Life, as a quarterlifer.

Got a voicemail from ma madre today. Essentially it was reminding me that I only have my parents’ financial support until my lease is up end of Aug/beginning of September. “I support you psychologically,” was what she said. So now I’m feeling more than a little desperate.

I was listening to the voicemail while walking to Grand Central after work, and random literary-sounding phrases ran through my head (must be the influence of reading The Book Thief), but I can’t remember any of them now. My heart turned, and images flashed through my head of what my life would be like living in Hong Kong again, if I went:

I would have to room with either my sister or my grandma, I would miss my bed here (I LOVE my bed – every night when I climb in I am grateful for it. Seriously.), I wouldn’t have a job at all, and would probably be kind of…numb. I have a life here. I’d feel like I’d given up my life. My dreams, they’re all here. I know what it’s like living and working back in Hong Kong. While I loved having all my best friends and my family around, I was so unfulfilled career-wise. Obviously, I enjoyed many luxuries there (like actually being able to have steak every once in a while, something I’ve been craving for a while now but feel too guilty to indulge in), and never had to pay any bills, all of which I obviously was very grateful for, but I was craving something more, something bigger, something more fulfilling.

Is it being spoiled, that I expect to be able to make my dreams come true? It is a luxury, of course, to be able to even strive for it, as difficult as my journey in NYC has been so far. (Bless my roommate – when I came home and told her what happened, tears rolled down her face as she told me how proud of me she is, how brave it was to move halfway across the world and leave everyone behind, to have found 2 jobs and worked both of them at the same time, and then found internship after internship right after. Of course, that made me cry more!) But is it wrong to expect to be able to make it happen?

Another question is – if I refuse to go home, and move to Queens or Brooklyn or somewhere else much cheaper than Manhattan – would I be able to survive on my paltry bookseller’s salary? Obviously this question will take some research (i.e. asking my bookseller friends how they do it!), but it’s just something I should find out.

If I leave, I will feel like I betrayed myself, and I think that’s the worst of it. Betrayed in the sense that I just gave up on myself, decided I wasn’t worth the hard work. And I’ve worked hard this year, probably harder than I ever have. In the 9 months I’ve been here, I’ve had 2 jobs and 2 internships, and rarely had a weekend off, often only having 1 day off a week. It’s been hard, but for me, it’s still worth it. Living here, being here, striving towards a goal has so far been worth the ache in my lower back after standing for 8 hours a day, worth being so tired I collapse into bed most nights, worth leaving all my friends and family behind. If I leave, what have I got to strive for?

Sure, I could find a job, Sure, I’ll have the comforts of a roof over my head and food paid for, and the comforts of having my loved ones around me, but what about my personal goals? Fulfillment? Is it spoiled to be wanting more?

My parents have both worked hard all their lives, and they haven’t necessarily found the fulfillment that I’m striving for. My dad, all his life, had always wanted to study law, but instead slaved away at the family business until last year when he finally got to go to law school and is now studying for his JD. Because of this I do kinda feel guilty for even having the luxury of being able to pursue my dreams for a year. That’s a year more than my dad got, and he never complained.

Clearly, I am very confused right now. Tears keep rising to my eyes but I keep trying to blink them away and swallow them. It’s obviously unfair to expect my parents to keep supporting me, and I have been and still am very grateful for them even being able to cover my excess expenses, but the question is, now what? It’s now or never for my dreams, pretty much. Now or never.

Someone please hire me? I am organized, can write, and can provide references! (Great, I’ve resorted to pimping myself out on my blog.) I also promise I am rarely this depressing! (I can provide testimonials to that end, as well. 🙂 )

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4 Responses

  1. nah, its not being spoiled or selfish to reach for your dreams. in fact, im sure that’s what your parents want for you. you always hear stories of how parents sacrificed this or that so they could provide certain things for their parents. In turn, when your dreams have come true and you’re making it on your own, you can then give back and take care of your parents 🙂 keep ya head up!

  2. Oh Jess, I actually and very proud of you and wish I could do the same what you are doing. I currently don’t know what I want to do with my life, therefore my goals are all up in the air and I feel completely l-o-s-t; however, you know what you want and you are working hard for it. I think you’ll be fine. Just keep plugging away!

  3. you can do it. don’t give up! you’ve held on for so long already, you can do it for a bit longer until you get what you’re looking for.

  4. Oh man, that’s hard. I truly hope you can find something that really fits with what you want!

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