The ‘quarter-life crisis’: it’s real, alright. The phrase was first introduced to me by my ex’s sister a few years ago: she’s a bit older, a lot wiser and a great deal more established and successful than I ever dreamt I might be. She had her shit together. I, on the other hand, had no notable shit. I was still attending Uni (read: napping from Tuesday to Sunday with a break in schedule to revel in the delights of Slug & Lettuce’s half-price Mondays) at the time of said life-changing convo and I had a typically youth-induced, misguided mindset, AKA I had no explainable direction in life but I was damn sure I’d end up exactly where I was meant to be (preferably by 23), AKA I had no idea how the world worked. I also had no reason to doubt this new-fangled terminology she’d schooled me in – like I said, she was wise and I was not so much – but a wildly naive voice in the back of my mind cruelly reassured me that a QLC did not lay in store for me. Nope. I would be one of the Lucky Ones. I had a destiny and I’d be damned if any kind of crisis – quarter-life, weight-based, man-related or otherwise – got in the way of me fulfilling my predetermined odyssey. Oh cocky Daisy, with hypothetical spunk-filled balls as big as the moon, where for art thou now?
Turns out I would experience all those crises (the most gut-wrenching and gut-testing being weight-based) and I can tell you where I am now: rock-bottom. That’s where you’ll find me. I’m currently residing in that part of the deep, dark sea that is yet to be explored because no-one is entirely sure they wouldn’t die in the process. You’d die laughing if you saw me right now, that’s for damn sure. You see, I think I’ve found my QLC crisis. Or, more aptly, my QLC has found me; I certainly did not go searching for this bollocks. I’m 24 years-old (“so young! you are oh so young! your entire life is ahead of you, girl!” – be gone with you, swines), unemployed, trying (and failing miserably) to make it as a writer, aaaaand I’ve just received a rejection email from Lidl. Seemingly I am not worthy or qualified enough to be a part-time Customer Assistant. Search ‘woebegone’ in the dictionary and you’ll undoubtedly see a photo of me, for explanatory purposes obvz: ‘So woebegone was she, that she let us immortalise her state for use in Webster’s dictionaries throughout the land’. Uni-Daisy would have imagined she’d feature beside the word ‘enterprising’. She’d have also settled for ‘dynamic’.
Alas, here I am and life has not turned out quite how I’d imagined… yet I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. I have friends – not many, granted – that are all dealing with a quarter-life crisis of some sort. Whether they’re in well-paid jobs but feel as though they’ve peaked before their time, whether they’re in not-so well-paid jobs and see no light at the end of the tunnel, whether they feel as though they’re trapped by their choices and unable to leave the rat race for fear of never getting back in, or whether, like me, they’ve achieved nothing noteworthy whatsoever and are continually haunted by the brazen-nature of their half-baked former selves.
Maybe this whole dysfunctional shebang is an oversight of the millenials. We, Generation Y (or should that be Generation WHY ME??!!!), are constantly fed ‘the dream’ and are inundated with the notion that it is within our reach at all times. Note: we’re not actually told how to achieve it, just that it is possible should we try (can’t help but feel as though the former would be far more constructive). We’ve grown up with the rise of social media, witnessing the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg propel himself to the mightiest heights of whizz-kid super-stardom and bag himself a spot on the coveted Forbes ‘Rich-List’. Arrange that same list from Youngest-Oldest and you’ll see fresh-out-the-womb whizz-kids popping up all over the shop: Airbnb’s Nathan Blecharczyk; Dropbox’s Drew Houston; Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel. Similarly we’re privy to the rise of the reality TV juggernauts: whether it’s the gluteally-gifted Kardashian clan, the facially incandescent TOWIE troupe or the shockingly sexually-active ‘pets’ of Geordie Shore; we see people, with no prominent skills or talents, drowning in dollar bills. They’re celebrated and endorsed for just being. Jessica Vanessa recently left her job as a teaching assistant because she’s making so much money booty-popping on Vine; Zoe Suggs is a millionaire thanks to her YouTube channel and her legions of adoring fans (I watch her vids, I totally see the appeal); an appearance on The X-Factor can secure you a place on the Z-List and the steady income that comes with a substantial social media following; become ‘Insta-famous’ and you’re basically set for life, and so on and so forth. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for all aforementioned parties (if there’s money to be made, make it!) but I can’t help but feel as though it leaves us – those in-between the entrepreneurial over-achievers, the savvy tech wizards and ‘famous for being‘ personalities – wondering where we stand and if we’re settling for too little. We see opposite ends of the spectrum achieving the almighty and we’re left wondering why we haven’t been so fortunate and if there’s still a possibility we might. Sure, we may not share the same dream but that doesn’t mean that ours isn’t within reach. Or does it? Do we reach for it and risk falling or do we stay within the comfortable confines of the rat race, making a buck to secure our future?
I just don’t know, guys. I’m reaching on behalf of disenchanted millenials everywhere, and yet it seems as though all I’m doing is falling at a cataclysmic rate.