Thursday, July 23, 2015

Quarter-Life Crisis

Published on Medium via RU Student Life

I write you this introduction from bed, in my Toronto apartment at 12:06am on July 17, 2015 — the 198th day of the year, the 60th anniversary of Disneyland’s grand opening, the date on Apple’s calendar emoji… and also, my birthday.

Today at 3:43pm, I will officially be 19-years-old. However, my first legal drink is the last thing on my mind. In all my life, I have never been less excited to officially age a year older.

I once read that kids born between 1994 and 1998 are considered “The Generation of Nostalgia” because they fall somewhere in between Gen-X and Millennials. During our childhoods, so much technological innovation happened in such a rapid time frame that we vividly remember a lifestyle that is now obsolete. Within our formative years, we went from dial up to wireless Internet, clunky wall-phones to slim pocket-sized mobiles, and so on. All this rapid advancement sparks nostalgia for our seemingly “simpler” diaper days, making it feel like those times are a lot farther in the past than they actually are.

Nonetheless, I’m laying here, alone and sad on my birthday — and I don’t really know why. In fact, I could sum up my emotions into that one simple phrase: “I don’t know.” What do you want to do after graduation? “I don’t know.” How’s school going? “I don’t know.” How are you? “I don’t know.” What is this blog post even about? “I DON’T KNOW.”

Having just completed my first two semesters of university, this year has been one of the greatest/scariest of my entire life. New school, new city, new friends — I am in such a different place now compared to 365 days ago that I can’t even begin to imagine what’s to come. The notion that in as little as five years, I could have a career, a partner, and even A CHILD makes me want to throw up. Right now, my résumé, my love life and my womb are far from ready for that.

Sometimes I feel like my own Torontonian version of Carrie Bradshaw — strong, adventurous and independent. I am proud of my GPA, my job and the way I’ve been able to take on this terrifyingly amazing city. Other times, I sort of want to cry because I miss my cats, and I wish That’s So Raven was still on the air, and no matter how many times I try, my grilled cheese just doesn’t taste as good as my mom’s.

It frustrates me that I don’t remember getting older. When did adults start cursing around me without apologizing? I don’t remember when my dad stopped cutting up my meat, or when my mom started to let me do my own hair. When did my brothers stop referring to me as their “baby” sister? I can’t recall the day my parents could no longer help me with my homework, or when cartoons stopped making me laugh. I don’t remember things changing.

I have a feeling that one day I will look back at this piece and roll my eyes at myself. How could I ever think that I was “old” at 19? Yet, I can’t help but be scared. For me, life has never been so free, exciting and full of opportunity, but it’s also never been so uncertain, unpredictable and full of decision-making pressure.

Is life supposed to be so awkward at this age? Are all my birthdays going to feel like this from now on? When does being an adult start to feel fitting? Not that I know anything about anything, but I’m starting to think that it’s not supposed to. Maybe we mature with experience, not years; and maybe the present is just a combination of missing the past and being excited for the future. Again, I don’t know, but I’m trying my best to figure it out.

If you know the answers to my IDK’s please tweet them to @RUStudentLife or @juliannagaro. I sure would appreciate it and maybe some other 1996 babies will too.

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