QUARTER LIFE CRISIS

I first came across the concept of quarter life crisis in a short story that I performed, Arrested development by Sandisile Tshuma from Zimbabwe, and at that time it made me realize that I was going through my own midlife crisis. I had moved from Nyeri to Nairobi to pursue a career in the arts, my relationships if I had any were shaky or flings, the jobs that I was after were not constant, I had joined a set book traveling theatre to expand my range of acting and the pay was close to nothing and not even constant.

In her short story Sandisile Tshuma  explains  midlife crises as a period during which one is trying to find a balance between fitting into societal image of responsible adulthood and discovering and doing the thing one really want. Like getting a nine to five, getting married and having two point four children called Memory, Beauty and Blessing versus pursuing a career in theatre no matter how poorly remunerated it is because that’s what makes one feel alive and significant. Well let us just say her explanation really hit home.

As we were growing up and I will say we because it is most of my age mates and people in my generation a lot of emphasis was put into formal education because as they said education was the key. As a girl the concept of getting your money and being independent was the thing. Go to school, do not entertain boys, get your degree, get a good job, get that house, that car… For most of us majority of our first 18 years we spent in a classroom and if not in the classroom and on holidays you go home with a ton of homework to occupy your time, physical Education existed only on the time table teachers took advantage of this time to catch up on the curriculum or to cover up for a missed lesson, a lot of emphasis is put on high flying careers and if you happened to ever attend a career day forum back then you were the lucky one. So for those of us who successfully finished high school we were celebrated and came universities and colleges. No one is there to spoon feed you, study don’t study no one is there to force you to be in class by 5am or to check whether you are keeping up with your notes. The boys are there in plenty, parties in plenty, liquor in plenty everything you have been sheltered from surrounds you.  You begin to question you brilliance because as some people are flaunting their cpk Certificates you still straggle with the concept of debit and credit and the imposter syndrome settles in yet you do not even know what it is. People start changing courses around you, some drop out, relationship scandals are everywhere, you hold you head above water and fight your way forward, first year, second year, third year and soon you are a graduate hurray welcome to the world of grownups and adult responsibilities.

At this point if you are like me the certificate you hold holds no meaning you have made up your mind to pursue other things in life, the high fliers and those lucky enough to have Godfathers in high places and those whose parents had lined up  their ways fit into their beginner jobs. Majority of the rest are still out here ‘tarmacking’.  Time waits for no man and soon the uncles start asking when they will drink your ‘ruhia’.  The same uncles who almost broke some poor lad’s nose because of saying hey to you back then. Then the marriages start happening left right center people start posting pictures of their cute families online yet your current person shows no promises of a future. So you move to the next or hold on hoping they will wake up the next day with a promise. People you used to school with starts appearing in obituaries and now you start dealing the issue of mortality.

At some point you call yourself for a meeting and analyze how things are going. Are you where you wanted to be? Is this how you pictured life in your late twenties? Did you marry or get married for the right reasons? Is there a future in your marriage? The one night stands are no longer fulfilling. Your career is on the rise money is not an issue but what about family? What about those two point four kids, what was their name again? Are you living a fulfilled life? Do you look fat or is it the jeans that are a little tighter? Where do they teach life and balance?

Midlife crisis, majority of us have gone through it some like me are still finding their way and it is part of life and human growth. Call yourself for that meeting if you need to just try and come out of it with a brighter outlook towards life because the other way has darkness and we are saying no to darkness. See that therapist if you have to. get out of that messy situationship. Stop comparing your journey and growth with other people we all have different milestones. Invest in your well being, physically, mentally and spiritually get out of this crisis stronger we’ve got mid life crisis waiting to be concurred too.