I was now in my mid-twenties and an intern, with enough travel experience to know that I didn’t want to be where I was, but no money to go anywhere else.
scription, and particularly harrowing when you recall my previous affinity for sleuthing Craigslist for apartments in faraway lands. Come to think of it, I had just whittled down my Facebook friends list because I was questioning how many of those names were really my friends. I had also been hearing almost weekly from my very old fashioned, very Italian, very concerned aunts about how hard it is to have a normal pregnancy once you’ve passed the age of 22 - which does not jive well with a promise I made to myself to never become engaged (or for that matter, pregnant) before the age of thirty. I did miss the ease of being an undergraduate student, and I was working so much that I barely had time for Taco Tuesday. Of course I was experiencing “boredom with my social interactions!” It was all starting to make sense. I was bored, I was on a cusp. I was worried and I was skeptical, but I was not doomed. Seeing the phrase “Quarter Life Crisis” on paper calmed my tangled nerves, not because it cured the agony of walking with my head down to the mailbox everyday and checking my e-mail with my eyes peaking through the hands I kept cupped over my face, but because I realized I was not hopeless; I was simply adapting. I had previously thought of myself as something of an extremely well adjusted beast, but here I was questioning my self worth because of a few rejection letters. When I finally confided to some friends about my secret nightly freak-outs and unrealistic apartment hunts, I found I was not alone. My world traveling musician friend admitted that he feared the sophomore slump so much he had nightmares about it, and another friend who had just graduated from the best business program in the country had yet to find a job for himself despite finishing at the top of his class. I took comfort in their instability first, and then in my own. My fear was actually just possibility draped in uncertainty. For the first time in a long time
I was not coasting along a semestered school schedule or a summertime that would ultimately end in onward academic progression. I was free, albeit a little fucked up about it. Fear can be a great educator, and through what could very well go down in history as the worst Quarter Life Crisis of all time, I learned what I wanted and what I didn’t. My expectations were based on unrealistic goals, laid out for me by the MTV generation and the twenty year old millionaires who parade across our television screens. But, like all of us, these figurines of modern life will eventually expire their contracts, be taken off of television, and be just as jobless as any of us have found ourselves at any given time. The months between applying for graduate school and figuring out my next move will forever be remembered as miserable and discouraging. There were tears, I will admit and there was an excessive amount of waxing existential over excessive amounts of bottles of wine numbering far beyond what my freelancing income should have allowed. There were frequent phone calls to my mother, with whom I could share the secret of my worsening madness, and there were moments in which I questioned whether I was cut out for grad school in the first place. But in this meltdown - this Quarter Life Crisis - I learned that even if things don’t end up the way you want them to, there is always something else. Even if that thing is temporarily punching a time card day in and day out, and even if that thing is an irrational flight out of wherever you do not want to be. There will always be Berlin. Editor’s note: Carly will be attending Ryerson in the fall, to work towards a master’s degree in journalism.
Volume 10 Issue 1 Summer 2010