Monday, August 25, 2008

Freedom


I think I must have gone from the optimism three years ago that I was going through a 1/4 life crisis at 25 years old to the reality that I am now going through a 1/3 life crisis at 28 years old. Right now I live a pretty fast-paced life - meeting new people all the time and transitioning lives at a rate of what seems like every three months. I’m going to work, getting my MBA, participating in a leadership development program at work, going out all the time, and visiting new cities pretty often. While everything that I’m experiencing is exciting and eye-opening, the one thing that I am severely lacking is: identity.


I’m at the point where I feel like I almost have too much freedom. Before college all you could really do was go to school, participate in extracurricular activities, and hang out with friends in your spare time. That was it. In college all you did was drink and do your best to graduate. Now, in the real world, I have way too many options. Sometimes I think I want to be an engineer, sometimes a business man, then maybe a lawyer, possibly a dentist, a music or independent movie producer, a professional poker player, a computer programmer; I could be a nurse, and maybe I’d be happy doing volunteer work in a third-world country. Four of my friends are getting married this year. Seeing them as happy as they are makes me want to settle down with a nice girl, treat her like a queen, and start a family. But then seeing ten hot women in a single night makes me want to keep up my life of having no idea what’s around the corner. Performing engineering and operations work makes me happy, but seeing clothes, cars, houses, and (frankly) women I can’t afford makes me feel insufficient.


All of this freedom is confusing me about who I am. Am I a nice guy or a player? Am I down to earth or materialistic? Do I want to socialize or do I need some time to myself? Do I care about school? Do I care about work? Which people do I care about and who don’t I have time for? –These are serious questions that need to be answered if I’m going to have any sort of consistency in my life. I woke up last night and I didn’t know where I was. I was in my own room. I had to turn the lights on and reach back in my memory bank to convince myself that this is where I’ve lived for the past two years.


So, what should I do with all of this freedom? I have the funds to travel wherever I want; the personality to meet whoever I want; the networks to work wherever I want; the mind to learn whatever I want; and the physicality to build/play/eat/drink/f*ck/punch/climb whatever I want. And, it’s not like this is rare – most people my age are exactly the same way. How do you have enough changes to keep from getting bored and still have things stay the same?


I’m not 100% sure what the answer is, but I think that 80% of it is in the people close to you. It’s amazing how much of who you are is stored in the people that you love and that love you. The people that know you the best will always be your “home”. As soon as I get back from vacations and have some time to relax, I always tell my new stories to those close to me. Same thing goes for them as they have unique life experiences. All of that corny shit about friends and family being #1 really has some meaning. Mom and dad, you’re right as usual – go ahead with the “I told you so”s and treating me like I’m still 14.


That’s reminding me of my 1/8 life crisis.