A year to quarter century
Four years ago, I stumbled upon a journey that I hoped would lead me to where I thought I belonged, a mirage of what my life was supposed to be. But, as always life had its own plans and its own rhythm; and I wasn’t accustomed to it nor was I educated about it. So, life did what it is known to do by paying no mind to what I was daydreaming about, therefore, leading to the events that inspired me to write about the ‘ugly twenties’- a post about quarter-life-crisis, post-college life and learning how to play the game known as adulting. Not to mention it was a mirror into the pains, fears, and confusion of this twenty-something-year-old, still figuring it out individual.
So, here we are almost a year later, the hour has struck, and I am no longer 23. The unending pains that seemed too raw to ever calcified have become fading scars or pulsating reminders of what is now- but I know won’t forever be- the most painful year of my life.
As a congratulatory token to myself (for seeing the end of that tunnel) I’ve decided not to do the standard ‘X no. of things I’ve learned in X years’ post. What I am about to do is sober you up with what I’ve learned about quarter-life crises in hindsight and what I hope for in the years to come.
So, here is my truth: being in a quarter-life crisis is a not distant memory. And every day it is a choice I have to make, to not fall back into the comfortable self-doubting, fearful, hopeless routine that I once dwelled in. I’ve come to accept the simple reality that all I can guarantee is my immediate action or reaction. Things change, whether we want them to or not, however, how we deal with the cards we are dealt with is what sets us apart from those who fail. So, without comparing myself to who I used to be, who I want to be or the strides made by my peers, I now focus on building a new me. A better me. Brick by brick, every day I try to be better than I was yesterday. I make conscious decisions about who I spend my time with and how I spend my time. I continually re-evaluate myself, making sure that I only surround myself with the people and things that bring me happiness and push me towards better.
Another hard truth that I had to swallow over the past year was my naivety. I don’t mean I still believed in Santa Clause or all the other falsities of our childhood. On the contrary, I was naïve about who I was as well as what I needed. I childishly, thought people would reciprocate the efforts I put in. And when they didn’t, I spent more energy and time in the hope that they would eventually catch on. But they never did. And they never will- not in the precise, exact way that I want them to in my mind. And that is okay. On the other side, I also allowed myself to be swept up and consumed by what others wanted, inevitably neglecting me. And the most naïve I was, was about thinking that I knew or understood life as well as some particular experiences without personally going through them. I’ve come to appreciate that there is no novel, no how-to guide, no movie or advice that would 100% prepare you for certain things because some lessons have to be learned only by being tested. And as much as we want to ‘stay the same’ life has to chip away certain parts of ourselves, for it to ensure that we become who we are needed to be. And maybe, just maybe, if we are lucky when these pieces of our former selves are no longer there, we will fit into our new lives perfectly.
I used to think of life-crises as periods in time when a person was overwhelmed by the realization that life had more layers than they initially believed or moments when we are confronted with the question ', is this it?’. I now know different, and see that these phases solely exist to educate us. Because there are important distinct themes in every life, or story, and the only process that ensures these themes play the roles they are supposed to is a painful, challenging one. Simply put these life crises are different manifestations of puberty- emotional/mental/spiritual/moral puberty. With all that said and done, the bottom line is life goes on and all things come to an end. You either accept the situation you find yourself in as unchanging, or you pull your big-boy or girl pants, take your shot and move forward with the knowledge that there are more battles to be fought and dragons to slay.
Like the human I am, my list of things I want are endless, however, based on the past year what I hope I won’t lack from today onwards would be the understanding that without taking a step back and putting myself first I won’t exist. So often, we get caught up in the motions of life, zeroing on only what we need to do now/next that we forget to evaluate ourselves. We forget to remember who we are and the things that make us ourselves. It isn’t until we are so far gone that it dawns on us that we might have forgotten what our true north is or haven’t noticed the shift that has occurred within us.
The second lesson I want to take into the coming year(s) is the wisdom to accept that being rejected is okay, in particular by those we love or those that love us. No one owes us their love nor do we owe anyone ours. No matter how sad it is, or the hurt that could possibly result in the end everyone has to do what is best for them and their sanity. Because loving someone or being loved by someone in most cases isn’t enough. And that’s the saddest, most liberating lesson you can learn- about love and life.
So here we are at the end of the post, don’t forget to share and leave your comments in the box below. I want to know what you think about life crises, and whether or not you’ve had one (or multiple). How have you cooped? What are the lessons you’ve learned through struggle or pain, and how has that shaped your life? Would you have rather not gone through these phases in the long run? Or simply what you thought about the post. Happy New Month.
P.S. if anyone knows a song that is about being 24 or one that captures the essence of this post hit me up in the comment box- I need a soundtrack to this year. Thanks.