There was a time in my life where I hit absolute rock bottom. I wasn’t broke, I had a lovely place to live and surrounded myself with decent people. I was going through what some people have termed as the “quarter-life crisis”, where millennials, approaching their mid-twenties, were faced with such pressure from their job, social, love lives that it became a “crisis” to not know who you were by then.
My mother always told me that your twenties were for “fucking up” and by the time you’ve reached your thirties, you should have a great idea on who you are. I never listened to her. I was always captivated with the thrill of being older, even when I was in my teens. I started drinking at fourteen, bars at seventeen, dating women much older than me by twenty, saying I was thirty at the age of twenty-five. Now that I’m twenty-nine and through living the life of lies to gain the adulation of thirtysomethings that act like their fourteen, I can say I finally know who I am.
I just broke up with another girl that I was dating for six months. For six months prior to that, I rebounded, from a long relationship, with a crazily intense girl, which ended in me changing my phone number. With the addition of grad school, running a business, and being a full time alcoholic, my life was crazy. During this period (I was twenty-five), pressure was mounting because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to be as an adult. I wasn’t enjoying work, grad school was a bore, I was a fat slob, and I felt like my mind was getting pulled a thousand different directions. My solution: Vegas.
Vegas meant plenty of drinking, while awful for my body, was a ton of fun. The real problem came one night before we went out, where I decided to try ecstasy. Why did I do it? I thought it would help loosen me up and get me back to my old fun ways, where I didn’t give a shit about anything but myself. I was too serious now and didn’t like who I was, I went from one side of the spectrum to the other and I didn’t know how to find the middle.
That experience was the worst in my life. The effects from the drug after the vacation brought me to rock bottom. For months after, I experienced extreme depression, anxiety attacks at work, home, before I went to bed, sleepless nights, and I had no one to turn to. I would drive to my parent’s house, a half hour away, to sleep in the spare bedroom because I was anxious people were outside my door to come and get me. I’d run out of work, thinking I was going to pass out because I couldn’t breathe. I was grasping for a rope that was tied to nothing. The progress I made from my past was destroyed and I wasn’t in a good place to clean up the pieces.
After the tenth time I crashed at my mother’s house, I was awake around 2am and flicking through the channels, when I came across the religious channel. I was an atheist, but I gave it a listen anyway. The preacher discussed picking yourself up after a mistake and not letting any negative circumstance, such as an addiction, define you. He spoke about self-love and being true to yourself, so then you can be true to the world. I lived a life that was completely opposite; I lied to myself, so I lied to the world.
I couldn’t tell you what day or month that took place in, but I know from there, I realized that we’re not living based on what others our age are making or doing with themselves. We live for ourselves and the people we love. The biggest lesson I learned looking back, is I wish I never rushed to be old, or rushed to have my purpose in life defined at such a young age when I had and still have many more mistakes to make. We can’t try to be perfect, it’s impossible, but we strive for positive growth, since we’re all works in progress.