Thursday, December 25, 2014

Too Young for a Mid-Life Crisis

According to Forbes,  "The struggle to live up to our parents' expectations, define ourselves career-wise and identify what our real values are, as we move from our 20s into our 30s, has become known as the "Quarter-Life Crisis" (Ingham).

So it's Christmas Day and I'm working a 40 hour a week job (which I'm lucky enough to love, even if it's outside my chosen profession) and going to school part-time while trying to work on my book, my artwork, career, and brand. Then there's caring for the pets and keeping house with the fiance. Oh, and then there's the small matter of planning my wedding for next year. How is there enough time in the day? There isn't.



Honestly it's all so overwhelming. Since I've been so low on time, I haven't been posting artwork because it isn't up to my standards, and I haven't been keeping in touch with email contacts because I have nothing to share, and I'm feeling a little bit bad about that. Then there's the reading, or lack of, because I can't do it without feeling guilty, and as a result, very little writing has been coming out too.

I'm at a crossroads and I don't know what to do. My career goals are getting fuzzier and more out of reach, I'm not getting as much done as I thought I would or as I want to. I want to move to London but I want to stay here in Portland. I want to learn many languages, but can't even manage one. Hell, I'm having a mid-life crisis in my early 20's.



The Washington Post discusses this very problem with other people of my generation. According to specialist of emerging adulthood, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, "it is a unique time of life when people are not entirely dependent on their parents... but they don't have a stable life structure with marriage and parenthood and stable work... They go in a lot of directions, change jobs a lot,  change love partners. They go through a long period of figuring out who they are and how they fit in the world." (Minnema)

If you're not sure you're going through a quarter-life crisis, try checking this list from allgroanup.com. If most and/or all of these are right, then welcome to the club, buddy!

(Photo courtesy of http://queenbeady.com/)

Now for most, Arnett assumes this period is a good thing. It is a period of growth and transition that people can learn from in an adventurous manner, but for some (like me), it's a tumultuous period that causes anxiety, stress, and a loss and/or confusion of identity. Most people, some 68.9 percent of more than 2,000 correspondents would or have moved back with their parents (Minnema). I chose not to do that because (a) my parents are not in a location useful to my career or myself and (b) after moving out for college and beyond, moving back with my parents would be a big step back.

If I had it my way, I would get my Masters. But since I don't know what I want to Master in, I'm going for my second Bachelor's degree part-time because one degree isn't good enough in this day in age. But I also have the problem, like many, of an insane amount of debt. I'm in $33,000 of debt plus credit card debt. The only savings I currently have in my account is under $20.


This is all so tough because I've always known what I've wanted to do, ever since I was in 4th grade and watched my first behind-the-scenes of a Disney movie (I wanted to be an animator, make movies, and change the world). I grew up riding horses and grew incredibly fond of them, so I figured I'd train and ride on the side.

But then college took away all the time from that. But something in exchange was that it did introduce writing to me and my (current) fiance, and I fell in love with both of them. Internships introduced me to comics publishing, life introduced me to languages, comics introduced me to France and Europe, and so on and so forth. Then I became obsessed with story (although I've always been obsessed with story, I just never realized it) and decided I wanted to direct. Now I want to do all of those things and more. But too many choices and too much time and too little money have changed things for me. If it wasn't for my supportive fiance, I don't know where my psyche would be.







Quarter-life crises, as scary as they seem, are normal, especially for our generation. This is rough, but rough is life and life tends to suck a lot of the time. I think the only way to get through it is to keep on trudging, and when you trudge yourself out of it (probably after a while, sorry), then Paul Hudson of Elitedaily.com has some advice to help. Here are 50 things to remember once we're out of the mud:


1. Crises are for the masses, not for you.

2. You don’t have too many real problems.

3. Life can get better with every day – as long as you want it enough.

4.There are many things in your life that you have no control over whatsoever.

5. There are also a few things in your life that you do have direct control over. The trick is differentiating between the two.

6. Sometimes your friends become more of a negative influence than a positive one.

7. At the end of the day you alone matter.

8. Happiness is a fleeting moment you shouldn’t try holding onto.

9.If everyone in the world were happy then nothing would ever get done. There would be no innovation, no progress, because there would seemingly be no problems nor motivation to create change.

10. Not everyone deserves to be happy, to live a great life. Some people simply haven’t earned it.

11. Life isn’t fair. But it’s how you deal with this fact that either makes you or breaks you.

12. If there is a god out there, she isn’t guiding you through life – you have to be your own guide, your own reason for being.

