There are some months that drag on and seem to take double the amount of time to get through them. And then there are months like May, where it is ridiculously busy and time does this weird thing where it speeds up and suddenly the month is over.
Every year I anticipate May to be an overly busy month. Growing up it was full of dance recitals, various activities winding down, and the stress of finishing up another school year. As I’ve grown older it just feels like May pushes itself to be summer and everyone starts trying to do as many summer activities as possible. It is usually pretty nice out and after being stuck inside all winter people are more willing to venture out before it gets too hot.
This year was no exception. And it had the added bonus of falling during one of the most stressful times at work I have ever experienced. I also did this neat thing where I pinched a nerve in my neck again and tacked on a bunch of chiropractor
appointments. And even though the weather was greatly improved and people seemed happier, somehow I wasn’t feeling as complete as I wanted to be. Because what does “complete” even mean?
This is a difficult stage right now, because here is where I am supposed to set the basis for what my life is going to be. Where I live, who I spend time with, and my career have all shifted around quite a bit up to this point.
If you thought I would pass up an opportunity to use this reference you were wrong.
There are no actual guidelines for the rest of life after school is completed; where we’re all set free to go survive somewhere and hopefully do something productive. Up to this point I was basing everything off one year increments. Three years ago I graduated college and have since worked at three different places. I am still at the third place and did what I thought we were supposed to do and it has mostly worked out. But there is also all of this weird pressure to do certain things in a certain amount of time, and I am really not about that.
For example, people say you should use your early 20s to travel. Well how the hell is that supposed to happen when we’re loaded up with debt and places in the midwest seem to think that vacation time is super unimportant. And don’t even get me started on marriage and having babies. I am very much content being in a relationship and not being married and not having children for quite some time, but of course that is not the case for everyone.
More people I knew in high school are crunching out babies and getting married and honestly I did a big “phase one clean out” of my facebook recently where if I no longer recognized the person’s name or face I simply deleted them. Phase two will be happening soon. Also if I am only seeing pictures of babies all over and I wasn’t super good friends with someone they usually get cut too. I’ve become much more ruthless with this in the past year and I can’t say I’m sorry about it.
Lately I’ve been very passively doing this little social experiment thing where I simply observe and look for trends on different social medias. Facebook is the easiest target, mostly because I dislike it and rarely use it for anything. But it’s been kind of
interesting watching people my age cycle out of Facebook and rely more on Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram (or whatever the cool new thing is), whereas the age range that seems most fond of Facebook right now has moved up the scale in the past few years.
My youngest sister just graduated high school, which is super cool and I’m extremely proud of her. At her graduation party I had multiple people say they would connect with me on Facebook, to which I had to respond that they wouldn’t have much luck. I go on mostly to make any notifications go away, and majority of those are turned off anyway. I just do not have the energy to keep up with it any longer. Several of my friends just don’t have Facebook at all and have recommended I delete mine. This is something that has been considered multiple times. Unfortunately there are many pictures out there that others have posted from various events, as well as some good memories that pop up once in a while that I’m unwilling to try to filter through and save them, so I just keep it.
I see landmark events and get my news from other social media apps, and all of them have one thing in common: they provide brief amounts of key information and give me the option to look into things more if I want to or just move on. Twitter is for some news, friends and occasionally oversharing about random life events. And cat pictures. Instagram (at least for me) is used for art, memes, friends and cat pictures. Reddit is for literally everything and cat pictures. You see a common trend here I hope. In any case, it all boils down to not having enough time to scroll through and read in depth about what some rando ate for dinner. I can just move along. And moving along has become very important for me recently.
It’s been a big year of reflection for myself and for many of my friends. I’ve talked with different people from various stages of my life and we all agree on this: there is a lot of pressure to live an ideal life for people our age and that does not come easily. We are supposed to keep in touch with so many people, post about ourselves so others can see our successes and progress. Don’t forget to take pictures of big events and share them for the world to see. What we’ve decided is that a more realistic approach is not talking to someone for a long time then sending spontaneous ugly Snapchat pictures to a few close friends and Tweeting at weird times about not letting David Attenborogh have the Infinity Stones.
We are all doing our best to stay afloat. There is constant pressure to live up to certain expectations and do things a specific way. The nice thing is that I see most people my age following their own paths and getting by however they can while maintaining a level of sarcastic optimism. We do what we have to do.
May went by way too fast, and I hardly got the chance to stop and appreciate it. Perhaps the rest of the summer will be different. But I’m keeping my eyes open for the solidarity that pops up once in a while from friends, family, and random internet strangers about this quarter life crisis crap. At least it’s good to find some humor in it all.
Renee Brown is a freelance writer living in Southern Minnesota who really does have more interests than being a member of her generation, but you’d have to ask her about that. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @JinjahSnap.