A few months ago I tried my hand at The Single Woman goddess Mandy Hale's 30 day blog challenge. By day seven I found myself asking "what is life?" with a blank stare in my eyes. Day seven was about reflecting on where you are in life vs where you thought you'd be. That's when I realized that my life is at a 180 from where I thought I'd be at age 27.
Can you believe that had I'd stayed the course I was on, I'd probably living in Pittsburgh right now and would've been married for two and a half years. Hell, I'd probably be pregnant with my first child right around there. I shudder the thought. At the same time, I wonder what it would be like to never really have to feel the anxiety of a quarter-life crisis.
Some of my part-timers were discussing the quarter-life crisis while we were at the horse races yesterday which inspired me to write about it's sheer terror. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it hits around age 25. You're officially out in the real world, but you're still waiting for your life to begin. You've found yourself saying that an 18-year old high schooler you know is a "good kid." You've managed to hit all the milestones you're supposed to: graduate high school, get a degree, in some cases nail down your first job. Now you see your newsfeed full of friends buying homes, getting married, climbing the corporate ladder or having kids and you feel like you're falling behind. The thought of "what's next for me" makes you want to curl up in the fetal position because you're full of doubt in your ability to actually be an adult.
Grab a brown bag and breathe. You're not alone. I'm right there with you. Sure, I feel like my feet are on a little bit more stable ground than I did two years ago. I embodied experiencing nights I'll never remember with people I'll never forget. I racked up $100 bar tabs. I got home at 5 AM on Sunday mornings. I felt moments of bliss with men who I thought were good for me and I cried behind dumpsters in alleys when they inevitably weren't. Somewhere along the way I realized I needed to step back from that lifestyle for a minute and things started to evolve.
For one, my debit card stopped crying from the chafing it experienced every time it got swiped for drinks. I finally met a good Ohio guy here in Idaho. I dropped 22 pounds and started eating clean. And I made my first major on-my-own, big girl purchase...my Mazda 3. But am I out of the woods yet? Oh hell no. I'm just a little less of a hot mess.
27 brings it's own set of challenges. There's nothing I want more in the world right now than to own my own home and it bums me out that even while I'm frugal with my money, I'm probably never going to be able to afford the type of home I want in a neighborhood close to my office. I'm mentally exhausted trying to figure out ways to get to the next level in my career because I can't clearly visualize what that looks like. It feels like there are actual spinning wheels in my head failing to grab any traction when I try. I want to change the world, but I'm lacking the fundage or time to dedicate to the causes that mean the most to me.
And then there's that "c" word. Children. Would I like to be a mom one day? Yes, absolutely. But I'll be honest after hearing stories from my friends that have children, the idea of being pregnant horrifies me and (please don't get mad at me) grosses me out a little bit. I struggle with balancing the selfishness of not wanting to put my body through that with the desire to have my own biological child. I also have self doubt about whether I could handle the radical lifestyle change that comes with being responsible for the life of a mini. 4th of July weekend, I finished my 5th or 6th drink on North Beach, looked around and frowned when I thought about having to give up my freedom to be part of a party like this. It'll be difficult for me to cope with no longer being able to go do whatever I want whenever I wanted. My ability to be a parent is the biggest thing I have doubts about at this point and it's a classic sign that I'm not free of the quarter life crisis yet.
I'm not the first and I won't be the last woman to ever feel like that, I'm sure. Ladies that have been there before me, did you have a moment of clarity where life and being an adult made sense to you? How did you know it was time to embrace and go for those next "life goals?"
Until I have the answers, I'll just sit back and laugh at some of the sillier realities of the quarter life crisis. Who's with me?