Kid-Life Crisis.

What? You’ve never heard of a Kid-Life crisis? Well, neither had I until I read Zara’s post in the comments section of my blog.

Got any advice for people who are in a life block? I’m currently going through this inner crisis where I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. As of right now, I’m in high school and although I know I don’t need to have it all figured out, I’m scared I am not doing enough and I won’t be able to go to a good college or have a job. Did you ever feel like this?

-Zara

Did I ever feel like this? Um, no. But not because I was an overachiever.

High School did not bring out the best in me. I was a triangle peg being jammed into a square hole. My grades were terrible, I went to summer school instead of summer camp, my parents wouldn’t let me get my drivers license because of said grades, and I had zero extra-curricular activities. I put the ‘less’ in ‘hopeless.’ But I did do one thing right. I always honored my inner voice. And that voice told me that my time would come. I had no idea how or when. I just had to trust it and do what I love in the meantime. So I wrote short stories instead of watching TV. I taught myself to type. And I hosted a style show from my bedroom called: How To Put Cool Outfits Together When You Don’t Have Cool Clothes. Thankfully this pre-dates cellphones and YouTube so the proof is not in the pudding or anywhere else. The point is, none of these silly activities got me into college. But they did speak to my interests and those interests became my career. And the whole style-show thing? I used it in The Clique. Remember Alicia Rivera’s imaginary talk show?

Worrying that you’re ‘not doing enough’ is keeping you from reaching your goals. (See the irony there?) And where did you even learn that you should worry? From other worried people, that’s where. Your fear is a manifestation of all the insecurity around you. You were taught to feel this way. So unlearn it. Now. Fear stands for Future Emergency Already Realized because, duh,

the things you’re afraid of aren’t even happening right now. And who knows what you’ll be dealing with in five years? The only thing you can be sure of is that you don’t have clue. And why worry when you don’t know what to worry about?

I get that you’re growing up in high-pressure times. Competition is fierce and you have to keep up. And I get that stress-related syndromes have become badges of honor. But I also get what it takes to be successful and a lot of that requires an unwavering ability to pursue what makes YOU come alive, even if it goes against the grain. Want to know how many people thought I should quit my safe executive position at MTV to pursue a career in writing? I’ll tell you how many. One. And that was me. Everyone else thought it was too risky. And it was. But if I wanted a career in safety I would have become a police officer.

It’s time to silence the outside noise so you can hear what your inner voice is trying to say. That’s the only voice you should be listening to because its the one that knows what’s right for you. So ask that voice what will make you light up today. When it tells you, act. That action will lead you to the next action which will lead you to the next action and that’s how you’ll find it. Stress and pressure will chase it away.

We are all on different journeys and we get there at different times. I didn’t find my groove until my mid-20s and I didn’t start writing professionally until my mid-30s. We’re like watched pots. We boil when we’re good and ready.

 

Xoxo Lisi.

Look! All that underachieving and I made it to college!!

 

8 Comments

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  • Vanessa says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear! I’m supposed to graduate college next year and I’ve been so stressed about finding a job because I’m so indecisive and feel like I’m not good at anything or that I’m not passionate enough about something. I’ve changed my majors 3 times but since last year I have been studying Communication & Journalism and found out that I have a knack for writing. I even started writing a blog a few months ago, but I still feel stuck, like I can’t advance anywhere. I’ve actually been wanting to write my own young adult story and I’ve been rereading The Clique series for inspiration because it’s my favorite! I’ve had all the books since I was 13 🙂 I hope things will work out well for me.

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Vanessa,
      You don’t have to have the answers now. All you need is a general interest and you have that. If writing is what you like get an internship anywhere that lets you write. Volunteer. Blog. I can’t tell you all the horrible writing internships and odd jobs I had. I did everything that had to do with writing– anything that allowed me to say I was a writer. Say yes to it all. Work your butt off and stop trying to get to the end of your own story so quickly. Graduating is your first chapter, not your last. And how many characters know how to get what they want in the first chapter? That’s right. None. You need experiences. Some will be good. Others will suck. It’s the sum of those experiences that will lead you down the right path. Stressing about it will not. So enjoy the rest of college. Finish one story before you start a new one.

      xoxo Lisi

  • Zara says:

    Thank you so much for this!!! I really needed to hear that, well actually read it. This post is amazing and reading about your experiences really helped me calm down.

