Is it possible to go through a quarter-life crisis while also experiencing a mid-life crisis? No, really, I want to know.
Now that I’ve finished the required four years of college and have suffered brutal rejection from grad school two years running, I believe that I’m feeling what a lot of recent grads probably do: “what the hell do I do next?” syndrome. I realized slowly as the months outside of college went by that I actually have more options than high school and college dogma let on. So I have a degree; doesn’t mean I have to go into that particular field. It also doesn’t mean that I can’t go back to college and get a different degree. There’s no law that forbidding any of these actions. And isn’t that a novel concept. I’m re-learning what I did in kindergarten: I really can do anything I want to; following a certain timeline of education and work is not mandatory, just heavily suggested by culture. And cultural indoctrination can go stick itself. In whatever orifice it wishes.
The negative side of that is that I have so many freaking choices. Which in itself is not a bad thing. I’m just desperate to make the one that will lead to the most exciting, fulfilling life possible. How am I supposed to determine which job will get me that? What people keep telling me (by people I mean older extended family members to who I go for wisdom) is that I have my whole life to live and plenty of time to do all the things I want to do. Which segues into….
The premature mid-life crisis?
It’s the best label I’ve come up with for it so far, this horrible slow panic that rolls around in my mind like the tide. It gives me the feeling that my life is short, so short and how am I supposed to do all of the awesome things I want to do in this short lifespan? I’ve lived a couple of decades and it already feels like so much of my life is irretrievable. I have this whiny gnat of a voice always telling me ‘you have no time, you have no time, you have to do everything now, you have to make the right decisions or you’ll waste your whole life, and your life is so precious, you only have one!’ Even if I do end up reincarnated, who’s to say that I will remember my life previous? So no matter what happens post-mortem, my consciousness as of right now has this one life.
I suppose I should frame this madness with context.
I’ve had one, possibly two near-death experiences. I’ve watched someone younger than me, my friend, die, long before she should have. I will never forget any of it. To this day it will hit me like an avalanche at moments when I least expect it. So while older people tell me, ‘you have plenty of time’, there is a terrible reminder written into me that states clearly, ‘but what if you don’t?’ And there is no refutation for that.
So. Perhaps I’m experiencing some panicky thoughts typically associated with the mid-life crisis, I’m not exactly sure. Whatever it is, it’s sending me into anxiety conniptions while I try to sort out where the next step/road/phase/chapter of my life will lead me. I am absolutely determined, no matter what and despite any and all odds, not to settle for a mediocre life. Not to settle for a mediocre anything, really. I will struggle my entire life if I have to in order to achieve a life truly and valiantly lived.
Fantastic, I’ve sorted out a major life goal. Now back to the original problem: how do I accomplish that?