The normality and commonness of a quarter-life crisis

Rio Vermelho

I think, by accident, I might forever associate this post with Michael Jackson. You see, I started writing it at an airport in Frankfurt, where, inadequately dressed, I was sort of on my way home from Salvador. I was at a coffee shop that, for some reason, played Jackson’s hits for hours, and, since to “just beat it” wasn’t an option, hours was the time I had to begin my entry on one concept I had been thinking about for a long time

So.

A quarter-life crisis: who’s in?

It may sound like a highly dramatic concept used for and by ignorant young adults and…maybe by acknowledging that yes, this is exactly what it is, it will become less dramatic and, who knows, maybe I will seem less ignorant. And yes, I do know I’m not the person inventing this term.

But so the questions I’ve been increasingly asking myself and hearing from my friends from different places seem to be these: What do I do next with my life?  (that’s definitely the dominant one) Should I continue with what I’m doing now? Is there anything – and what that is – that I would truly enjoy doing and should try?

There are definitely more, but the very process of questioning – and the nature of questions asked – is more or less the same.

One word comes to mind here: uncertainty. At least that could be the keyword of my life for 2014. This year has been probably the most turbulent one in a long time. The were some future plans shattered by a dramatic (oh yes) prison experience, as I call it; then there was a long job search process comprised of cycles of determination and desperation. Then, for the first time in my life, a “pack my shit and go” thing happened, resulting in the second switch of continents this year. The year started with uncertainty, and, when I think about, that uncertainty hasn’t diminished that much, as I’m in the middle of a visa application process right now, hoping for a more…certain (?) 2015.

In the middle of all this, one simple yet beautiful quote seemed more true than ever:

it's OK not to be OK

I think admitting that to yourself is the first step towards feeling better.  And the only way to feel better in times of uncertainty might be…to learn how to live with it (but not just the exciting kind of uncertainty). To accept and appreciate the uncertainty in life is no easy business, of course, and I by no means claim to have mastered that. Not to have control over some major areas of your life sucks, needless to say; the controlling mind is not a big fan of losing control of anything, be it work or relationships. For example, this explains why not being able to make someone like you sucks so much; it doesn’t explain why I’m using such a teenager-y example here, hmmm. Let’s move on.

Salvador, PelourinhoLet’s move on to something fundamental and to something that has a liberating quality in it:

“This is not how my life should be” doesn’t exist, because there is no way how my life should be.  And, fortunately, there is no parallel universe with that “right” me who has it all figured out.

There is no parallel universe where none of us have any doubts about anything, but there is THIS universe full of such brilliant, fun, positive people, all more or less equally lost. And with people like you, what a ride this has been already!

I am finishing this entry while on a forced holiday at home AGAIN (visa matters, just visa matters – I’m whispering this with my eyes closed and fingers crossed). Is there still a great deal of confusion and uncertainty in my life? OH YES. Am I learning to take it (somehow) better? Hey, that’s the only thing I can do. “I don’t want a perfect life, I want a happy life” is a nice quote I saw somewhere recently. I’m keeping it.

A quarter-life crisis: once again, who’s in? Honestly, I think we have a pretty cool bunch of people here.

(it was too tempting not to finish this with an adorable video)

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