During our childhood, the ideas of limitless freedom and access to all things fun made ‘being-a-grown-up’ seem like the best thing that could ever happen to us. However, the transition to adulthood turned out to be yet another example of the expectation vs. reality gap and that’s when we get hit by the quarter life crisis.
We, the early 20s ‘kids’, are at the pivotal point of this stage right now. A lot of us are struggling because we had zero clue that an early 20s crisis even exists. All on a sudden we find our news feeds filled up with status updates by friends graduating from college or joining new jobs, or even getting married (the scariest bit)- friends with whom we spent hours discussing global domination. So we evidently freak out.
Looking into our painting kit or guitar or stack of comics sends a sheer chill down our spines as we realize we can no longer invest the same amount of time on the things we once loved. No more jumping over imaginary lava pits or building fortresses – because it’s time to brave the ‘Real World’ (imagine Darth Vader’s theme ‘the imperial march’ playing in background).
However, the unceremonious exit of childhood is not felt until the illusion of a free-flowing-life crumbles. Having to say clever things all the friggin time, figuring out if we should be acting on our dreams or wait till we actually feel like a ‘grown up’ – It all get so darn confounding and difficult. Basically, we are just having a hard time accepting that we are ‘adults’, hence are expected to be responsible of our own actions/words, our choices and sometimes even worse, our own expenses.
“I do not feel like a grown up yet but I dread the sense of responsibility which is going to hit me really soon” says Jahan, a fresh graduate. “But, I still love hanging out, playing video games, engaging in sports and enjoying life in general and will continue to do so, even if not in the same frequency” mentions Jahan who is soon to kick-start his career.
Raisa, however, is having a harder time dealing with the whole grown-up-thing. She freaked out over hearing her parents discuss her marriage “I can hardly arrange my own wardrobe and they talk about marriage”. Raisa finds the whole idea of adulthood upsetting- “I love spending lazy hours doing nothing except reading and eating. I wish I could spend all of my life that way”
On the other hand, Rabby, soon to graduate, has been more welcoming to the transition -“It hasn’t been easy obviously. I faced some harsh realities but that’s part of life. But, I think now I know how to act and react in different situations. In that sense I do act like a grown-up. At the end of the day you just gotta learn how to cope up”.
Different people handle this transition differently. A time when friends are replaced by colleagues or when you have to start worrying about paying your bills and also start thinking of dealing with dependents, things are certain to freak you out. At our early 20s we are still mostly dependent on our parents but it is the time when we start becoming aware of the impending responsibilities and change. For a generation that spends hours on social media going crazy over fictional characters, taking on the real world can be a tad bit challenging. Nonetheless, the fun and games do not have to stop so long as we can find a balance in life. True, the adventurous and fairytale-ish enigma of childhood can be lost along the way but we can always (try) to rewrite our stories- only being a bit more calculative this time. Remember, transition is inevitable but growing up remains optional.