What happens to life after college? For so many of us it’s a time where we don’t know exactly where we are going or heading. Friends get engaged, married, and pregnant while we wonder if life is passing us by faster than we thought. We worry about finding jobs and wonder where to go in our careers once we do find that first gig. In short, the Quarterlife crisis is where we stop being kids and start being grown up.
For the next few days I’ll be hosting different perspectives on our post-college lives because even though we maybe going through times of personal growth and exploration- we aren’t doing it alone.
Today’s post is from my friend Lusty Reader who wants to point out that even when you accomplish everything you set out to do doesn’t mean you have it all put together.
Recently I started working with a new team at my office and one of the girls made a comment about how I’m so much older than she is. I happened to know she graduated college in 2006, a scant year after I, so I promptly corrected her by saying “um no, we are the same age!” When I asked why she thought I was older (dangerous territory I know!) she responded with, “I guess you seem older since you have your shit together.”
I wasn’t worried that she thought I looked like the crypt keeper because I’m pretty self aware, and usually get way more comments about how I look YOUNGER than I am! This has actually served me well when I’ve needed to pretend to be underage (see recent post on my blog). Plus I feel like it’s ok to talk about age with your peers, and especially if you are still young, no one is embarrassed to admit they’re 24 or 27, so I didn’t feel like we were being taboo or awkward, but her comment threw me off balance a little bit.
“I? Have MY shit together?” Color me confused. She doesn’t know me well at all, but further qualified it by what she did know and saying I seemed good at my job, happy with it, and that I was married. All the “big” things.
To be totally honest I never heard of a “quarterlife crisis” before I started reading 20-something blogs last year, but just because you don’t know what a feeling is called doesn’t mean you can’t have it.
My crisis is more the speed at which my life has changed in a very short period of time:
Age 21: graduated from a top school, moved to new city far from home, began first job right away
22: changed jobs, found my perfect, stable career, got a dog
25: bought a house
Although I haven’t seen all of Patrick’s guest posts for this week I have a feeling I’m sort of the opposing view.
So I’ve done the things I’m “supposed to do.” Now what? It’s not that I’m not happy. I am, ecstatically so. I feel very lucky, blessed, and have zero doubts about any of my decisions.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t envy you. That doesn’t mean I have my shit together.
I still brush crumbs off my lap onto the couch and carpet forgetting that I am the one who will have to clean them up eventually, I still wear bathing suit bottoms when I don’t feel like doing laundry, I still eat thin mints for breakfast, I still don’t pay my bills on time, and I definitely never floss.
And you know what? I ENVY my friends who don’t “appear to have their shit together” and talk about their own quarterlife crisis of being single, still feeling so young and unsure, and no stable career. (Ok I don’t envy my friend living with his parents though) You know why? No responsibilities! Anything could happen tomorrow or next year, you still have funny/horrible/exciting first dates, you still have romantic first kisses, you can backpack around Europe, you can move to Japan to teach English, and experience any number of unknown adventures.
I have a mortgage.
I’m not being a debbie downer, because I love my life, adore my house, and wouldn’t change anything. But I also appreciate what YOU have.
When Patrick buys tickets to Dave Matthews and then doesn’t use them? Fine, he just has to worry about himself. 99% of what I do/decide I have to include hubby. For. The. Rest. Of. My. Life. He’s lucky I love him so much, the big lug. * smooches honey *
Take my best friend Jill: she is chronically single and bitter about it, works in the constantly shifting quicksand of the political world, hates that every campaign season she never knows where/when she’ll have a job, and doesn’t see herself in that industry for much longer. When I asked her if she was going to our college’s 5 year reunion at homecoming this year she said no. One of the main reasons being she is embarrassed by not reaching any of the milestones she is “supposed to” and doesn’t like seeing people from her past if she doesn’t have any big updates. She said I wouldn’t understand because when someone asks me, “Wow, how are you, I haven’t seen you in 5 years, what’s new?!” I can say I have a house, husband, dog, career.
That list is not the end all be all. When Jill’s most recent campaign she’s working on is over in November she’s taking her savings and going to Australia for 2 months. I am positively green with envy and think that is a perfectly exciting thing to bring up at homecoming! Hubby doesn’t want to go to Australia, and we need to pay our mortgage. I don’t know if I’ll ever go to Australia, definitely not in my 20s, and I would much rather travel now, enjoy life while I’m young and not worry about waiting till we’re retired and the kids are in college for my next set of adventures to begin.
So while I appear to have my shit together, while I unconditionally love my life, am disgustingly schmoopily happy, that doesn’t mean I don’t envy the flexibility and unknown horizons your quarterlife crises are giving you.