The Quarter Life Crisis

I dread the question: "So, what are you going to do next?" I'm ashamed to say that I have no idea.
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University of Mary Washington '16

My name is Tanner. I'm 23 years old, fresh out of college, and currently struggling with the quarter life crisis. What is the quarter life crisis, you may ask? It's the feeling of absolute terror you get when you realize it's time to actually start your life.

I'm only three years into my 20s, but I'm already certain that everything about the next seven years is going to be completely uncertain. Scary, right?

My 20s are shaping up to be one big mind fuck. Isn't this supposed to be the most exciting time in our lives? To quote every adult ever, "[We] have the whole world at [our] feet!" Seriously though, if I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that, this part of my life would be a lot less stressful.

While uncertainty can be exciting, it can also be uncomfortable, especially when all you've known for the past 11-plus years is routine. Up until now, our whole lives have been spent in school.

I thought I would be relieved when the days of tests and homework were finally over. Instead, I find myself wishing I could go back. School grounded me; I had a purpose. Graduating has made me feel more lost than ever.

I dread the question: "So, what are you going to do next?" I'm ashamed to say that I have no idea. There are many things I would like to do; things that people say you can only do when you're young, but then I look around at my friends who all have jobs and suddenly feel as if it's immature to do anything else but get job.

I feel like my 20s are pulling me in two different directions.

The other day, I went to brunch with my friends and listened as their conversation hovered on all things adult. It seems like the only topics we cover now are work and money. I hate this about growing up. Is this all there is to life?

We go to school to graduate, get a job to build our future, and eventually become one of those adults who wishes they could go back and relive everything.

I don't want to rush through my youth only to wake up one morning years later and realize that I wasted the best years of my life. This doesn't mean I'm going to pack a bag and run away from responsibility. I'm not scared of getting a job and growing up, but I am scared of the way in which it consumes people. Work and money is not everything; we can do better.

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