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Temi A: Waiting to Grow Up – The Quarter Life Crisis

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dreamstime_m_29912553I 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.

Photo Credit: Rido | Dreamstime.com

13 Comments

  1. Is it normal?

    August 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    People, please is it normal at the age of 26. To not have even one friend? To Never have been in love? Never really had a career, apart from the one year nysc stuff?

    Are there psychologists in the house, is there something wrong with me? And please Don’t recommend prayers because i pray a lot. Thanks.

    • Baby gurl

      August 22, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      My dear there is nothing wrong with you. I’ll start by saying Vera Wang started what we now know as the Vera Wang empire when she was 39/40. Colonel Sanders started the KFC empire at 66. I am not saying you should be complacent but you should know that others have been where u are and have succeeded beyond their imagination. Even as I have given the aforementioned names, never compare yourself to anyone. I repeat. Never. You are you and they are them. The road God has chosen for you to thread on is one he has specially designed for only you as he knows the great plans he has for you. What you only need to do is continue to develop yourself and gravitate towards what makes you tick. Chase exciting hobbies, take courses that interest you, blog, be a little active on social media and tweet about things of interest to you, follow people too, go for networking events in your industry. Trust me, in due time, your happiness will arrive. That job will come. That lover will run to you. The friends will be coming you will even reject some. “Our day will come” – Amy Winehouse.

    • Is it normal?

      August 22, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      You just made my day, this is very encouraging. May God bless you. I am taking a screenshot of your comment 🙂

    • GirlOnTop

      August 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

    • Temi. A

      August 23, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Ahh, there is nothing wrong with you. Never had a lover is no issue. If you dont want to and haven’t felt the need for one up till now then that isn’t a crime or an oddity you know. Re friends, if there are two or so people in your life you can rely on then you are there. You dont need multitude. Personally, I think I have just 3 friends that I can absolutely rely on and that I consider is enough for me. The thing is, I understand what you mean about not having friends etc. I used to be there and when my best friend moved to another country then I was in for it as she was everything for me friend wise. I knew I had to start putting more efforts when I met people and started taking an interest in them. There is something interesting about everyone you meet. I generally hate people as a standard rule,and that is because my nature is solitary. People drain me, interacting with people sometimes drain me and more often than not I have to avoid them again. It makes it harder for me to make friends. On the other hand, I also genuinely enjoy meeting and talking to people (I dont understand it myself.). The point is, if your nature is solitary as well, dont fight it. but the trick to more friends etc is enjoying people and when you dont want to, go back to your cave. I dont know if I am making any sense. loool. If I am not, im sorry.
      Re your career, if there is something you enjoy doing and are working towards it then continue that. There is no one size fits all way for everyone. You just do your own thing and strive for happiness. If it really bothers you that you dont have friends, then talk more to people who interest you and you genuinely want to speak to. If they dont interest you, then dont. As far as I am concerned, you seem normal to me and it’s all part of the quarter life crisis issue when you start to re-evaluate things in your life. Dont panic too much. Change the ones you can, and the ones you cant, do the best you can. kilzes!

  2. Baby gurl

    August 22, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    From your story I see you grew into being a free spirit. I like that and that’s what I look towards achieving. Life is not that serious. We make it so complicated for ourselves. Turned 24 exactly 5 months ago. And u r damn right about 24 being “that age”. The day I turned 24 I went to a retreat in the quiet creeks of Cornwall just to be by myself and reflect. I was indeed for the first time scared for what my life would be like. But I made peace with my inner man that same day. Now, the only thing I take seriously now is making heaven and that is where my heart fully is. I will allow the friends who want to leave to go wherever, open the door for those who want to come in, fall in love with only who my heart sings for, do work that I am passionate about, pray for and help people suffering in the world, never judge anyone, raise children in the way of the Lord and die in piece (preferably at 101 years old lol) and go and be with my Lord up there. Thanks Temi, do you have a blog?

    • Temi. A

      August 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Ahh Baby gurl (lool. see what I did there?) thank you. You have a heart of gold you seem to have such a good hang of things. I want to be like you when I grow up. No, I dont have a blog unfortunately. Maybe I should look into setting one up..

  3. Sisi

    August 23, 2016 at 12:25 am

    ‘Nothing else beats that feeling of self assurance that comes with knowing you have yourself well in hand.’ Coming of age doesn’t come at 16 or 18 or even 21. I think you’re right 25 is great one for reflection, self evaluation and redirection – it’s also a time for praise and hopefully a time to feel pride in the journey so far. Learning who you are is a beautiful process, when this process is skipped there are some terrible consequences.

  4. shlp

    August 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I’m gonna be 27 next month and whenever I remember that (which is at least once a day), I’m caught between being grateful and celebrating like craze, or feeling accomplished and kinda depressed at not achieving all I’d planned to do by now. I’ve learnt a lot too and I now see life in a more understanding and tolerant way than I did some years ago. Adulthood is a LOT of work, but, with wisdom, focus and determination, it can be LOADS of fun! Especially when one has a steady income 🙂

    • shlp

      August 23, 2016 at 10:46 am

      *unaccomplished*

    • whocares

      August 23, 2016 at 11:44 am

      me too, me too. I was ranting to my friend the other day that once I turn 27 and have to fill in forms, i will be in the 25-30 age range. oh sweet jexux 30 is knocking on my door and I sometimes feel like a loser. This period in my life has been interesting to say the least. I have become soooo patient (it’s unreal) and meditation is bae I wont lie. I just take it one day at a time and im trying to live more. Anything that makes me happy, and peaceful I do. Anything that doesnt, I avoid. I think my goal now is peace. I just want peace. I even avoid people that stress me nowadays.
      Now amen to steady income.

    • Abby

      August 23, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I couldnt agree more. I turned 27 and the older I become, the more I ask for peace in everything I do. I have not achieved everything I set out to achieve but I am not backing down. I am learning everyday and just taking it one day at a time stepping into my greatness.

  5. ladym

    August 23, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Love your write up. It is so spot on. I just got through a quarter life crisis, where I suddenly had to deal with weaknesses I had been hiding for so long. It was marked by depression, listlessness, regret and everything in between. I saw all my life plans go up in smoke. I had to start all over again.

    But I’m so grateful for all I went through: a near death experience, missed job opportunities etc. Before my quarter life crisis. I had low self esteem issues, I lacked confidence, always seeking for the approval and validation of others, sometimes had panic attacks. I was constantly afraid of failure, poverty etc. In short all I saw were my weaknesses. But now I know who I am, I love my tiny frame, I know my worth, I am now very patient, a lot wiser. I now know my strengths. I now see failure as a reminder that I’m human and flawed. I have a better relationship with God.

    I now see success as a journey and an opportunity to please God. I am more forgiving of others as I understand that people will always be flawed. Life is too complex for me to start taking panadol for some else’s headache.

    Getting to this point was not easy. It took the grace and mercies of God. It took God letting me realize that his love is patient. It took God providing a support system for me. It took a mentor calling me irresponsible and saying my behaviour was idiotic(lol). It took her yelling at me to let go and let God.

    It took dying to self and knowing that life is not about me. It took coming to an understanding that I will be accountable to God on the last day.

    One thing I did that made a difference in my life was looking for scriptures that addressed my issues and confessing them everyday.

    I’m learning to embrace life.

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