Sometimes you reach a crossroads in life and wonder how you got there. More often than not, though, you can see it coming if you have your eyes wide open.
I had a quarter-life crisis at 25. At that time I decided to quit my job, break up with my boyfriend of 5 years, go back to school to get my Master’s degree, and leave the country for a year. I made big changes in my life because I could feel a culmination of everything unsettling in my life ready to surface. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right move for me at the time.
Assuming I live to be 96, I can see the onset of my third-life crisis up ahead. I don’t do well with life in limbo, and am resisting making knee-jerk changes ago since my life now includes my KISA and his happiness.
We moved out to San Francisco almost two and a half years ago. It’s the longest I’ve stayed at one physical address during my adulthood, which is amazing since it’s probably the smallest place I’ve lived during my adulthood (excluding my time overseas) and the most I’ve ever paid in rent or a mortgage. Our time out here has served us well and we’ve both grown and made ourselves better people. However, my infatuation for the city is fading.
We’ve been in the housing market out here for a year and half. And by being in the housing market, I mean actively trying to buy a house, spending most Sundays going to open houses, checking Redfin daily, writing offers on houses, etc. I naively thought the hardest part of buying a house would be the sacrifices we’d make to save up the significant amount of money required for the down payment. And, mind you, for a half a million dollars out here, all you can compete on are major fixer-uppers in Oakland, in less than ideal neighborhoods, where you’d want to stay only temporarily because all the neighboring public school receive a score of 1 out of 10. But to buy a better house in an acceptable neighborhood isn’t possible unless you buy an aforementioned house, renovate it, live in it for a couple years, and then sell it OR are a key player in a major start-up that IPO’d.
After our 11th property offer wasn’t accepted I stopped counting them. And, people have stopped asking – either assuming we stopped looking or because it’s always the same news. (I honestly can’t say I blame them as I don’t bring it up in conversation anymore either.)
While we’ve been looking to buy that also meant that we committed to not looking for another apartment and signing another lease (ours is currently month-to-month). This has also meant us not signing a lease on a storage unit to house some of our recreational items that require storage, because you never know which offer might be accepted and you don’t want to be committed to a storage unit in a neighboring city that you no longer need. All the while, you can see the rental prices inflating around you and realizing a lease on a bigger place would be more than a mortgage on a less-than-mediocre property.
This life in housing limbo also means not being able to start on a family. Our current apartment isn’t big enough to house a child, except very temporarily. And, getting a bigger apartment would then be almost double what we currently pay…with no money leftover for daycare or a crib.
And, to add fuel to the fire, my job is now in flux. Since my last posting about my current employment unhappiness we learned last Tuesday that an acquisition by Cisco is underway in the next month. Cisco aspires to retain all my company’s employees, but it’s possible for it to not be in the same capacity, the same pay scale, or the same title. This could be a blessing in disguise, depending on how it shakes out, but it also adds to the stress of life in limbo.
With all this being said, I know many of you are probably thinking, “Just leave and move back to the Midwest!” If I were still 25, that’s most likely what I’d do. But, I have one very important person to take into consideration now: my KISA. He loves it in San Francisco. It’s been his dream throughout adulthood to move out here and he’s finally able to live it. He’s excelling at his job and has hit his stride in life. You can see it in the way he carries himself, his lack of stress, and his endless positive attitude. He’s supportive of me in every way and I know if I put my foot down hard enough he’d let us move back to the Midwest. But a major part of what makes me happy is his happiness as well. And, that’s not presently moving back to the Midwest.
I’m hopeful this life in limbo ends soon. I’m hopeful we find a house to buy, the acquisition becomes a good thing for me, and then we can bless the world with all the Stew-babies you all ask me about. Until then it’s a life lesson in how to endure situations outside of my control. And how to not stress eat.
I quit my job in Mountain View in late March. It came as much of a surprise to me as it did my boss, who had become one of my close friends. Her reaction when I told her was, “You’re joking, right?” and laughing. After a few rounds of explaining myself she realized I was serious and I felt like I was breaking up with someone. In a way, I kind of was.
I wasn’t exactly trying to find a new job. Yeah, the 42-mile commute was a bit long, but I knew they looked past my hours in the office, knowing I was working on my commute in. And, I really looked forward to the downtime I had to myself on the commute home. The part I was hung up on was because I felt like in many ways I took a step back from the job I left in Madison. I knew I was giving about 30% of myself and I had a lot more to give. It came down to the fact that I wasn’t challenged.
My lack of challenge wasn’t a newfound revelation. I’d known this since shortly after I started working there. Instead I found other ways to challenge myself creatively, physically, and mentally. I trained and ran a marathon, I started a blog, I picked up sewing again and made my wedding reception dress, I started making watercolor cards, I learned how to propagate succulents, I started reading a ton, I made wall décor for our apartment, etc. I found I didn’t need a job to challenge me and reveled in the fact that I had the opportunity to challenge myself, which most didn’t have the opportunity to do.
