07 August 2013

My Quarter Life Crisis- The Trials and Tribulations of a 20-Something

Photo Credit (http://the20somethingcondition.tumblr.com/)

Let me begin by saying, I think I’m having a quarter life crisis – 

Everyone idealizes their 20’s. Our parents reminisce over those “wonder years” with sheer fondness, and teenagers can’t wait to transcend their teens and land in their magnificent 20’s. Yes, every decade has its ups and downs, but I’m finding my 20’s to be specifically difficult to navigate. I’m not the first person to think this. I just recently watched Meg Jay’s TedTalk and finished the book, Girls in White Dresses, and sociologists have done loads of research on what they call “the changing timetable for adulthood.” My mom’s friends, family members, and others ask me about my 20’s as if I’m living out some fairytale, but let me tell you, I’m no Cinderella. I am beyond grateful for my college education, and my parent’s ability to support me during this confusing time, and, yes, it’s great to be young, my skin still has its elasticity, and none of my body parts have migrated south, BUT…
Photo Credit: (http://foreveruntiltheend.com/2012/03/going-nowhere-3/)

20-Something Isn't So Glamorous:

1.     We all pretend to have our life together but 99.9% of the time we have no idea what we are doing.
2.     The majority of all job postings require at least three years experience – it’s lucky if I have three months worth of experience in anything I set out to do.
3.     In college, classes like the “Science of Beer,” “Herbalisim,” and “How Hip Hop Happens” were among the most popular courses. Alternatively, courses on how to be a grown up - “APR 101,” “How to Land a Job, Not Another Unpaid Internship,” or “Why Long Credit History is Essential”- would have been helpful. 
4.     My e-mail is never empty. It isn’t Facebook updates validating my popularity; it’s my mom’s daily heap of job postings (majority of which list three years experience as the principal requirement.)
5.  I have become chronically indecisive. One morning I wake up wanting to change and travel the world, knowing that this is my one and only life to live. Five minutes pass, and I’ve now decided I need to start my life; I need to become a “real adult” with 9-5 responsibility and a stable paycheck. Lunch rolls around and I’m hungry, next thing you know, I’m moving to Italy to become a chef…
6.     You are forced to join Meet Up because meeting people in your 20-somethings is near impossible. I eagerly joined a ladies book club only to find that they meet after Lamaze class on Wednesdays…
7.     The two most popular conversation topics are, “what are you doing with your life?” and “what are your plans are for the future?” These questions are commonly asked by people going on to attend med school or have just landed some glamorous job gallivanting around the world. I’m more than happy to discuss my current internship, but my future remains embarrassingly vague. To avoid humiliation I am forced to either (a) embellish the truth (b) mumble something and quickly change the subject or (c) hide, run, or pretend like I don’t recognize that old friend waving at me from across the street who just got accepted to law school. 
8.   Although you are more than happy for your successful friends, you can’t squash that little bit of bubbling envy. The majority of your 20-something friends are floundering in the same sea of confusion, however, a select few have clung onto that rare piece of driftwood for dear life. Neither law nor medicine have ever been subjects of interest, but as I pathetically bob and gasp for air, I secretly envy/loath those friends drifting down a path going anywhere but here.
9.     Just because college ended, doesn’t mean the party stopped. If you know me at all, then you know I have an 80-year-old soul. I like to go to sleep early and wake up early. If I’m feeling extra frisky, a few drinks at happy hour beats any club or late-night bar scene. Over the past three months of post-grad life I’ve learned it isn’t yet acceptable to fully relinquish your college partying ways until you’ve settled down and joining the Lamaze book club is actually a viable option. When 20-somethings think about their future, they want to be able to reminisce about their “crazy youth” as they sit at home frustrated and tired as they burp the newborn baby. I’m no where near wanting to settle down, but I much prefer a glass of wine and an early night in over feeling the effects of a hangover. Is that such a crime?
10. Songs start to make serious sense. Queen’s Under Pressure has never rung so true.  Brittany Spears hit the nail on the head with Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman - we contemplate life when someone calls us “mam”, but want to punch the bartender when he asks us for our ID. Jimmy Cliff speaks to us 20-something as we are all Sitting Here In Limbo.
11.  Up until recent, our lives have been more or less mapped out for us via school-time milestones. We have always had a vague idea of what came next whether it be middle school, high school, or college. Things like where we would attend school, what groups we would be a part of, and what classes we would take were always uncertain, but at least there were always traces of solid stepping-stones. Now that college has ended, those guiding milestones have disappeared. We are forced to find a path to success in a timeless, milestone-less abyss where the options are endless. As idealistic as unbounded opportunity may sound to the “got-it-together 30-somethings” and beyond, just remember the last time you stood dumbfounded at Baskin-Robbins trying to choose a single flavor out of the 31 original flavors...    

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  1. I hear ya, Mallory! Lets form our own book club with wine and bed by 10! :)