Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Crisis?

After reading this article, which was posted by a friend, I'm feeling compelled to speak on this issue. I must warn you: I have the tendency to be very blunt and appear as though I lack sympathy. Please do not make that assumption. Nevertheless, when it comes to the "quarter-life crisis," my general reaction is, 'blah, blah, blah.' It reminds me of those late-night conversations I used to have in my freshman dorm. My friends and I would stay up late talking about anything and everything, believing that these 'deep' conversations would lead us to some epiphany.

I'm a little confused as to why this topic is garnering so much attention. Is there really something that profound in realizing that many of the ideas or expectations you may have had growing up are unrealistic, or worse, just wrong? Isn't that what this is all coming down to? You don't like your job, but who does? Obviously, there are some people who do, in fact, enjoy their jobs. I tip my hat to these individuals, or question their sanity. I also hope to be one of these individuals at some point. You are frustrated with your inability to keep a healthy and fulfilling relationship? Welcome to the club. By no means am I advocating that anyone gives up his pursuit of such things, but I can't help feeling as though these discussions serve little more than to point out the obvious. The first few times I read/heard about the so-called "quarter-life crisis," I too was very interested in the subject. I soon realized however, that this discussion offers very little to any of its participants.

Is this an entitlement issue? Do we believe that we are owed certain things in life? What are these things, and why are we supposed to have them? I almost want to belive that this entire "quarter-life" crisis is the perfect example of thise entitlement issue. We're not at a mid-life crisis yet, but we want everyone to know, and remember, that we're going through some tough times to. The problem is, it ain't gonna get any easier. If I've learned one thing in this past year, that would be it. There is NO finish line, ever. There is no end, only means. I'm reminded of a line from Fight Club as told by Tyler Durden. Unforunately, I forget the wording, but it's something involving a snow flake (any help here?). I'm just as guilty of having these (false?) expectations as anyone else, but I've begun to question what purpose these expectations actually serve. What do you think?

The one part of that essay that stands out is the following:
"Suddenly change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward."

So, please, let go and move forward.

Then again, maybe this entire post is nothing more than an example of myself experiencing a quarter-life crisis:

"You are beginning to understand yourself and what you want and do not want. Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging a bit more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and add things to your list of what is acceptable and what is not."

21 comments:

DC Cookie said...

That's why, when you pass your quarter-life crisis and enter your late 20s, you can sit back with a glass of vino and finally enjoy your dissatisfaction.

Brian said...

I gotta disagree with ya, "Chip." (God... lol)

I don't think the idea of a quarter-life crisis is as self-serving as you think. There's nothing for me to gain by feeling like I have no fucking idea what I'm doing and/or realizing that what used to be so important isn't as important any longer.

It's not an issue of entitlement; I don't think I'm entitled to the things I hope and want for my 20s... but they're just that- hopes and wants. Priorities change, points-of-view change... so why is it so bad to admit that? It's not a matter of wanting everyone to know you're going through tough times- at least it's not for me... it's realizing we're in the "junior high" of adult life... sorta awkward, predisposed for confusion, and with a allegorical squeaky voice.

Dale said...

Chip: I think the quote you're looking for is

" Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

I think this subject garners so much attention is that for the first time post undergrad, slowly realizing the obstacles of the real world is effing terrifying and any validation of that fear is comforting. Also there's such a smaller margin for idealism than when in college/growing up that there's less room for grand dreams.....

Mr. Bartender said...

Well the thing I don't like about a "quarter life crisis" is that it's framed as a stage of life. I don't think you hit 25 and begin to question all that you believed, I think you live your life and the events that happen to you shape your outlook. A really difficult relationship shook my entire world when I was 22 and changed how I view things. Is that a stage of life? Nah, just experience. And it's continued experience that will change how I view the world in the future. It's called growing up, getting older and wiser. We're meant to do it, and like you said Chip it doesn't stop. It's just some experiences are more pleasant than others.

aklsdjhfa said...

I can't refute anything you've written. I read these essays and see these books, and they make me think that something is supposed to change by admitting the presence of this "crisis." Maybe I'm against the presentation of the material? That assumption (that acknowledging such a crisis will somehow lessen or resolve it) is my fault and the main source of my displeasure with this topic. I just can't help but get the sense that people (not you, just in general) feel as though something will result of all this, but I don't buy it. Again, that's my issue. I'll deal.

Side note: I really didn't want this post to seem as though it was attacking you or anything like that. I don't believe you are under that impression, but for the record....

aklsdjhfa said...

Thank you Dale, that's exactly the quotation I was looking for!

Mr. Bartender: I completely agree.

I think my issue with all of this may just come down to the fact that I definitely agree with a majority of the points expressed in that essay, but I don't feel the need to be reminded of them. Perhaps that's just a part of my own insecurities.

Dale said...

I personally think that the essay was also a bit too one-sided. I am of the school that currently the good definitely outweighs the bad. I'm scared to death of where I'll be in a year, I'm scared to death of what I'll be doing, who I'll be with and so on. However looking back and seeing how far I've come, education, good friends, steady if not rewarding job.... plus the freedom to try new and different things with my life, so I'm ok being at the quarter life mark!

