I want to be otherwise…
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That’s right. Apparently these things just happen. Not just to anybody, though. Oh, no. They happen to the Buddha.
The Buddha, people.
Fast forward like a million years and here we are still having the same problems: insecurities, disappointments, loneliness and depression (among other things, of course). What’s worse, is that most everyone experiences a sort of crisis at some point in their life (not always between the ages of 25 and 35, mind you) and there’s no real good way to combat the issue.
Ugh. Really? Have we learned nothing from the Buddha?
Before I proceed, however, I want to get a few things off my chest.
First, I was (and probably still am) in denial about my (maybe) having had a quarter-life crisis. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but ultimately, who cares?
Second, I think there is way too much talk of depression and anxiety these days (mental illness porn, anyone?) as a sort of excuse for millennials and Gen Y’ers who simply don’t want to do the work it takes to avoid the nagging feelings of constant insecurity and/or to tackle and do something about the desire to have it all (house, job, relationship, et al.) right now.
Oh, not to mention entrepreneurship porn…UGH!
Finally, I’m not better. I’m still running. From what? I don’t know. But I’m running and, therefore, not dealing with something. That much I know.
So, what makes me different? What makes my crisis authentic and not just a flash in the pan (assuming I had, or am having, said crisis)?
Well, on the first two counts, I feel as though I don’t fit the mold because a quarter-life crisis is just a label for experiencing discontent and not taking action. Everyone feels this way, but only some people take action and do something (i.e. anything) about it. The vast majority of folks, I believe, either hide from it or just pretend they’re happy.
That said, and to be clear, I want to state for the record that I took action. I took a whole bunch of jobs and did a whole bunch of different things and while I didn’t find what I was looking for, I did rule a lot of stuff out that I don’t have to look for anymore and so can cross those off my list. Now that is what I consider progress.
I’ll concede that I did hit the four major phases of crisis as outlined by ‘expert’ shrinks and the like. These stages include feeling trapped, recognizing that change is possible, rebuilding one’s life, and recommitting to new interests, aspirations, and values.
OK, so what? Even if that is true, then it just goes to show that I had an authentic quarter-life crisis experience and am still ahead of my peers with taking action and trying new things.
Regardless, it’s not a competition and maybe the real reason I’m pushing so hard against this idea is that I didn’t come out the other side as some sort of enlightened deity (cf. the Buddha).
Rather, I dove in and got beat to smithereenes by wave after wave only to find myself washed up on the shore some 12 miles from where I started worse off than I was before. Maybe. I don’t know.
Like that, but less cute…
But like I said, I took action and I ruled some things out and I can honestly say that part of my life is over. Done. Caput.
I’m still curious, though, which part, exactly, is over?