The Quarter Life Crisis I Never Expected
The Quarter Life Crisis I Never Expected
I take a seat at my home computer, toothbrush loosely dangling outside of my mouth and beginning clearing out my work email inbox one last time before I head to bed. 10:30 pm on the dot.
As every day, I promptly arrive and clock into work at 7:30am, double click the small bluish icon of Microsoft office and determine how my day will go.
I let out an audible sigh, although no one is around me in the office to take notice. I grumble some more and proceed throughout my day of clearing out emails, answering phones and deal with the never ending, un-pleasurable complaints from customers. Was this the reality of those past wishes to be, “all grown up”?
Turning twenty-five back in August, my body was riddled in a strange depressing nervousness. A quarter of a century old. When put like that, it’s just upsetting (For me at least). I am part of the ever growing percent of college graduates who are just working to work; there isn’t any purpose to my work outside of bringing home a check every two weeks. Taylor Swift at twenty-five just went platinum and began waging a war with Spotify’s CEO. How can I complete with that? But in all seriousness, I attended and graduated college, am employed, and have what I would consider a good job: so why do I feel this unaccomplished?
The pleasure I find in work is minimal, any reward for what I do is quickly trumped by the narcissistic dogs of the commission based world for which I work. Time is beginning to fly by, months are coming to an end before I even realize they have begun. Even with such little satisfaction, I am sitting here still responding to email and answering phone calls.
We grew up optimistically telling ourselves of clichéd dreams and hopes, but they all seem to eventually burn out and extinguish; what replaces the fire that keeps us moving forward. Where did I lose my fire, when did I step into the ring with complacency only to be knocked out?
Graduating college signifies a monumental achievement and should be celebrated accordingly. Our Social media websites are overloaded in May and June with graduates posing and showing off diplomas of all sorts. Beneath the flash of each picture taken, another group of graduates are stuck in a tunnel of mediocrity. For those who are not posting Facebook statuses referencing how they are working at the “perfect start up”, or how much everything in life is “falling into place” , there are people like me; Status news feeds only ignite emotions of envy which then are sided with a dab of bitterness.
I am tethered to the ground, consumed by a robotic 9-5 in the most stereotypical fashion. My mind juggles being pulled in a plethora of directions all which highlight a potential life path, and all which become increasingly terrifying. Should I write, try a shot at acting, travel or go back to school? Regardless of any of my options, fear is the emotion driving me away from a desired decision.
Fear can be described as stubbornly ferocious, acting like a defensive end aiming to tackle the quarterback at any chance. In this unfortunate example, I am the quarterback and my offensive line has vanished, nowhere to be found. I appear to continually seek progressive movement (vertical opportunities) but then become timid when actively discussing it. Fear seems to either drive us to seek success or cages up motivation for any variance in our daily routine, in turn brewing large batches of complacency.
It’s the willingness people show to get out of the passenger seat, take a step into the driver’s seat and with a full head of steam travel in an opposite direction that astonishes me. While some are spiraling towards complacency, what spurs an individual to make a drastic change so seamlessly?
I must first look within and question where my lack of motivation stems from. Outsiders looking in might pinpoint it as laziness but I refuse to accept that distinction. What’s stopping me isn’t laziness but the overwhelming thought of, ‘what if it doesn’t’. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it doesn’t go as plan? Change is not an absolute, and in most cases change is an insurmountable unknown. We don’t have a certainty of how things will turn out, and this fact scares me beyond belief. I grew up in a family that was relatively conservative when it came to making decisions. Everything was controlled and planned out, if plans strayed from the path, tempers flared and voices were raised.
Simply put, the idea of change and the failure that can accompany change frightens me. I am frightened by any consequences of the ‘what ifs’ and it’s killing me inside knowing this. What I view as comfortable has remained a constant and I seemingly take an unconscious pleasure in feeling this way.
But we have to learn that there will always be peers with better jobs, people who have an exact plan of how life will turn out. There will always be colleagues that are willing to expose themselves to the chilling world of finding an occupation you can call home. Accepting that it’s ok to be a quarter century old and not know what you want in a job, let alone life. Maybe even come to the point where you find comfort in the amount of time left to ‘figure it all out’ (Does anyone actually anyway?). To take the ambiguity we have in life decisions positively, and be thrilled in the amount we will still have to make choices on.
Many people are challenged by fear but it appears far too many others avoid that dance altogether, and find comfort in complacency; an attitude I continually seem to be mimicking. As I am searching for my next path, I must come to the realization that fear and change are an inevitable, yet necessary road block that I will need to navigate around.
So here I sit, toothbrush dangling, clamped down between my teeth. Before I attempt to sleep out of habit, begin to clear my work email. I mindlessly stare at the bolded unread emails but take no action. I’ve only begun to realize the actions that I should be taking are the ones I fear the most.