“Whoa, I Just Turned 20” – Quarter Life Crisis

Almost two weeks ago, I turned the big 2-0. Exciting right? Now to some, turning twenty is nothing more than a year closer to the ultimate age, 21. I mean, at 21 you’re officially recognized by all as a responsible adult. You can purchase a hotel room, rent a car, gamble your life savings, sign for a car or home without a co-signer, and most importantly… DRINK! What can you do at 20? I guess sit on your hands and patiently wait for 365 days.

It wasn’t until a few of my friends turned 20 that I heard about why it’s really the big 2-0. See, as they explained it, turning 20 marked the end of adolescence. They were no longer a teen, although for two years they considered themselves young adults  – what with their being able to get tattoos and buy cigarettes and go to clubs. Now that I think about it, 18 was the year of delinquency… but I digress. For them, turning 20 meant that they could no longer make mistakes under the guise of the teen era. As one friend put it, post birthday celebration was filled with a month or so of her “quarter life crisis” – 1/2 the dramatics of a midlife crisis. I never really understood it until I turned 20.

On the eve of my birthday, I was all about the “turn up!” I just knew I wanted to party and have not one care in the world. After all, it was about to be my birthday. But as fate would have it, I came to a strange yet welcoming realization about my life during my birthday festivities that night. I was twenty, in school working towards a degree but had no job/internship, working on no progressive projects and was still stuck on a relationship that really ended close to two years ago. That was far from okay to me.

See to some, 21 may be the ultimate mark of adulthood, but I beg to differ. When you turn twenty, you enter an era some have dubbed “the time of our lives.” You will graduate college, get a job, start a career, establish credit, buy car(s), rent apartment(s), find love, get married, and maybe have a baby or two all in this ten-year span we call our “twenties.” Of course there are exceptions to this rule – maybe you found love in your teens, or will live rent free at home until you’re 40. But in terms of what society dubs a productive citizen, these things will more than likely get accomplished in the third decade of your life. Scary right?

I’m two weeks into this jam-packed era and I can’t lie, I was slightly uncomfortable for a minute there. I knew that I was still young, yet with all these things staring me right in my face, waiting to get accomplished, I felt overwhelmed. I look around at some of the young people in my age range and its astounding the number of them that are already making moves towards success. So many people have already started their clothing lines, production companies, public relations businesses, and so much more. We live in a time where the titles of “Youngest Ever To….” are multiplying, and the comments of “Too Young To….” are declining. And its in this climate I had to get over that initial feeling of reluctance, stop my routine life and add real direction and focus to my actions. I asked myself: “What are you doing to get closer to your dreams? What’s stopping you from accomplishing what you always knew you would do, right now?”

There’s only one way to go about your twenties… dive right in. It’s not like these 10 years will last forever. You won’t get that career by just going to the classes on your scheme. You won’t find love if you’re still in a failing relationship. Think of it as a new decade, a new you. kinda like a New Year’s resolution, only more realistic.

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