<%-- Page Title--%> Perspective <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 157 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 4, 2004

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>

The Quarter-Life Crisis

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

Whoever said that the twenties were the best years of our lives was either seriously deluded or playing a cruel joke on mankind. Whether or not it is "all downhill from here" or not, the fact is that as mere babes in the world of adults, people in their twenties are not mentally or emotionally prepared for life's many trials and tribulations. We are, in actuality, coming to the harsh realisation that life does not always work out the way we planned. Change, that demon, becomes inevitable and unavoidable.

We are stuck in our first great rut, better known as the "quarter-life crisis" -- the time where we have to unlearn and relearn everything. Nothing seems stable or secure -- quite the opposite in fact -- things are precarious and liable to fall apart at any time. People that we grew up with seem to have nothing in common with us anymore. The career path that we chose and wanted may suddenly not be working out the way we wanted. We start analysing ourselves -- our wants, our needs, our boundaries, our limits. Everything takes on a different perspective. We actually have adult problems: loans, bills, bank balances, society and its do's and don'ts. We are accountable for our actions -- and we are forced to be responsible, sometimes not only for ourselves, but for people around us. We are pressured by the constructs of society and cannot afford to "not care what people think" anymore.

"Carefree" and "free-spirited" become mouldy, neglected words and scary, hard-to-spell words take their place -- priorities, obligations, sensible, practical. And although that little kid in us is still always fighting to come out -- sometimes even managing to surface on rare occasions, it is hard for us to really let it get comfortable. Because it really doesn't belong anywhere anymore, except inside of us. No one else is interested.

This is the time when we shut the door to our childhood, and say hello to our adult selves. And there is no going back.

It is true that all this can happen to anyone at any given point in their lives, but for us twenty-something's, these so-called "growing pains" are new and foreign concepts -- I suppose we will eventually get used to them.

One may say that this is a good thing -- we are finally being treated like adults, which is what most of us have wanted since we were sixteen. However, the flip side of the coin is that we are still seen as the children of the adult population -- be it at work, at home or in the social scene. Even though we are saddled with responsibilities, we are still not taken seriously -- the bottom of the food chain, so to speak.

Despite being the lowest of the lows in the adult race, being in our twenties also means being exposed to a world of different possibilities, opportunities and adventures -- ones that we only dreamt about in college and high school. The life of a twenty-something-year-old is full of finding new paths, redirecting our lives and starting over. We go through our days knowing that our dreams and aspirations are out there and within our reach. (It is just a matter of figuring out what we want, and whether it is good for us -- yes, that actually matters now). We are old enough to learn from our mistakes, but young enough to move on without dealing with too many repercussions. We are the cusp between adulthood and childhood -- the middle child who sometimes ends up getting the raw deal.

It is also said that right after one gets over the simultaneously traumatic and exciting effects of the quarter-life blues, they will fall clumsily into yet another life crisis -- the mid-life, or middle aged one. Now that's definitely something to look forward to!



(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star