A 20-something's crysis

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I came across a status message on Facebook which says: why do ALL the women in mid-thirties sound the same?....
I began commenting on that and went on to say that since the person is already in his/her mid-thirties maybe he/she'll tell me about the miseries of 20somethings first, but that might be construed rude coz not all can take sarcastically funny humor well. Then I thought why not blog about it.


I really dunno why or what happens during mid-thirties coz I'm nowhere near mid-thirties (though would sure love to see some answers to that question) but this post is not about the mid-thirties, it is about the 20-somethings phase of life which is an even more difficult hurdle to cross before one even gets to the thirties. Americans, like they always do, have come up with a fancy name for it called the "quarterlife crisis". Apparently from what I heard and read, it begins in your late teens and lasts upto your mid thirties. According to me, it is a period when one is the most screwed-up and twisted. It is the most confusing period when one gets bored with life suddenly for no reason and sick with everybody else around, clueless about what to do and where to start coz first of all he/she wouldn't know what they want out of life. The whole aim of a person during this period is: to find oneself and discover the whole meaning of one's existence. Typically a 20s is always tired of: all the boring lectures, working in the same job day after day, job changes, going to the same cafeteria and drinking the same coffee everyday, etc., etc., Maybe this is what an average person's routine is, even after this phase has passed but when you're single you tend to think "WTF am I doing and why? and for whom?" It makes you wanna do rebellious things like quit your job, decide you should shave your head suddenly one day or worse dye you're hair orange/yellow/purple whatever (but that's not the point). What I'm trying to say is that insecurity, uncertainty, indecisiveness are the major traits of these young adults. But I guess that is what happens when forced into the world to live alone after 18 to 24 years of education and guidance from teachers and parents. This is also why 20somethings get nostalgic and talk like they are still in school. They cannot let go of their childish nature easily and become mature adults out of the bloom; they also admire and get attracted to anybody who's more matured than them. You may also call this crisis a cry for help but 20somethings also can't cry out loud coz of the fear that they might be teased. Our hormones always seem to be whacked out and running a riot and I might sound like a drama queen to those reading this but that's how it is.

Suddenly it is all about money, "Is he/she making more than me or less than me? Does he/she have a better designation than me? Is he/she working in an MNC or just a consultancy? and then you start hating yourself not only becoz you're in a jobless situation but also becoz you are comparing yourself with others and wasting time instead of thinking about your future. You're in a bad mood most of the time cribbing about this and that. You are always looking for someone who is just like you to be sure that you're not alone. You're always on the lookout for a soulmate. You like someone but you're not sure if you're in love coz you really don't know what love is. You have a boyfriend/girlfriend but don't know if he/she is the one you'd like to settle down with. You also find reasons to break up coz you're in no way ready to get settled down yet. And even if you take that impulsive decision to get married you don't know if you're ready to face the challenge of having kids. You watch shows like FRIENDS, How I Met Your Mother, and Seinfeld and think the characters are exactly like you. And the next minute you log into facebook taking silly/stupid quizzes like "Which friends character are you?" anticipating the result all the while... like that is actually going to tell you the future. Also when you find a palm reader/tarot card reader or a rune reader you jump at the chance of getting your fortune told to see if your dreams would come true (I never understand why the hurry to have everything sketched out at once). You're always dreaming about having a successful life which is: to get married by 25, have kids by 30, have a good career in the field of you're interest and own a house by 35 (only if it were that easy huh?). It all becomes overwhelming and every birthday seems like you're coming close to the deadline and not achieving anything. You're parents have paid mega bucks for you're hi-fi education and so they have lots of hopes and expectations on you, OMG! there's so much pressure you think you'll have a breakdown. You feel like running off to some unknown remote island and leave everything behind. Some of you might think you have achieved something this minute and the next minute you see an overachiever you get depressed and feel hopeless again, you head back to your comfort zones or rather comfort eating for people like me. You realize life is not like the fairy tale dream you had of it when you were in school. Like Meredith Grey says in GA, we notice suddenly "We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?".

Life gets tougher and we find ourselves quitting at every little obstacle we may have to face. And then there's that career path to take care of. You concentrate more on how to build you're resume/CV than you do on your job. You'll have to work extra hours coz you're the newbie and you have to please your boss to one day get to his position. WoW its a hell of a phase and I guess so is every other phase of life but since I've not been to any other phase yet, let me rant about this first. You don't know what your priorities are and never seem to figure out why/what to prioritize either. You already have a kid and want to have one more, but you know your mom's not ready yet for another non-paying 24X7 babysitting job. The trashing/complaining never ends!!!

So for the person who posted the above status on fb I don't know why women/people in mid-thirties think alike but I'm sure its a much less confusing and much happier phase of life (I maybe wrong but right now that's how it feels). All the above issues maybe the same with some 30somethings and mid-forties too but atleast they don't see them anymore as major issues like a 20something does since they get busy with other more important issues in life or they might have simply got used to it and accepted life like it is.

There are also a lot of books out there which tell you they can help you in your crisis and all that but you can hardly expect help from a book (I can tell you this coz I've actually bought a lot of inspiring quotes, self-help kind of books and I guess you have too when you were looking for answers to unknown questions) and I also think its a phase everybody has to go through while making their own mistakes and learning from them coz that's how we grow to become strong human beings. Also, do not let your parents pave paths and decide everything for you coz then you'll never learn/grow to become fine adults.

Some other views on 20somethings from other websites:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=quarter%20life%20crisis
http://www.cds.caltech.edu/~shane/text/quarterlifecrisis.html

There's also a whole website and discussion forum on this topic: http://quarterlifecrisis.com/
It was created by the girls who invented the term "quarterlife crisis" sometime in the nineties...

Image Courtesy: A painting by my friend MV Harini, who's a very talented 20something stuck in corporate life :)


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8 comments:

Ramesh said...

Well, some huge decisions are made at this time in life - career, love, partner etc etc. But my view is that this phase in life is not more crisis prone than others. The first taste of economic freedom makes is a huge plus. Sure there are some challenges, but that's an unending sequence in life.

rads said...

@Ramesh: "Career, Love, and Partner" aren't these some of the most important parameters that define one's whole life? n since they hv to be decided at such a confused n young stage it is the most difficult phase n hence crisis-proned too... but whether u call it a crisis or not all depends on you...n i do agree tht there is a crisis at every phase of life...n "economic freedom?" i'd call it a threat more than a freedom? especially in such economic times...and yes life itself is a big series of challenges...but to 20somethings this particular phase seems more challenging than others coz they suddenly lose financial security n guidance from elders and they r left alone for the first time to make huge life turning/changing decisions...

The madrasi said...

hmm...that period of life comes with ample of responsibilities ...
and thats when we are just out of the teenage fun ..
btw I agree with ur previous comment...hmm will have to see to it.. im still in my teens!!

rads said...

@The madrasi: Thanks and welcome to my blog...Enjoy your teens and don't worry much...life happens and ups n downs are a part of it, that's how we learn...

JKHoNa said...

Rads!!! this feels so something like things happening around with me? but am anyways patient with things happening. Its just matter of time. Either bad time would pass away, or I would pass away!! I have started believing in Almighty has planned a destiny for me and I have to leave no chance of unearthing the clues in this treasure hunt game called life! good writeup! certainly qualifies for Tangy Blog!!!

rads said...

@jkhona: Thanks :) Life is indeed a treasure hunt game and the 20 something phase has to be enjoyed no matter how brutal it can be sometimes. Just stay positive and the phase will end soon anyways.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Very nice painting..:-)

rads said...

@A Homemaker's Utopia: Thanks but its by my friend :)