A few months ago I wrote a post entitled “Anatomy of a Quarter-Life Crisis”. At the time, a lot of my friends were going through that in one form or another – whether because of issues with jobs, relationships, finances, or even all three. And I looked around and thought to myself “Thank God I dodged that bullet”.
There I was, about to take a big step up in my career, planning an upcoming trip to Europe, safe in the knowledge of my fledgling 401(k), spending time with my amazing boyfriend and moving into a fantastic new place. I was certain I had avoided the quarter-life crisis, or at least gone through it far earlier at the age of 21 when I almost (and luckily didn’t) get married. I got all of that stuff out of the way early, I thought proudly, It’s smooth sailing from here on out.
Oh dear me, how are the mighty fallen.
It turns out that you can have everything checked off on the “success list” and still find yourself floundering at the ripe old age of 25. It seemed to me, up until this point at least, that the reason for such crises was the result of not feeling like you were “where you should be” in your life by your mid-twenties. But technically speaking, I’m exactly where I should. Arguably I’m even better off than plenty of others my age. I’m one of the lucky ones. And perhaps the problem I’m having is that right now I’m perfectly on track for a perfectly ordinary life. And I always promised myself that I would not lead an ordinary life.
Of course the dreams you have for yourself at 16 and the dreams you have at 25 are very different, but at the core, my dreams haven’t changed very much. I still want adventure, I still want to do the sort of things that most people only ever talk about doing. I still want to live outside the norm. And none of that is to say that I’m not exceedingly happy right now, it’s just to say that I’m also extremely aware of how quickly time passes, and how easy it is to save up your “somedays” for so long that they become the “what ifs” of a life that has raced by without you even realizing it. Suddenly the idea of moving abroad for awhile is absurd, because you’re established now. Suddenly the idea of taking a huge risk in your career is impossible, because there are children to consider. Suddenly you look back at those big, crazy ideas of yours and just shake your head with a rueful smile, thinking that it was all naive dreaming while still, in some corner of your mind, wondering if you really could have done it if things had just gone a little bit differently.
This is the anatomy of my quarter-life crisis.