I turned 27 in New York City, and the Big Apple did not disappoint.
I arrived at work and received several birthday cards, flowers, and a chic candle from one boss, and a 50-min massage at an Equinox spa from the other. Later in the afternoon, the office surprised me with a small cake and sang "Happy Birthday." And after work, we went to Happy Hour at The Ginger Man on 36th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues.
After wine, soft pretzels with honey mustard and potato chips, I returned from Midtown to West Harlem, changed clothes and went back downtown to meet Nikki and her friends at Stereo, the same club I patronized twice this past week with T and Kev and where Nikki promotes on Thursday nights. Although I was beyond the hyper buzz and was now in a more chill, people-watching mood, we danced the night away with no cover charge and free bottles.
I tried to remember what I did last year on my last birthday in North Carolina, and I honestly cannot remember. I only remember that a year ago today, I was six months into my "move to New York within one year" plan, and I was starting to question whether or not I could really make it happen. The fear of the unknown was causing me to analyze my life and my mistakes and was sparking a lot of regret.
And then I received the following essay via forwarded email just after my 26th birthday. I saved it when I realized that I might have been experiencing a small case of "the Quarter Life Crisis" myself.
The Quarter Life Crisis
It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.
You start realizing that people are selfish and that maybe those friends with whom you thought you were so close aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people with whom you've lost touch are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.
You look at your job ... and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you.
Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life, and you are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't.
One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure. You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.
You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. One-night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now, you'd just like to be a contender!
What you may not realize is that everyone reading this probably relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.
There is someone I came to New York City to meet ... me.