Thursday, June 23, 2016

Terrible 22's: My Quarter-life Crisis

I'm a great-person. Not a Great Person. But the same way a great-grandmother is not always a Great Grandmother. Pay attention to the hyphen.

With a week and a half until my 22nd birthday, I am having a quarter-life crisis. What Wikipedia calls stress from "entering the 'real world'" and Urban Dictionary calls feeling like they "haven't accomplished certain things in life they thought they would."

For the past 6 years I've asked my parents for a bike for my birthday, for Chanukah, for an afikoman present, for my brother's graduation, basically any opportunity for a good ol' fashion beg. In college, I'd often send them not so subtle pictures of beautiful bikes (with easily breakable locks).
Here's just some (with them lined up like this, I realize it's more creepy than cute):






I'd often consider a joy ride or two..


Sometimes my parents even gave encouragement..


But this year, I didn't ask for a bike, bell, horn, or even basket. I asked for a briefcase. A professional pouch to flaunt and tell the world, I'm an adult.

But as tipped Amazon boxes lay gorged of briefcase options on the floor of my apartment, I couldn't help feeling hopelessly insignificant. Like my life had been a few glittery specks a first-grader could blow from their palm, or G-d could blow from the earth. Frankly, like someone who had nothing impressive in their 22 years of existence to really put inside a $200 briefcase.

So in despair, I turned over an Amazon box, spilling out its brown packaging innards, and sat with  knees to my chin to think.

....................about the novel I told myself I'd write over the summer but had only an empty Desktop folder called "bestseller" to show for it.

....................about post-college plans of Aliya, which took a nosedive after I discovered my third-grade Hebrew would never get me a job in the communications business.

...................about my best friends who had started their own lives making new friends, while I continued trying to stay relevant.

.................about how small I felt as others had the courage to question G-d, while I chose blind faith and understood that I would never understand.

.................about being the prettiest right now that I will ever be, because everything greys, sags and discolors from here on out.

................about my dream of becoming that globe-trotting reporter slipping away as the idea of becoming a middle-aged Jewish soccer mom grows all too real.

Mom used to tell me I put to much pressure on myself. She'd often say that when I "got like this," which meant when I became a "crusader," or how my boyfriend puts it, when I'm "such a drama."
Last night my roommate told me that you can't compare your raw footage to others' highlight reels.

But I had always wanted to be a Great human being, somebody you'd hear people talk about saying, "and she grew up right here in Chicago."

But until that happens, it's important I embrace being a great-person. To enjoy life without the stress of trying to enjoy life.

To become someone passionate. Someone smart, with a forgiving ear and selfless heart. Someone I'd be grateful to know.

Sincerely,
Not looking forward to the midlife version of this.