How old do you have to be to have a quarter life crisis? Is it possible to have a quarter life crisis when you’re not even in the quarter of you life? What can you do to make sure that when you are ready to move onto the next stage of your life you won’t regret not doing more?
I’m twenty three. Realistically I have a long way to go before I can officially say I’m no longer young, and deep down I know that, but things are already getting confusing. On one hand, you feel like you should be out partying, drinking, making mistakes and creating memories. As if you should be living for now and only now so that when you are old you can sit back and cackle about your misspent youth. That this is your time to be hedonistic, and you should take it. But is that what you want to do? Is it what you should want to do? What is the ‘proper way’ to live your early twenties, or does such a thing simply not exist?
I think when you get to around 22/23 and you live in the UK a lot of people start to get over the whole drinking and clubbing thing because we’ve been doing it since we were 18. We’re starting to realize that spending loads of money on drinks you can’t remember drinking, having foggy or no memories of the embarrassing events of the night before and sending way too many emotional texts that you are likely to regret probably isn’t the best way to spend your night. Unfortunately that tends to make our options limited to getting equally drunk in a pub or trying to spend our time doing ‘mature’ things, which often involves you and your friends sitting on a sofa pretending to watch TV whilst you scroll up and down Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr etc. Of course it is possible to go out and not get drunk, but the fact is that drunk people are very annoying and quite scary and in order to be able to deal with them it helps a lot if you are drunk yourself.
It is so hard to try and live for the moment and actively try to ‘enjoy life’ when you are inherently lazy and secretly want to spend all your non working time lying in bed escaping into the likes of How I met your Mother in your cocoon of a bed with Netflix slowly killing your brain throughout the night. I’m not sure if every generation was just as lazy or if we now have the means and resources to truly bring a new definition to the word, but it’s probably not helpful for ‘living in the moment’ and trying to create memories for your future self. Should you do what your inner sloth wants you to do, or should you do what your seventy year old self is probably screaming at you to do?
They say youth is wasted on the young, but what should you do to avoid wasting it?
So many of my friends are already living with their partners, working towards their careers and spending their evenings at home talking about how we are all too old now to go out and get drunk. That that part of our life is already behind us. But should it be behind us? Surely that kind of behaviour only becomes common in your late twenties or early thirties. Somehow I always assumed that type of mentality happened later on down the road. It’s not a bad thing, but it is slightly scary for those of us far less settled in our jobs, relationships and lives. Is that what we should all be doing? Would we regret it later in life if we did?
To make matters worse the slightly older and potentially wiser people say these are the crucial years, that you must, simply must, start working towards your future career right away or you will have a miserable life of temp jobs and customer service. And then the older still and, in theory, even wiser people say you should enjoy being young whilst you can because, as they love to tell you, time moves horribly quickly and the fear of missing out is very, very real.
So who should you believe, and what should you do? Whose advice should you take? Should you start trying to build the career you might have for the next forty odd years, or should you make the most of being free before the terrifying commitments of adulthood catch up with you? Should you already be thinking about settling down and getting a mortgage, or should you jump on the next plane and go to some distant beach for the foreseeable future? Should we all try and be more like Dorian Gray? Or should we accept we have somehow become prematurely middle aged and just own it? Maybe we should be saving all of this for our inevitable mid life crisis in twenty years.
Twenty-three is already confusing the hell out of me, and I fear there’s far more to come.