August 22, 2008

reflections on the quarterlife

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 5:15 pm by marinagrey

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of a very good friend of mine who we’ll refer to as “Pouf”. Pouf and I went to high school together and have managed to continue our friendship through college and grad school and into the working world (for her- I worked for one year and now it’s my turn for grad school!).

It is days like birthdays that get me to thinking…and reflecting…on this phenomenon that thanks in large part to John Mayer we refer to as the “quarterlife”  Here we all are, well-educated, well-travelled, and well-groomed, making our way into the world.  For the past 20+ years we’ve been taken care of, challenged, and, frankly, coddled.  And now, its our turn to take action.  Will we succeed? Well, doesn’t that depend on our definition of success?

Therein, I believe, lies the problem.  We may have been taught to define success as closely tied with money or power or fame.  This causes real existential angst when we are also challenged to “make a difference”.  How can we reconcile our need to pay the (hefty) student loan bills with our need to find something fulfilling and worthwhile?

Did we really go through 20+ years of schooling, cello practice, and Cotillion dance lessons just to sit behind a desk all day?

After 25-some years of seeking proper training and molding, I propose that we spend the next 25 years seeking meaning.  Lets try and make the world better- not necessarily by giving away all our worldly possessions or foregoing career for family or vice-versa.  Let’s take stock of what we own and realize that another cashmere cardigan won’t make us a better person.  Let’s value all the friendships we built over evenings of Physics homework and sorority chapter meetings, and let’s make sure we continue to support each other through job changes, failed relationships, and childbirth (or puppy adoption :) ). At the end, we’ll be happier because of it.  We’ll be 50ish, and content.  Maybe not rich or retired, but content.

And that will make all those student loans well worth it.