The Quarter-Life Crisis. My Experience

 

Fear, an anxiety that burrows deep and this incredibly urgent desire to ‘escape’ are some of the symptoms of the little documented, newly prevalent crisis that is sweeping through my generation and most familiarly, within my own social circle.

Even now, as I type this my fellow mid-twenties to mid-thirtyers  are fumbling through this early on-set predicament. And I get it. I know what it is and I understand the anxiety and discomfort it’s coupled with. I’ve been there. When I took off to BC for an undetermined duration of time to work at an animal care centre on the southern tip of the province it had been in response to just this. I was in crisis.

My life had become this self-inflicted wind tunnel of apprehension, anxiety and crippling fear because the pieces of the life I had been rushed into choosing weren’t falling into place and the assumptions I had had of how I would be managing that life had made an ass of me. I was completely clueless and felt this sickening ignorance playing the xylophone on my ribs. Everything was tight and twisted, constricting and vibrating with each gasping pump of my heart. This wasn’t a ‘my life is half way over and I need excitment!’ kind of crisis. This was a ‘holy shit…I’m supposed to be living my life and don’t even have the slightest clue as to how to start it’ sort of thing.

Like most people my age, I’d been pressured and expected to envision a life fulfilled with a stable career and a drafted out and fully edited plan to accomplish a set of goals to be met. You jump from the nest and pray you can fly, because as supportive and wonderful as our parents may be, we’re still out in a world always changing from generation to generation. Regardless of the life they’ve lived, they did so in a time separate from our own and it’s just the simple rule of time that challenges the differences in trials we’ll face.

So we leap and crash towards this place we call life with the grace of the lucky and the wise or the more agonized fall of the apprehensive and naive. I tumbled with the latter. It was a long way down, and I may have slowed my collision rate, but I’m still dropping. Just because I’ve managed to orient myself during the fall doesn’t mean I’ve got it figured out.

It’s with a word of warning to my fellow stumblers and fallers and clueless noobs that I say to just keep breathing. What you’re doing is okay. What you’ve done is left behind as a mark of time or a memory or a lesson. Nothing is for naught and you’ll figure this out. Stop pressuring yourself. Stop demanding knowledge without the patience of accepting the lesson. Life is a constant lesson. Just because I ran away and dropped my life with the careless thrust of someone dealing with a crisis doesn’t mean it was through that flee that I found ‘the light.’ I’ll never not be falling, and nor will you.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back and just letting life happen. You owe it to yourself to let up a bit. You’re stronger than you think. And you’re not alone. Ever. No one makes it through life. We just live what we’re given and find the moments that feel right for us. Relish those but stop agonizing over everything else. Pieces of life don’t fall into place without some work and effort and desire of our own to nudge them awkwardly into place but don’t expect passion to pop up like a toaster pastry.

Take your time. You were given the luxury of it, so enjoy it. Literally everyone will face a crisis of their own in life. Never forget that. Ever. You’re not the only one falling.

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