May 14, 2015

Punching quarterlife crisis on the face!



What is it really like to be an adult? 
I have asked myself this question several times in my life, but mostly during my early 20's. The follow up question "Where am I heading?" doesn't make it any easier. 

I probably started 'worrying' about these questions when I got on my first set of job interviews when I was 20 and absolutely clueless of what the world has to offer me. You know the famous "Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?" question? That question that if you answered sincerely will surely slash your chances of getting hired by 80%. I hated that question, but it is also a good chance to test your sincerity to yourself and being a professional kiss-ass.

Should you be true to yourself and starve (and probably get evicted from your apartment) or give an answer that will make the interviewers hire you on the spot? You gotta be practical, right? Unless you have a very good fall back, like being an intern at Daddy's company or working for Mommy's friend for the mean time, or be your sister/brother's business partner for quite some time. Unfortunately, not everyone has these options. In the world where I am living, you either work or die. Either you pay your rent or live in the streets. The pride of being 'independent' doesn't help either. I don't want to live with my parents AGAIN, I want my own life. Does it have to be so hard?

I have realized that having your 'own' life means having a LOT of responsibilities as well. Bills, work, food, health, laundry, workout routine, time with friends, time with family ~ you decide what to do with all of these! There are ups and downs, like, no one's going to breathe down your neck and tell you HOW to do things. If you don't have training on how to deal with these stuff, it will be a royal pain in your ass. But even if you do have training, things are still easier said than done. There's no magic wand that would put everything to it's proper place. There are no spells to mend broken stuff or relationships. There are no short cuts to the finish line and there are no 'one-ups' to extend your life.

Hearing (passive) comments from adults just adds up to our frustrations. Adults can't help comparing what they have accomplished at our age and how petty our reasons are for locking ourselves in a dark room inside our brains for a long time, a.k.a depression!

I'm always like "Well, it's good to know that you already had 2 kids, a permanent job and a house when you were my age!"

I hate talking to people who make it seem like I am way behind the society's schedule. Who says you have to be married before 30?! Seriously?! And do you really have to be threatened by the fact that everyone's gone somewhere and have done something? Who says you can't be successful from where you are right now? Why do we feel SO pressured to get in a relationship or get married when we are actually fine being on our own at this point of our life? I believe we did not create this quarter life crisis on our own, we did not start this, the society did! So, I say we get back to being our true selves and stop doing every single thing that the society says we should.

I would like to share some of the things that I have experienced and have been experiencing in this shitty phase of life that seems like a rite of passage for the people of the 21st century.

1) Pressures of having a secured future (a.k.a retirement benefits, pension plans, etc)
The future that I want is the NOW that I am living! Delusional or immature as it sounds, I barely pay attention to this part. Nobody can tell when I am going to die.

2) Feeling left behind



I hated the time I felt like I was a 'nothing' in the world when everyone was busy doing something and heading somewhere. And like it or not, there would always be people who would rub their 'successes' to your face. Take Facebook for example, a simple social media network that is now becoming a main source of envy and self-loathe. Pictures of people here and there, they just can't stop bragging about what they have accomplished. And we can't stop them from doing that! It's their life, they are proud of it, but how does it affect yours?

3) Self-doubts (lots of them!)
You grew up knowing you're good at something and almost 100% sure that you can make a living out of it but then people would burst your bubble and tell you to 'get real' and find a 'real job' ~ whatever that means! They will tell you to be serious and you'd ask yourself "Which part of my sentence sounded like a joke?" It's like you're not making a living if you're in nobody's payroll. They would call you crazy and they will simply tell you to get over yourself or pull yourself together for once. Well you know what I think is crazy? Those things that people actually do for a living...is actually killing them! Who wants that?!

4) The biological clockI'm sure you have people around you who just won't stop talking about this thing. While bringing another creature into this world sounds magical, here's where I actually get real: Can I really take the responsibility of being a mother? Do I really want to buy diapers AND milk instead of new dresses, nail polish or the latest flavor of ice cream?! I don't know about you but my answer is NO! I don't care how old I am when I have my first child, so, people can say whatever they want to say but unless I am ready to be a mother, I won't carry a child. Don't rush into something you're not sure you can handle. There's no reset/restart button here pal!

5) Feeling like nobody 'gets' you

It's pretty normal to feel like nobody would EVER understand the things that runs through your head at 2 AM. Why are you up at that time of the night anyway? Why can't you get a peaceful sleep like you used to when you were in grade school? Back then, a glass of milk would surely put you to sleep. But now, you're down to your 15th glass and yet you're still wide awake. Why? You might think about your job ~ maybe it was supposed to be a temp job but you've spent the last 5 years working your ass on it and now you're thinking if that was your true calling or not. Why did you last 5 years in it? Should you keep going? You probably think about what really happened to your twenties. Did it turn out the way you imagined it when you were still a teen? How close did you get to making your dreams come true? You might also think about that thing you've always wanted to do but can't because money is a bitch and it never fails to get in your way. Where are your so-called friends by the way?

