Someone recently asked me, “What’s the crisis?” in regards to this popular “quarterlife crisis” topic over here at QLC. I didn’t have a concrete answer to this, which bothered the hell out of me because I like to have the answers. I also have a horrible habit of trying to figure out my whole life in a day. It doesn’t work, in case you’re wondering.
Then it hit me that I don’t think I’m having a crisis anymore. I’m pretty sure the crisis is now in the past, being that I wasn’t content with the life I was living.
I had been working as a waitress in the same place for six years, still living in my hometown, carrying around a feeling that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. It also could’ve been that I felt like I wasn’t living up to my senior year high school life ambition, which was to see the world (dream big, Kaycee). I remember explaining the way I felt at the time as “being a robot”.
I think my desire to see new things and meet new people and to simply live finally became stronger than my desire to “do the right thing,” whatever that is. I had to stop doing what I thought everyone else expected me to do and do what I really wanted. This may seem obvious for others, but for a people pleaser like myself, realizing this was a breakthrough. I see now how important it was to recognize that the discontent I felt was valid. There was a reason I felt that way inside, but I didn’t have to anymore.
Even though I absolutely adored the people I’d worked with for six years, I wasn’t bound by any kind of contract to wait tables at that restaurant anymore. Of course I loved my family, my friends and the families they were creating, but I couldn’t deny the feeling that there were other things happening out in the world and that I wanted to experience them.
So, I decided to go all Jack Kerouac and shit on you guys by jumping in my car on a rainy October morning in Massachusetts to drive across America by myself.
Some people thought I was crazy, which I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with. Some people thought I was running away. Then there were some people who thought I was fucking awesome. I liked those people the most (because I am obviously awesome).
The day I started my cross-country drive I instantly felt as though a burden was lifted. I was spending all of that money I made by busting my ass serving copious amounts of clam chowder and Sam Adams Summer Ale on something I really wanted to do. Not to sound overly dramatic, but for the first time in a long time, I had this overwhelming feeling that anything was possible. “You’re doing the type of stuff people write songs about” is what someone told me.
I soaked in sunsets over mountains, fields, deserts and canyons. I talked to people who have never seen the ocean in their entire life. I went to Graceland (cue Paul Simon song here). I ate my first chicken fried steak served to me by a boy named Heath who was dressed like a cowboy. I’m pretty sure I had what they call a spiritual experience while driving through Santa Fe, New Mexico. I spent a night in Vegas and fulfilled my dream of seeing the Beatles LOVE Cirque de Soleil show.
I rode a concrete wave of red, white and blue, abandoned gas stations, amber waves of grain, and A LOT of cows into a completely unplanned and unknown future. I reflected on my 25 years of life in a place where I knew everyone and everything. I embraced the fear and excitement of not knowing what life had in store for me 3,000 miles away from there.
And here I am, six months later, living in the valley of Los Angeles. I’m now trying to figure out what I really love, walking through fear, learning how to cook something other than eggs and grilled cheese, and trying to be okay with not knowing. I have to gently remind myself everyday that I don’t have to know where I will be in a year, or even next month really. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be where I am right now, well, I would have probably laughed in your face.
The last six months have taught me that sometimes it’s better to not know. Sometimes we’ve just got to see where the road takes us. And don’t get me wrong- this hasn’t been easy. I’m still scared, excited, and clueless most of the time, but that’s okay.
By Kaycee Snowden