October 13, 2004

Beware the Quarter Life Crisis

If you haven't had your quarter life crisis yet, get ready. It's coming. When you least expect it, when you think everything is grand, when you are sure that you are truly God's child, you are on your way to losing sight of who you are and what you want and falling prey to that evil enemy, the granddaddy of all disillusionment: The Quarter Life Crisis.

Mine started with my visit to the hospital for unexpected surgery this summer. One minute I was working, feeling a little strange, but nothing too out of the ordinary, and the next I was laying in the emergency room wondering if I was going to make it through the CAT scan in one piece. Suddenly, there I was, unable to take care of myself and unwilling to ask for help. I'm not used to that. I pride myself on my independence. It's something of a gold star with me. Sort of like, "Well, whatever else I might be, I don't need anybody else to take care of me. I can take excellent care of myself." This has become especially true since leaving college. I was only as good as my own abilities, so if I couldn't be an entirely independent person, what was I?

I was someone who was completely happy at work. Well, at least at their day job. I was happy with the students I was serving, and I felt like I was really fullfilling a purpose, and I knew that I was making a difference. So what if I couldn't always take care of myself. At least I could usually take care of them. And then school started, and IT dumped a whole new computing system in my lap. And since I'm the only one who can figure out how to run the new system, I'm the only one who can fix anything that goes wrong with it. So, while my students were facing their new classes, I was battling portal accounts. Now they think I'm only there to fix the computers, something I absolutely hate doing. I have few meaningful relationships built with them this term, and most of them glare at me when I walk to close to whatever it is that they're working on. Maybe I wasn't the great teacher that I thought I was.

But at least I knew where I stood with God.

I think that it goes without saying that anytime you think you know where you stand with God, you are in for all kinds of trials and tribulations, most of which involve you discovering that you don't know the first thing about God or what you mean to Him.

Well, if not with God, at least with my co-workers, right? Maybe I should have stopped trying at this point to figure out who I was and left well enough alone.

As the sh-t hits the fan, I realize that I don't know what it was I was hoping to accomplish by the time I turned 25. (I'm not 25, yet, but I'm heading that direction.) By most accounts, I'm doing all right. Considering where I started, I'm doing hella good. I've got two good jobs and a little proofreading on the side. I will probably be able to pay off my car this year. I have a ton of friends who think I'm funny and don't care that I drink and swear because I'm loyal and honest with them, and that's more important to them than my shortcomings. I have a car and my own apartment and I'm well liked. I found a church that I can go to on a regular basis. Maybe it's just that everything is too settled.

I told a friend that I just keep hoping I will wake up and realize that this is not my life. The friend asked me what life I'd rather have. I have to admit I don't know. Maybe all I'm really looking for is a place where I can be myself when I eventually figure out who that is.

Posted by LoWriter at October 13, 2004 03:20 PM