Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One Year Past My Quarter-Life Crisis

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?"
F. Scott Fitzgerald

One Year Past My Quarter-Life Crisis
Twenty-five was a weird year. When I was younger, I thought by twenty-five, I would be married and settling down. I am from the South, after all. Obviously, that's not what happened. I don't yet have it all figured out, but what I've realized is, no one really does. At this point, I'm not sure if anyone ever gets to a point where he/she is at a point of complete understanding of how she fits into this big world. 

The more I explore, travel, and experience, the smaller I feel. I'm one-part amazed at how connected everything and everyone is (hello, random encounters with people I know across the world and the U.S.), but also just how big humanity is. Doing something influential or important with one's life seems so difficult when there are so many people to touch and influence with your work. I may have not reached that milestone by 26, but I also know that some of the greatest thought leaders of all time have made the biggest impact later in their lives. I haven't yet found my niche, but one day I will, and I couldn't be more excited. 

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly how I feel at this particular age. I guess, more than anything, 25 made me realize that even when I think I have everything figured out, I still have a lot to learn and a lot more personal growth to experience. As I dedicate myself to nurturing my career and my relationships, I can't forget to take time for myself and my own personal development. I'd like to say I want to have a lot more figured out by 30, but I also realize that that's my optimism speaking. 

There's also the fact that I'm simply on a seemingly everlasting quest to retain my youth. When I'll give up this aspiration has yet to be determined, but I have no plans to ever give up my sense of child-like wonder. I want to be 80 years-old, staring at a natural phenomenon, and still be amazed by everything this world has to offer. 

Finally, there's a strict duality about my feelings as a mid-twenty-something. On one hand, I want to run. I want to explore. I want to leave everything behind and travel far away and make a new life where I don't know anyone or understand anything. I want to soak everything in and leave the worries that come with being an adult behind. On the other hand, I want to stay in the same place. I want to keep my friends close, and I want to build relationships that last a lifetime. The sides of this duality are present at different times over the span of a week, day, and even, sometimes, each hour. They're an intense and incredible part of being 26.

Ethan Hawke once said, "In your mid-twenties, the paint is still wet on who you are." I have to say, though, I'm glad that the figure on the canvas is now, at least partially, recognizable.