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Monday, March 27, 2006

It might be a quarter-life crisis, or just the stirring in my soul...

While Mr. Mayer may take much of the credit for its propagation, it was actually Canadian psychologist Elliot Jaques, that in 1965 coined the phrase "quarter-life crisis," liberally employed today by disenchanted singletons across the globe.

So what is this thing they call "quarter-life crisis" and am I actually experiencing it? A lady I work with maintains that I'm going through "the change," meaning that a woman transforms herself based on hormonal fluctuations and growth-spurts every five years. This lady is no doctor, but she's raised three daughters, leading me to believe that what she says is true, in addition to the fact that I'm a bit out of sorts lately.

According to my good friend, Wikipedia, the characteristics of a "quarter-life crisis" are:

  • confusion of identity (check)
  • insecurity regarding the near future (check)
  • insecurity regarding present accomplishments (check)
  • re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships (check)
  • disappointment with one's job (check check)
  • nostalgia for college life (check)
  • tendency to hold stronger opinions (check)
  • boredom with social interactions (check)
  • financially-rooted stress (check)
  • loneliness (check)

Maybe I'm not crazy. Or maybe it's just a mental thing, and I'm looking for an excuse or a diagnosis of why my life, sixteen days before my 25th birthday, has not turned out like I thought it would.

At what point does my adult-life really begin? Do I have to get married or have children? Do I have to own a house? Do I have to make a certain amount of money at my job or achieve lofty rank on the corporate ladder? And what if none of these things ever happen? Does that mean I failed at adulthood? And the question I'm afraid to ask, will I become a lonely old-bag with no one to love me except my little bastardly cat (who I'm sure won't survive until I'm 80)?

I'm not questioning God's sovereign plan for my life. I have faith that He knows the desires of my heart better than even I do. But what do I do in the meantime?

I feel as thought I am making a valiant attempt to combat my "quarter-life crisis." I've not waited around to become involved in my church and community and have surrounded myself with a network of support, including friends and family. I'm saving funds as to not be a slave to rent for the rest of my life. I've picked up new hobbies to busy my time that would otherwise be spent caring for a family. I've recently made steps to pursue an MBA, researching schools, scholarships and testing requirements. But I can't help but feel like I'm biding my time until what I'm waiting for finally comes along. As if my busy-ness and ambition are defense mechanisms, so when people ask me why I'm not married, I can say, "I'm focused on my career" or "I'm so busy, I don't know when I would meet guys!"

I'd like to say that it helps to see others in the same boat as I am, but sometimes I think it makes life even more confusing. At least if I were the lone ranger, I'd know I was the diseased one and I could look to others for the solution.


I wonder if I thought that by the time I got done typing this blog post, that I would have the answers to these questions...


Blogger jackie said...

yesterday was 3 months until my 25th birthday.

I answered yes to every bullet.

I find a lot of fulfillment in making time to do the things Ive always wanted to do, but never could. It makes me feel happy. Sometimes I feel like Im spinning my wheels, but then I think about where I was 5 years ago, and I feel better. um, i think.

the lines between teenager and adult are so blurred now... because lots of people go to college and social norms have shifted and people seem to get married later and have fewer kids.. so it feels like "ok, when do I cross the line into adulthood??" especially if you're not married or have kids.. its hard. Its hard to feel "adult" when you dont look the part (i look 17 still). 2 years ago 9 of my close friends got married within one year, while I was breaking up a 5 year relationship :( i felt so behind. But hey, its character building... no really, I hear ya.

(jackie is a name from one of tori amos's songs, Jackie's Strength.. in the video, theres lots of shots of jackie o., but the song isnt necessarily about her.. its one of my favorite songs, its so nostalgic sounding and sweet).

6:59 PM

Blogger emilyb said...

I borrow the words of Shane Barnard:

waiting room
by shane barnard

i will run when i cannot walk
i will sing when there is no song
i will pray when there is no prayer
i will listen when i cannot hear

sitting in the waiting room of silence
waiting for that still soft voice i know
offering my words up to the rooftop to Your heart
trusting that this closet's where You are

Lord i know if i change my mind
You will change my heart in time
Sovereign Lord this time's from You
so i sit in the waiting room of silence
cause its all about You

i will fight when i cannot feel
i will trust when You dont seem real
i will tell when i cannot speak
i will step when i cannot see

7:13 PM

Blogger ellen said...

We discussed people having quarter-life crisis in grad school and that was the first I'd heard of them.
And I want you to know Mary Anna that I feel the same way as you...I'll be 25 in July and don't really dislike my job, but I don't want to work there until I retire. I also want to change careers completely...maybe...it depends on when you ask me! :)
I thought I was a patient person, but I must not be, b/c I seem to still want to do things on my own rather than be patient and wait for God's plan for me and my life.
I also used to be a big planner, but I'm not that way so much anymore, b/c I'm looking for something else...

9:49 PM

Anonymous the post-quarter-life crisis girl said...

25 is great- coming from your older and wiser friend! ;o) Your insurance goes down, and you just feel like more of an adult to say you're 25 than 24. It just sounds so smart and sophisticated. "What's that you say? Why yes, I'm 25 and beautiful. I work and support myself and have great friends and a fun life." Which you do. You are not waiting to become an adult. You are living your adult life as we speak... and God knows the desires of your heart. I heart you.

11:37 PM


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