Can I Have the Last 24 Years Back?

Written by Nicole Antoinette


No one told me my Quarterlife Crisis would come with so much tequila.

I grew up on the move – Los Angeles, NYC, London, back to Los Angeles, back to NYC, back to Los Angeles. A whirlwind coming of age tour in the world’s cosmopolitan wonderland.

I did everything right. Aced high school, worked part time, rocked the extra curriculars, got into NYU, aced NYU (while still working and still rocking the extra curriculars), fell in love, fell out of love, made friends, lost friends, lived the life I had always been told I was supposed to live, graduated (a year early) with $50,000 in debt and a piece of paper that claimed I was summa cum awesome.

And then I cried.

Because I was 21 years old, in possession of one of the best educations student loans can buy, and all I had to show for it was a box of theme party costumes and a big fat hole where my life plan should have been.

The three years between then and now were filled with a lot of shenanigans- emotional, sexual, career wise and the like. I ran a children’s day camp for five summers, helped start a create-your-own cookie shop, worked an inhumane amount of hours, moved around a lot, broke two hearts, made a bucket full of bad decisions, came crashing into the reality of my mood disorder, started a blog, started therapy, and finally realized that the things I loved about my life didn’t outweigh the things that made me want to burrow into the ground and hide.

And then all of the sudden it was August 26, 2009 and I found myself quitting everything to live the life of a professional nomad, traveling around the country, crashing on couches, and trying to answer the big question:

What is authentic happiness and how can I start taking regular intravenous doses of it?

Three months went by; three months of seeing new things and meeting new people, three months of not having a routine, not having stability, and not having a definitive source of income or a guaranteed place to do laundry. The new things were great, the new people even better, but after three months I realized that life at the other end of the super-Type-A spectrum kind of sucks.

So it was back to Arizona, back to my parents’ house, back to slow cooked meals and late night talks with my mom about what, you know, the hell I was going to do with my life.

That was four weeks ago, but in the context of my story it feels like another lifetime. Four weeks ago, I woke up, realized that no one was going to hand me the life that I wanted, got in my car, drove to San Francisco, checked into a hostel, and jumped into the freshest of fresh starts, the kind where there is no backup plan and it’s time to fight like your life depends on it, because it does.

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