Is there such a thing as a quarter-life crisis?
I know that when I am 50, I will look in the mirror at my prim and beautifully aged self and and realise that I should have known I was thin when I thought I was fat, or realised how youthful I looked when I panicked about not looking youthful anymore.
When I was 19 or so I thought that I would have a career on a graduate programme that lead to something (I don’t even know what – especially with an English Literature degree – I mean, really? I was hardly going to be the next lecturer in Victorian Studies with my average intelligence). I thought that I should be saving a non-existent salary for a deposit on a house. I should be going out for drinks and socialising, and dressing up and getting my 24 year old legs out, and stumbling home at midnight with a head to show signs of a good night in the morning (this has been done, though, on numerous occasions, up until I hit 24). I am, instead, having an early night Friday and staying in for an Indian on Saturday with a bit of Downton on DVD, which I LOVE.
I even thought, back when I was 16, that I would have 2 children and be married by now living in my country house that I owned sipping wine that I purchased with my millions. What a laughable idea, I hear my close friends laugh who know that children frighten me, and that I cannot save for the life of me.
I knew subconsciously that it was unhealthy to be discontented by the great things that I already had, which often made me feel bad because 1) I didn’t know how to get rid of them and 2) it was embarrassing to think that I even had those thoughts when anyone can read a newspaper and see life’s real issues.
I have travelled New Zealand and Australia, visited Morocco and Rhodes, graduated in English Literature, and migrated to New Zealand in exactly 365 days since last August. I have to take a step back in order to appreciate my achievements and recognise how hard I have worked to achieve them. Why do I feel like I am not where I think I should be at 24?
Asides from all the social media apps that I follow showing me the hundreds of photos of successful 23 year olds, I will tell you why. It is because I hadn’t asked myself the all important question – intrigued? Until yesterday, I realised that I have everything that I could possibly need. It took an article from Harper’s Bazaar to make me realise how ridiculous my quarter-life crisis is, and to realise how thankful I am for what I have.
With the headline, “How to be happier in just one minute” I was lured in like a child at a sweet shop and had to click on the link to find out. The link is: www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/health-wellness-articles/how-to-be-happier?src=spr_FBPAGE&spr_id=1447_84108811 just in case you want to be inspired too.
The article asks you to ask yourself, “What have I got to be thankful for today?”
The author claims that this technique works, but I am not one for self-help, and so I was sceptical about such an attempt at asking myself a deep question that would invite some kind of emotional response.
As I was trying to sleep that night I was angering myself because the mattress was forcing my boyfriend and I to unintentionally collide in the middle of the bed, and I was hot, and I could not sleep. Remembering my inspiring read, I asked myself the question. I found myself drifting off at the thought of being thankful for having a bed at all and a comfortable duvet and a nice man next to me. Then everything that I am thankful for came at once like some epiphany at the end of a novel. I realised:
- What’s wrong with not being 24 anymore – women get better with age – what’s not to look forward to?
- You’re never too old to start finding out what interests you and start a hobby!
- Job monogamy is not natural when there are so many different careers to experience.
- You can get your legs out and you will be able to until the day you die because you’ve inherited a cracking pair from your mum who still has a cracking pair on her today.
- Why is saving for a house so important? It’s not! I’m 24 and I am thankful that I rent one – a nice one too. I don’t even have to buy the furniture. I can up and leave whenever I like!
- You can go out drinking and dancing, just when you start working and earning your own money. Let that be motivation to save!
- Just because there is the perception that drinking and dancing is always happening when you’re not there, it’s not. If you’re happy watching Downton with a curry why try and find happiness elsewhere? That would be silly.
Then I fell asleep. Why have I not asked myself this before? Why has it taken me this long? Ask yourself this question to help you feel more content. I am pleased that I can now say with pride that I won’t be thinking back in 2040 wishing that I hadn’t spent my 20s thinking about what I thought I needed to be doing and at what stage I thought I should be at in my life, but being thankful for what I have already achieved and therefore have. Thanks, Harpers.