13. We each have our own journey to travel. Unfortunately, most people will never attempt to take that first step.

14. Even of those that do attempt to follow their dreams, travel that road of life, most will fail.

15. Most people fail not because they can’t cut it, but because when they realize they can’t cut it they accept it as final and claim failure for themselves.

16. There’s little in life that isn’t mutable in some way. This, however, doesn’t mean that you necessarily have what it takes to make those changes.

17. There always has and always will be those that are on top controlling the game and those below being used as pieces on a board. While you may not be capable of being a chess master, you can refuse to be a pawn.

18. Whatever you think you know, you know less.

19. There is little in life that is as simple as we’d like to believe it to be. The right answer isn’t usually the simplest.

20. There must be leaders in our world because most people choose to be followers. It isn’t necessarily right or wrong, it’s just the way it is.

21. Not everyone can or should attempt to lead. Whether leaders are born or made, most people aren’t capable of managing.

22. If you’re part of the rat race then, by default, you’re opting to be a rodent.

23. Your body is your temple and your mind your library. Both need to be maintained.

24. People will come into your life and they will leave. There’s no point in forcing them to stay. Instead, enjoy their company while it lasts.

25. Your life would be better if you had fewer people in your life. Most people are more poisonous than anything else.

26. Long commutes should be avoided.

27. Working a job you can’t stand is one of the biggest mistakes almost everybody seems to make.

28. The only things you actually need in life are: water, food, sleep, oxygen, exercise, and companionship. The rest you can refuse if you so wish.

29. You’re going to die and it’s okay. You will make the best with the time that you have and accept your fate when the time comes.

30. There is no better teacher than a broken heart.

31. Feeling great relies on a combination of physical and mental health – mainly the result of your diet, your exercise regimen, and your sleep cycles.

32. You’re stuck with yourself. You may as well make the best of it.

33. Material things weigh you down. Often, less is better.

34. Our current culture is drowning. We no longer consume information because we’re being water-boarded by it. Opting to stay clear of most of the things on the Internet and on TV is good for the soul.

35. Reading is the ideal form of entertainment.

36. Not everyone should have children. Sadly, most people who shouldn’t have children have too many and those that should don’t have enough.

37. Human beings managed to screw up the planet more than we yet know. But there are little things that you can do that can eventually make a big impact.

38. With all the wars going on and all the secrecy that the world’s superpowers have indulged in, right and wrong is more a matter of opinion than an objective stance.

39. The media exists not to give you information, but to sell you ideas.

40. A democratic country isn’t ruled by a president. Therefore, all the problems a country has shouldn’t fall squarely on his or her shoulders.

41. The United States of America is less of a democracy than it is an oligarchy.

42. You can’t – literally – become rich working for someone else. It’s actually impossible.

43. For the human race to survive indefinitely, we will either need to impose strict regulations on reproduction and consumption, or find another planet to expand onto.

44. The goal isn’t to sleep with as many people as possible, but to find that one person you want to sleep with for the rest of your life. No, it’s not easy. But yes, it is possible.

45. Never settle for less than you believe you deserve. You live once. Don’t settle for subpar in anything you do.

46. Those that matter most to us need to be reminded how much they matter to us.

47. Animals are sometimes more human than some people.

48. You have all the answers to all your problems. Stop making so much noise. Instead, quiet down and listen.

49. There are some decisions in life that are incredibly difficult to make. There isn’t always a pleasing option – sometimes you have no choice but to lose.

50. Your life only matters if you make it matter. You only matter if you decide that you matter.

Good luck guys. Hope you get out of this sooner rather than later.

-S


References
  1. Hudson, Paul. "50 Things Late 20-Somethings Need To Realize After Their Quarter-Life Crises." Elite Daily 50 Things Late 20Somethings Need To Realize After Their QuarterLife Crises Comments. Elite Daily, 03 Sept. 2014. Web. 26 Dec. 2014. <http://elitedaily.com/life/quarter-life-crises-realizations/738315/>.
  2. Ingham, Edmund. "Can The 'Quarter Life Crisis' Really Be Life Changing? Here's Proof That It Can." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 4 Sept. 2014. Web. 26 Dec. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/edmundingham/2014/09/04/can-the-quarter-life-crisis-really-be-life-changing-heres-proof-that-it-can/>.
  3. Minnema, Lindsay. "Hard Times Can Be Troubling Even for Those Too Young for a Midlife Crisis." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2009. Web. 25 Dec. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081002317.html>.