The 24 year life crisis
Many people plan from a young age to live a predictable life. All there really is to it are three things: a family, home, and career. So when my friend claimed the other day that I was living her "extra life," I grew concerned that I, perhaps, squandered what was meant to be a walk in the park towards my suburban, 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home, fit with a loving wife, children, and a one hour commute to my job.
At first, I wasn't quite sure which "extra' she meant and I debated between the literal definition or the urban dictionary meaning. I guess both make sense. If she could live an additional life, I'm sure it'd be quite different from her current one, and if she could live an over-the-top life, well, the mind can get creative there. I asked for a bit of clarity, to which she claimed her "extra" life would maybe consist of incorporating my brilliant idea of getting married in a castle. As far as I knew, her actual life planned a wedding in a previously vacant rope factory.
Without drawing further attention to my wildest dreams of having my wedding at Oheka Castle, the setting of Taylor Swift's Blank Space music video, I pivoted the conversation another way, claiming I had no idea why she would want to live my "extra" life; I even offered to trade places with her, to no avail. At the prime age of 24, our lives were headed in such divergent paths. Hers more closely boasted kids before 30 and mine a Lexus RC-F. Should I be much closer to the former?
So I thought back to the age old wisdom given to men about how getting married early was hardly a necessity and that even the age of 35 might constitute as my prime. Not many days later, someone called me an eligible bachelor, to which I gave pause to since I always assumed someone being called that was often not an eligible bachelor. I was in an awkward bucket of people where marriage seemed both plausible and insane for a 24 year-old male. If only my age-induced complications stopped there.
Just one week later, while roaming the hallways of my work office, I took note of the multitude of conference rooms booked for meetings. Every room I peered into had at least one person who was relatively old and seemed like they knew what they were doing. I glanced briefly at my empty mug, suddenly feeling a kind of nakedness that screamed someone of my youth should not be drinking green tea on a daily basis. I proceeded to make myself a cup of chamomile tea, which sounded like something a young hipster would drink.
My two year mark of when I began working full-time passed only a few months earlier. At the time, and even now, the notion of having worked two full years seemed baffling to me. That meant I dealt with tax filing for two whole years and somehow came out of it alive. I felt like a veteran in the workforce, until I met someone who worked 40 years at my company. Two years then sounded juvenile. My brief time working felt like an eternity, but perhaps that was mostly due to a somewhat muted thought festering in the back of my head: the 9-5 never really changes.
Faced with the potential reality that I had chosen the wrong career, I had one last saving grace: my 4-bedroom 3-bathroom house. A quick search on Zillow threw those dreams out the window, unless I wanted to move to Houston. My best bet resided in a one bedroom co-op somewhere on the outskirts of Flushing, an idea I vehemently refused to entertain. The trinity consisting of a cushy job, over-sized house, and loving family was officially severed.
All of this goes to say that having the opportunity to live the "extra life" is only as good as the grass is greener on the other side. A few days later, I realized how "extra" I was being by making outlandish assumptions about the trajectory of my entire life at the age of 24. I ran a brief diagnosis on my outlook as a 24 year old and concluded not having to buy an engagement ring makes my Lexus RC-F a more reasonable purchase.
I used to think people who were 24 had their lives figured out and were on their way to whatever society deemed a normal path. It's often easy to forget about how much time passes and the whimsicality of life that ultimately sets up our next months and years, regardless and absent of whether we ever feel ready. Whatever the future holds will probably seem more like the present than we think. I mean, I thought we'd have flying cars by 2018, but the best we've done are USB ports on our buses.
By the time my friend's wedding rolls around next year, I'll be fully 25 and that's about all I can guarantee. My past tendencies used to center around thinking how different life could look like in a year or two, but all that really does is selfishly fantasize an end goal without embracing the journey it takes to get there. If life were just about expecting the culmination of all our choices and actions, I guess the end of that road is merely death. For that, I'm glad to have tomorrow and the day after to experience the brewing of my life.
Someone remind me when it's about time to write a midlife crisis blog.