Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Cure a Quarter Life Crisis

The great thing about modern life is how technology has enabled everyone to have more free time than ever before. We have more free time than our 19th century ancestors, and so we spend a goodly amount of that time labeling things so we can self-diagnose in the middle of the night. By the time I reached twenty, the quarter life crisis was an accepted part of the growing up experience. Like a younger sister to the mid-life crisis, which was invented by the baby boomers. The symptoms of the mid life crisis are very well documented. Mid life crises are how men justify buying convertibles the color of an obnoxious tomato which they drive around in the hopes of finding younger women to flirt with at stoplights. Women seem to cope with them better, and join book clubs where they read about other women joining book clubs. The quarter life crisis isn't quite as well documented, since it was invented by Generation X, who are still trying to deal with the fact that they couldn't attend Woodstock and aren't quite as handy with their iPhones as the Millennials. Because of that hazy definition, I have come to define it as those times when you're afraid but don't know what exactly you are afraid of.

Sometimes it seems I've been waiting my entire life for a quarter life crisis. The first time I remember having one is when I turned six. This was utterly devastating to me as I had just come to terms with being five. My birthday card was lovely, dominated by a giant pink sparkly 6. The gift was a pair of skates, which confused me as I was always a careful child, and the idea of strapping wheels to my shoes did not strike me as a particularly good idea. But I came to terms with my age, and that year was the year I had strep throat three times and the chicken pox once. I also was devastated that my mom would not let me have light up tennis shoes. Looking back at this twenty one years later, I am relieved that I do not have this on my fashion conscience.

When I reached my twenties I knew that my quarter life crisis was imminent. Every February I would wake up on my birthday wondering if this was the year. And every March, other than being thrown into self-doubt about my finances by the IRS, I would gradually forget about it. Until this year, when I turned twenty seven, and realized my entire life has been composed of life crises. And they're really not as bad as everyone says they are. They happen every month or so. I will wake up feeling torn apart by feelings of woe, and I am miserable for the next eight hours or so until I can get myself to Sephora where I find a new foundation, makeup brush, or face wash. Lest you are reading this and judging me for retail therapy, let me assure you that buying a new foundation is the perfect fix for these things. A foundation is a big make up thing, a permanent change, one that takes at least two weeks to shift into and be really good at applying. You will spend so much time perfecting the art of it that you'll forget about whatever threw you into this particular crisis. Lip gloss doesn't cut it with life crises. Lip gloss is one of those fun things you buy because you just got paid and feel like you should buy something for the sheer joy of it. A foundation or a new makeup brush is something you invest money in the hopes that one problem that you are struggling with will be cured, giving you the courage to get over the boyfriend you just broke up with, the friend who just hurt you, or the fact that you are now old enough that the doctor wants to test your cholesterol. These things can devastate your life, but you will end up being a better person for it, and at least your makeup will look great.

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