To put it bluntly: How do I navigate through my life when I feel lost all the time?
Backstory: I'm 25 and I live indefinitely with my parents (shoot me). The past year has been a nightmare: my grandfather died, I was dumped twice, and I've had zero job prospects. In fact, I've been doing the same admissions job I had in college and grad school. I had a killer editorial internship at [REDACTED PUBLISHER] in NYC in the fall, but when a job opened up, I didn't have enough nepotism to seal the deal. Also, like you, I kind of hate New York. Bummer, since that's where all my jobs are. So, it's not like I'm dying to up and move there.
All my friends have either moved away or are heavily invested in romance, so I feel pretty alone. I find comfort in your writing and your podcast with Amina. You both really seem to have your lives together. And I don't mean that they're heavily polished and "adult" -- but that you both just seem happy. I really look up to you and just wish I could be as content. I have no idea where to go from here. I just know what I want professionally, but it isn't really helping much.
This is a really hard email to answer because it is so big and broad. The things that have worked for me, and made me happy, and led me to a job and a life I like? I have no idea how to translate them to someone else, or even what I'd tell my younger self to do if I could go back in time. What I can say is that when I read your email, I noticed you didn't say anything about what you do have going on. I know you don't love all of your friends, but who are the important people in your life who influence your thinking? What sort of work are you doing right now, in your own time?
Stop dwelling on what's gone wrong and what you don't have, and start doing and making things. Even if they seem small. That's the only way I've ever gotten unstuck. Editing is a hard expertise to develop on your own-- that's true. But you can experiment with writing and curating and learning more about the publishing world. My friend who is a broke MFA-photography grad is starting her own photo-book imprint. I was rejected from every entry level journalism job I applied for, so I took a shitty day job and started blogging at a feminist group blog. Amina and I didn't earn a single penny from Call Your Girlfriend for months and months but we did it twice a month anyway. I know several cool women who have started zines that have gone on to become more professional publications and, eventually, real résumé-builders.
The stuff that has made my career and my life great is not nepotism or getting hired or having a good boyfriend-- I've had some of those things at different times, and they've helped. But the biggest leaps forward in my life have come when I haven't asked anyone's permission and just made or done something. I'm not suggesting you just give your work away to sites like Medium or HuffPo for free, but I do think you need to work on a self-started project as soon as possible, and stop focusing so much on what seems out of reach. Even if it's just a blog about living with your parents again. Whatever. Just give yourself permission to start doing something.