What is a Quarter-Life Crisis?

There’s much talk of ‘The Quarter Life Crisis’ nowadays…which seems to have toppled talk of ‘The Mid-Life Crisis’; a phrase I remember hearing a lot more of as a child in the 90s, on occasions when grown ups were behaving strangely and actually having fun – and when people who should know better were seemingly refusing to “act their age”. For instance if a man traded in his people carrier for a sports car he was essentially bordering on a nervous break down, or if a woman divorced a horrid specimen after many unhappy years she was considered an unstable wreck, or if a quiet balding office worker married his pet goat and began a passionate love affair he was somehow “weird”…well no more. That sort of rhetoric has been well and truly left behind and in its place a “you only live once” motto plaque has been welded down for the foreseeable future.

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Loathe that phrase…but I can’t deny it’s cultural implications.

I am sure like most people you are happy to see such a positive switch; after all the true crisis is that we will all be in the ground soon enough (sorry for reminding you)…so why not dye your hair, get a tattoo, or go skydiving? What the hell does it really matter in the scheme of things? It’s just a way to get more out of life’s short flickering flame after all…not so much as a denouncement of adulthood, but rather as an opposition to a life of repetitive boredom…which unfortunately appears to be synonymous with that old bland chestnut which is “growing up”…

You see in my eyes therein lies the problem, and subsequently where the rise of ‘The Quarter Life Crisis’ is rooted…it’s a clash between the old and the new, the free and the hideously boring monotony, the ice cream for breakfast and the olives on your pizza. It’s a trade off between the old ideals of childhood and the established (but thankfully changing) fundamental stipulations of what it is to be an adult. Because of these clashes it is only natural to freak out and scream “I DON’T WANT THIS!”, when the realization sets in that being a grown up isn’t just bouncing around spending money, doing things, and eating carbohydrates for every meal…although for some that is pretty much it. Not naming names. But…erm…yeah.

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Not me mind you…not even once – oh no…

But this sort of inward nervousness isn’t a new concept, and most certainly isn’t true of only the present batch of disenchanted twenty-somethings. Far from it. One of my favourite authors Bret Easton Ellis has spoken extensively on the subject, stating it was the ammunition for a lot of his early work…here are a few of his alarmingly relatable words in an interview a few years back:

“A lot of it had to do with my frustration with having to become an adult and what it meant to be an adult male in American society. I didn’t want to be one, because all it was about was status. Consumerist success was really the embodiment of what it meant to be a cool guy—money, trophy girlfriends, nice clothes, and cool cars. It all seemed extremely shallow to me. Yet at the same time you have an urge to conform. You want to be part of the group. You don’t want to be shunned.”

And that’s what it is, this battle…this struggle…this inner-wrestling of two completely opposing worlds. Which side wins however – is largely up to you. As negative as this whole ‘Quarter-Life Crisis’ can be, I think it is helpful in molding yourself a platform on which you can continue to develop and prosper. It’s about reevaluating who you are, and where you want to go. It’s about saying which things you feel comfortable with dropping, and which things you will never let go of (such as watching Spongebob, or enjoying every side of the Marvel world) – this is your life, and you should never have to change when you don’t want to. Don’t be guilt-tripped into losing your identity just because you’re being falsely labelled as a “man-child”“kidult”, or whatever other dumb phrase the jealous masses will spew out…

After all a life of freedom, mobility, and sugary snacks is surely the dream…and you very well may be living it…so if so; keep on truckin’ – OH, LOOK OUT! IT’S BEHIND YOU!

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YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME AAAALLLLIIIIVE!

Get out there and live your life, don’t worry about what other people say and what other people expect from you. However it’s certain a vague plan can’t hurt; it will provide clarity and purpose to the route you are taking towards your future, and will somewhat diminish those “what the hell am I doing with my life?!” feelings. Even if it’s as simple as: “attempt to make world’s largest cheese sandwich” at least you are remaining true to your character, and with it aiming to fulfill your deepest dreams and ambitions. That’s what it is all about after all.

Good luck, and kindly please stop freaking out: Cheers!

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What’s the Point? (Existential Crisis)

Life. We slave away at jobs we don’t care about, or chase dreams that only ourselves can ever truly be invested in…and for what? I mean it doesn’t really matter, any of it – apart from for selfish reasons which in their very essence are dumb and somewhat childlike; they’re all – “I WANT THIS…I WANT TO BE THIS…I WANT TO GO HERE” as we kick our feet, and throw our metaphorical toys out of the pram hoping God, fate, or the universe will cut us a break.

