Confessions of a Quarter-life Crisis

19 May

Editor’s note: I wrote this column about a week before I turned 25 on May 6.
It was the result of many, many conversations – both in person and over Facebook and MySpace – I had with one of my very good friends, Crissy. We’re both turning 25 this year and we’ve both been a little anxious about it.
I thought this column would run on my birthday, but instead it was supposed to run a week later. Then, after my editor read it, she said it sounded “depressing” – so I wrote the less-depressing column that ran last Tuesday (you’ll notice similarities between last week’s column and this one).
Anyway, today is Crissy’s turn to celebrate a quarter-century birthday. So, in honor of her birthday, here is my original column and a playlist, with both her contributions and my own. Enjoy…

“It might be a quarter-life crisis, or just a stirring in my soul
Either way I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still-verdictless life
Am I living it right?”
— “Why Georgia,” John Mayer

I’m turning 25 today.
And I’m smack in the middle of a quarter-life crisis.
It’s kind of like a mid-life crisis. The only difference is that I’m terribly homesick for college, I’m frustrated with the “working world” and I’m scared that I can barely plan the next five days, much less the next five years. Oh, and I’m not sure who I am – so if I don’t even know that, how could I know anything else?
You’re getting the picture.
Quarter-life crisis is actually recognized by therapists and mental health professionals. I’m not crazy, just a little frustrated. Restless, even.
Luckily for me, I have some friends going through the same thing. My friend Crissy and I are even putting together a “Quarter-life crisis playlist,” full of songs like Mayer’s “Why Georgia,” “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne and “The Underdog” by Spoon.
But by doing something like that, we’re really celebrating our crises, not bemoaning it. Besides, this will be our only 25th birthdays, our only years in our 20s.
The feelings that come with a quarter-life crisis aren’t fun, but at least it could be worse. Because, basically, a quarter-life crisis is all about feeling insecure.
It’s about missing the lazy (or, in my case, busy) days at university, surrounded by a wide net of friends.
It’s about feeling completely belittled and constantly questioned by our new set of peers for being the youngest in the group.
It’s about feeling the satisfaction of being in complete control of our lives, yet being terrified that we’re throwing away that control and that our lives are, in fact, totally useless.
It’s about finally making that real first paycheck from a real first job out of college…and then getting that first bill to repay student loans.
Thank goodness for movies like “Reality Bites” or “The Graduate,” and songs like the ones on our playlist that help me fight off this crisis.
Those songs and movies remind me that it’s OK to feel insecure or left out, even in this “grown-up” world.
Til I’m out of this crisis – or out of my 20s, at least – I’ll keep this line from “Why Georgia” by John Mayer in my head: “Don’t believe me when I say I’ve got it down.”
Here’s to being 25.
Crissy and Sheena’s Quarter-life Crisis Playlist..
“Why Georgia,” John Mayer
“Breakdown,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
“It Sucks to Be Me,” from “Avenue Q”
“Running on Empty,” Jackson Browne
“Everything is Everything,” Lauryn Hill
“All at Once,” Jack Johnson
“9 to 5,” Dolly Parton
“The Underdog,” Spoon
“Working Class Hero,” John Lennon
“All These Things That I’ve Done,” The Killers
“Something to Sing About,” from the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” musical episode

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