Le Blonde - Let It Burn
Le Blonde - Let It Burn
Experiencing crisis in your twenties is like having gas after a steak and cheese burrito. Just because we don’t want to admit it doesn’t mean we don’t all go through some bad spells.
Even our own parents most likely went through intense questioning and crisis in their twenties. They didn’t just teleport to success and stability. If we ask them what their twenties were like we might find out that as our parents got their stuff together, they went through their own stuff that sounds a lot like yours.
I love what author and teacher Parker Palmer wrote, while in his ‘60s, about his own long season of turmoil and distress that started in his twenties:
“When I was young, there were very few elders willing to talk about their darkness; most of them pretended that success was all they had ever known … I thought I had developed a unique and terminal case of failure. I did not realize I had merely embarked on a journey toward joining the human race.”
As William Bridges reminds us in his book Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, transitions start with an ending. Just like a breakup with someone you hoped was “The One,” in major life transitions, you’re breaking up with an important season of your life. You’re cutting the anchor that held you in that port, and as it splashes in the water it’s bound to produce some waves.
When you graduate from college, move across the country or leave friends or family, you’re not only leaving that place, familiarities, routines and memories, you’re also leaving who you were in that place. You’re saying goodbye to a season and, even more dramatically, waving goodbye to who you used to be. Sure, bits and pieces will come with you, but just like that huge, comfortable couch in a bachelor pad, some big things will get left behind.
However, it is stuck smack dab in this void of “what now?” where you make the most progress. Maybe a quarter-life crisis is not just a stage to pass over, it’s a transition process to marinate in. Let the overwhelming questions of “I have no idea where I’m going” guide you to where you want to be.
In what became Secret #35 in my book 101 Secrets for your Twenties–”Obsessive Comparison Disorder is the smallpox of our generation.”
What’s Obsessive Comparison Disorder, you ask? It’s the new OCD I’ve coined to describe our compulsion to constantly compare ourselves with others, producing unwanted thoughts and feelings that drive us into depression, consumption, anxiety and all-around discontent. It encourages us to stay up late on Facebook pouring through all 348 pictures of our frenemies’ “My Life is Better Than Yours” album, and then it sends us to bed wondering why we feel so anxious.
Obsessively comparing yourself to others, becoming more and more frustrated that your life doesn’t look like theirs, is the absolute most effective way to take your crisis to unhealthy, eating raw cookie dough with a serving spoon, levels. Like having to run outside to light up a cigarette, our comparison addiction is uncontrollable, and it is killing us. Until we cure our obsessive comparison disorder we will continue to light our internal crisis on fire and then feel the burn.
Maybe it’s time to put to death the unrealistic ideas of how instantly amazing your life should have been before these unmet expectations kill you over and over again. Success doesn’t happen in a day, it happens in decades. We are in the exact spot we are supposed to be, it just looks nothing like the picture on the front of the brochure. All the time, effort, struggle and strain we’re experiencing is not the roadblock to success, it is the stairwell that takes us to the view we were praying for all along.
We need to get better at talking through the struggle. Let’s stop putting on the “My Life is Amazing” Magic Show when no one’s in the audience to even watch. You are not alone in this. So many twentysomethings are struggling, we’ve just become proficient at living like our stuff doesn’t stink, even when it’s smelling up our entire living room.
Open up the windows. Let in some fresh air. Go for a run. Heck, maybe sign up for a marathon. Start yoga. Go to a church service. Read some books. Volunteer at a retirement home. If you have no idea what you’re doing in your life, just pick something that you know can’t be bad and just run with it.
SOMETIMES THE BEST ANSWERS COME WHEN WE STOP SITTING AROUND OBSESSING OVER FINDING THEM.
Sometimes the best answers come when we stop sitting around obsessing over finding them.
It might sound cliché, but we need to cling tight to our faith and hope in our future. Our belief in a rockin’ future, even when our present is currently rocking us, can be a piggy-back ride through the thorns and glass of a quarter-life crisis.
Vicktor Frankel, WWII concentration camp survivor and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning,” wrote about this about the power of belief: “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future–his future–was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.”
Maybe your faith in the future should also re-incorporate your actual faith as well. Maybe in your life God has felt as cold and distant as an Alaskan King Salmon. Ask God for clarity in this crisis and see what is revealed. Maybe it’s time to bring back your faith into your future.
Phildel - Moonsea
The Tiny - Closer
If you’re reading this you have been selected to die at a random time interval that no one can predict, not even medical professionals or soothsayers!
Paid for by Taco Bell. Live Mas Until You Can No Mas
One of the school shuttle stops is about half a block across the street from my apartment. So what I do a lot is go online to check when the shuttle will pass by my stop. Of course, technology kinda sucks so the shuttle tracker isn’t the most accurate thing.
Just earlier I went to go take the shuttle to go across campus, but just as I walked out to the street it passed me by. I saw that there were some people at the stop so I figured I ought to try running to the stop. As I run across the street, a guy comes up the ERC stairs which is considerably closer to the stop that I am; he sees me and starts running for the shuttle stop too. After all, if you see someone running for the bus you want to take too, you better start running as well. This guy is a few seconds ahead of me, so he gets to the shuttle first, which is good because the shuttle just closed its doors right before he ran up to it. He waves at the driver to open the doors, and then he steps aside and waits for me to catch up. When I get to the bus he starts walking away to wherever.
I mean, all this took place in the matter of seconds, neither him or I were all that far from the bus. If I missed the bus, it wouldn’t have mattered for me to just walk. Still, the second that I realized that he wasn’t running for the bus so he could catch it too, but just so that he could help me, a random stranger…
That was really nice.
Thanks dude. You are awesome.
I’ll admit it. I’m a slave to technology. Yesterday I went a full day without any access to the internet and I felt like I was about to perish. A whole day in Taiwan disconnected from the world and from my friends? No thank you.
So. Today my mom’s got her own errands to run so I had my aunt drop me off at a Starbucks to use the Wi-Fi. Three USD for a couple hours of internet access? No problem. So it all went to hell when the Wi-Fi detected I was on a smart phone, so it needed to text me a pass code. Well, gee, that’s not exactly possible…
I need to back track a bit now. Since I couldn’t really read the webpage saying this, I only managed to glean, with my very limited knowledge, that it was asking me for my phone number. After about five minutes of fruitless navigation I gave up and decided I needed help. I asked a young woman sitting at a nearby table for help, explaining that I simply couldn’t read the Chinese. Which eventually brought us to the above conclusion.
Here’s what prompted this post; though, granted, her giving me the time of day and even doing some asking of her own was already fantastic. She then offered to turn her phone into a hotspot to let me mooch off her Wi-Fi.
Tears. Of. Joy. On the inside, anyway.
I gave her my now useless-to-me Starbucks Wi-Fi card that I bought. I really hope she can use it since I can’t.
Anyway. I’m just seriously speechless with gratitude to this random stranger. Thanks to her I can post these writings and instagram and Facebook to my heart’s content… within reason. I don’t wanna mooch too much.