I was born an adult. That is not to say that I did not have any childhood or did not enjoy my childhood. On the contrary, I did. Immensely.
However, I have always had that extra sense of responsibility and foresight in a way that is mostly alien to other people my age. To some extent this has made my life easy – in some ways. It was not difficult for me to get good grades, as the old woman in me knew that if I did not study hard I would fail. The adolescent in me understood the importance of “turning-up”. In this manner, I was able to balance work and life properly, until I reached the quarter.
Like everyone else, I had life mapped out and the path was supposed to be straight forward and smooth. I thought all I had to do was follow the often touted blue print
study, be good, work, be creative, but not too much so as not to make other people uncomfortable and I would get my ideal life. The one thing I failed to consider as I planned was that I would change. I would see more of the world and people, and so many things and so many people would be disappointments. I would be a disappointment too. I would develop a social conscience and a not so social conscience, I would hold views that contradicts so many believes others hold, and this would make my life difficult even within my family. I don’t mean this to be the classic no one understands an oddity ode, but to highlight the fact that adulthood means making a decision as to your principles and standing by it; as to how you want your life to work out in a way that is devoid of fantasies and is in accord with reality- therein lies the problem.
To be a full functioning adult requires focus and a host of other things that I cannot even enumerate. I could make an attempt, but frankly speaking I am too tired for the introspection that effort requires.
Here is my first confession; I am not a fully functioning balanced adult. It occurred to me at some point that I was not content.
It all starts with turning 24; as it is a quarter-life crisis you would expect that the golden age would be 25, but no. Turning 24 heralds the realisation that your future beckons. It’s gradual at that point: like waking up and opening one eye first just to get used to the idea of waking up, then you stretch a leg, stretch your arms, itch your bum, and 25 is when you suddenly take the leap and open both eyes. The decision to wake up has to be sudden unless you won’t do it at all.
At 25 you wake up suddenly and realise that you are expected to do things. You are expected to have a pension plan, have a good career or be headed towards it, save the world, build things, get married, have children, feed your dog, love someone, be civil, be charming, pay bills and any other innocuous thing you can think of. Age 24 was warning you about what was to come but as oblivious as most of us are, we ignore the signs until our heads get dunked under water. For a person who was coasting through life, the winter of discontent was upon me at 25.
For each person, what your quarter-life crisis consists of, will vary, but it will be marked by the same sense of discontent, mild depression, hopelessness, *insert your own words here*. There is the general idea that you are stumbling through this quarter of your life, making bad and difficult decisions, revising plans, and occasionally practising the almost extinct act of patience. A better person than I would have tips on how to cope with mid-life crisis, but I already admitted, I am a barely functional adult so I cannot help you in this regard. What I can offer instead is a space to rant and willing eyes to devour your comments as you rant. Misery does indeed love company. I Misery, you Company.
In all this, I have learnt some things. I don’t posit this as authority on overcoming quarter-life crisis, but I have learnt to be grateful for everything I have. It is a hard exercise and I do not mean to be trite when I say this. I know how hard it is to be “grateful” in less than desirable circumstances, but there is a reason gratitude is important. Life is not divided into the good times and the bad. They both come hand in hand. I can describe a perfect day and at the same time open the torrents of worries that constantly plague me. I chose not to focus on the worries, but the good things. This is not an easy task by any means, and I am constantly struggling to do this but it is worth trying. I have also finally acknowledged that I do not have all the answers
for an insufferable know it all like me, this was torture to type and I cannot wave a magic wand to instantly fix things. All I can do, in the words of Ms. Oprah Winfrey is “the next right thing”. Not everything at once, but steps to change what I can, so “do the next right thing”. Meditation is another fantastic practise to pick up for when you feel overwhelmed and need bit of clarity and peace within yourself. I tried it for two months and I was coasting on a cloud choked up on my own smugness at being able to meditate of serenity.
I am obliged to admit that it is not all doom and gloom this quarter-life crisis business. I surprise myself constantly with how much I am growing. I do things I would never have credited myself for, and in some moments of insane bravery on my part, I cannot help but be impressed with myself sometimes. Nothing else beats that feeling of self assurance that comes with knowing you have yourself well in hand. I have also developed a taste for the random; for example, I have decided to go fishing on my birthday, and I am toying with the idea of forming a band although none of my friends are particularly receptive to the idea. I cannot sing nor play any instrument, and neither can they. Still, it will happen. I have embraced my absurdity. In the midst of feeling lost, some good remains.
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