own with two children. Full time childcare would cost around £1300 for the month just for my son Tate, then an additional £875 for Faith. Obviously there is some support in the form of Tax credits or Universal Credit, but financially it just wasn’t going to work out on my income alone.
I thought about becoming an escort, but then I remembered that I wouldn’t even be bothered to communicate with my clients because my phone is on divert 90% of the time. I also remembered how flaky I can be when it comes to making plans, so this career path wasn’t for me. I would make a rubbish escort! 😂
On a serious note now, I wanted to study, then attend university the following year, but the more I thought about the reality of doing that, the more my dreams slipped away from me. I had hit a block. I lacked confidence and was riddled with abuse from my ex partner on a daily basis.
Here I was with all these ambitions but unable to execute them. One of the reasons being childcare. I didn’t want to work full time as it meant my son being away from me all week and only seeing him on the weekend as his dad offered to look after him while I work.
I started to think of different avenues, but got so exhausted thinking I couldn’t see a way out. I often internalise things as I don’t want to burden others with my problems, but the best thing I ever did was TALK ABOUT IT. I spoke to those closest to me. This was when I discovered that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Even those closest to me who appeared to have it altogether revealed that there were still things they wanted to do but hadn’t and I felt a huge sense of relief. Not because others were feeling down, but because I wasn’t the only one and I guess I began to realise that it was normal to feel at a loss and not know what the hell you want to do, when you want to do it and how, but we could figure it out. By talking about it, we were able to uplift and encourage one another to get our sh*t together.
I’ve never been one to give up and couldn’t see myself doing a job I hated forever. I had just completed my course and was feeling great. I could tick that off of my list ✅ I told myself that I would figure out the other things somehow. I searched the internet for the start date of my course and discovered the course I wanted was available online as a distance learning type of study. Result!! I could continue to work part time with the help of Tate’s father in regards to childcare and study in the evenings and every other weekend when the kids were with their Dads.
A couple of months later I started my blog. Another passion on mine that I felt strongly about pursuing. Another tick off the list ✅ I started studying too. Tick ✅
It just goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I am FINALLY doing the things I wanted to do and that were on my list. The things I haven’t completed I am planning for and putting into action.
If someone had asked me a year ago if I thought I would be doing all these things, I would have said no. I lacked confidence and my future looked bleak, but now I know I don’t need to sell drugs, become a gangsters wife or be an escort! Haha! I have endless options!
Now, I am excited for the future again.
I still lack confidence within myself at times, but the one thing I am most definitely confident about is my commitment to succeed. Sometimes I get overwhelmed because there are so many things I want to do and don’t know how or where to begin. That’s when I have to take a step back and manage my ambitions, one at a time. Doing all these things solo does not come easy, but I know I CAN and WILL achieve all that I put my mind to.
I literally feel that this is my re-birth.
Shoutout to all my readers that get through my long arse weekly posts! You guys are the real MVP’s (Most Valuable Players).
You have no idea what your feedback has done for my confidence and I can’t thank you enough for supporting me week, by week!! 😘❤️😘
P.s: I couldn’t think of a fitting picture to go with this post. So here’s a picture I took specifically for this of me smiling awkwardly, with my favourite filter and an awkward thumbs up.
Because I’m awkward 👍🏾