Are we pre-dispositioned as millennial’s/kids of the 90’s to have a quarter life crisis? We live in an era where were told to pursue our dreams and that anything is possible but also in an era where we expect instant gratification. It’s a weird concept but I often think about how far I’ve come to accomplishing the goals I set, most of the time the ones I have took much longer than an over night win. I’ve always said, the best things in life are the maintenance projects – the activities that require consistency in order for them to keep progressing or even just maintaining, you walk away from those activities and they simply fade away. Anyway, here’s a story about me having what I think was a quarter life crisis:
When I turned 25 years old, I went through what I thought was a bit of a quarter life crisis. At the time I worked in a leisure centre as a Duty Manager. I hadn’t really chosen it as a career path, more just falling into it as it worked well for me with everything I was doing at the time. However, due to various circumstances at the time, I suddenly decided I had to change my career situation. I won’t go into too much detail as it will most probably bore you to death but here’s how the story goes:
At 18, I moved to London to study music at Westminster University. I was unsure about University as an academic realm as I had never really enjoyed education in its structured, box ticking format. However, I saw studying Popular Music as a way to meet musicians who would want to form a band (and a good one at that) that would pursue my (then) dream of touring the world. In the 3 years I was at University, I somehow met some fellow musicians who are now great friends, we formed a band and pursued the touring dream (in our own way, we’ve suceeded). When finishing University, my only priority with finding a job was to find something that allowed me to tour and travel, with little consequence. A summer job as a lifeguard suddenly turned into a full time job due to my desire to remain in the London area. I had planned on using it as a stop-over whilst looking for a career but with help from a very nice manager, who agreed that I could take any time off to tour as long as I continued with the good job I was doing, I decided to stay put in the lifeguard role.
4 years later, and I found myself as a 24 year old Duty Manager of a leisure centre on a full-time contract that stated that I was entitled to take unpaid leave as a when I wanted, as long as notice was given and cover was arranged. Ideal right? Well, although I was enjoying the band and touring, and though life whilst at work wasn’t bad at all, I did feel a little under-stimulated throughout my working day. However, I could brush it aside as my colleagues were mates, I had a good routine going and I was enjoying life. Though, it had started to dawn on me that I could quite easily drift through life doing this for another 10 years and not really progress any further in anything. I shook off the doubt but it laid dormant in the back of my mind.
At the tail end of 2016, the band had just completed our first ever American tour, I was in great athletic shape and work life was still easy going. Then, my so very understanding manager, suddenly announced that she was leaving and that another manager was to be taking over her role with very little noticed. Just before she departed, she took me to one side and told me that the company was to be renewing every employee’s contracts and that it would be down to my new manager to decide to honour our unpaid leave agreement. Unfortunately for me, the agreement was immediately shut down by the new manager who also stated that any leave that had already been booked was to be reviewed. Following this, I was told that I was not able to have the time I’d booked off for the band’s up and coming Europe tour and that the consequences were my own to suffer.
I put up a fight by getting booking contracts together to show my not so very understanding new manager that this was not just a holiday but actually work for another “job”. My meeting with her and her managers worked more so in her favour and it wasn’t long until I was given little choice but to change my circumstances and I quickly handed my notice in. The tour went ahead as planned although I was out of a job with rent to pay and a life to live. Luckily, during my time as Duty Manager, I’d gathered a fair few leisure based qualifications. One of which being my Swimming Teacher Level 2, this meant I was able to get work as a swimming teacher upon immediately returning to the UK after a great two weeks out in Europe with the band.
The problem with Swim Teaching is its a pretty anti-social job and for someone who loves structure and routine, I found it difficult to stay mentally fit as my days were so different. I was working all 7 days of the week in order to pay my bills and rent but my hours were all over the place. Somedays I would be working 9-11am and then 4-8:30pm, other’s I would only be working 4-6:30pm. For me, I was either overloaded or under stimulated to the point where it really started to effect my mental health. I couldn’t see how I was going to turn any of it into a career and there I was at 25 years old, living life like a student who wasn’t studying anything.
I decided to get into Education after I delivered a 3 day music course at the college I now work at. It seemed a no brainer; I was doing something I am good at, feel passionate about and the working hours are a nice kind structure. Perfect for all my athletic endeavours and training, great holidays, weekends, sociable hours. Due to the band already having members in the Educational sector, it meant that touring wasn’t effected either. An easy win. After going into education full time, my mental health improved significantly and at 26 years old I found myself back to a new and improved version of the 24 year old version of me, just this time wiser, with a more fulfilling job and in better athletic shape (I’ve got PB’s to prove it!).
Now, here’s where my 21st century, goal driven, carpe-diem filled mind has kicked in once again. 2018 was an amazing year and I have nothing but high expectations for my 2019. I want to elevate even higher in my career goals, athletic goals and personal/creative goals. The idea being that I somehow combine the three? Now I’m not having a crisis about this at all. Crisis insinuates a negative, this is more of an energy and excitement about the future but it does feel like an urge to do something, to do more. Though, I think this is essential, the crisis panic mode our minds tend to go through when it comes to setting out an idea for where to take your future is the mind’s way of working out whats best. Anyway, onwards with the future, I’m excited!
As I said yesterday, this is a post that I started writing and have decided to finish. I must admit, the day I started writing I felt a lot more of a ‘crisis’ and have since had some clarity on what my future goals are. Perhaps I’ll dive deeper into it tomorrow but for now, I think that will do for my ‘story so far…’.
Today’s athletic update: 9 miles in the (sort of) snow. I ran my normal route although, for whatever reason, I went the other way around to the direction I would normally go. If you’re interested further then follow me on Strava. Strength in the gym after work and that’ll be Friday 1st February all wrapped up in a nice little package.
See you tomorrow.