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My Quarter-Life Crisis

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Bed in basement.jpgBy Kyre Gottschalk

When I was 16, I always thought by the time I was 25 I would have a full-blown successful career, own my own home, be married and perhaps even have a couple of kids. Well, I am 25 now and I recently lost my job, I am single, and I currently live in my father's basement.

I look at the people I'm connected with on Facebook and there seems to be a trend of engagements, marriage, and children. It's as though they have a look of success on their faces. They ran the age/success race and made it before the age of 30. They are the ones who have taken on the challenge and won. A part of me gets bitter when I see them smiling in their pictures. Talking about their new careers, showing off their brand new apartments or homes they just bought, hugging onto their spouse with delight, warmly smiling as they hold up their new born baby. I have to ask these acquaintances and friends, now what? Is it the end that matters or is it the journey?

However, I have to stop and think, "It is the journey." I may not have achieved the goals that I wanted to accomplish yet but I've realized I'm ok with that. I'm in a position where I have every door wide open for me. Yes, I need a job and I need immediate income, but not having one has made me realize that I have the freedom to do what I want.

I don't have children to worry about and when I am going to feed them, clean them, or what source of education would help raise my child to become the most successful so he/she doesn't make the same mistakes as me. I do not have a spouse that I need to come home to every night and have bitter arguments as to who paid what bill last and why is it overdue. I don't have to currently pay rent or a mortgage, and I'm very lucky to say I am debt free. Yes, I want to make something of myself, I want to move on and out, but I'm ok with taking my time. I have the opportunity to focus on what will make me happy and be successful in the long run. I have no pressure to do what society tells me and what it thinks I need to do.

I still don't shout at the top of my lungs about my life's situation but I have no problem discussing it when the questions come up. There is still a bit of shame, especially the living situation, but I also know that whatever I find in my life I will have taken my time, will know that it is long term and thought through completely. I thoroughly enjoy not having many bills to pay. 

The more I think about it, half the people I tell my situation to envy me! They wish they had the lack of responsibility, the lack of bills and the freedom. They look at me with wishful thinking. That if they had the opportunity that I have right now they would take full advantage of it and do something different with their lives. So, I have to think that I am the lucky one. I am privileged to be in the beginning and have full control over where my next steps in life will be. If I want to have pizza and beer for dinner, who is going to yell at me over my lack of a nutritious diet? If I choose to spend what little money I have on a video game or new outfit, what bills will be yelling at me for being overdue? If I decide to take a weekend to lounge around out of fatigue, boredom, or just for the hell of it, who is going to start an argument with me for not cleaning up the house? If I choose to go back to school, how many mouths am I neglecting to feed and pay attention to? Not a single one. (Well, besides my own.)

So today I put down the flag of pride for single, jobless, dependent 25 year olds everywhere. Don't wash that hair today, keep your sweats on, and put that remote back in your hand good sir/ma'am.

Who am I kidding? I need to get out of this damn basement.

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