There are too many things that could run around your head at an indecent time of the day. You might even end up crying or laughing just by thinking about them and it's just way too hard to open up shits like this to people so you end up over thinking and carrying everything which once almost ended up in a nasty break down. Believe me, you're NOT alone! People are just way too good in using the right Instagram filter to make it seem like their lives are THAT awesome!

6) The past keeps haunting you



I believe good things won't haunt you. It's the bad things that do, right? Probably. But what if those good things from the past are no longer in your present? You tried your best to make everything work, you exerted too much effort but it's still not enough to bring them back. It could be a good childhood or a good relationship that you can't seem to forget. You're trapped in it because that past is way better than what you are experiencing now. But who knows what you would experience once you let it go?

Painful as it sounds but you'll get to a point where you'll have to rip the damn bandage off and expose your wound and just hope it will heal faster.

7) You're happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time!



I always have days like this, ALWAYS! Yeah, I know it's a line from Taylor Swift's song "22" but it perfectly describes quarter life crisis! I'm happy and free because I'm out of my parents' roof and I can watch TV and eat at the same time, anytime! I can stay up late or sleep all day and no one is going to nag me for not cleaning the house or whatever chore is assigned to me. NADA! No hidden phone conversations, no sneaking out late at night. My friends are free to come over and I can also go to their houses without asking for anyone's permission! No one can tell me to stop eating whatever I'm eating in front of the fridge. I can go to movies, eat at my favorite restaurants and dress nicely for no particular reason. Having most things at the palm of your hand, seriously, this could be a bit intoxicating! However, there are also times when being able to do almost everything that you can think of is not fun anymore. Though you know you have no reason to get bored, you just feel that way at times. It's not about being ungrateful, maybe you just don't get challenged anymore. Then, the thought that you probably don't deserve the kind of life you are living right now creeps in. While other people are working their asses off, you're just there working like you are playing Tetris. Are you doing something wrong? Will living a carefree life right now bite you in the ass one day? It feels right but your mind says something's wrong, so, you end up feeling miserable and you start questioning everything instead of living calmly. You're thinking everything is too good to be true, so, you set yourself a trap and cry about it just because you feel like you haven't cried for a long time. Once you've started crying, all the horrible things you've done in the past would come into view plus a vision of what could possibly go wrong in the future. "It's miserable and magical, oh yeah!"

8) Expectations & assumptions
People expect you to be somewhere far, doing something epic and probably with someone dashing. I actually get insulted whenever people assume that I am already married at this age. WHY DO I HAVE TO BE MARRIED AT THIS AGE??? If only they could spend a minute or two inside my brain, it would spare me the agony of reciting my speech about how unqualified I am to be someone's wife or mother. Now, once you've convinced them that you're not a fan of marriage yet, they would automatically assume you are in a secret relationship! They would think that a 'normal' adult would go around or sleep with as many people as they can before settling. They're thinking maybe you're just having fun for now. Again, they can say whatever they want to say and think whatever they want to think, and while they're at it, I'll be safe and sound at home watching my favorite anime shows and TV series!

9) Comparisons
Whether it's you against your sister/brother or you versus your childhood friends or whoever it is that seem to get his/her shit together, people can't help comparing you to someone else. This sometimes sets me on fire. I love myself and I am proud of who I am, where I am from and what I can do. I would appreciate having a chance to prove myself but jerks walk around everywhere and just for fun, they would try to ruin you by saying that a certain person is better than you and maybe you should try to work harder on improving yourself so you could be like them too.

Don't lose your focus! Don't get swayed by nasty remarks from people who know nothing about the real you.

10) Financial crisis
I know, right? Who doesn't go through this? The sad fact is that most people at this time and age are just trying to make ends meet, myself included! Apparently freedom comes with a price. Bills, bills, bills! But if we can try our best to cut back on unnecessary things and try to save even a little after every paycheck, maybe we won't be so broke? 


I'm pretty sure there are a lot more issues that are entwined with this quarter life crisis warp. I have been reading a lot about this and realized maybe it's my turn to share my own stories and hopefully get over it at the soonest time possible. One day, I might just look at this post and laugh at myself about how I'm too naive not to understand such things. But right now, I'm giving myself the right to completely make a fool of myself and try to punch quarter life crisis on the face the best way I know how. I may not be able to get over this even after the age of 30. Maybe life would still be a mystery for me even when I turn 40. But that's fine! I've got a lifetime to understand everything that I have to learn!


P.S.
I would like to thank my cousin (Gleanne Denise) for taking the first photo for this post!

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