Quarter Life Calamity

Where do you begin again when it feels like nearly 100% of your life has changed or is changing presently (or will be changing soon)? When you find yourself at 25 (going quickly on 26) tired of school, yet applying for another three sure-to-be-excruciatingly-difficult years of it; single again after what seemed to be a sure-to-be-happy-ending; out of money yet moving out of a wonderful, warm, free house (did I mention paying for three more years of [professional]school?); wishing to find a new job; even considering dying my hair blonde? Sounds like a quarter life crisis to me. And if feels a bit like one, though how would I know, really?

It’s times like these, times like now, when I really come to a startlingly deep-souled appreciation for my family and friends who love me. And not only love me, but think I’m pretty great and will both get through the tough times and be so much better for it (and they’re usually praying me all the way through it, too). Truthfully, the more I hang out with and get to know my friends, the more I am convinced that they all have far too high an opinion of me (my family, at least, holds a more sober account). How am I friends with such great people who actually think I’m in their league? To them I say, “I’m not, guys! I’ve pulled the wool over your eyes somehow, but I’m super grateful that you think I’m cool enough to hang out/be seen with anyway.” (I’m not fishing here, so stop right now if you were going to contradict me vociferously in a comment. I’m serious!). I can only hope and pray and strive to be as good a friend and advocate as has been exemplified to me.
So what do you do when things happen that seem to turn your worldview on its end? When people surprise you, but not in the good way? When you watch your once-hoped-for future plans erase themselves only to sketch out a dim and blurry, half-hatched, new plan? What does an idealist, like me, do, when they find themselves suddenly jumping to cynical, bitter conclusions about life and love? Is this what they call “growing up”? Because dangit, if it is, I’m going to find a way to Never-Neverland and Never come back (cue awkward MJ joke? Come on, guys, I’m going for Peter Pan here. The Disney version).
I’m asking more questions than I’m addressing. I realise this. It’s not intentional, but sometimes I feel more like running away than figuring out how to take these lemons and make a delicious beverage. I’m also dramatising a little, it certainly hasn’t been all lemons! And every once in awhile I get a breath of fresh air from outside of this small town that reminds me there is a big world out there to discover and find adventure in. Par exemple, in the last six months, I’ve been to Virginia, South Dakota (and Minnesota, kind of), and New York City . I’ve seen friends from YWAM Honolulu in each place, and friends from France in the latter. And I both rediscovered and have become more aware of great friends here at home (Toronto included), too. I’ve experienced entirely new-to-me things, like seeing a ballet (The NYCB’s Nutcracker!), driving myself to the airport and back (how novel!), seeing one of my favourite bands in a 20,000-seat venue (sold out, too), and signing my very first apartment lease!
I wrote in my last post, ages ago now, that I had some massive decisions coming up. I certainly did, and still do. I have also finished The Lacuna and all seven Harry Potters as I mentioned (and yes, the final movie WAS epic), and a few other good reads as well. I’ve nearly finished yet another semester of school (though I *won’t* finish this semester if I never get this essay I’m currently avoiding done…ugh), and I’m looking forward to the first Christmas in something like seven years spent in Niagara – with everyone. I smelled cut pine trees at a place selling them in New York last week and it honestly just made me feel good (that, and it was like, 18 degrees and sunny outside). I’m pretty excited.
But back to my question(s) – I think I may have answered them, a bit. Where do you begin again? What do you do? I’m certainly no expert, and I do not profess to offer novel suggestions, as most of these come from the examples set by wonderful people in my life, but here are a few: You look for the sun above the clouds. You soak up the love in time with friends and family, you trust in and lean on God. You pray, you eat good food, you go on that trip, you stop worrying about getting all your readings done and go out for coffee instead. You take time to pet the kittens on your way out the door, you assume that the bad eggs are anomalies. You take one day, one moment at a time and find pleasure in the little things, in dreaming up new plans. You go back to those things you knew to be true at one point and rest in the knowledge that they are still true. Most importantly, you do not become destructive or remain stagnant or bitter – you grow and change, accepting the challenge to learn and become better.
I’m still working on it, so don’t appraise me too harshly just yet.
“Things are looking up, Holmes. This little island’s still on the map!”
(photos of recent trips forthcoming)

4 thoughts on “Quarter Life Calamity

  1. Oh Robyn i feel you're on to something good. we want so much to avoid difficulty, and change that wasn't on the agenda, but you are walking through it choosing joy! i see depth and richness resulting. You will not be the same, in the best kind of way! I'm delighted to know you, the dearest kind of friend!

  2. Having gone through massive amounts of change lately, I completely relate. I agree that it is disorienting, and at times scary. But one of the things that has freed me from this is the following quote: "What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of what it is supposed to be." Remember that it isn't supposed to be anything but adventure. That there isn't one path, but many, each of which come with victories and challenges. Remember that when it comes to the journey we have in life, there is no such thing as 'right' or 'wrong'. Just different paths. Trust yourself. Trust your gut, your mind, your beautiful heart to take you to places unknown, places that will continue to shape you into the person I am thankful to have in my life. Keep going, hun. I'm right here beside you…

  3. I love reading your blogs. I love the openness, the reality, the positivity. I feel I made a life changing mistake a while ago, that I thought was going to be the best decision of my life. But it wasn't. It has proven to wear me down, gut me from the inside out, change my entire beliefs, most of them on love, some of them on who I am and what I want or need out of my own life. But what I have recently come to realize is that, while mistakes can't necessarily be fixed, I can work with what I've got. And if things don't work out, and happiness and love are not present, a new beginning isn't such a bad thing. I will take with me what I have learned, lean on my family and friends, and start a new beginning knowing that the previous chapter of my life came to an end for a reason and it's probably best that it happened that way. While I may feel crushed, unworthy, unloved, and like an absolute failure, it won't last forever. And in my new beginning I will find happiness, love, success, hope, and a whole new set of obstacles to overcome, and it will be worth my time because I made conscious decisions to pursue these things. I did not settle. And I will at the very least be able to congratulate myself for not ever settling or being frightened of change when sometimes, things just need to end and start over.It's all up from here dear and you can rock it as long as you know you can.

  4. Hey, I read this a few weeks back. You sound like I did at your age (says the now grizzled old 35-year-old). Except you're doing one better than I ever did. You know to take things step by step, one day at a time. It took me a long time to realize the importance of that instead of unrealistically and impatiently expecting everything to go as planned in one fell swoop. You'll be more than fine and after running into at wine fest last night, I thought of this post again (hence commenting) because I wanted to tell you that despite looking cold, you looked happy. Kicking butt, I'd say.

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