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I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! #300723 06/12/08 04:59 PM
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Ok so it all started like a month ago when I turned 20. My teenage years (which seemed to drag on forever) are over. I feel old and unaccomplished. If my life were a movie, it would be one of those artsy films with lots of classical music and sparse dialog.

I suppose I am a published writer (my career path of choice), but not in any publication that I can really be proud of. I've had some minimal internet publishing, as well as small, school-affiliated literary publications.

Also, it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that I am going to spend the rest of my natural life in debt. I have all these loans for college, and that's with the help of my parents. But grad school (which I don't want to go through, but it looks like I have to) is going to be completely on me, and I don't know how I'm ever going to afford that.

One of my passions is traveling, but I can never seem to scrape up enough money to go anywhere. I've been alive for 20 years and I've only ever been to Canada, Jamaica (when I was a baby, so I don't even remember it), and Mexico....oh yeah, and the South...

And then a couple of weeks ago, I got into this car accident. I hit a deer. (rip deer). I was alright and everything, but if I had just been even slightly out of position, of had I reacted slightly differently, I could be dead. I totaled the car.

So that got me to thinking; at the very best, and if I'm really really lucky, I only have another 60-70 years to live. That's not really a lot of time. How on earth am I going to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish in such a short period of time??

And that's even if I live that long. I mean, you never know what's going to happen. And then--what's the point? Let's say I've done everything I ever wanted to do...so what? I'm still going to die. It's awful. It makes no sense. What is the point?

And not to mention the fact that I'm terrified of dying. Especially when it's totally unexpected. I could have an aneurysm, or I could catch some rare disease or spontaneously combust, or something. And then what?

Where am I going to go? And will everything I've done even amount to anything? I have faith and everything, I believe there is a god of some sort. But what if there isn't? What if I just cease to exist? I would like to think that there is some aspect of immortality to me--like my soul, or an ability to be reincarnated or something, but what if I'm fooling myself? I don't want to not exist.

I'm driving myself crazy!!!

Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: LoRaXspeek4keets] #300730 06/12/08 05:10 PM
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Lora, could you be depressed?

It sounds as if you might be, in which case I would advise you to get some help from a doctor or counsellor.

I have suffered depression & it's not nice.
It kind of makes you wonder what the point is.

The accident might have brought all this on ~ reminding you of your own mortality, so this might be post-traumatic shock.

Talk it out of your system if you can ~ but do get professional help if you need it. (And it's not always possible for the person concerned to really know when they need it!) smile


"The secret of success is constancy to purpose" - Benjamin Disraeli.
Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: PDM] #300734 06/12/08 05:17 PM
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Stephen Offline
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You're still very young, Lora. Could you possibly choose another job path in which your future could be brighter - AKA a job in which you could make more money to get you out of debt and then do what you want with your life and travel.

It's definitely not hard to think "What's the point?" when you think about life, but what you have to do is take every day for granted and enjoy you life with the people and animals that love you.


RIP Jayka, Grayson, and Emmit
Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: LoRaXspeek4keets] #300738 06/12/08 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted By: LoRaXspeek4keets
Where am I going to go? And will everything I've done even amount to anything? I have faith and everything, I believe there is a god of some sort. But what if there isn't? What if I just cease to exist? I would like to think that there is some aspect of immortality to me--like my soul, or an ability to be reincarnated or something, but what if I'm fooling myself? I don't want to not exist.

I'm driving myself crazy!!!


You are indeed. You're only 20 years old. Unfortunately, those are some tough years to live through. But, you know what, things do get better when you get older. Do me a favor: watch Michael Apted's 49up series. See if you can get 21up and then one like 35up or 42up. You'll notice how much more comfortable people become with themselves when they get older.

Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: Stephen] #300741 06/12/08 05:25 PM
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Lora, you are still so very young and I think that accident may have brought on some depression as well a PTSD. Have you thought about consolidation with the loans? I've done that and it's a 15 year thing so I'll be in my 30s when it's done. There's so much you'll be able to do and yes we don't know what's going to happen to us or when, that doesn't mean we should sulk in what we haven't done.

I was married at 18 and a mother at 21. Everything can seem like it's going nowhere but it can change just as quick. You say you're published? If you want to further your career in writing, then go for it. Just do it and see what happens. I don't know if any of what I'm saying helps, but know that if you ever need to talk, you can PM me. ((hugs))


Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: Darkness] #300757 06/12/08 05:54 PM
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Having gone through something like this only a few years ago, I understand how it feels. Shockingly, everything seems to turn out fine. I remember just getting ready to graduate from college, with a job and no where to live and students loans and I just felt so confused, lost, and terrified. It is like taking a leap across a river... you just have to trust that you can make it and from knowing your intellect from conversations on here... I know you can make it and will do well.

Almost everyone spends their natural life in debt. It is the only way to get ahead in the long term. Practically no one would be able to afford a home if there weren't 30 year home mortgages.

Also, you need to find meaning in life in the small things sometimes. My parakeets have given me so much joy that I feel it has enhanced my life and made it better. I have close friendships and that too allows me to enjoy life. I do work hard and will accomplish great things (at least in my opinion), but I find that my true purpose is to enjoy my life. Enjoy the relationships I have with friends and family and even my pets!! Maybe you are just in a little funk and that's ok... you are sorting things out and once you realize it will all be ok, then you can move on and be happy.


