Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Quarter-life crisis

I guess you could also call it the "real world" crisis.

Hey everyone in college and high school and so on: why do you build us kids up so much? Everywhere you turn it's "you're going to change the world" and "you'll do great things" and "here's a 24-year-old entrepreneur who started (internet company x)" and "this guy is a (senator, footballman, mayor of Pittsburgh, whatever) at 26". And then we get out and there's no way we can do that. We can't possibly measure up, because nobody can, unless he/she is very lucky and very very good. This year has been a fun voyage of convincing myself of that.

But the world needs us to be very lucky and very very good! Right? Fading into obscurity and carving out your own little niche would be fine, except that if everyone does that, the world implodes. Even if your little niche includes you contributing $100 to the stop-hunger-in-Africa fund, using reusable shopping bags, and driving a hybrid instead of an SUV.

I've heard all the soothing "you just have to do your best"s and they ring really hollow. Everyone's been doing their best, and our world is still hosed. (or else, everyone so far hasn't been doing their best, but I don't buy that either. Is our generation really the first one that's going to turn the world around with our wonderful unselfishness? Are we that much better than the Boomers and the Xers and whoever else? ... are we any better at all?)

I guess I figured that, even if I fizzle out someday, at least maybe during my wild, carefree, rocking 20's, I'd take out my giant boots and stomp a big Dan Tasse footprint into the side of the world. Or not even my footprint, just a footprint, that anonymously or nonymously leaves the world a better place. And hell, maybe I still will. But how to reconcile the "I don't need to do so to be a good person" with the "somebody needs to"?

How are your 20's going? Are you having a quarter-life crisis too? Or have you gotten over yours?

Finally, in my happier times, I tell myself that I'll always put a disclaimer on any really cynical things I think during my sadder times. So take everything I'm saying here with a grain of salt, and if you're feeling pretty good about things, don't let me harsh on your parade.

2 comments:

Pete said...

Dude. We are so young. I feel like my life only began about a year ago when I finished college.

I read about Michael Phelps, how he trains 6 or whatever hours a day and plays video games the rest, and I take a look at my life, how I haven't stomped out a giant Pete Gadomski/ananymous footprint on the world, but I'm ok wit that because I've got so many different tools in my arsenal, and I'm set up to learn so much more. And to pull some from the Tao Teh Ching, the wise man isn't smart, and he doesn't try. He just exists as he is and the light from his wisdom makes more of a difference than a thousand swords. Or something like that.

I dunno yo. We got so much time to do awesome shit. The trick is to not get down that we aren't doing it yet, and get complacent.

Dan Tasse said...

Yeah, you're right. And to realize that there's more to life than what you accomplish, despite what we've been brought up to think.

Also to realize that life doesn't end at 30. Still haven't fully figured that one out yet.

God, the Tao Teh Ching is so frustrating. Okay, I'll be wise, I won't be smart, and I won't try. So what do I do? (clearly I am not wise.)

I'm going to go sleep and dream of the ten thousand things or whatever.