Age is just a number, says the heart. Well, really? Questions the mind. A few weeks ago, I turned 26. I suppose I could pat myself on the back, for having successfully made it successfully through life’s first quarter, in these rather demanding, convoluted, complicated times, couldn’t I?
Memories of myself as a dreamy-eyed teenager, trying to fantasize about what a 26 year old me would look like, come rushing back. When in those rather rebellious years, eyeing the greener grass I kept convincing myself that all I needed to do was grow up. Which is exactly when I alarmingly realized that the picture that I created of myself a quarter-lifer, and what reality turned out to be, couldn’t be more different. For starters, I’d believed that I’d have my personal and professional life completely ‘sorted’, by the ripe old age of 26. Ah, how I wish! There’s absolutely no way I’d consider putting myself in the ‘sorted’ category. On the contrary, life still is, in many ways, a kind of chaotic, colourful mess. There’s still so many things to discover, so many lessons to learn, and so much to take in, that being ‘sorted’, is quite a distant dream from reality. And while there definitely is a part of me that wishes I’d have had it all figured out by now, there’s also a part that enjoys the journey of self-discovery.
In certain ways, the 26 year milestone hasn’t exactly made a ton of difference, if you’d ask me. For my mind didn’t exactly blow a trumpet, or lay out a red carpet announcing the arrival of the quarter life, as much as the world around did. I didn’t start doing things differently, thinking differently, or feeling less passionate about things I always had, even they didn’t exactly sound ‘grown-up’.
Yet, in many ways, particularly when I look back, I realize how I’ve changed and evolved in hindsight, mostly subconsciously, in terms of decisions, choices and emotions. When I compare a 26 year old quarter-lifer me to the person I was at 21, there’s a stark contrast, in the way I react to situations and circumstances. In a funny kind of manner, on self – reflection, I find myself a tad more mature, responsible and evolved as a person. Life experiences do that to you. If I were ever asked what a quarter-life crisis does to you, I’d say that it confuses you. Gives you more dilemmas than you’d like. Throws you into a abyss of sorts. Yet, in many ways, it also allows room for colorful contrasts of sorts. u look back, and reflect on the first quarter gone by, consciously. And set benchmarks and yardsticks for how you’d like to live the next quarter.
And as I final word of suggestion, hate it, love it, but do not ignore it. Denial is terrible. And as I write this, I’m extremely torn between watching my favorite animated film with my go-to ice-cream flavor, or watch a foreign film I’ve been to wanting to for a while, over a glass of Merlot. Aah, tough choice to make. Blame in on the quarter-life crisis, ah!