In three days, I am turning 26.
Well, that's according to my birth certificate. According to my friends, actually I'm 25 going on 50.
I don't blame them for thinking that. The past two years have been one loooong psycho-emotional ride - the effects of choosing to go on an eye-opening, life-changing (and slightly accidental) "gap year", then coming back home to that old routine and following that old blueprint for life, even though there was a part of you that knew you were no longer your old self.
It's a long and lonely road of cognitive dissonance when that happens.
You're still a little bit of the old you, but coming out is a little bit of the new you. Or is there no "old you" and "new you" - but just one "real you" that you slowly uncover as you go about living your life? Or a "real you" that you've sort of known all along, but just didn't have the courage to be - for any number of reasons.
The perfect formula for a quarterlife crisis. When mine started out, I was happy to come across a book that was written by a fellow quarter-lifer who gave us an honest peek into her own experience. Misery always loves company. And there is something re-assuring in the fact that you are not the only one going through this or asking these questions.
But as adolescence needed to end at some point, so does this season of quarter life drama. Fortunately for me, it's managed to set (and meet) its own deadline naturally.
Not that all the questions have been answered.
Or that whatever answers you managed to get are guaranteed to make life easier. Trust me, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.
And most of the time, the best advice is the one that sounds like it came from a bumbling loon --
Suddenly, silly lines are pregnant with meaning.
It's that mystery of how complicated things in this world are actually quite simple; and how a lot of the simple things have in them a beauty that is utterly profound.
So here's my little tip to fellow floundering twenty-somethings out there --
take some advice from a couple of little caterpillars called Stripe and Yellow.
Last night, as I was going through the final stages of moving out of our current apartment, I came across an old picture book lying on the floor along with other soon-to-be-abandoned junk. It was sort of familiar - I had a vague memory of enjoying it - but I'd forgotten exactly what was in it. So I picked up the book, plopped myself right there in the middle of all that mess, and turned page after page until I found my way to the very end.
It was a story that made me take in a deep breath,
and left a smile on my face as I went off to bed.
It was the story of two tiny caterpillars.
The best pre-birthday / post-crisis read, if I do say so myself :-)
"This is the tale
of a caterpillar
who has trouble
he really is.
It's like myself - like us.