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(Which is basically a fancy word for Gen Y/20-somethings/humans who grew up in the 90’s/blah blah you get it.) We wanted to take the opportunity to talk about ourselves (shocker!). It’s not lost on us that we have a freaking term coined after our public struggles. But, we’re not here to refute the Quarter Life Crisis. In fact, we’re here to explain it.
Yes, we know the world thinks we look like a shiny new Porsche driving 80 mph straight into a tree. But bear with us. We’re not that bad.
Ok. Here’s the break down.
Many of you joined Facebook later down the road, when your lives were already settled, successful, and wrapped up with a pretty little bow.
That’s not the case for this crew. We joined Facebook right as it was starting. Our friends and family have seen our entire adult evolution unfold online. Any inopportune moment ranging from a super embarrassing Friday night to graduating college without a follow up “work” post is documented. Misery.
Take relationships. When things fall apart, we inevitably have to ask ourselves the question, “how am I going to handle this on Facebook?” :::cue massive de-tag cleanse:::
Being “in a relationship” on Facebook is the cyber version of a wedding ring. You’re off the market. And when relationships end, knowing our entire high school class saw us get dumped might cause dramatic side effects. (Well…maybe not this dramatic.)
In summary, when things go wrong, we have to deal with it in layers. First, dealing with it ourselves, and second, dealing with the social backlash. We’re not weak, we’re just exposed!!
Don’t believe us? Even the New York Times says the dating culture is over. Hooking up is the new dinner and a movie, and we’re not sure how to handle it. Yes, some may say due to the high divorce rate our age group wanted to make a proactive change, but we’re not so sure if this is the answer.
At this rate, getting asked out on a date is about as rare as finding a job on monster.com. It just doesn’t happen. Dating might as well be called “boys asking girls if they like to cuddle via messenger.” We have to BEG for romance, and even then, dates typically end up at bars with a group of people. Lame.
To top it off, we’re filled with the notion that college and post college are full of fun dates and relationships, because that’s what our parents told us. That’s what they experienced! Not the case anymore. Sorry if we come across as bitter and cynical. We’re trying our best.
Yep, our expectations are ambitious. But just to get this straight, we like to dream. It’s good for us. (Go Capitalism!) Think about it—we wouldn’t have the book Divergent or the Uber app if we weren’t acting on our creative impulses. (LA, you would literally be stuck in your apartments without us. You’re welcome.)
However, this “killer” is two-fold. The crappy part about our expectations is that we slowly die inside when things don’t work out. Embarrassment and shame begin to consume us. We cut others out to dodge personal questions. We compare ourselves to anyone and everyone. And worse, we start shoulding ourselves.
By now, we should have the dream job. We should have the boyfriend. We should be content. But we aren’t. And what we SHOULD do, is give ourselves permission to fail, and try again. (But dat’s hard.)
You’re talking to the generation where half of us come from divorced parents. So, while we’re incredibly idealistic about our career pursuits, we’re struggling to figure out how we feel about our romantic endeavors. (And that is, once we actually find someone to freak out about. See above.)
If we believe whole heartedly in love, then are we just asking for divorce to throw us a surprise party in 20 years? If we decide to abandon the notion that love lasts forever, are we cynical and grumpy ALREADY? It’s very confusing.
All we know is that divorce is really scary. We didn’t like dealing with it, or we didn’t like seeing our friends deal with it. We need some time while we sort this out. We don’t want to feel pressure to rush down the aisle. We know we’re alarming marriage statisticians everywhere (is that a thing?), but nuptials are something we gotta think about. Real hard.
When you combine high expectations with fear of conventions–it’s only natural that many of us will create our own ways. We skip marriage. We’re coming out. We change our jobs faster than we change our nail polish. And above all, we seriously make up companies! I mean, if you’re not in the tech startup scene, then like, you’re so retro.
We are grasping every opportunity to take risks, break conventions, and figure out what works best for us. And we really have no reference point. Our parents took the jobs they had to take, and in turn, many are encouraging us to take the jobs we want to take. Believe us, we’re beyond grateful. We’re just faced with the paradox of choice, and we definitely don’t always get it right the first time. With new boundaries comes new failures, and we’re willing to take the bad in with the good.
We are constantly in a state of limbo. And we HATE it. Nothing is ever certain! Our parents are retiring and moving away, the job market is impossible, if we can actually land a job it either isn’t secure or we’re planning an exit strategy, and our dang friends won’t stay in one place. Ugh! Many days, we feel stuck, hopeless, and confused. So, what’s our next move, you ask?
Beats the heck out of us.
Limbo is a jerk, so bear with us when we need to talk about ourselves. We’ll listen to you too, pinky swear! We just need anchors in our lives, and support systems are the best form. It’s normal to have setbacks, start over, and feel lost and confused about what direction to take. We just need to be reminded sometimes.
All right guys, we hope this shed some light on our coming-of-age transition. We’ll figure everything out, and great things will result from our identify-forming Quarter Life Crisis. And if not, at least we made cabs way easier to hail. (There’s an app for that.)
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BY VIKTOR HANACEK