(Photo Credit: Frankie Shlain)
So what exactly is a Quarterlette anyway? If I had to give you a quick, on the spot answer, I’d say a Quarterlette is a fabulous young woman just trying to find her sweet spot in the world. You know, the sweet spot where you’re doing what you love and loving what you do. The sweet spot is when you feel in line with your purpose. Every Quarterlette has her own journey to finding that sweet spot. Here’s a little bit about mine…
I will openly admit I am very much an organizer and planner. It’s how I manage to make sense of whatever is going on. And yes, that also includes making sense of my closet by coordinating my clothes by sleeve length and my DVD collection by alphabetical order. My freakish organization skills helped me succeed through college. I’d set a goal, create a plan and then execute. I figured the same methods would work just as well post-grad in “the real world.”
Well of course that just wasn’t the case. I had no idea back then I’d go through so many obstacles that weren’t in my original plan. I’ve had more jobs and more “change of address” notifications than I’d ever anticipated. I started in one career path, went to try another, and then came back to the first one. I’ve lived in my own apartment, I’ve rented a room in a friend’s house, I’ve had roommates, I’ve lived with my parents, I’ve lived with my sister, I’ve lived with my brother (all separate occasions, yes). My careful plans to build a dream career, work my way up with the same company for years and years while living in a fabulous apartment and going out for martinis every week all kind of blew up in my face.
And then there was the relationship plan. If I was building timelines on my career, then of course back then I was also building timelines on my relationship (silly me). Date the boyfriend a few years, finish school, get a job, get engaged, save up for a wedding and live happily ever after. Oh yea, that one definitely blew up in my face too (oops).
Cut to 2010, the height of my glorious Quarterlette journey. After years of trying things that just weren’t working out (i.e. a career that actually gave me anxiety upon entering the parking structure and a relationship that was no longer making either party very happy), I did the most un-me thing ever. I quit (the job and the bf). I threw my plans out the window, said “I’M DONE WITH YOU!” and walked away.
Well actually, I flew away. I packed up my stuff and flew out of the country. That’s how much I’d had it with everything, all those silly plans. Instead I made one simple plan to take a breather and let everything else work itself out. I spent six life-changing months in Japan and Australia. Cutting myself out of the chaos did wonders for the person inside dying to get back out. I’d been wasting too much time trying to keep up an image of some put together girl with a fabulous life instead of working on just being myself. I had desperately tried to find happiness through a career title and an empty relationship, but discovered those were only things and not true means to actual contentment.
The time I spent away allowed me to reconnect with someone I’d been ignoring for quite awhile. Someone who’d been too busy making timelines, sending out calendar invites and never looking up. I finally made time for myself. I made time to read. I made new friends during my travels. I took myself out to lunch (party of one). I found mentors and a life coach that helped me work through the extra junk occupying my headspace. I started investing in myself.
As I slowly started picking up the pieces, I began to notice things about myself. Things that made me happy. Hobbies I forgot I had. I began to find happiness in the smallest, simplest things. I learned the meaning of the word “relish,” as in to “enjoy greatly, delight, savor.” I was beginning to find my sweet spot.
Here’s the thing about being a Quarterlette- we’re constantly learning. I’ve come to start thinking about our 20’s as a sort of grad school for real life. Every obstacle faced, every goal met, is all part of the coursework for our “Masters in Quarter Life Affairs” I like to think. It can be a rigorous curriculum at times, but I think it’s the most valuable education we’ll ever receive. These are lessons we can take to heart and bring with us as we start to find our individual sweet spots and recognize our destined pathways.
I don’t necessarily have it all figured out at this point, but I’ve certainly become more in tune with the direction my much more flexible life is headed. We’re all students here, and I’ve come to realize we all have our own “majors” and areas of concentration and that it does us no good to compare. I take every lesson as a guideline to staying focused on my own sweet spot and when setbacks occur, the organized freak in me has plenty of notes to help get me back on track.