Never forget:
Leaf - 11/5/07
Louie - 1/25/08
Bill - 4/16/08
Papeete - 4/21/08
Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: LoRaXspeek4keets] #300839 06/12/08 09:26 PM
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Your overthinking it. The whole point is the journey not the destination. Live in the moment and savor the experience. Your memories will be all that you take with whether you have an after life or cease to exist. You can't do anything about the latter but you can choose to be spiritual. If you live your life and savor each moment and do the best you can to love and value the human beings in your life, then you have done all you need to do to have a happy life. If you live your life like this, you will not feel compelled to count the days and years. Time is relative. It is far too short if you have lived it to it's fullest because you want more. Adversely it is far too short if you have not lived it to it's fullest. If you are always drinking from the cup of life as it is filling, you will not have time to anticipate it being empty.



Cookie and Sweetie
Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: joandboys] #301023 06/13/08 01:21 AM
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First, hugs to you! Second, in my opinion people who said the following are right on target -- (a) could be clinical depression, (b) over-thinking can lead to wallowing which can lead to circular thinking & depression, (c) the small things in life really can bring joy and can make you happy in a cumulative sort of way.

I can relate to the "OMG -- when you're dead, that's it? -- that's all there is?" issue. I don't have any eurekas or epiphanies to share, but I assume that we all come to terms with this somehow, maybe with time........


Here's something specific that I might help with:

As concerns graduate school--- generally speaking, it's so ridiculously expensive that nearly everyone arranges some kind of deal that's sort of like "work-study" --- you work part-time as an RA (research assistant) or TA (teaching assistant), or maybe you might even get a fellowship (stipend for NO work - way cool but usually only for a year).

In other words, you might rack up a few more student loans but it shouldn't be exhorbitant, and will almost certainly be less than your undergraduate indebtedness.

Top-notch grad programs know perfectly well that 99% of their applicants couldn't possibly afford even one year, much less 5 or 6, so they use grad students as a cheap labor source; you, in turn, get a stipend and your tuition paid.

Please keep us updated on how you're feeling.

Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: ] #301227 06/13/08 06:33 PM
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Well thanks everyone for your responses.

Yes, I have suffered from what sometimes feels like chronic clinical depression. It runs through my mother's side of the family. I was put on an antidepressant last year and I took myself off of it sometime around this past Christmas because I didn't feel I needed it anymore.

And I still don't think I do. Trust me, I'm miles away from where i was before I tried medication. But certainly, I still have my moments. And I can't help thinking that this is something that I'm going to have to struggle with for my entire life.

There is no cure for depression, and if you're particularly prone to it like me, your ruts are a little deeper than someone else's. But I've gotten a lot better at not staying stuck in bad patches.

That being said, writing is my passion. Finding something that would potentially make me more money is not really a viable option because I want to be happy doing whatever I end up doing. So I think the trick is to find a way to make money writing. That's what scares me.

I could feasibly become a best-selling author. i have confidence in myself and I believe that i am a good enough writer to accomplish this. My fear comes from the fact that I don't know how to do this. And i feel like I'm running out of time. You see what I mean?

ichi--I hadn't heard of this 49up series, but I'll definitely look in to it. I've also started trying to apply the power of positive thinking to everything I do. It's something that me mother has preached to me my entire life, and I really do try, but sometimes things just look so bleak to me that I lose the feel for it.

I am on work-study in college right now, and I have no doubt that that's what I'll have to do in grad school. And i believe that i will most certainly end up consolidating my loans. but it's still all rather daunting.

And then I start to get angry--why is education so darn expensive?? And why does it seem like, in real estate, they're trying to make it so that people cannot reasonably live in this country?? People are taking out like 80 year mortgages just to afford a simple necessity--a roof over your head.

And then there's the ridiculous gas prices, the cost of food, bills, etc. It just doesn't seem right. I still have the support of my parents for now, but what am I going to do when I have to start becoming financially independent? I have a job, but I don't make enough money to live off of. It's not right.

And then, on top of all this, I could die tomorrow. And then what would have been the point? I don't want my entire life to have been a stressed out muddled mess, but sometimes it seems really hard to avoid. I want to accomplish things, you know? I want to make an impact. I have goals.

I think like everyone else, I just want to know that I'll be immortal somehow, and if it's through my writing, so be it. But I need that to work, and right now, it doesn't seem like it is.

And the problem with being a writer is that we deal with a lot of rejection. And besides not existing, rejection is definitely one of my worst fears. It wears on me. Things shouldn't have to be this difficult.

But I think you guys are right--I probably am over-thinking. I have a knack for that. But I don't know how not to.... frown

Re: I'm Having a Quarter Life Crisis!! [Re: LoRaXspeek4keets] #301257 06/13/08 07:37 PM
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LoRaX,
You're bright and funny and kind. Trust me; you will make an impact, sometimes without even knowing it.

You might have died in an accident, but you didn't. Shoot, I'd say that might call for an "I'm not dead!" party. You could gather some friends, show pictures of the car, and mourn the deer. Everybody gets to stop and say holy moly and share in your feelings of mortality for a little while, and then life goes on.

You could die tomorrow - but you probably won't. Plan for the future, but take time to enjoy today.

Some thoughts on education:

It sounds like you have decided that you have to go to grad school for your chosen career path, although you don't want to. Have you talked about this with professionals in your field? If you're not sure who to ask, talk to a couple of trusted professors; they may be able to give you advice, at least about where to find the info you need.

And if it turns out that you do need a graduate degree, then before you start applying, look at the schools' programs and also at their assistantship packages, if any. Some departments are able to offer everybody they admit full tuition plus enough to live on if you're careful, and some can only offer partial tuition, and some can only hire a couple of people each year. There's just a huge range out there, so if you know you will worry about money, I strongly advise you to hunt down the best deal you can. (Do not listen to those who tell you not think about the money; they're not the ones who'll be stuck with the bill.)

And if you visit the colleges before deciding where to go, talk to the current grad students and ask how they're managing it. They may have useful tips.

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