    Thanks again,
    Zara (:

  • Kiana says:

    This was interesting. It was almost like a mini autobiography. If you don’t mind, why were you an underachiever in school?
    And this is actually really funny. I was in this rut maybe only a year ago. I thought I had to go to college. I thought psychology was my thing. Turns out it wasn’t at all. I’m a very logical person so studying a subject that bases most of its facts on theories was annoying for me and frustrating. I kept telling myself, “you have to quit. This isn’t what you like. There’s something else out there for you.” But I had everyone tell me, “no, that’s stupid. Just keep going. It’s not hard. We can help you.” But like you, when that inner voice speaks, there’s almost nothing anyone can do to turn it around. So I quit. And then I thought, “great. That’s off my shoulders. But now what?”
    It took some thinking but I then came to one realization. One of the hobbies you grow up enjoying is the secret to what your future will look like. So was that something with computer games? Websites? Writing? Photo editing? Waiter? Teacher? Etc. No. It was the one thing that was most personal to me.
    I don’t know if you remember, but I was struggling with a “friend” in high school. I had no one to turn to for advice so that’s when I logged into Facebook and gave it a shot. I messaged you. You replied with some very helpful advice. Basically that in all relationships, communication is key, and that I needed to weigh the pros and cons of the problematic friendship. Later on, I used other sources. This girl was manipulative and all sorts of evil. I won’t get into that but I started writing one day what she did. And then one day, it just came to me. Songwriting. I’ve been writing since I was about 15 years old. I have over 60 songs and it’s about time I put it into action. Only question now is, how?

    P.S. Nice earrings. 😉

    • I love the advice you gave to Zara, and am so happy Kiana, that you have found your groove. I am a bit older than you and had to changed careers due to cutbacks. I loved my first job as a teacher because kids are my passion. I was forced to examine my skillset and quickly realized that creativity and helping people were a major part of what makes me tick. So I channelled those and started my own business.
      I have always wondered why writers write. I guess some write to inform, to document history, others write to entertain, to get things off their chests, to work out their own issues through the lives of their characters. Others write as an outlet, because they are angry, frustrated, trying to resolve issues, to wake us up, to celebrate life and on and on. I suppose each author has his (her) own reasons at any given time.
      I have been a fan, Lisi, since you started writing the Clique and have read every book you have written, some more than once. WHY? Because of your ability to see what’s beneath the surface and to tap into the human condition. I love your blogs and sage advice they offer to ‘kids’ of any age. You are wise, insightful, very down to earth and have great values. Your advice resonates with all of us. Your characters are timeless. The mean, entitled girls aren’t just in high school. They grow up to be entitled adults who raise mini-me kids. I have bought them your books as gifts, hoping they’ll see themselves reflected in your words and change their ways. (old habits die hard!!)
      I loved The Dirty Book Club. I read it twice! The letters from the original members were packed full of humour, wisdom and pain, but your writing style, your way with words, seduces me every time. and I find myself laughing out loud!
      So whatever is your particular motivation, keep writing!! Can’t wait for the next blog:)

      • Lisi Harrison says:

        Thank you Shaila. I really appreciate the time you took to write this amazing comment. And I’m glad you found your groove.

        xoxo Lisi

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Kiana,
      I love how introspective you are. I was dying to get to the end of your comment to see what you chose and songwriting did not disappoint! How cool! Seriously. As far as “now what?” why are you worrying about that right now? Right now your work is to keep writing songs. Start calling yourself a songwriter. Get really good at it. Study it. Immerse yourself in it. Get those 10,000 hours that make you an ‘expert’. When you meet people tell them that’s who you are. If you do all of this the next step will appear when you’re ready to take it. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
      I’m so excited for you and this new path. Please keep me posted.
      xoxo Lisi

      And yes, those earrings made quite a statement. Did you notice I went one long and one short? I was a master, even then.

      xoxo Lisi

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