The Quarter-Life Crisis


There was once a raven-haired fortune teller who, tracing her forefinger over my palm, told me that I would live to be in my nineties. I was alarmed when I realised some time ago that I had reached quarter age in spite of her promise of longevity. This realisation, coupled with acute post-graduation panic (PGP) has propelled me to a life crisis.

LSB and his birthday treats

My LSB has reacted with swift benevolence by agreeing to shoulder all of my birthdays since my eighteenth, gaining a year in age for every one of mine lost since stagnation at 18.While we were celebrating his twenty-fourth birthday last week, there was an unspoken agreement between us that it was in fact his twenty-ninth. In honour of the occasion, we neglected to dwell on the fact that the age gap in our relationship was getting inappropriate.
You see, here’s the thing. The quarter life crisis creeps up on you. It lures you in with prospects and binds you with your own indecision. It tugs at you when you wake in the morning and when you go to bed at night with the unceasing, unanswerable question: what are you going to do with your life? And let me tell you something else. People are beginning to get engaged. People are beginning to accept jobs for life. People are beginning to have children. People are pursuing PHDs. People that were, the last time I checked, as idle and unsure as me.
Emigrate? But what to do in Emigratia? It’s not like I have much to offer them over there. Write a novel? Wish I could. Read a novel? No time; teaching. Become an autodidact? Arabic’s a start but in the wrong direction. Further study? Of what? Stay here with my LSB and parents? They’re worth more to me than anything, really. Is that acceptance? Or is it resignation? Suggestions and/ or predictions on a postcard, please.

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16 thoughts on “The Quarter-Life Crisis

  1. You seem to quite enjoy teaching, and you seem to be quite skilled with regard to language, and furthermore, you seem to love the prospect of learning new languages (or learning just about anything new for that matter).

    Perhaps therefore, you could pursue your current engagement of teaching in a more serious, and full time capacity? If nothing else, this allows you to remain within your comfort zone, while at the very least creating the illusion of a long term plan, but still leaves you open to the possibility of a relatively sudden flight, given the comparatively litte amount you have to invest in this, as opposed to for example, pursuing a PHD.

    Plus, it has the added benefit, that if necessary, it seems you would be rather happy indeed pursuing this goal in the very long term. Though this is just my uneducated observation.

    Perhaps, furthermore, you should consider writing novellas or short stories. Much less pressure, and a much quicker journey to the point of satisfactory conclusion (even for someone like you, who will likely agonise over the minutia)

    I also must admit, I share with you your worries of friends engaging, and marrying, procreating, and entering long term employment. I am just grateful that I have at the very least until the end of this current college semester before such thoughts need even begin to weigh heavy on me.

    • Thank you very much for taking the time to give such sound advice! What you say makes a lot of sense. While you are right that I quite enjoy teaching, I certainly don’t want to pursue it as a fulltime career long-term. At the moment I’m teaching full-time, if not more and I am finding hardy any time for anything else. Writing that blog entry was at the expense of marking homeworks, for example. I will always be passionate for learning and if I could combine my wanderlust and nostalgia with my desire to write, that would be pretty sweet!

      Now, that was more than enough about me – how are you? What exciting projects are you pursuing at the moment?

  2. I am glad you brought this up – this is when one of your most avid fan can share her tale. Not sure if it might confuse u further or shed some light but I hope maybe it might trigger off some thoughts.
    I had the same question myself when I was your age. Unfortunately(Or perhaps fortunately?) I didnt have a LSB, I had a degree which I didnt excel in, I wasnt excelling in my job – didnt find my niche. And my friends were getting engaged, soon to get married, doing well in their jobs. I was jumping from one job to another when I found it too boring – changed 5 roles within 5 years. Trying to master keyboard and also studying hard for my german – to get an A level equivalent. Only found my niche 3 years back in analysing/researching/creating reports in Business Intelligence area. Always thought about working overseas but nothing was in the horizon. At the same time I found my niche, I took up a diploma in Stats and Data Mining for a year, enhancing my analytical skills – which I totally enjoyed classes twice in a week for 3 hours on top of my job. I stayed in sometimes on weekends to do assignments but I didnt feel that I was doing work!
    Only 1.5yr ago, things evolved again. The job environment changed, the learning aspect slowed down – > no prospects. Friends getting married. Graduated with my diploma. Suddenly found myself stuck in a rut again. Directionless. I realised in order to move, I jumped onto this visa and came here to UK and hence we started our little friendship through our blog exchange after a year of settling down. Took me 3 months to find a job here after I quitted my job back home. Uncertainty and going through all the challenges made me stronger. I wouldnt have known I will still be here one year ago.
    I realised things happen for a reason – just go with the flow – there could be something you really want along the way but I believe you need to enjoy what you are doing and you sense the purpose for a long term. Who knows? Maybe it will evolve into something unexpected and dont worry, when you need help or advice, they will just come:) For now, I think you are enjoying what you are doing. What everyone else is doing may not be what is suitable for you – listen to your gut and work for what you truly believe in – that’s the most important aspect.

    • Thank you so much for your advice, Clariice! It’s very reassuring to hear that others have experienced the same uncertainty. I am really glad that you have managed to find an area that stimulates you and in which you excel! I think I’m experiencing a normal restlessness, but that I’m not getting a chance to de-stress because I’m working too many hours.. However, I’m taking a week off two weeks from now and am really looking forward to taking some time to think about what to do next! I think you are absolutely right about following your gut instinct and reaising that what’s right for others might not be right for you! Also, I am EXTRAORDINARILY flattered that I have not just a fan but an AVID one in you đŸ™‚ I’m really grateful for your encouragement! Hope you’re having a lovely day!

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