October 18, 2009

It's Your Power

"Everything you want to change about yourself. All the parts of yourself that you keep secret. It's your power. It's who you are." ~ Fame

Life feels really hard these days. I think I have lost my "power." Things are not turning out as I had imagined them. In fact, things feel like they are falling apart. This is where you say that I have to embrace what I have been given. Don't mistake me - I am fortunate in so many spaces of my life and I know my life could be so much worse. But let's put that in a little box for a moment.

I grew up with this image of who I wanted to be as an adult. This image was fed and encouraged by others in my life - my parents, my teachers, mentors along the way. I have dreams, visions of how great my life can be. There have been slight alterations along the way but I always knew that I wanted a job where I believe in the goodness what I was doing and that this job - my time - could make better the lives of others. I have tossed around a number of career choices but none of them seem to work. And now, suddenly and scarily, I feel out of ideas. I just feel empty. Worn out from it all. Does this make me weak? Maybe. Perhaps this is just a pause in my life. But more or less, this pause has gone on for three years. And I am done. I am ready for the answer or at least a partial response as to what I am supposed to do with my life.

To be honest, I have never felt so alone. Despite the fact that I have many good friends close by and my beloved family is only two hours away. But your 20s is a strange, lonely period. Everyone says it's the greatest time of your life because you are young, vibrant, carefree with little to tie you down. But I don't think this life suits every person. Some of us like the constant connection and duty of answering to someone, be it your parents, your spouse, or your children. I have missed having someone depend on me - account for me. This young singleness sometimes means that I can go a whole day without speaking to anyone or having anyone expect me to be there. It's a weird and wrenching thought.

Right now I could pretty much do anything, go anywhere. I have few ties to keep me to this place, which I suppose is liberating, but mostly, it feels scary and not positive at all. These feelings - I can't figure out if they are wrong or if I should let them guide me to where I can be happy.

I know that everyone feels this way at some point in their life. But right now, I think I just need to feel out of place. The quote at the beginning of this post is where I am: hiding the best parts of myself. I know this is it. And now I just need to figure out a way to get myself back into the sunlight. I want to stretch myself to its very limits - to my full potential. But I suppose I need to take life as it comes to me.

Image found here.


  1. I’ve gotta say it: quarter-life crisis.

    This isn’t uncommon, or unjust, but warranted and indeed frightening. There’s something scary about unlimited potential, because when you only have a few options it’s simpler to choose the right one. Or at least not choose the wrong one.

    From my experience, I think that’s what the quarter-life crisis is all about: you get to a point where you’re ready and excited to get your life moving, make a difference, define yourself – but you first have to figure out how, when, through what? It’s a combination of eagerness, impatience, frustration, and angst, which all mix into a pretty annoying ultra-emotion – and while you might feel alone in it, your friends, ironically, probably have the same lonely feelings. But knowing you, there’s no doubt that you’ll find your place, make a difference, figure it out, and find your power again. Of course, that doesn’t mean it will come without those emotions.

    Anyway, the reason I was commenting in the first place was to tell you how much I liked this post. I think you’ve captured it all really well – and I, and I’m sure your other readers, can certainly relate. And hey, if you keep having trouble defining your path, writing about it might just be the answer you’re looking for. I think that sounded cheesier than I meant it to. But you know what I mean.

  2. Emily, i really commend you for being so open & honest.

    i know what you mean about needing that constant connection and people who depend on you. i'm 22, living at home, and it's a weird space. i'm an adult so i get mad when my mom calls at 10.30 on a tuesday night wondering where i am...but at the same time, i come home from school and work, and i want to discuss my day, ask for opinions, tell funny stories... so i do that with my mom if she's home. but sometimes she's not and it feels pretty darn lonely. but i'm not 5 years old, so i feel like i should have other people to come home to...

    i had a talk with a friend this summer who felt similarly to you i think - she had no idea about what she wanted to as a career. she felt completely without a compass and trapped by finances. i didn't know what else to do besides give her a hug and really really hope that something awakens inside of her.

    so i hope the same for you emily...



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