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March 2, 2006

Being Twenty Something

A very nice writeup that came to me via email from somebody.

Thanks to Aloke for pointing out that it was written by "Brenda Della Casa", a NY based writer. Otherwise I would have risked getting a comment like this from him.

"Being Twenty-Something".

They call it the "Quarter-life Crisis." It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure. You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward. You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. (few words cut) Random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic.

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job... and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you. Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't.

You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!

What you may not realize is that everyone reading it, relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out !!?


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This was written by Brenda Della Casa, NY based writer.

I actually feel exactly like that. My diagnose was just al little different.. They said it was a depression, but in many ways the real problem is a “quarter life crisis”, or else that’s just the topic my depression leans on. The thing about seeing your friends in a new light, is a question that hits me every day. Especially when I have to invite people to my birthday or something like that, I start wondering: “Who do I really want to see?” or “Who are my real friends?”. In fact, I haven’t really invited anybody to anything really since I turned 20. I usually just drop the party idea instead, and it ends up with being just me and my closest family for a short afternoon.

Who do I want to be in twenty years time? What do I want to do? I offend think about, how important it is for me to “make” something of my life, and I haven’t even figured that out yet!
I even start doubting that anything is important at all; Why clean your house, when it gets dirty again. Why get out of bed, when you end up going to bed again anyways.

When you are twenty-something, it starts to feel like that time is running out. Its scary.

Your words struck a chord with me.

I feel very much among similar lines -- though I wont say I am in a depression state.

Life has stabilized, with a stable job and stable set of friends, and family, but there are big decisions looming on the horizon. Sometimes I feel -- what are friends for -- are they just a means for me to pass my time in this journey? Are they just a means to stroke my ego by counting the number of friends I have? Are they a means for me to learn how to live from? Who are my friends, and how should I select them? How much importance should I give to them? How much weight I should give to family, family traditions and values, friends, job, culture?

What is the meaning of life? Shall I go after money, or shall I go after job satisfaction? What is the importance of this, when all of it is for a short while?

However, I think you are looking at things from an even worser negative angle. Life is not that bad. We should learn to understand what we are, and what we like, and change our life around it. Companionship is very important, and personal time is also important. We need more meaning in life. We need to remember who mean more to us in our life, and keep in touch with them. Dont worry a lot about what they will think about you, after all everybody is here for having a good time just like you. We need to identify a direction, a way of life, that we like. We need to work hard, to make it all worthwhile, without getting too much distracted by short-term pleasures. It can all be done. We need to find more positive people, and more enthusiastic people, and find out how even small things can give us so much joy. We need to develop a lifestyle, which will include cleaning the house, having good food, having a good scheduled routine, having good work habits, being responsible, etc.

The meaning is in the journey, and we need to make it enjoyable, while giving others joy, which can be a very fulfilling thing to do. We need make it meaningful, by attaching emotions, bondings with people, nature, technology, arts, learning, into the mix, and then find out how a colourful myriad mix this life is, and learn to enjoy every moment of this!!!

A few minutes ago, I came across this very good looking essay from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Please go over it, I went a little, it looks pretty good.

Let me know how you feel..

Hi. I don't know you, obviously not, but my boyfriend sent me this email awhile back and have been serching for it everywhere... it looks like I found it, but it seems a lot shorter than I remembered it to be...

Here's a recent good one that I got through Email.

The One Who Got Away

In your life, you'll make note of a lot of people. Ones with whom you shared something special, ones who will always mean something. There's the one you first kissed, the one you first loved, the one you put on a pedestal, the one you're with ... and the one that got away.

Who is the one that got away? I guess it's that person with who everything was great, everything was perfect, but the timing was just wrong. There was no fault in the person, there was no flaw in the chemistry, but the cards just didn't fall the right way, I suppose.

I believe in the fact that ending with someone, finding a longtime partner that is, does not lie merely in the other person. I can actually argue that an equal part, or maybe even the greater part, has to do with the matter of timing. It has to do with you being ready to settle down and commit to someone in a way that goes beyond the little niceties of giddy romance.

How often have you gone through it without realizing it? When you're not ready to commit in that mature manner, it doesn't matter who you're with, it just doesn't work. Small problems become big; inconsequentials become deal breakers simply because you're not ready and it shows. It's not that you and the person you're with are no good; it's just that it's not yet right, and little things become the flashpoint of that fact.

Then one day you're ready. You really are. And when this happens you'll be ready to settle down with someone. He or she may not be the most perfect, they might not be the brightest star of romance to ever have burned in your life, but it'll work because you're ready. It'll work because it's the right time and you'll make it work. And it'll make sense, it really will.