In early March LinkedIn sent me an email notification to let me know a company in San Francisco was hiring for a Sales Operations Manager. It also happened to be the company where two of my friends worked. I interviewed painfully, realizing there were many processes that I could help enhance, and rejected the job after two offers before hesitantly accepting the third. My gut told me it probably wasn’t the right fit, but I proceeded, suddenly feeling empowered by the challenge. Three months and four days into the new job I can say I’m challenged.
I’m not sure yet if my new workplace challenges are healthy. I found in the first two months I didn’t care to talk to anyone when I wasn’t at work. I was burnt out, emotionally drained, and my hair was falling out in clumps. To say I hated my job was an understatement. In the past month I’m finally starting to hit my stride. I’m not sure yet if I like my job yet, but I don’t text my KISA daily anymore requesting his permission to quit.
What’s unfortunate is how I’ve changed in the last three months and four days. I find my motivation to do most things is minimal. Most of my succulents have died. My sewing machine is collecting dust. I’m social mostly out of obligation. I am no longer challenging myself personally like I used to. Hell, even going grocery shopping or emptying the dishwasher seems like an achievement.
To those of you I owe phone calls to, belated birthday wishes, or a comment on how adorable your kids or dogs are – I apologize. But, I promise I’m getting my life back together again. I refuse to let my job define me or be the only thing that challenges me.
After this post I’m officially caught up on attire (I apologize to all my male followers that don’t really care how I assemble my outfits). Good thing I went shopping today for more clothes!
Cardigan: Lands End Canvas, Tank: Banana Republic, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Aldo
Blouse: Banana Republic, Pants: Gap, Heels: Kenneth Cole Reaction
Sweater: Banana Republic, Top: Handmade, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: J. Crew Factory
Cardigan: Gap, Tee: Rio street market, Belt: H&M, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Converse
Some chambray inspired attire:
Shirt: J. Crew Factory: Belt: J. Crew Factory, Shorts: Old Navy, Shoes: Lands End Canvas
Blazer: Lands End Canvas, Shirt: J. Crew Factory, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Lands End Canvas
Blazer: The Limited, Tank: Express, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Vans
Some inspiration of the striped kind:
Cardigan: Gap, Tank: Old Navy, Necklace: Forever21, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Kenneth Cole
Shirt: Loft, Necklace: Urban Peach Boutique, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Lands End Canvas
While on our honeymoon we learned that plaid is technically called tartan in the UK. You’re welcome for the random fashion knowledge.
Shirt: J. Crew Factory; Belt: Express; Jeans: Levi’s; Shoes: Lands End Canvas
Sweater: Mango, Shirt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Sperry Topsider
Cardigan: Gap (dyed), Shirt: J. Crew Factory, Chinos: Gap, Sandals: Lands End Canvas
Sweater: J. Crew Factory, Shirt: Lands End Canvas, Jeans: Levi’s, Booties: Aldo
Scarf: Lands End, Shirt: Gap, Jeans: Levi’s, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Shoes: J. Crew Factory
Scarf: Lands End, Shirt: Gap, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Converse
One trend I’m starting to fall in love with is the peplum top. I found one at H&M on clearance for $15 and had to try it out. I’ve only worn mine a couple of times and I really like it. However, I think I need to hem it just a bit as it’s border-line maternity top at its current length. (And no Mom, I’m still not pregnant.)
Blazer: Loft, Top: H&M, Belt: H&M, Jeans: Levi’s, Booties: Franco Sarto
Same look, blazerless:
Top: H&M, Belt: Banana Republic, Jeans: J. Crew Factory, Boots: Lands End
I bought a pair of olive jeans from J. Crew Factory that I seem to pair with most things. These are a few examples:
Jacket: The Limited, Shirt: H&M, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: J. Crew Factory, Shoes: random store in Vienna
Jacket: The Limited, Tank: Banana Republic, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: J. Crew Factory, Shoes: Lands End Canvas
Blazer: Lands End Canvas, Tee: Gap, Belt: Banana Republic, Jeans: J. Crew Factory, Sandals: Aldo
I can’t hide my love affair with the color mint very well:
Blouse: Banana Republic, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Shoes: Zara
Blouse: Banana Republic, Necklace: Banana Republic Factory; Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Boots: Lands End
Blouse: Banana Republic, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Levi’s, Boots: Aldo
Cardigan: Gap Factory, Shirt: Zara, Belt: J. Crew Factory, Jeans: Gap, Shoes: Kenneth Cole