Quarter Life Crisis

I used to think that was basically a load a garbage, this idea of a mid (quarter) life crisis. And yet, I think I may be experiencing one. Don't worry, I haven't spent an extravagant amount of money on a sports car, or decided to run away to Dubai. My quarter life crisis, like me, is pretty controlled all things considered.

Although, the more I think about it, the more I think I could be experiencing a quarter life awakening. That sounds pretty pretentious, but I'm not sure how to describe what's going on in my head and in my life.

Everything feels so much closer to the surface. I'm not sure how else to describe it. I've always enjoyed a good book, but recently the books I've invested in carry more weight. Maybe I've been reading some really wonderful novels. I think that's a part of it, but I don't think that's all. I'm not the teary type, but I was reading this novel called Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel and I started tearing up at some of the passages! Also, Swamplandia! (Karen Russell), completely captivated me in a way that hasn't happened since the first time I read American Gods (Neil Gaiman, my junior year of high school). I am simmering in feelings which is not a bad thing, but it is intimidating.

I blame Station Eleven for triggering what I have jokingly referred to as my existential crisis. At 3 AM. On a Wednesday. Hear me out. In the novel, a strain of avian flu sweeps through the world and kills just about everyone. That's kind of the precursor. The real meat of the story takes place 20 year after the pandemic, following a troupe of Shakespearean performers. This band of musicians and actors travels from hamlet to hamlet performing different plays. Because, when the whole world gets wiped out by an avian flu, Shakespeare still captivates. What really got me thinking was this passage where a man who lived in the world pre-flu, sees what will probably be the last plane take off from the airport. The last plane, ever, flying away.

There is a second part where this kid who was 7 when the flu happens basically ends up leading this crazy sect of people who go around enslaving others and making all the young women his wives etc. etc. when he grows up. Medieval, and evil, stuff.

Which brings me to the existential crisis part. Just follow me for a minute. When you take time to think about it, pretty much everything we as human beings find valuable actually does not have an inherent value. Money, religion, systems of government, art, love, even gender and so many more things only hold value because we have decided that they do. Here's a great example that I'm still thinking about days later. The color red. There is nothing that is the actual color red because at some point along the way a person noticed that this things was different then that thing visually and came up with the idea of color. Nothing is actually red, we just decided that this is what we want red to be. Fair warning, it's easy to fall down that rabbit hole, especially if you really examine so many structures that we take for granted (capitalism, consumerism, gender conformity, art, even religion).

I blame Plato's allegory of the cave and multiple english theory classes. If you don't know about Plato, look him up. Check out his ideas on perfect forms and Plato's Allegory of the Cave (look, I even supplied some of the text for you). Maybe I should have been a philosophy major, but I think that might have damaged my brain. So maybe all of these important facets of my life are actually completely meaningless. Talk about having the ground under your feet shake.

But maybe not. Maybe, in order to be more than cavemen, we have to watch the sun go down and think about how shocking and otherworldly that array of colors is. Maybe, words strung together can be so beautiful you could drown yourself in them (in Station Eleven Shakespeare has the ability to captivate and challenge audiences even when the world has pretty much come to an end). I have experienced love in all kinds of forms and I have to believe that the connection I have to other people is more than just a desire for protection, or the natural need to go forth and multiply. Even the crappy stuff is important. Heartbreak, that's real people. When someone let's you down so hard you feel the weight of it all grinding your joints together, there is something inexplicable to all of that.

Sometimes, when I'm feeling restless, I go for a late night drive by the bayou. I play some music, sometimes it's Fleet Foxes or the Head and Heart. Sometimes it's Childish Gambino. A lot of the time it's Explosions in the Sky. I roll down the windows and for a few minutes I feel like my soul is pushing at my skin, trying to get as close to the surface as possible.

The forecast is 75 and sunny for the rest of the week. That may just be how certain hot
and cold fronts collide, but I like to think it's a combination of luck, timing and grace.


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