As I’ve been sure to publicize for nearly a year now, I’ve felt incredibly lost and without a sincere purpose in the universe. I’ve had one major question that I’ve been seeking a tangible answer for…
What in the heck am I supposed to be spending my life doing?!?!
I’ve had no idea for several years, but last year is when that fact became overwhelming. I began feeling suffocated, panic-stricken and overall helpless. I would be incredibly distraught, reaching out and clinging to whatever avenues seemed to offer any sort of assistance. I recognized that this chaotic, lost debacle was the beginning of what is commonly referred to as a quarter-life crisis. I talked to my parents and close friends. I confided in God. I bought books to coach me on how to get through this rough time. I wrote extensively in my journal to express my thoughts. I even went down to the alter call at that mega church off of I-75, better known as Solid Rock Church.
I needed an answer…now. Only an answer never came. Ohio was eating me up alive for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the constant feeling of anxiety, helplessness and panic had me feeling like I was going to break. Those feelings ate me up inside until one eventful evening I exploded.
And then I moved to New York City.
I picked New York City because I didn’t know where else to go. I had always dreamed of living here, had close family members that lived here and believed it would provide the solace that was necessary to escape my own mental demons. I was obviously a mess.
Instead of pushing me in the obviously right direction of “finding my purpose,” New York City instead offered me nothing but heavy doors that slammed in my face and con-artist folks that could read my naïve heart miles away. I had to rely heavily on family, close friends, and ultimately my stubborn resolve to not let this city break me despite how hard it tried. On more than one occasion my mom, Shelby, twins, and even closest of friends asked me, “Ashley are you sure this all is really worth it? It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to leave.”
But I couldn’t leave. I felt like my purpose in New York City had yet to be fulfilled. Despite the intense, daily challenges I faced it just wasn’t time yet. God told me when I moved up here that I was to be here for a year. Six months in I was ready to come home for the holidays and never return. But I remembered what God told me. I believed he would reveal something to me, I just had no idea what it would be. Yet here I am, exactly two weeks shy of my one-year anniversary and I believe I have finally discovered the answer to that question that has been plaguing my mind, heart and spirit for far too long.
Question: What in the heck am I supposed to be spending my life doing?!?!
Answer: I don’t know and that’s okay. In the meantime enjoy and take advantage of every moment and opportunity that I am blessed with because I possess just one life.
God has been repeating that answer to me repeatedly for quite some time and it is just now resonating. It took me looking at several of the people around me to understand the beauty and gift in the message. Take the love of my life Shelby for example. In college she was going to spend her life being a journalist. Upon graduation she became a teacher. Then she became an event planner extraordinaire. Now she is a pastry chef who is well on her way to taking that role to a whole new level. My father? First he was in upper management at the factory. Then he was an amazing police detective. Now he is an entrepreneur of several business ventures. Next? He could quite possibly (and seriously) become a semi-pro golfer and the world’s best grandfather (my older brother and sister-in-law are due to become pregnant before any of my father’s other four children, myself included).
All of this to say, there is no “one size fits all” role for everyone. Shelby and Daddy each pursued what fulfilled their heart’s desire/need at that time in their life. The idea that when I’m in my early-mid 20s I will have clearly identified the sole career path/lifestyle that I am to pursue for the following 40-50 years of my life is ludicrous at best.
I’m done stressing out about what I will actually wind up doing. With the ideals of life, love, happiness and faith leading my moral compass in life I’m convinced I can’t be steered wrong. Praise Him! When we are on our dying bed, the things that will matter most to us will be the experiences we had, the people we shared them with, and how it ultimately made us feel. I’m done feeling “bad” about trivial details and am incredibly excited to see what else this life has in store for me!
And with this under/overwhelming realization, my quarter-life crisis is over.