Stalling on the road to the 'real'
I don't want to be in school anymore, but I'm not ready to
get a real job either. I am torn between the things I left
behind and the things I want but can't yet reach.
Basically, I am a recently graduated twentysomething who has
more options than perspective.
This slightly-ahead-of-schedule, quarter-life crisis is not
all negative, though. In fact, much of the stress is because
life now presents more possibilities than ever before.
Suddenly, every grand plan that has ever been schemed over
a pint can be acted upon. Going to Ireland to work in a filthy
pub and pick up an accent is not out of the question. Attending
clown college, becoming a professional gambler or starting
an Internet pet cemetery are all possible, if risky.
This causes feelings not unlike those of a kid in a candy
store. That is, an attention-deficit, hungry, fat kid in a
candy store filled with magical candies (stay with me here
-I promise this is going somewhere).
In short: you want to do it all, see it all and achieve it
all. Right now. At least that is how I felt. The first step
was starting another degree. Going back to school just made
sense. It postponed the inevitable day when OSAP released the
hounds, gave me more time to figure out what I wanted to do
and it was still okay to drink at noon on weekdays.
I didn't anticipate the conflicting feelings that have developed.
I am tired of handing in irrelevant assignments on arbitrary
due dates. I have outgrown Orientation Week (okay, that's a
lie -I really missed O-Week) and there is no way I am going
anywhere near a students' council this time around.
I keep thinking about the fact I am spending $5,000 a year
on tuition to slowly learn in a classroom what I could pick
up more quickly on the job or with an internship. But I can't
get a job until I pay the tuition to get a practical degree
and the great internship I have only makes school seem more
Yet if I were offered my dream job tomorrow, I would be reluctant
to seize that opportunity. Achieving lasting success before
I've had time to have some adventures and screw up a few times
is as scary as never attaining it at all.
The instability of life at this stage is bizarrely liberating.
No job, relationship or apartment is likely to be spectacular
enough that it can't be left behind if plans suddenly change
and whims must be pursued.
In the end, what really puts the quarterlife crisis in perspective
is simply time. Not-yet-25 is way too young to worry about
closing doors, getting jump-starts and making forever choices.
We are in such a hurry to get there now, faster, first, that
we don't realize we haven't even figured out where "there" is
Even after graduation, I think we need to give ourselves permission
to be young and foolish for at least a little while longer.