You don’t need to find a toy-boy, buy a motorbike or go all ‘eat-pray-love’ to be suffering from a mid-life crisis. Hell, if you make it to ‘mid-life’ without experiencing some form of existential crisis these days then you’re doing pretty well.
Consider for a moment the number celebrities who’ve gone off the rails, taken all the drugs and ended up in rehab for ‘anxiety’ all before their 25th birthday. Celebrity cases may appear extreme, but in a world where you can never really ‘switch off’ the quarter-life crisis is coming into it’s own. The only way to deal with it is to face it head on.
So how do you see it coming? If you empathise with most of the below, then you’re probably in the midst of the crisis right now, my friend…
1. YOU THINK THE POP STARS LOOK LIKE CHILDREN
You switch on the music channel for some ‘background noise’ whilst you’re preparing for your dinner party and Justin Bieber is on again. Whilst his music is not particularly offensive (and you at least know who he is) he was actually a child when you first started your graduate job.
2. YOU’VE DECIDED IT WOULD BE ‘DANGEROUS’ TO BE AT YOUR ‘COLLEGE WEIGHT’ NOW
You realise one day that your ‘base weight’ has increased incrementally between the day you left college and this morning. To achieve the weight that was desirable when you were in college would now mean sacrificing a limb, and even then you’d probably have to give up bread for the rest of your life to maintain it.
3. YOU HAD TO GOOGLE ‘HOW TO USE SNAPCHAT’
All the cool kids are using a new app. It’s 6 months before you even find time to download it and even then, there are no labels on the buttons so you don’t know how to use it without comprehensive instructions. FML.
4. YOUR REFERENCE TO ‘ASK JEEVES’ IS MET WITH UNIFORM SILENCE
When the internet was first available at home (yes, I’m that old now), I recall searching on ‘ask Jeeves’ rather than Google. Given Google’s dominance now, this seems a little odd. On the couple of occasions when I referenced dear old Jeeves, people looked at me like I had just revealed I was feeding their nan ‘special’ chocolate brownies. Cue change of conversation.
5. YOUR FRIENDS ARE HAVING BABIES… ON PURPOSE
The first planned pregnancy in a group is a game changer. This is the kind of thing that adults do. Surely we’re not old enough to be parents?! It’s at this point that you realise you’re already several years older than your mum was when she had you. Oh flip.
6. YOU START CHECKING THE WASHING INSTRUCTIONS ON CLOTHES BEFORE YOU’LL BUY THEM
Nothing more needs to be said.
7. RECRUITMENT AGENTS INCLUDE YOU IN EMAILS FOR ‘EXPERIENCED HIRES’
Sure, experience is a good thing. Experience infers some kind of wisdom and prestige. It also conjures the image of a 50+ year old bloke with a silver beard who looks like a wizard.
If there was ever an apt reminder that you are no longer a ‘graduate’ in the job market, this is it. To be fair, you did graduate 6 years ago… which is longer than you were ever even at University. SHUCKS.
8. YOU START YOUR NIGHTS OUT WITH ‘DINNER’
‘Pre-drinks’… ‘Drinks’… ‘Getting trashed before you go out to save money’.
Whatever you call it, when you willingly swap that activity for a sensible and sophisticated sit-down start to an evening it does make you wonder whether you’re now ‘old’.
When I was 20-ish, I thought going out for a meal before a night out was stupid because I would then need to spend more in order to acquire more alcohol to penetrate the lining I had just put into my stomach. That was when my hangovers lasted 20 minutes, rather than 20 hours.
9. YOU’VE SWAPPED ASOS.COM FOR MADE.COM
The lure of a copper plated large floor lamp – despite being far too large for your tiny living room – is too much to bear. And at £189, it’s such a bargain, right?!
In addition to this, you go to IKEA ‘for a mooch’ every now and then and get vaguely excited when I shoe rack shares your name.
10. YOU REALISE YOU’LL ONLY HAVE TWO PHONES BETWEEN NOW AND TURNING 30
Even the phone companies are making it harder for us to distance ourselves from the big three-oh. Gone are the days of a 12 month contract, and with it the multiple phones we would have between us and the one we would be using to snap pictures of our 30thbirthday outfits.
11. YOUR GLASSES MIGHT NOT BE ‘OPTIONAL’ FOR MUCH LONGER
So what if I can’t see the numbers on the chart in the meeting room. So what if I accidentally waved at the wrong guy in the gym because his blurred head looked like the blurred head of your best-mate’s boyfriend?
I still don’t need glasses.
12. IT SUDDENLY FEELS INAPPROPRIATE TO WEAR SHORT-SHORTS
Those denim shorts that show the fold under your ass cheek? HELL TO THE NO.
13. YOU CAN’T PASS ON YOUR REVISION NOTES ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY’RE SO OUT OF DATE
I had a meticulously typed up and coded set of revision notes for my accounting exams. I used to share them proudly with the next set of unsuspecting and desperate trainees, but the syllabus has changed so much that my notes are redundant.
My notes are now of historic relevance only.
14. YOU’RE QUESTIONING YOUR LIFE CHOICES
When you finally settle into that coveted finance job after years of training, you spend a few months wondering whether you should re-train as a lawyer… or maybe as a yoga teacher… or an oil painting artist (yes, that was on the cards until I massacred a canvas and realised an A* in GSCE art doesn’t make a good artist).
The Good News…
Having a 1/4 life crisis is excellent practice for the mid life crisis, when inevitably much more will be at stake, such as the lives of your potentially adolescent children, the mortgage on your 4 bedrooms detached suburban house.
Think of it as a learning experience!
Over and Out.