In exactly 8 days I will turn 25.
And according to “real life”, in exactly 8 days I need to have my shit together.
Quarter life crisis time? Not exactly. I’ve been in the throws of what I like to call a “pre-life crisis” for some time now. True, I’ve had the space (and privilege) to give time to these thoughts, but basically I’ve been avoiding the whole adulthood thing (what is an adult anyways?), struggling with ideas of what I ‘should’ be doing vs. what I actually want to be doing…and consequently figuring out what exactly it is that I want to be doing…
You see, I’ve always been very organized and very calculated, with a prospective plan on the horizon. Until one day I set out to not have a plan. That’s right. I planned to not plan. I specifically went to an alternative liberal arts college where majors weren’t declared so I could have space to explore. And what did my type A self do? I decided that I wanted to make my life more complicated, choose a distinct path, and get a license to teach. So I spent my remaining college years with a clear plan in mind and unstoppable wheels in motion. As I realized that I truly adored teaching, and as I saw a potential life flash before my eyes- a young teacher settling in a community and establishing herself in a very specific way- my desire to be unplanned rebelled.
Almost three years later, here I am in France, in my mid-twenties, with the weirdest plan I’ve ever had- winging it. It might seem like a bizarre time in my life to go down this path as I don’t have a working visa, I don’t have a job, and my savings is growing sizeably smaller. But I do have a love of teaching, painting, writing, and cooking, and I plan to do something with it.
And just as I was feeling self-congratulatory and confident about my new path, real life (or my dad) called reminding me of responsibility. I received two important letters- one explaining my need to deal with student loans, and the other stating that I am no longer eligible for health insurance now that I have reached the ripe age of 25. So much for Obamacare. It looks like adulthood has found me. Right when I decided to be self-employed.
A therapist once read my ‘star chart’ and told me that I was going to face a personal crisis that most people experience in their 40s, early on in my life. She said that I would spend some time struggling, but that I would come out of it self aware, secure, and stable even in to middle age where most of my peers would be struggling.
But as much as I’d like to believe my therapist’s lovely portrait of the future, when I look at the present, my peers are also struggling now. Every one of my friends in one way or another is facing the “real world” and figuring out their place in it. Maybe it’s technology, maybe it’s the time (can you say recession?), maybe we’re just at ‘that age’, or maybe it’s just the nature of transition. I think we underestimate the power of times of transition. As you pass from one phase, one place, one path to another, it seems only natural that you face a life-crisis- or maybe a life introspection. But it’s times and challenges like these that help us grow. Or maybe I’m just projecting…
But who knows, if my therapist was actually right, I’ll be sitting pretty while those suckers are doing their time.
So bring on 25 and all the misadventures that come with it!