On the past few months: quarter life crisis

It’s been months of uncertainty, soul-searching, and existential questioning. I wanted to wait until I emerged from this rough patch to finally open up transparently on this blog, and I think the appropriate time has come. But first, some good news. This week started off on a very high note…

I got a new job!!! I’ll be staying in San Francisco but completely changing my role and industry.

Now let’s start from the beginning…

After I got my actuarial designation in June, a switch ignited in me and I started questioning if I wanted to be an actuary for the rest of my life. The thought of throwing away everything I worked for the past 5 years made me sick to my stomach…but something in me was looking for more fulfillment in my job, and I knew I couldn’t find out if I stayed where I was. After some very difficult weeks of soul-searching, talking to mentors, and spending a lot of time alone, and I decided take a leap of faith and change my life plan.

July/August/September was an aggressive job search. The beginning was tough as I fell flat on my face in interviews and got lots of rejections. I was so out of my comfort zone talking anything outside the actuarial profession. I studied on different industries to get up to speed for these new roles, but I was still not successful. I definitely got emotional over a process that shouldn’t be taken so personally, but I really did think something was wrong with me personally and that I wasn’t good enough. Unlike rejection from something like boys (which I am quite resilient to), I felt like the outcome of my career was a direct reflection upon myself. After each rejection, I lost confidence and started filling with self-doubt and negativity. (Looking back, a big component of interviews is luck, and it is NEVER completely your “fault” for a rejection!).

I never really understood what a quarter life crisis was until the summer. Every step in life before this – from getting into my dream college, to my first job, to passing actuarial exams – were all clear milestones that I could achieve if I worked hard enough. But this was the first time in my life where I had little direction and no clear goals to aim for. Leaving behind the actuarial profession meant the remaining choices were endless, and that caused me a lot of anxiety. Life in your 20s can be filled with a lot of insecurity as we’re all trying to find our purpose on this earth.

Also I turned 25 in August…truly a quarter life crisis. 😛

By September, I was in pretty bad shape emotionally. 3 months of stressful interviews + traveling for work meant = isolating myself from friends. I also started making poor choices in my personal life, and my friends began to worry about me. Some even confronted me, and it caused tension in our friendships, and I could tell they were distancing themselves from me afterwards…I was really hurt and lonely, and had very few people I could turn to. I knew something needed to change. I needed a complete break from recruiting to gain my life back. I needed to make a dedicated effort to find balance and ultimately, find myself again.

And so, October came, and I started running again, reconnected with friends, and booked a trip to Colombia…for a few weeks I focused on self-care and just doing the things I loved again. I was still lightly recruiting, but focused on being kind to myself and putting myself first. Colombia was truly a highlight; after the trip I felt like a new person with fresh perspective. I remember after the trip feeling so at peace with where I was in my life, despite the uncertainty of my future. I knew in my heart that striving to be a good person + working hard + having faith = all I could do, and that life would work itself out.

And like a true miracle…it did.

A week after I got back from Colombia – the peak of finding myself and exhibiting true self-love – I got this offer. My whole life turned around. This whole thing was finally officially OVER.

I can’t describe how amazing it feels. To get an opportunity to change my life direction and career. To say goodbye to this stressful wave of uncertainty and anxiety. To have a chance to redefine myself. To have a fresh start…I couldn’t be more grateful.

And so, here I am, with my life back. If there’s one thing I learned from this whole experience is that no matter how tough life gets, you have to take care of yourself and put your health (physical and emotional) above all. The days where I just sat at home applying to companies, feeling sorry for myself, and ignoring my friends, ended up being counter-productive since it made me more negative and stressed, and this showed in my interviews. But when I decided to take steps to making myself whole again, I think this transformation that really showed from the inside-out and set me up for success.

This whole process also taught me a lot about friendships. It makes me sad that I lost a few friends along the way, but it definitely makes me more grateful for the friends who stuck by my side and didn’t judge me for my choices. Also, over the past few days, I’ve been completely showered with love, celebration and support from friends and family who’ve rushed to my side after my offer. It really makes me grateful for all the people I do have in my life.

Lastly, and something I needed to keep repeating to myself this whole time: tough things always come in waves. During some really low points the past few months, I told myself that the end was in sight, even though I really had no indication of when it was. Having faith that life will work itself out is all you can really do sometimes.

It feels really really good to finally open up on this blog…writing has always been an outlet for me to process and digest. I’m sure one day I’ll look back and read this post, and be so grateful for how far I’ve come and for going through this hard work to become the person I want to be.

Here’s to a fresh start 🙂

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