Crisis and Competition

My friends and I are all in our mid-to-late twenties and it’s a time in our lives where we are completing all of those tasks you’re “supposed” to do. Go to school, check. Get a job, check. Pay your own bills, check. Get your own place, check. Actually enjoy your life. Uh, hmmm, wait, how do you do that?

Crisis. A word we associate with many different things throughout the course of our existences, often in reference to how we’re feeling about making a particular decision or being at a crossroads in our lives. Quarter( or mid) life crisis, existential crisis… call it what you will, depending on your age and/or situation—but damn, it’s real and it’s stressful.

The time will come for everyone! (So ominous) Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones and only have to deal with this kind of situation once or maybe you’re like me and many other people who feel as if they are constantly living in a state of crisis.

I recently went to lunch with a friend and she told me she needed to make a change because she was so sick of hating everything:

“Colleen, I feel like I literally hate everything, but I know it’s really just one thing. I just can’t figure out what it is that’s really making me unhappy. I just know if I can stop doing that one thing I can move on, but I don’t know what it is.”

Fuck. I can totally relate to my friend. It’s also a bit disheartening to know that she is not the first person I have had this kind of conversation with. So I started really thinking about the idea of crisis and why it’s so damn hard to just stop and smell the roses.

In life you get caught up in the supposed to’s and you forget about the want-to’s. When I was an undergrad the whole world was open to me. I could go to school for whatever I damn well pleased, buy the things I wanted to and go out whenever the mood struck. As an adult I’m too worried about making the right decisions professionally and personally, too busy paying bills and stressing about money to actually sit back, relax and enjoy everything that my life can offer me.

Also, why does it still feel at twenty-nine that if I don’t have all my shit together I’m a complete failure? I know I’m an adult, but why does that automatically mean I can’t still have things to figure out? And believe me, I know there are still plenty of mistakes left for me to make. I have had plenty of people say to me; “You’ve got things figured out, you have a good job, you can afford your own place, why are you stressed?…”

Although my life looks pretty damn good from the outside these comments often leave me feeling like shit. So, am I not supposed to feel like I’m on a hamster wheel? I’m supposed to just automatically feel great about every aspect of my life? When everyone has an opinion, it’s hard to see past what your life supposedly is to the outside world. Also, when you’re constantly getting feedback from the outside it can often feel as if you’re in a competition. Adult life turns into a constant argument to see who has the bigger dick (for lack of better analogy). 

Listen, the grass is definitely always greener on the other side. Outsiders don’t know exactly all that is going on in my life and vice versa. So, why can’t we all just have open and honest communications about our journeys? That way, maybe we can learn something from each other instead of always feeling like we’re in constant competition. I’m still trying to figure out the balance between stress and relaxation, and although sometimes it feels as if I may never get there, I know that I have a support system full of awesome people who go through the same things and who can offer advice and an outlet for me when I need it.

Colleen Rae : Artist. Writer. Feminist. Wizard.