It’s funny isn’t it? Age really is just a number, and about 364 days of the year it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But on my birthday it feels like one of those race-against-time missions, where I have to cut either the blue wire or the red wire before time runs out. No matter which wire I choose though, it never feels like it was the right one! I’m sorry to break it to you (and myself), but I’m no James Bond. And my mission isn’t to save the world. If only it were that simple! It’s a life-long mission, where I have to do all the right things, and have all the right things, at the right times and in the right places. I would prefer to cut the wires to be honest!
In a generation when everyone is trying to one-up each other on social media, I feel like I am constantly behind. Yes I am happily married, but my friend from school is married and expecting her second child. And my co-worker is buying a house. And my next door neighbour is going travelling to Australia. No matter what I accomplish, there is always someone who has beaten me to the punch and knocked a few teeth out too.
If I allow myself, I can quite easily fall into a bottomless pit of self-deprecation and anxiety. All it takes is a few scrolls through my Facebook news feed. The baby announcements and wedding photos are enough to get there in 60 seconds flat. Don’t get me wrong, I like to post things about my relationship every now and then, but most of the time I just avoid it, because I don’t want to come across as a show off or attention seeker.
I think that the majority of what we see on Facebook is an illusion. It’s the perfect life that people are desperately seeking. A life of holidays and romances and extravagant purchases that they can only really obtain a fraction of. No one live-tweets the day-to-day arguments with their other half, or Instagram’s their credit card statement showing just how much in debt they are. And why would they? A magician doesn’t reveal his tricks!
When I start to feel a bit panicky about my achievements (or lack of achievements), I evaluate the things that I have accomplished in the real world. The things that you won’t find on my Facebook page. Like the smile my husband greets me with when I come home from work. Or the wonderful sleep I get after a long day of juggling work and home life.
I may not be on time when it comes to my career or my financial status, and I may not be anywhere near ready to take my first steps on the property ladder, but at the end of the day I am very fulfilled in my life. I have a handful of great friends and family I can trust and rely on. I am in a stable job that I enjoy. I have a place to rest my head at night and someone I love very much to share that space with.
So as far as my quarter-life crisis is concerned, when I’m having a bad day I do just need to shake it off, because without having to try very hard, I can find many things to be thankful for and many achievements to be proud of. Getting a year older always reminds me of my mortality, but that doesn’t need to be a bad thing. A little bit of self-awareness is necessary for us to push ourselves harder to get to where we want to be. And if it’s not the right time for us to get there, why not enjoy the scenery while waiting for that red light to turn green?