It’s a real thing. People may scoff at you and say, “You’re so young!” But truly, it is a real thing to have a quarter-life crisis.
And I think I’m going through one. Right now. Because the other night I freaked out, grabbed my roommate’s construction scissors and chopped bangs thinking I’d look like Zooey Deschanel and start wearing Peter Pan collars and listening to vinyls. Instead I just look like a girl who tried to cut bangs and still needs to lose like 30 pounds before she’s anywhere close to trying to be Zooey Deschanel.
People may roll their eyes and say, “You have the rest of your life to worry! Your 20s are there for you to mess up, travel, make mistakes, have FUN!”
Oh REALLY? Have you ever tried to have fun while this jerk named Sallie Mae is glaring over your shoulder, watching every single penny while you are like, “GOSH Sallie Mae I just want to buy that pumpkin candle at Target” and Sallie Mae is all like, “Girl, put it back!” And then you put it back and glare at all your friends who have apartments that smell like autumn.
SIDENOTE: If you aren’t aware of Sallie Mae she is the worst of American student loans and her only goal is to suck out your soul.
The thing is, it’s so easy to throw pity parties for myself. Oh boohoo. I’m 24. I’m single. I’m not wealthy. I live in Los Angeles and don’t have to answer to anyone and have a car and an apartment and a job and….waaaait….
Pause and breathe and think.
Be thankful be thankful be thankful, I have to remind myself. I walk to the beach and I watch the sunset and it’s cheesy and sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. It’s necessary to sit on the damp sand, feeling it fall over my hands and feet and between my toes and I feel the wind running through my hair. I hear the pitter-patter of the little seagulls’ feet and I hear the voices of strangers around me and I think, “It is OK.” It is OK.
I grew up Catholic. I grew up Catholic and guilty and confused as to why I had to kneel every five seconds and why I had to be an altar server and why I had to pick a confirmation name because none of it made sense. But this morning I woke up and was just in my daily, boring routine of getting ready for work and the morning anxiety began to settle in. Panicking about money and life — I’m 24 and still share a room and I should have moved somewhere else besides Los Angeles and WHAT AM I DOING?
And for some bizarre reason, something we used to say in Catholic mass came into my mind and wouldn’t leave.
“Thanks be to God,” the priest would say.
“It is right to give Him thanks and praise,” we would reply.
I would say the words without any feeling, repeating them disconnected. But now, 11 years later, I feel them resonate deep within me.
It is RIGHT to give Him thanks and praise.
I hear the words, but everything feels far away and fuzzy because the distractions start to seep into my brain. The distractions of my phone buzzing, of traffic outside, of work and friendships and life. I feel overwhelmed and then I breathe and speak aloud because it’s not enough to wrestle with my thoughts inside.
“But God, I’m not always happy. I’m stressed and sad sometimes,” I say, pulling my knees up to my chin like a five-year-old, seconds away from a tantrum.
“I am with you,” is His answer.
I groan, rolling my eyes.
“You sound far away and that doesn’t help me pay my bills and feel better,” I snap, acting like a brat.
“I’m literally not going anywhere,” I hear God say. He doesn’t pat my head condescendingly. He doesn’t send me to time out. He takes me by surprise and pulls me in.
But all I want to be is alone.
But this doesn’t happen. I feel God in this moment. He’s here, in my room.
My annoyance reveals itself as anger and that turns into shame and that turns into tears and then I weep and weep until it feels like nothing is left. And there’s snot and hiccups.
“I’m sorry,” I say to God. “I’m sorry and I love you and thank you.”
And I feel lighter and better; I feel peace. I still feel afraid and nervous but I know I’m not alone. And I think that’s what I need to remember.
Especially the next time I try to cut my bangs because I certainly wouldn’t try that in front of anyone and God was probably all like WHAT are you doing my child!? That’s beside the point.
The point is —
Thank you is what I want my heart to say.
Because it is right to give Him thanks and praise.
Flickr photo (cc) by The World According To Marty