A few months ago, I wouldn’t have recognized a quarter life crisis if it had hit me in the face. I’ve witnessed people’s “I’ve-just-turned-30-what-the-hell-have-I-done-with-my-life?!” crises and the occasional mid-life crisis. But a quarter-life one? Us twenty-somethings are at the prime of our lives! Right? Right?!
At the moment it seems I’m trying to figure out if I’m finally the person I always hoped I’d become, or if I’m becoming some warped version of myself that I’d never even considered, and if either of these versions of myself is a respectable individual.
Of course the grass is the greenest it’s ever been on the other side. I envy my best friend for nearly being done with her Master’s program while I’m barely beginning to research mine. I envy her for having a real job. For having the smarts. Though she thinks it’s “fantastic” that I finally let go and managed to recklessly scrape by for two dreamy years in Spain. Oh, and ended up in a nonsensical, long-distance, international relationship after declaring that no one should ever subject themselves to such emotional idiocy.
So after days-weeks-months of feeling deliriously happy one minute and on the verge of an emotional breakdown the next, I concluded I was either psychotic, or indeed experiencing this legendary crisis. In the end I decided on the latter – seeing as how my amigos were all going nuts in frighteningly similar ways – and googled the phenomenon.
Our good friend Wikipedia states [in a soothing pharmaceutical-commercial voice], “Characteristics of a quarter-life crisis may include…..”
- insecurity regarding the fact that their actions are meaningless
- insecurity concerning ability to love themselves, let alone another person
- insecurity regarding present accomplishments
- re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships
- lack of friendships or romantic relationships, sexual frustration, and involuntary celibacy
- disappointment with one’s job
- nostalgia for university, college, high school or elementary school life
- loss of closeness to high school and college friends
- financially-rooted stress (overwhelming college loans, unanticipatedly high cost of living, etc.)
- a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than you
Sounds familiar, does it? Join the club. Now, before you decide to go and drink all your sorrows away, remember that you are not alone. And that your shriveled-up raisin liver cannot handle 11 shots of vodka the way it did when you were 22.
We may be in the midst of broken souls, broken engagements, hating our jobs, realizing that law school really isn’t for us, not wanting to conform, finding out that “real”-world dating can be a whole lot different than college-dating, and trying to figure out what our next big step will be (whatever it may be); but we’re also in the midst of greatness in the making. Our greatness in the making.
Someday this whole quarter-life-crisis thing will be a drop in the bucket. Until then, all we really can do is trudge ahead, give it our best shot, and brace ourselves for the next life crisis. Because rest-assured, there will always be another one waiting just around the corner.