Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Mid-Mid-Twenties Crisis


I'm 23 years old, in 6 months I'll be 24. My age can be perceived in three ways. For those who are younger than me, they may see me as an adult who has her life together because I live out of home and don't exceed my phone plan each month. For those who are older than me, they see me as someone who has the world at her feet and endless opportunities yet to come, if only I could mature a bit more to make the most of them. Then there's my fellow early twenties peeps who will either be thrown into a state of emotional turmoil or experience an overwhelming sense of glory.

Why? You might ask... because we have an undying urge to achieve everything we can while we're young. Weather intended or not, this makes us competitive and unable to refrain from comparing our lives to our peer's. If we're winning the race of life achievements, it's great. If we aren't, we question our motivation, abilities and life choices.

The feelings of underachievement can lead to what I like to call a mid-mid-twenties crisis. I'll admit, the name needs a bit of work but in my experience, being 18 months away from turning 25 is scary. Regardless of what your goals are, there's no doubt you want them all crossed off the list by 30. That means you need to have about two thirds of them done by 25. Pressure much?

This sense of urgency causes some people to work even harder and burn out. Others feel discouraged and stop caring all together... goodbye success. Then there's the third option, those who try to maintain their sanity but act out in little bursts like blowing off work for a week to go to Jamaica or randomly buying a new car just because you're an adult and god dammit, you'll do what you want. Hello mid-mid-twenties crisis!

At the risk of sounding way more grown up than I am, we need to remember that we have at least another 45 years left in the workforce... plenty of time for achievement! I can't take credit for that, my friend Manda always says it. Anyway, that's enough time to excel in two or three different careers. For now, I'm happy to continue working in an oil refinery. Even though I have absolutely nothing to do with the cool stuff, it makes project administration much more interesting.

When I'm mature enough to take it seriously and actually finish the course, I'm going to go back to uni. If I'm still interested in refineries and if I think I'm smart enough, I'll study engineering. If not, perhaps I'll be more tolerant of teenagers by then and I can become an English teacher. Ultimately, I'd love to have a regular column in Frankie magazine too but I think I'll leave that on the day dreaming list for now.

My point is, we all need to chill the f*** out. Now is the time for travel, living in the city, drinking during the day and buying as many pretty dresses as you can afford because you may never look as good as you do right now. The next step is to make the transition into one of those people in their 30s who are still awesome. Not the ones that dress like teenagers but the ones that still have more to talk about than the younger generation's faults.

Once you've done everything else you wanted, it's time to master the role of the inappropriate grandparent. Don't pretend you aren't looking forward to this! After surviving all the years of political correctness and impeccable manners, it's time to let loose and demand free extra topping on your McDonalds sundae... you’ve earned it! There's so much more to life than the time it takes you to hit 25. Write these years off as a learning curve and who knows how much you'll accidentally achieve.

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