Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Quarter Life Crisis

Today was my last day at my internship. At ten of two, I walked into my editor's office and asked her to sign the time sheet I have to pass into Career Services to verify my academic credit. I tried to stay calm and collected. I tried to be funny. She thanked me for my work and told me I was talented and that she wished me the best. And I tried not to cry, because I hate things like this. I thanked her for the opportunity.

I went back to my cubicle and started packing up my things. The senior writer, who I had worked with quite a bit covering his boxing training for our website, came over and asked if I was leaving. He's young, and he graduated from the same college as I will be in a few weeks. He wished me the best, too, and asked that I keep in touch. I tried not to cry, because I hate things like this.

When I went to say goodbye to our-- oh gosh, not our anymore, I suppose-- online editor, she stood up and went for a hug. In my brain, I panicked. This would unleash all the emotion, I was sure. I held back tears, because I hate things like this, hate when things I love have to go away, and told her we'd keep in touch.

And even as I walked down the stairs and called my cab one last time, as I waited for that cab on the corner of Water and Harrison Street across from The Broadway Deli, I didn't cry.

See, I don't like change sometimes. Most of us don't love it all the time, I suppose. And right now, so many things are changing. Though I knew that my internship would have to end, it's the first part in a series of important events that are coming up for me.

On May 22, I will walk across a stage and get a diploma, a B.A. in English and Journalism from Clark University.

I will walk away from friends that, in some cases, because of geography, I will never see in person again.

On the same day, I will pack up the last of my things into my family's car for the last time. I will lock the door of the last dorm room I will ever live in and give my key back to the RA for the last time. We will drive away from Worcester, Massachusetts, back to the little town of Danvers, Massachusetts, that I call home.

Soon, with any luck, I will get a job, and my boyfriend of three-and-a-half years and I will move out. We will pay our own bills and live paycheck-to-paycheck as he goes to law school. I will not be going to graduate school like so many other people I know.

And I guess what's scariest about all this change is that it happened so fast. I remember the group of Clarkies that Facebooked each other over the summer before college and arranged meet-ups. The Massachusetts kids, we ate at Fire & Ice together and had Ben & Jerry's and sat on Boston Common. I remember my first day at college, freshman year, for our week-long orientation. I remember meeting my first roommate and how awkward it was. I remember when Douchebag Ex Boyfriend visited for the night and we slept in the same bed for the first time ever and how he didn't love me but I kissed him goodbye because he was going to bootcamp. And I remember how, when he was away, I met the boyfriend I have now, and how a good friend from Texas made damn sure I made the right choice between a guy who didn't love me and someone who would.

I remember the night I sobbed hysterically on the phone with my mother because I was floundering in my science classes and I just didn't want to go to medical school anymore and how disappointed she was that I wanted to be a writer. It's funny, because nowadays, I never think about that and journalism never seems like my plan B.

It wasn't some kind of concrete moment, but in college, as corny as it sounds, I learned so much about myself, found myself.

Maybe the School vs. Real Life paradigm is a fake. Maybe it doesn't matter, but as I sit here right now thinking about the way my life is changing, the way I feel like I am being thrust into real life faster than I ever imagined I would be, it is frightening. It is a monster of a thing.

And I think about how when I was a little girl and I would complain that I wanted to grow up, my mother would tell me how very fast time goes as you get older. I remember her saying how 17 feels like yesterday to her, how she remembers being in high school.

All that seems real now. If four years have gone so fast, how quickly will the rest fly by? When I am 70 it might feel like today, like sitting in my dorm room a month away from graduation writing a blog post instead of studying for finals, was months ago. When I think about that, life seems like some insurmountable challenge, like there couldn't be enough time. Sometimes it's frightening, and it makes me wish I could stop the spinning. I wish I could stop it because I remember four years ago, and four years before that, and before that, and before that. And things aren't simple anymore.

So this is a declaration, I suppose, of my Quarter Life Crisis.

Did you go through a quarter life crisis? How did you cope? Do you ever worry that time is going too quickly? Ohhhh boy.


Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Oh sister, I hear ya- sending so many good wishes on this exciting adventure :)

Laells said...

I just remind myself that no matter what changes I'm always going to live life how I want it. At least that's how I cope and get through it. You can throw all you want at me Life but I'll still do it my way. :)

But changes are still sad and scary and I'm glad I'm not the only person that feels like that somedays. <3

D. said...

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, freaking out about the future. Then I try to convince myself that I cannot deal with that right that second, from my bed, at 3 A.M. I tell myself that all will be okay, that I am doing just fine.

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