that awkward moment when you think you’re having a quarter life crisis

and then realize 20 minutes later that this is just life and I need not be a drama queen about it.

In my defense, I didn’t start the day thinking anything was happening.  It all started when my aunts suggested I read Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties.  A request I initially scoffed at like “Psst, I’m not having a quarter life crisis.” After talking to my friend, it became ”I’m not having a quarter life crisis… am I?” But then I kept coming back to “I’m not having a quarter life crisis.” and the definitive “I’m just (grad school) broke.” But for twenty minutes, I had a mini quarter life crisis wondering if I was actually in the middle of an actual one and didn’t get it. I don’t feel like I’m going crazy.  This isn’t a crisis, this is life.

Anyway, my friend described her quarter life, which was acting crazy for her (and embarrassingly normal for me). The drinking, the partying, the ahem… yeah that’s what I normally call Summer Eva and that’s how I have spent most of the summers of my adult life. My friend described how her friends had to stage an intervention and how she was so angry because she didn’t think anything was wrong then, but now, she looks back and calls shenanigans. I commented that if I ever had a quarter life crisis it was right after college and I coped with it in all kinds of bad ways, but the worst was men. I did a fairly good job of concealing it (if you didn’t read my xanga, which most of my friends didn’t), so no one knew how out of control my behavior had become and no one staged an intervention to bring my back to myself, mainly because no one knew… or I guess even if they did, they didn’t think it was that out of character.  And now, I find people encourage that behavior because it’s fun.  But that’s a different post.

Then I talked to Jose, who very knowingly said something to the effect of “No you’re not having a quarter life crisis, stupid.  Now get to writing.”   This snapped be back to reality.  I realized (remembered?) that I wasn’t having a quarter life crisis just as easily as I had dismissed it earlier. I am not in a crisis, not even financially even though I complain about it all the time. It’s more that I’m at a crossroad. At this point in my academic career, I have so many options, it’s a little scary – but not crisis scary. More of an exciting-and-I’m-lucky-to-have-this-”problem” scary.  What my friends have started to call “first world problems.”

I’m guessing it’s because I have so many options that it looks like I’m out of control. There’s nothing wrong with options in my opinion. I know my boss and family would probably sleep easier if I would just commit to a path, but that’s never been my way. That doesn’t mean I’m in a crisis, it means I’m embracing an opportunity. I’m taking my time making a really important decision that has multiple right answers. I’m taking some pretty major risks, but I’ve always done that. Even when I’m acting crazy, I’ve always landed on my feet. Maybe I’ve tumbled a little upon hitting the ground, but I’ve always been able to dust myself off and get back up again. That’s what life is about.

e.

4 Comments on that awkward moment when you think you’re having a quarter life crisis

  1. quise
    August 25, 2011 at 9:50 am (3 years ago)

    Inspiration to start my day

  2. L Boogie
    August 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm (3 years ago)

    Some thoughts: why does it matter whether or not you’re having a quarter-life crisis? It only matters insomuch as it impacts the decisions you make on a day-to-day basis… so if you’re making bad decisions, stop. If you’re making good decisions, continue. If your decisions are somewhere in-between, adjust accordingly.

    I know it sounds simplistic (and it is a simplistic take on a complex subject) but focusing on whether or not this is a quarter life crisis isn’t really useful for you (kind of like Jose said).

    Even the definition of quarter life crisis is broad and vague: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarter-life_crisis.

    But, one useful thing that may come of this: reflections on your life, career, and social choices. There’s nothing wrong with reflecting (and in some instances adjusting)… the problem is when you’re in complete denial about certain negative things going on in your life.

  3. Roxanne
    August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am (3 years ago)

    L Boogie makes a great point: “There’s nothing wrong with reflecting (and in some instances adjusting)… the problem is when you’re in complete denial about certain negative things going on in your life.”

    And I do think it’s great that you’ve given a new perspective to the “Quarter-Life crisis.” Maybe it’s not so bad after all, maybe it’s not a crisis after all. I think it’s all a part of the process we’re going through to figure out ourselves, our paths in life and our decisions through reflection, learning and/or trial & error.
    Roxanne´s last blog post ..It WAS All A Dream…

  4. Rod
    August 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm (3 years ago)

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