You just want to inspire people, man. You imagine your life as a tiny seed and each selfless action as a drop of water, each act of self-care as a handful of fertilizer, and each act of creativity as a ray of sun. Too much or too little of any of those things, and your life won’t sprout. It’s a balancing act … Oh sorry. You’re just practicing for your next motivational speaking gig. You are so busy practicing how to help others, in fact, that your tiny seed is all but drowning.
You take a moment to step back from your first job of dutifully entering data into spreadsheets to wonder if there’s more to life than practicality. The empty cells glare at you until you succumb to your own need to be reliable above all else. You reward yourself by organizing the various planes of your existence into a pie chart based on how often you exist in each one. Maybe the meaning of life is organization.
You can’t convince your coworkers that robot pets are the next big thing, so you spend your evenings devising a plan to annihilate them. You sip scotch and mutter “They’ll see. They’ll all see” over and over again. You never sleep. In ten years, you’ll sale your idea to a Fortune 500 company and make millions by your persistence alone. If you don’t, well, who is anybody kidding? You will. They’ll see.
You think your generation needs to get out of its head and focus on what’s real. If you can’t touch it, it isn’t worth exploring. This mentality makes your hands-off, office job virtually unbearable. You come home to a floor covered in unfinished blueprints for various inventions. You can only find solace at your workbench. Maybe one day, you will finish something … If only you had been born before the light bulb was invented.
It all started because your significant other answered your text with one word. ONE WORD?! What does this mean? You spend the evening with friends and a bottle of wine trying to decode the foreign message. You told them you wouldn’t start crying but you do as you overanalyze everything from your relationship to the meaning of life. Despite being a total mess, you still find the strength to help your friend clean up the apartment.
No, you don’t look fat in that dress and your cat isn’t mad at you, but that’s all you can think about these days. You go to your part-time job as an interior decorator completely overwhelmed by everything going on in the lives of your loved ones. You wonder when your significant other will propose. You’re emotionally exhausted, but you still make time to bake a cake for your friend’s birthday and visit your parents almost every weekend.
You spend a majority of your day wondering what would happen during an alien-robot-zombie apocalypse. You create a plan for survival and miss the deadline for a paper because of it. You’re still in school because you’re working on your PhD in Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe. You want to be the next Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Instead, you spend all of your class time debating professors. You honestly can’t decide exactly what it is you want to do in life.
Your best friend is getting married, your mom has an important doctor’s appointment, and you told your coworker you would coach her through her divorce. All of this is happening in the upcoming week. When you aren’t helping people in your everyday life, you’re thinking about how to help women in the Middle East overcome religious and systemic injustices through various empowerment initiatives. You probably haven’t brushed your hair in five days, but you continue to wear it in a bun so you don’t offend anyone. Perhaps this is the meaning of life.
You’re hosting three dinner parties in one weekend just to prove to everyone that you are the life of the party. Well, you’d also be lying if you said you didn’t enjoy it. There’s no water-cooler drama that two bottles of wine can’t fix, and you bought a sequin-covered dress because you have a thirst for adventure. After some thought, you decide to cancel the parties and invite everyone to your beach house instead. You charm the pants off your crush and pretend it was an accident. Wait. This isn’t a crisis. Like at all. You’re the living embodiment of everything a quarter-life is supposed to contain.
You just read ten books worth of philosophy online, and you heat up a can of soup for dinner. You’re not going out tonight. Your friend asked, but you need time to integrate all that new philosophy into your pre-existing mental framework. You’re still freelancing even though your parents are begging you to get your PhD and teach. Academia is a circle-jerk though. You’d rather sift through academic work on your own time. You spend more time contemplating the futility of life than anything else, and to everyone else’s dismay, you want to actually be the philosopher instead of teaching people about other ones. Too bad all that nonconformity doesn’t pay the bills.
Dude, you totally went base-jumping last week and it was the craziest experience of your life. You wonder why people can’t get that same kind of rush every single day. If only people could just, like, stop living in their heads and fully experience everything this world has to offer. “Life is just a series of moments, bro. Stop wasting them.” You share most of these revelations with your 15,000+ Facebook friends, and you gain so much social media clout that you become a full-time travel blogger. If only you could remember to update it.
You just got a new, super-cool tongue piercing while you were in New York City protesting the ills of the finance industry. Now, you’re back home in Portland working on a street-art style exhibit for a local museum. You live below your means because marginalized people inspire you, and you use their stories for your work. Plus, you quit your day job, so you can’t blow all your money until you become a successful artist. Success isn’t about the money though. Besides, you can always call your parents for more if it gets too bad.
You were voted Most Popular your senior year of high school, and that hasn’t changed one bit. You’re one of those people who everyone says is “so put together” even if you have on leggings and a tank top. Instead of going on dates, you take your significant other’s grandma out to get a mani-pedi, and the smile on her face makes it all worth it to you. You’ve been in fifteen weddings, and while you love all your friends, you can’t help wondering when it will be their turn to treat you like royalty.
OH THE HUMANITY! You cry every time you watch the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials and paint a three-part picture of your emotions before, during, and after the experience. You sell it on Etsy and go back to your day job as a wedding planner with a different outlook. Of course you still enjoy finding just the right napkins for each bride-to-be’s choice of silverware, but you also want to create art that raises awareness for social justice issues. Your mom tells you that you’re too sensitive, but those dog’s eyes were peering straight into your golden soul. You just know it.
Your favorite pastime is telling on your classmates when they were playing games on their phones instead of paying attention. You love order and more importantly, you love being the curator of it. You were the youngest new-hire at Morgan-Stanley, a surefire success. Then you started to realize that they didn’t always play by the book. Rules are rules for a reason. Each day, working there becomes a little more tedious, so you’re planning to quit soon and become the executive of your own business where order will rule above all else.
You do not have a quarter-life crisis. You became leader of the free world at sixteen and banned “quarter-life crisis” from the proletariat’s vernacular.