Anonymous said...

I am one of the creators of quarter-life-crisis-.com. I think you have some excellent points. However, I think most people feel that it's just life and get over it. We don't feel that way at all. We are not trying to claim any fame or to get rich from this idea. The sole purpose is to take what has been done on the subject. We want to see if there are parallels in the experiences of people between 20-30 from different areas of the world, social class, educational background etc.... The previous book did not do so. They seemed to be young college grads complaining about the world. However, when you are 28, out of law school for two years and working at the firm, you might realize that you never really wanted to do any of this. You might realize you wanted to be a teacher. However, you have law school loans and bills out of the ass. So you can't make the switch. This is an example of a quarter-life-crisis. It's not the be all end all of the world but others can relate. I hope I explained it well. I'd like to get your friend who wrote this article to contribute. I read your blog and I think you would make a good contribution as well.

scottla8@hotmail.com if you wish

The Boy said...

Well, you get older or you die....

JP said...

Okay, so we don't know everything, the things that we thought we knew actually don't work the way we thought...that's a real peach. So what do we have? We have questions. But at least we the gumption to ask. To quote 9 to 5, "Just don't panic!" and "Violet can you come here for a second?" Instead of flying into a tizzy over the "what-the-crap am I doing with my life blues". Why don't we just resolve ourselves to the notion that we need to constantly be searching? I don't think I'll ever be truly content with all aspects in my life, which is why I don't think I'll ever be bored. I'll always be striving for more, and more importantly, I'll always have someone or something to make fun of...
Cheers.

aklsdjhfa said...

As my grandfather likes to say, "Life is a series of new beginnings. When you run out, it's over."

Brian said...

I don't think acknowledging that there's something similar about those of us in a similar age bracket is inherently bad. The theory of a quarter life crisis is not identifying us as victims- it's saying that some of the things about which we are confused and our insecurities we confront aren't uncommon. I also don't think it's saying that we need to focus on the problem(s) at the expense of developing a solution. It's simply acknowledging a commonality to remind us to suck it up and to remember life goes on.

Complacent Chase said...

Chip, great subject! Now for my $0.02:
I think the whole "quarter-life crisis" is just another way people can label each other.
Let's face it...most people probably question where they are in life and if they have made the right decisions thus far. Most people are unhappy with certain aspects of their lives. Life isn't what we expected it to be...but what ever is? The questions are nothing new. I just think that a lot of people in the mid-20s to 30 range are just more vocal about it nowadays. But what does it solve? Nothing. Yes, questions are good but action is more important. What are you going to do now?
I think most people experiencing the so-called "quarter-life crisis" are just getting to the age where they are truly making their own decisions and are on their own. It scares them to be responsible. Did they become a lawyer, investment banker, teacher, nurse, etc. because they wanted to or was it because they felt pressured by parents or peers going into the same field?
I think the people experiencing the "quarter-life crisis" want someone to magically appear and validate thheir lives/decisions.

Well, it's not going to happen. Bottom line...YOU are responsible. If you don't like where you are...change it. There are always risks and consquences with any decisions...I think the "quarter-life crisis" people are not wanting to accept the consequences of their decisions and now are whining about it and wanting everyone to know that is tough for them. Well, get over it! Life is full of surprises. You have to adapt. Things aren't just going to fall into your lap and make your life easy. It's called being an adult.

JP said...

well said.

A Unique Alias said...

"They seemed to be young college grads complaining about the world."

You won't always have your fraternities and resident assistants. Sometimes friends really are vapid and shallow assholes who should be excised from your life like the tumors they are. However, if you don't like your boss, you can't drop him as if he was the professor of an elective course.

The sad thing about the quarter-life crisis is that it is so very common due to the complete lack of preparation that US colleges provide to young students, but so very easily preventable.

(In my humble opinion.)

A Unique Alias said...

Addendum: "Get a damned haircut and do something with your life."

aklsdjhfa said...

Chase and AUA, I completely agree, very well put!

The Boy said...

The bartender and I think that we should do something a little later on Thursday...pre-GL. Around 8:30. Thoughts?

Dop said...

Being almost 15 years past quarter-life crisis, I can't help but agree that it is nothing more than the sense of entitlement you mentioned. Dealing with interns and other people in their early 20's, there seems to be an overwhelming lack of responsibility, direction, ambition and ownership. I agree there are pressures, but at 25 they are really only just beginning. Perhaps a quarter life crisis is really just the onset of adulthood.

John said...

Agreed. We already had a name for the transition: it's called moving from adolescence to adulthood. Holding out longer to wrap it up, and whining something fierce about its end, does not make for a new mid- or quarter- or whateverlife event.

Miss Penny Lane said...

Oh, puh-leeze!! I will be officially in my mid-30s in six months-minus-one-day...which crisis is that supposed to be?? WHATEVER!! Every DAY can be a crisis if you want it to be. I think people choose whether or not to place negative attention on their age vs. accomplishments and wins/losses. I say: JUST DON'T DO IT!! Just live your friggin' life, since some of us, the gods willing, may NOT be living to 100 (as the 25 yr olds in "1/4 life crisis" are assuming).