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Deride me if you must, but the search for purpose and fearing your mortality is not unique to the mid-life crisis. So, yeah, we’re taking your existential angst too. Don’t hate.
The midlife crisis is a well-known phenomenon. It’s thrown around a lot, almost a rite of passage, a stage in our lives that we expect to occur.
In fact, my boyfriend (as a joke) warned me to be prepared for his purchase a motorbike when he reached his – he’s currently 23. What we were never warned of was the possibility of a quarter-life-crisis, which perhaps I’ve hit a bit early as I’m only twenty-two years old. I’m obviously yet to experience a midlife crisis proper, but I would think there are similarities; searching for purpose, understanding your mortality, and coming to terms with how quickly life seems to pass.
And if you’re doubting its existence, well…I looked it up and there are memes about it, so it must be true.
I grew up like most people, being entertained by our favourite movie characters behaving impulsively during their midlife crisis; getting a tattoo and quitting their job to become a yogi and spending the rest of their lives in some rainforest somewhere, ‘finding themselves.’. What I didn’t expect was to find myself feeling a little lost and without a clear purpose at a much earlier stage. I think It hit me at the start of the year, as I found myself signing up for a student association at yet another University.
God knows why, but after 4 years of a previous degree, I decided to pursue a two-year Master’s degree in a completely unrelated field. I know, makes lots of sense. And as much as I’d love to, I really can’t just quit my part-time job in a retail store and go “find myself.” At least not now, with the state of my current savings account and student loans. There is most certainly a time where you realise that being a stereotypical uni’ student was all fun and games at the start but after a while, you just want to leave. I did a little math and panicked as I realised how this two-year addition to my life plans, would make me close to 30 before I’d achieved the things I feel like I should achieve in my twenties.
I’m obviously yet to experience a midlife crisis proper, but I would think there are similarities; searching for purpose, understanding your mortality, and coming to terms with how quick life seems to pass.
Unlike ever before, I feel this strange pressure to live my twenties to my fullest. Perhaps it’s the influence of society whom genuinely seem to wish they could to re-live their twenties, and thus makes me feel scared that I’m not making the most of this hyped-up life stage. Like most people, there are things I want to do before I reach thirty, like establish my career, travel and explore that freedom that is synonymous with the ‘wild’ twenties.
To those who are older or those who are experiencing an actual midlife crisis, I’m sure my concerns would be amusing and perhaps laughable. After all, what would a 22-year-old be worried about? “You’re young! You still have your whole life to figure it out” – a verse I have heard one time too many. The thing is, we commonly expect to have this type of life crisis in perhaps our 40’s or 50’s and not at the age pitched as the time that life is supposed to begin as a proper adult – whatever that means.
There’s a certain assumption that our early twenties are dedicated to partying, spending money and jokes of saying goodbye to the prospect of owning a house, because the avocado is completely justifiable.
The truth is it’s such a strange time where our lives are starting to diversify, our friends are working ‘real jobs’, earning money that isn’t Centrelink, and even getting married and having kids already. It’s easy to look around and think the grass is greener in every patch but yours, wondering if you’re going in the right direction or not. ‘Should I be working like Hannah, or travelling Europe like Matthew, should I save for a house or go away? For all I know I could die tomorrow!’
Then there’s the feeling of having meaning, realising that we all die someday and want to be remembered. As a human, I think people crave the feeling of having purpose – as much as my dog might think my life’s purpose is to take him on car trips to the dog park or provide cuddles. So far, I can’t say I’ve bought a motorbike or the likes, unfortunately, I am indeed a ‘broke uni’ student’ so I’ve stuck to a more fulfilling path of podcast listening, cliché beach walks and yoga.
I can’t say if I’ve found my purpose yet, but I guess I should be happy I’m alive and all, just trying to enjoy life – except for when I turn 30.
That’s when it all ends, or so I have heard.