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Okay, but gimme a nice house and a few human beings who think I’m great…

But the fact is I could get ran over by a bus tomorrow – POOF! Gone. Well…not really ‘POOF’ it’s not a magic trick…there would be a lot more moaning, screaming, and guts as opposed to wizardy and showmanship, but still; there would be a brief moment and then I would be no more. People would be all sad for a bit, and then life would roll on. And in the larger scheme of the universe nothing would have happened at all! You see let’s be honest, the Moon would look the other way, the sun wouldn’t care, and Pluto wouldn’t even hear about it! The self-serving bastards…urgh…

So what’s the answer to this depressing situation? Well I’ve googled it and there isn’t a real one, so apologies in advance. Instead all we can do is black it all out with drink, drugs, and/or knitting…well actually just whatever activity it takes to provide an internal padded room that dampens the “YOUR LIFE DOES NOT MATTER AT ALL” screams that can be heard with every waking second of your existence…

Peanut Butter GIF

Actually I’ve looked for peanut butter in Korea and couldn’t find it…so there’s yet another reason to wallow in self-pity.

Anyway, I’m just joshing…sort of. Well not really, all I have said so far is sadly true – but the miserable tone is not, as there is a lot to live for. Yourself for one, and for the ones who love you, and the others who you haven’t even met yet. You can enrich each other’s pathetically bleak window of existence and make the whole horrid thing that little bit easier to bear! Great right? Don’t you just feel like moon-walking on a rainbow right now?!

Sigh. Well, maybe not, but I’m not going to let a little negativity (well, a black hole of depression if I was being honest) stop me…despite the fact I know it’s vain, utterly pointless, and that Pluto doesn’t give a shit I am going to still have my own dreams, and spend each day working towards achieving them. If for no other reason than to retain a shred of sanity at the enormity of it all…

SO TAKE THAT PLUTO! I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU EITHER! 

(Unless you grant wishes, in which case I take it all back and let’s meet for coffee sometime soon?)

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Existential Spices

As humans I think it’s pretty normal to ponder our own existence…although I often like to believe I am one of the elite few who is really thinking about it, that everyone else is just passing through, experiencing things at face value – and that basically I am some sort of superior brain amongst a mass of morons. This is solely a luxury for my ego, and in truth is probably only half true…

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Arghhh fine, but keep it to yourself sister!

Anyway, what’s the meaning of life? Why are we here? What are we doing? You know, all of those “what’s the fucking point of it all?!” existential crisis type questions – are ones that plague our waking days, and pester our subconscious even when sleeping, because at the heart of things we know we’re just highly intelligent (hmm, sometimes) beasts, and the real innate purpose is just that of a really dreadful commander of an alien legion – “THE RACE HAS TO CONTINUE, WE MUST PROCREATE AND CONTINUE THE BLOODLINE! THE RACE MUST GO ON!” 

So when this rather carnal impulse meets our meddlesome overactive mind we become part of an ongoing battle for self-actualization and understanding…one which basically can never be won in the traditional “yeyyyy, I got a shiny medal and certificate!” kind of way…perhaps that’s why it feels so uncomfortable…we just have to pick a side, and stick with it…that’s literally it.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?!

Well, perhaps you head to religion for your purpose? And you essentially believe this is a humongous audition/amazingly well-orchestrated dress rehearsal for the spectacular afterlife? Where you get to hang out with all of your best friends, and family members (presumably you get to pick which ones make the grade), and spend your days eating whatever you like and never gaining unwanted weight. All the while being able to pick the brains of the most clued-in individual ever to exist; the creator man himself, God!

Sounds bloody perfect! So if that’s your belief and reason for living…then yeah, good for you! I can dig it!

Lebowski GIF

Praise him with the boogie!

Or do you venture into the romantic side of things…the spirituality of love for love’s sake? You know…the life is about being happy, and making others happy sort of thing. With this seems to come an acceptance that life is a horrifyingly complex and confusing state of being – and that one should basically just make the best of it. Because yeah, why not? After all why lose sleep over the complicated nature of the day to day when you can observe such fantastical beauty in your world; from the love of those who are dear to you, the laughter of children, and the possibility to add extra cheesy bacon bits to items of your choosing and much more! There is indisputably a lot to live for, and eventually die f…shhhhh no, let’s not mention that bit…no, no…

Then there’s the idea about immortality…why work out what it is to live, when I can never die?! Now, I’m not so much talking about actually living forever…although that would be great, and if anyone has a secret potion they’ve been working on I’d be a willing patient! But no…I am speaking of self-expression, creating a legacy that will succeed you long after your death. This may be through art, scientific discovery, politics, business…whatever really. Basically anything that inflates your ego and makes you feel a little less like a minute speck of nothingness in a vast and uncaring universe…bleak I know. But it is, what it is…

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Not a happy camper.

Yeah…and I guess the last option is to just check out altogether…but if you do that you are missing out on the potential joy and ecstasy that life can bring…as well as the harrowing lows which despite being awful, can in turn provide a deeper perspective and understanding of what it is to be alive, and what it is to be human…

I suppose, all we can do is look for ways to flavour and make the most of our life right nowafter all they say “variety is the spice of life”, and I believe it. You should seek out new passions, new friendships, new adventures, and new meaning…expand your mind, and open your heart. But errr…make sure you take it with pinch of salt, as none of us get out alive after all…* 

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~~~

Unless you have that immortality potion thing*, in which case EMAIL ME. Cheers in advance Dr. Controverso! 

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www.youtube.com/storytimewithjohn101

Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

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