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September 7, 2012

Quarter-life crisis

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:00 am

Unsettled on November 2, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I have a problem. I’m almost 24, and am feeling very unsettled with life at the moment. Some major changes have happened over the last year or so. My relationship of 5 years ended, I finished University, made a cross-country move, I got a job, got laid off, got another job, changed my religion (from Christianity to Paganism) and made some great friends in my new city who all subsequently moved overseas. I now have no friends and am finding it hard to meet others (and yes, I have done all those things like join clubs etc).

But, that is not my problem. I want to travel. I am currently saving money so I can get going. I will be going to Scotland to meet up with one of my friends who left, and we will then backpack the world. Pretty much going wherever we feel like. I have wanted to do this for ages, and am not about to change my mind now.

My problem is this. I am reaching that age when people expect you to settle down, buy a house/apartment, get married, start really shooting up the corporate ladder etc. But, I am not in the least bit interested in all this mundane reality. Not yet anyway. However, I am finding increasing pressure to start settling down, look for a boyfriend and potential future husband and ease into full adulthood. The family (who I am once again living with to save money for my big adventure) constantly drop broad hints about this. But I am not ready, and quite frankly don’t know if I ever will be. At the moment I could quite easily spend the next 10 years picking olives in Greece, sweeping floors in Mexico and building walls in China. Is this vision unrealistic? Am I too old to be doing this now? Is 35 too old to really start your adult life? How do I make the family understand? All these questions! Yet, in my soul I know this is something I have to do for myself. If I don’t I will eternally regret it.

Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.Thanks.

— Edana


Dear Edana,

You may or may not be able to “make” your family understand anything. Their job is to worry about you and want you to be happy; let them do it. So, if only to reassure you, I will say this:

You sound: lucid, responsible, inspired.

You are: young. Really young.

You are also: fine.

Seems to me that “settling down” is something you do — if you want — after you Meet Someone. Seems to me that there’s no better way to ease into adulthood (whatever that means, really) than by exploring, moving, crossing potential regrets off the list, paring your needs down to one backpack, allowing for adventure. Not that this is why you’re doing it, but following your heart is also not a bad way to find someone to share it with.

Love,
Breakup Girl

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