Letters to My Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Something known as a “Quarter-Life Crisis” happens to you (yes, it will happen to you, honey) between ages 25-30. For me, since I tended to do everything in life a little earlier than everyone else, the QLC fell upon me at around age 24. The problem was that I was growing up fast after taking such a huge career leap. Every couple of months, I felt like I’d aged ten years. Every time I thought I knew what I wanted out of my personal life, it’d turn out I actually had no idea.

When it came to men, I never knew what I wanted. I’d concocted this impossible list of requirements in my mind that no man could every possibly obtain to reach. One minute, I just wanted casual fun, the next minute, I wanted a relationship.

Now, before you go thinking that I was bipolar or something, just you wait. You’ll be in the same exact spot one day. How do I know? Because you’re my daughter, that’s how.

It’s a tough spot to be in, when you’re in the mid-twenties, even if you haven’t fallen into the QLC yet. You’re torn between college parties and managing cocktail parties. You want to run with the young kids, stay out all night…but your body can’t hack it anymore when you have to get up at 5:00 a.m. for your grown-up job. You want to run with the 30 and 40-somethings who seem to have it all figured out, but your common ground ends where they have spouses and children to get home to. So where do you belong? Who do you hang out with? When your awesome career day is done, what exactly does your personal life consist of?

More importantly, who the hell do you date?

I wasn’t lucky enough to be in a city like Chicago, full of single people my age who were in the exact same position. I was in a smaller place, divided into old rich people and college students. I’d never felt more alone and lost in my entire life. The social bug in me was desperate and dying for some kind of outlet. Sure, it made it easy to get to work before everyone else and leave after everyone else, which is what you have to do starting out in a career to keep your edge. But I got so caught up in being too busy making a living, that I forgot how to make a life.

I will tell you this: you will be all right. Dedicating 90% of your life at this time to a career and less of a personal life is just fine. It’s part of life. And one day, you’ll reap the rewards of your sacrifices and hard work. I promise you will.

But, my dear daughter, please remember that you are young. You have your whole life ahead of you. The decisions you make now will affect you the rest of your life. Though your priorities may not lie in your personal life, never lose sight of your values. Who you are as a person and your own character is what will make you successful at whatever career you choose to do in life.

And that career may be amazing, but there are TONS of amazing careers out there and guess what? You can change at any time you want. No job will keep you warm at night. Make sure those wrinkles you have when you’re old are worth every moment it took to form them.

It’s hard now, but remember to never get so caught up in making a living that you forget how to make a life.

Love, Mom

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