So that day comes when you're finally making sense of things, and you find yourself to be a different person. Things are different, your approach is different, you finally understand who you are and what you want, and you've become ready because the time has truly arrived. And mind you, there's no telling when this day will come. Hopefully you're single but you could be in a long-term relationship, you could be married with three kids, it doesn't matter.

All you know is that you've changed, and for some reason, the one that got away, is the first person you think about.

You'll think about them because you'll wonder, "What if they were here today?" You'll wonder, "What if we were together now, with me as I am and not as I was?" That's what the one that got away is. The biggest "What if?" you'll have in your life.

If you're married, you'll just have to accept the fact that the one that got away, got away. Believe me, no matter how fairy tale you think your marriage is, this can happen to the best of us. But hopefully you're mature enough to realize that you're already with the one you're with and this is just another test of your commitment, one which will just strengthen your marriage when you get past it. Sure, you'll think about him/her every so often, but it's alright. It's never nice to live with a "might have been," but it happens.

Maybe the one that got away is the one who's already married. In which case it's the same thing. You just have to accept and know that your memories of that person will probably bring a nice little smile to your lips in the future when you're old and gray and reminiscing. But if neither of that is the case, then it's different. What do you do if it's not yet too late? Simple ... find him, find her. Because the very existence of a "the one that got away" means that you'll always wonder, what if you got this one?

Ask him out to coffee, ask her out to a movie, it doesn't matter if you've dropped in from out of nowhere. You'd be surprised, you just might be "the one that got away" as well for the person who is your "the one that got away."

You might drop in from out of nowhere and it won't make a difference. If the timing is finally right, it'll all just fall into place somehow and you know, I'm thinking, it would be a great feeling, in the end, to be able to say to someone, "Hey you, you're the one that almost got away."

I have been out of England for two years to Australia for one year and then Korea for another. By the time I came back a year ago it was like everything had grown up and i hadn't. I'm not sure i really want to grow up but I can identify with the comment move forward or get stuck in the past. It's difficult though.

With the pressures of modern day society we have it so much harder than our parents. Every one has a loan, no-one can get a house because they're so expensive, a degree does not guarantee a well paying job and even if it did, would i want to be doing something related to what i chose to study 10 years ago?

I think i want a job that gives me the opportunity to travel (never would have guessed it), is socially concerened and doesn't require me to sit in the same chair for months on end. I think I know how to get it but i may have to sacrifice these things in order to get to it.

I have been travelling around because I don't want an ordinary life but in the end, our roots stabilise us and sometimes you can't see what you actually have for what you want. My family is the most important thing to me. That is why I have moved back to the city I was born in. They are always there for me no matter how scary the world is.

For now i'm trying to stop running and let the grass grow a bit. I'm in the mind set that something will turn up, as long as I keep on looking.


Thanks for the nice email. Yes, I agree, the timing is very important, and when it comes for somebody, we should try to find the one who almost ran away!


I understand what you face. I do face some sort of a similar situation.

I have come here to the US for the last 5 years. And whenever I visit my hometown, I have this weird feeling. My hometown is a small town in India, and the cultural gap between there and where I am now (San Francisco, USA), is so huge, that I become confused as to who I am, and what I was supposed to be, where I was heading, and where did I head to... I see my family there, cousins, and get this so-weird feeling that their development paths diverged from mine 5 years ago, and somehow something doesnt feel right -- the people have become somewhat different, or maybe I have changed, or maybe my perspective has change, or maybe all of these. But connecting with them in a similar manner as before just does not workout.

Being in a different culture changes you slowly, slowly, until you stop recognizing yourself. Changing cultures, is not a simple thing to do, and requires emotional strength beyond what I have.

I still beleive that going back to my hometown might give me the highest meaning for my life that I could ever give, but I am ever so afraid of the consequences of looking back, not confident at all whether that is the best way of doing things, especially when the world, wholly, is moving forward. Sometimes, emotions and biological survival play games against you, and world is so confusing.
At other times, I feel that being in ignorance is actually bliss, as I see many people around me who have similar situations, just loving the present with a care-free mind without stepping back and looking where they are.
Somebody has said rightly, "take it easy". But others have also righly said, "do what your heart says".

The problem is that hearts are prone to mistakes.


Got a similar fwd long time back and can agree more to you now that Ignorance is bliss. I think on similar lines, Identities blurr into each other much like a dog killed on the road. The difference is, atleast some realize the mistake while others were jolly waging their tails.

Good to see you after VIT.

Hey Rishi,

Cannot recognize you from VIT...are we from the same batch? If we were, then you must have grown that beard after VIT... ;-)

I must say you have a penchant for finding abnormal phrases/comparisions :-) ... "dog killed on the road", "waging their tails"....

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