Tag Archives: Quarter-life crisis

The Quarter Life Crisis: part II

A while ago, I posted this piece on my impending Quarter Life Crisis. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the phrase, a quarter life crisis is a period of a persons life, spanning from their late teens to late twenties, during which some individuals face tough existential questions. What am I going to do with my life? Am I going to be stuck in this hideous dead-end job and hate everything? Will I work as a wash-up girl at the local garden centre forever? I don’t think this is a recent phenomena. I’d wager this has been happening to young people for a good long time to be honest, it’s just that given the ease with which young people can express themselves to an audience these days – through blogging, social media etc – us Quarter Life Crisisers are becoming more vocal.

My quarter life crisis hit during my first year of university. I’d done what I was told and expected to do by my parents and my teachers without question up until this point, going from high school to sixth form and now, to university. I was a “bright girl” with “great potential” and us “bright girl’s” should to university. It was only right. I hadn’t really known what I wanted to do or what I wanted to study so had plumped for Geography because I was good at it and liked holidays. By January 2011 I was living in halls of residence at Royal Holloway, studying Geography and… it was fine. I was doing well. My mum wasn’t very well and I had a lot on my plate but I was a-okay and on track for a decent degree. I don’t know why I suddenly started questioning my very existence but at some point at around this time I did. I dabbled in meditation. I read a lot of Beat generation literature. I considered running away with my tent and living on a mountainside somewhere, not worrying about “real life”. Oh God. Real life. I started blogging, I got in to politics, I met a whole load of amazing, inspiring people. I realised what I wanted to do with my life.

I am now a graduand. I worked fecking hard and got a 2:1, despite my mum passing away in February, going to a crappy Croydon comprehensive school and most people expecting me to bomb out at some point in the past few years. I am proud of it. I want to write for a living; it’s what I’m good at, it’s what my passion is and I feel it will add greatly to my happiness. Quarter Life Crisis over.

 

… or is it? Upon leaving Royal Holloway and entering the real world, it has become apparent to me that the real world is a horrible place. Even now I know what I want to do, I must jump through hoops to get there. As such, my quarter life crisis has entered a new, even more frightening phase. Now I know what I want to do, how the HELL am I going to do it? Is the world actively conspiring against me? What if I never get to do what I want to do and end up washing plates at the garden centre again? Oh god, not the garden centre.

It’s a tough, scary world out there. I suppose the message of this blog is that, through the process of university, my experiences and my quarter life crisis thus far, I have learnt that all you can do in life is try your best. Keep plugging away. Pursue happiness. If anybody reading this would like me to write for them, please drop me a line. I’m happy to make tea and photocopy and I really am a good writer, I promise.

Anyway, if plugging away and trying my best doesn’t work, I’m going Jack Kerouac on you and running away with my tent. 

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Quarter life crisis

I’d like you all to think back to when you were a little person, sitting  crosslegged on the carpet of your classroom at school. Do this properly: the smell of Crayola in the air, the itch of the carpet on the side of your legs, the enormous jumper you mum bought you that you would “grow in too” etc. Your teacher asks the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
There were two ways you could respond to this question. Either a) throwing your hand up in the air with great enthusiasm to tell everybody about your dream career as a vet/astronaut/police officer etc or b) keeping your head down and your hand firmly by your side with absolutely no idea. I definitely fell in to the latter category. I did at one point entertain the idea of becoming the sixth Spice Girl or one of Charlies Angels but I’ve never really had a realistic ambition to aspire towards. Really, my ambition is to have a nice quiet life with a continual stream of tea and biscuits.

I have now hit a snag. At 21 years old and only a matter of months from graduating I still have my eyes to the ground and my hand firmly in my school cardigan pocket without the foggiest what I want to do with my life. I’m going through what I like to call “an existential quarter life crisis”. According to Wikipedia, a quarter life crisis is “a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Every time I turn on my TV there’s a new story about out of work graduates getting rejected by McDonalds or some such horror. What I’ve realised is this: I am only 21 years old. I’m probably (hopefully) only a quarter of the way through lifes journey. What I chose to do now does not dictate what I will be doing by the time I retire. What I find comfort in is the fact I am certainly not alone. Speaking to friends and peers I’ve discovered that quite a lot of the “just-about-to-enter-the-real-world” demographic are scared shitless by the idea. Perversely what I’m most afraid of is going to a school reunion in 20 years time and meeting an old acquaintance who’s done fantastically well, being asked what I’m up too these days and being laughed at when I answer. Take solace: If this happens, that person is clearly a wanker. Chins up friends. We’ll be alright.

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY: To the kind man who lent me a tissue when my foundation exploded all over my belongings – thank you

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