Is This The Career Version Of An Existential Crisis?
Back in November, I started experiencing what I can only describe as the career-version of an existential crisis.
At first, I thought I was having the career version of a mid-life crisis. But then I realised a) I’m too young to be mid-career (wishful thinking if I thought I was half way through this shit), and b) I haven’t made any weird – or weirder than usual – decisions. I haven’t bought a fast car (if I could afford a fast car I probably wouldn’t be having said-crisis), and I haven’t dyed my hair a dramatically different colour (a charming cocktail of vanity and low self-esteem means I will forever be a bottle blonde).
An existential crisis is defined as “a moment when an individual questions whether their life has meaning, purpose, or value.” Now, replace the word “life” with “career” and you’ll be where I’ve been since November.
If I had to condense it further, I’d say what I’m specifically wrestling with is the idea of wasted potential. Lately, I can’t shake this feeling that I’m not living up to the expectations people had of me when I first launched The Twenties Club five and a half years ago, or the expectations they have of me now, five and half years later. I constantly find myself spiralling into these thought patterns of, Oh my God people probably thought I’d have done so much more with this thing that I’ve built. They probably look at me and think I’m playing it safe. Maybe they think I’m not taking enough risks? That I’m lazy? What would they have done if they had the platform and community and skill-set that I have? Would they have written a book? Launched a brand? Started a cult?
I probably sound more miserable than I am – I’m actually fine for the most part (Mum, I’m fine). But whenever I’m chatting with readers or girlfriends, with friends of my parents or work friends, or people I admire, and they ask what I’ve got planned “for the future of The Twenties Club” I can see this… look in their eyes. And I think it’s a look of expectancy, like they’re waiting for me to pull back a red velvet curtain and say, “I’m so glad you asked! TA DAAHHHHHH!”.
Mostly, I think I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m content with the way things are. I like that I get to work with brands that believe in this community and it’s power. I like that I say yes to opportunities when they align, and say no when they give me The Ick. I like writing articles when I feel compelled to, and falling quiet when I have nothing to say. I like that I get to talk to you every single day (!), through emails and Instagram DMs. Hearing your stories and giving you a platform to share them when you need it. I’m financially stable. Intellectually challenged. Stimulated. Happy. That’s enough for me right now.
And! Lest we forget! This whole “not knowing” thing is exactly what inspired me to start The Twenties Club in the first place. It was the intense longing for there to be a voice online that belonged to someone willing to admit she didn’t have all the answers. That she was, for the most part, taking things one day at a time. And, five and half years later, I still think that’s the best way to run my business.
I know I’ll disappoint a few people, I’ll exceed the expectations of others, and most of you will give me no mind at all (don’t worry I’m not completely devoid of self-awareness).
But if you want to hang around while I try and figure it out, well, I’d love the company.