Oh, So THIS Is the Quarterlife Crisis Everyone Talked About?
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Anything Sound Familiar?
I actually convinced myself I’d skipped the quarterlife crisis thing, or that if I was going to experience it, it would be beautiful and hilarious and not unlike a Sex and the City episode—easily tied together with a few rhetorical questions. As I turned 24 almost exactly a year ago, I was feeling confident that I’d breeze through the anxiety-ridden twenties with ease. What were people talking about? I wasn’t yearning for my college days. I wasn’t making a slew of horrible decisions. I wasn’t constantly asking my parents for money. I had things figured out.
But with my 25th birthday looming, it turns out I have nothing figured out. Nothing. (Except perhaps bottomless mimosa brunch next week, where I plan to look for the meaning of life in endless champagne.) The quarter-life crisis is hitting me harder than I ever imagined. Probably because I spent my 24th year being smugly above the plights of my peers. Kharma—it’s the great lesson of your 20s, apparently. Now, I feel closer to who I was at 15—unsure, cautious, insecure—than who I’d thought I’d be at 25—self-assured, confident, with a bangin’ bod.
These are some of the growing pains that have smacked me in the face as I approach the quarter-century mark. Sound familiar?
You start to recognize your own bad patterns but haven’t figured out how to do anything about it.
Self-awareness: it’s both a blessing and curse, especially when you simply haven’t lived long enough to know what to do about it.
Merely having a job is no longer thrilling.
Remember when accolades from corporate or lunch with the boss was new and exciting? When I first started out, I was so thrilled that someone wanted to pay me for something even mildly intellectual, I reveled in every moment that made me think I was building a career. Happy hours with coworkers were fun networking opportunities. Meetings broke up the day and made me feel important. I was so doe-eyed—so stoked on being a cog in the machine that is corporate America. Well, that bushy-tailed enthusiasm is waning, replaced with the realization that I have to do this tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. For the next 50-ish years. And oh my god, it’s too early to be feeling a little weary. And if I get one more meeting invite for this week…
You’re not the new kid on the block anymore.
But you know who is eager for the meeting invites and happy hour excursions? That promising new girl just out of college who hasn’t yet been around long enough to develop an attitude.
Oh and those same new girls are out-drinking and out-flirting you at the bar.
You just can’t hang with the shooters any longer. And you’re no longer impressed with young professionals in blue shirts simply because they are young professionals.
You no longer really care to ask about people’s jobs.
Can we stop talking about work ever?
You have all the superficial trappings of adulthood and yet pubescent hormones rage through your body.
It’s completely unfair that at the exact moment that I’m translating my health insurance into human-speak and a pile of bills on my desk taunts me, I have a breakout of pre-teen porportions on my chin. Oh and I’m probably waiting/hoping that my phone will buzz with a text from a crush. The phone will buzz. It will be my mom. I’m essentially 13—only, thankfully, I don’t get turned away at the bars.
There is no set path and you’re in charge.
At least in my little bubble, life has always been pretty predictable. You go to college. You get a job because you’re up to your neck in student loan debt. You hang with your friends for happy hour and on the weekends as you all attempt to figure out this thing called adulthood. Now, your peers are jetting off in every direction: marriage, travel, master's degree, and the enviably few seem content with working to live. Pick a direction, you say? At this point, it'd be easier to climb Everest—seriously.
You vaguely remember what it’s like to be idealistic…
…but you can’t deny that brunch gets you more excited than most things these days. Time to worry about becoming jaded and cynical while you order another mimosa.
Dating hijinks are slightly less hilarious.
Don’t get me wrong—I still appreciate the hilarity of foiled romance. But when you realize you are dating a version of the same guy over and over, there’s a hint of panic in the jokes.
You realize you’re a stereotype.
As I publish this to the Internet, I know I am creating a permanent link to something that identifies me as no different than the average 20-something. Thank god blogging wasn’t a thing when I was 13—can you imagine the cringe-worthy embarrassment if your journal had a URL?! I know I’m doing that to myself right now. Maybe sometime in my 30s I’ll stumble upon this post and be reminded of how embarrassingly clueless I was. I hope so, at least, but that won’t stop me from blushing and futilely looking into scrubbing my online footprint. The point is it’s no consolation that everyone goes through this. It’s no consolation that this too shall pass. Because then what’s next—mid-life crisis? Fun.