So 2013 has come and gone and I’ve still stuffed up and coughing but hopefully in 2014 I’ll eventually feel better. Sigh…
Now my 33rd birthday is coming up in just a few days and I’m not sure why but recently I’ve heard on the radio, tv, podcasts etc people talking about the transition from your 20’s to your 30’s. Some have referred to it as a ‘quarter life crisis’, other’s just a quest for stability, you get the idea.
I think it happens for different people at different ages and I don’t know if it is always a crisis but for 99% of people they transition from a dreamer at 20 to a realist at 30.
I’ve talked about my own such struggle many times on this blog, the search for a ‘dream job’ and how I settled for an accounting job that gave me a living.
Yes, I totally settled but that hasn’t been a completely bad thing. I get to work from home, can afford a house, and face the daily challenge of trying to master something that I maybe am not the most naturally suited for.
All in all, I’m content with my work life and I try my best to work hard and be worthy of the trust my employer has set in me. Does that mean there aren’t any wishful daydreams or longing sighs through scrapbooks? Of course not but I think that is part of being 33…
I’m sure at 43 I will have a similar feeling looking back at my 30s- mostly nostalgia with a little bit of a regret. I like what Thoreau said “to regret deeply is to live afresh”
I’ll never forget talking with someone a few years ago when I was struggling with a personal loss. I had never met this woman and she told me about an incident involving her son that had devastated her years before. She said every once in a while she will be overwhelmed with the feeling of that moment long ago and that she believes it is Heavenly Father’s way of reminding her ‘wow that was hard and I got through it”
I didn’t intend this to be a sad post but I’ve thought about her statement many times. That the hard moments in life and aren’t softened by the years merely given a happy ending of triumph. It’s like in my open water swims- the memory of the waves and salt are still biting but the knowledge that I finished reassures and exhilarates.
Anyway, I guess if I have a quarter life crisis it is perhaps the worry that with the purchase of my home the most exciting event of my life is behind me. I say that not to engender pity but as a real genuine emotion I had to work through. What if I don’t marry and spend the rest of my life as a single accounting clerk in Draper, writing her blog and swimming? What if?
I suppose that question is the true transition from your 20’s to your 30’s. The window for drastic life changes is closing for most of us at least professionally and we all have to say “what if this is as good as it gets?”
Well, than that’s ok and there certainly could be drastic change. My patriarchal blessing sure promises some but it could all be the same too. We will see!
The other thing is that my desires are changing. I was thinking about that this December and even before I got sick I was soooo grateful I was not traveling for the holidays. Even visiting my family I am not as happy as when I am in my own home- even sick.
I used to think that traveling was the greatest and now it doesn’t appeal much for me. The trip to Disney in 2013 made me realize that unless I can go to a beach, pool or lake travel really doesn’t have much draw anymore. It’s so exhausting, my feet and muscles hurt so badly and unless there is a beach it just doesn’t sound fun.
I’ll do my best and be open to whatever is in store for 2014. We’ll see!
Like this quote:
“I see it all perfectly; there are 2 possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both”
Can anyone relate to these thoughts about the transition between 20’s and 30s?
10 thoughts on “Quarter Life Thoughts”
After reading this post, I was surprised to realize that I was always simply too busy to notice any “transitions.”
Between leaving home at 17 until age 23, I was globetrotting.
Between 23 and 33, I was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids, while making several trans-oceanic and trans-continental moves.
Between 30 and 50, I ran a home-based business and wrote a self-help manual for my clients, while doing one trans-oceanic and three trans-continental moves.
Between 33 and 52, I was earning two college degrees, being a single mom, working outside the home part-time, homeschooling my kids, and fighting increasing disability.
Between 52 and 58, disability took over completely, I earned a third college degree, made the final trans-oceanic and trans-continental trips of my life, wrote a 200,000-word novel, and began writing two other novels.
So, I had no transitions to grieve me, because the things I did overlapped so much. But I do grieve the loss of my health, which has made my world get very small. As Grandma used to say, “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything.”
You are probably right though about not being busy. I’ve been sick in bed for the last 2 weeks and had a lot of time to myself. Still hanging on. Seems like I will never get completely better.
Eat your chicken soup, drink tomato juice, and when you’re not napping, plan for your next Great Adventure. Let me know via e-mail, if you’re not on your feet in a few more days.
Thanks. I’ll do that! My goal is to save for a vacation house now that I have a regular house.
I guess part of it is I tend to see my life in segments, boxes. In certain ways accounting suits me perfectly in that way because it is all about organizing things into retrievable sets of data. I love routines, hate spontaneity and surprises. So those transitions are very clear in my mind but I recognize not everyone is that way. Thank goodness for that! 🙂
Wow what an amazing life you’ve had. I’m jealous. I think most of us end up making some sacrifices with our dreams as we grow up. I think a lot of time that happens when you move from your early 20’s to your 30s. Like I said an idealist becomes a realist. In some ways that is a really good thing but I still wonder about my life.
My father only graduated from the 8th grade. He was a construction worker, who, in a good year, made ten grand, but he was an expert at what he did, and construction companies competed to employ him. His relationship with his children was limited to that of a disciplinarian, whose unspoken message was, “There’s a right way to do [whatever the task at hand was], and you’d better do it that way.” His advice to me when I joined the Navy was, “Keep your nose clean.”
My mother, an honors student, dropped out of high school in her last semester because of untreated depression and agoraphobia. She worked for Ma Bell for three years before marrying and becoming a career SAHM. She self-medicated her emotional disorders with alcohol, but was an avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction and non-fiction. She also always said, “You can do anything you want to do, if you really try,” and “Mama always loves you, even if you rob banks and kill people.” (I’ve never committed any crimes, although I have done some incredibly stupid things.)
So, I don’t come from a privileged background, but I’ve never felt as if I was sacrificing anything. Perhaps it’s also because I knew some of my immigrant ancestors, too. They would never talk about life in the old country (which, when I began doing genealogy, I found out was nasty, cold, brutish and short), but I’m sure they must have had the epiphany, “There’s got to be something better than this,” and they had the gumption to act on their beliefs, even if life in the Land of Opportunity didn’t bring them fame and fortune.
That is amazing. What a legacy! Thank you for the perspective.
I think a good analogy for my life is I lived with 2 friends in American Fork for 3 years in this basement apartment. It was a very eventful time in my life. I quit my job, worked in the temple, finished grad school, had dear roommates, and it was one of my most social periods of life. Sometimes I drive by the house we lived in and get nostalgic for that time period, even though I would never want to live through it again. My life has changed so much since then and it was a time of huge transition for me. It’s interesting that in your life transitions seemed to mesh together and I suppose that is true for me but not as much. Interesting…
I’ve been thinking about what you’ve said and I suppose it all depends on your perspective, whether you chose to see change as a sacrifice or just a change.
I still think most people have to lay some dreams to the side as they mature. I mean only one person can be president, only so many people go up in space, win gold medals, have hit records, whatever the youthful dream might be.
Most of us pick up the pieces and move on but still look nostalgically from time to time at the early years. That’s all.