By Ali Schultz
What does draining your child’s college fund to buy a new Corvette, investing in Ed Hardy shirts and getting your face Bruce Jenner-botched under the plastic surgery knife all have in common?
They are all undeniable signs of a midlife crisis. A midlife crisis always seems to be the butt of people’s jokes once you reach a certain age. What everyone fails to mention is the quarter-life crisis I have found myself stuck in.
Leaving high school, no one ever warned us of the daily pressures we would face in our 20s. For most of us, this milestone in our lives is our first taste of the real world, and we can all agree it can be a bitch.
I mean, for God’s sake, I changed my major three times as a freshman in college, acquired two cats that I sometimes feel understand me better than pretty much all my friends, I’m working a dead-end job just to pay my Wi-Fi bill, and these days my biggest life aspiration is hoping that I’ll have enough time at the end of the day to put a dent in the alps that has indefinitely become my laundry basket.
Oftentimes I find myself sitting in contemplation. I can’t help but wonder what the hell I am going to do with my life. What can I major in that won’t cause me to gouge my eyeballs out with plastic utensils while also making me ridiculously rich? God, why can’t I just be a Kardashian? Am I actually learning anything meaningful in college? Why do only half of my professors speak English? Did I unplug my curling iron when I left for work? I’ve only been driving on empty for three days, I should be able to make it to work.
“I really need to get my life together” or “I’m a mess” pretty much sums me up in a nutshell.
Why is it that every time I go on Facebook, a friend from high school is getting married or six months pregnant? I can’t even remember to brush my teeth in the morning some days or to feed myself and I’m going to assume the role of mothering a child? Marriage? Really? What is the rush? If you love each other now, you’ll love each other three, four or five years from now. Am I right? Who knows, maybe the thought of my life instability is what keeps me questioning the decisions of others.
It just seems as if we aren’t sufficiently prepared to be thrown to the sharks in the real world. We are babied our whole lives by our parents and teachers only to be expected to blossom into this adult with endless potential.
I think what it comes down to is the fact that people our age don’t give themselves enough credit. We bash and badger ourselves for not having it together 100 percent of the time. When, in actuality, who really does have it together?
Yes, when we were younger life was easier. We had no real responsibilities. We could live without care and we weren’t so hard on ourselves. But somewhere in between all of that we kind of lost the sense of realization and self-appreciation. I myself am guilty of that. I have sat here for the last three hours reflecting on how much of a mess my life really is while writing this column and then I came to the realization that this must be the most beautiful mess out there.
I may have a time clock to punch at a mediocre job, I may major in biochemistry now and basket weaving next, and I may be pressured into getting married at 20 years old by my fellow peers, and not have any clean socks or underwear. And yes, all of this may be tough at times, but there is no better time in a person’s life than their 20s. Seize this time to try new things, meet new people and reinvent yourself everyday until you’re content with yourself.
Find out what it means to be independent, savor time with your friends and family and appreciate when you have enough money to buy extra quilted toilet paper.
Don’t spend time dwelling in your quarter-life crisis. Embrace the mess you might have. There is going to be a bio lab you miss, a class you fail and decisions that seem impossible to make.
Pressures and responsibilities will come knocking at your door sooner than later. Embrace growing up. Life is such a beautiful mess. Everyday we are given the opportunity to restart. Submerse yourself in this time period of self-discovery and never look at your life like it’s falling apart.
Ali Schultz studies political science. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.