I thought my quarter life crisis would end once I start work. I thought the stability would outweigh the uncertainty – now I know it doesn’t work that way. I was thinking about it on other people’s terms without considering how I might place my values differently, and how this difference ultimately shapes me as a person.
It dawned on me just recently that I don’t know what to look forward to. I feel like a huge comma has been placed in my life. It’s a blurry mixture of feeling vulnerable and lost. And then I realised that all along I had taken the comfort of knowing or anticipating for granted, until I lack both. In retrospect, I guess ever since I was born I already had all the phases of my life laid out for me: I would grow up to enter kindergarten, then primary school, secondary school, pre-university, university, and finally, work.
It’s the feeling of finality that’s scary to me. I know my life doesn’t end once I start work, but then, what now? What’s next?
More commonly, I would imagine, is to find a partner, settle down, start a family. But that just sounds so unappealing me. If you want that kind of life then you do you, there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe in a few more years I’d like that too, but I’m just not in that state of mind right now.
I know I’ve always been a dreamer, and I’m driven by passion. It’s something that makes me as a person and heavily affects my life choices. It’s funny because when I was small, I remember I would be excited to reach the next phases in life. It meant getting closer to my dreams and doing what I want without the pressure of grades or annoying school rules and teachers. Maybe I’d forgotten what that felt like – the sheer enthusiasm of writing, motivated by the slightest possibility of being a writer someday. But maybe back then I had a someday to look forward to, and maybe now I feel like I’ve already reached that someday, a deadline almost, and there’s a higher possibility of uncertainty than before. My brain somehow interprets that as confirmed failure. I then wouldn’t know how to start, and wouldn’t know where to go from there.
Well, technically I did achieve my goal to be a writer since I got a job as one. But still, the big dream is to simultaneously be a published author and an established screenwriter. I know, I’m way too ambitious for my own good. But I aspire to be Stephen Chbosky. I’d want my own The Perks of Being a Wallflower in bookstores and have the chance to write a screenplay for it, and then down the line get the chance to write a screenplay as big as Beauty and the Beast.
It’s so easy for me to dream up these fantasies, but when it comes down to actually doing something about it, I’m suddenly less enthusiastic. But I think I’m close to identifying the cause. I told my friend just the other day that I think I’m too used to being pushed by an institution to do things. And she replied, “Aren’t we all?” And therein lies the problem. I grew reliant, dependent, and now I’m living the consequences. Now the question is, how do I write without the pressure of deadlines and without having anyone to tell me to write? Because at the end of the day, the only person I’m going to let down is myself. And I’m not sure if I can live with that.
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