The strange comfort of a quarter-life crisis, is time running out?


Almost halfway into 2022? Are you kidding me? It seems like only yesterday that I had stuck the note with my new year’s resolutions in the cupboard beside my bed. I turn my head and glance at this note. It’s as good as new and I am not impressed.


This is crazy. 2022? Seriously? Wasn’t it 2018 like six months ago? Where did all the time go? Am I living in this alternate universe where the clock ticks insanely faster for me, because everyone else seems to be RIGHT ON TIME! 


Also, is this weekend almost over? Come on! I have barely done anything that I was supposed to do today. Nothing! 


Okay, for Christ’s sake, you my friend, have got to stop TICKING!!

A little disclaimer before I go ahead. This piece is based on a true story, many true stories in fact, and if you are not a fan of non-fiction, and of people being totally vulnerable, this one isn’t for you.

I am writing this from my bed. It’s raining outside. It’s been raining the whole day, the whole week actually. Funnily, I got drenched in the rain last week and now I have pneumonia. So, you see, I don’t have a lot to do right now other than lying in my bed, tucked inside my blankets, surrounded by tissues. Also, so much for my Bollywood fantasies about dancing in the rain, looking all pretty.

Anyways, I had a movie marathon today. It started with Eat Pray Love, was followed by Into the Wild, and ended with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I then scrolled through YouTube and came across a beautiful wedding video and bawled my eyes out over it. And just when I was typing ‘Top Movies about Finding Yourself’ into the Google search bar, I realized it was enough. It was about time so here I am.

I have never missed a train in my life. That’s a given as I have never been on one yet. But, if I had, I believe that it would feel exactly like what I am feeling right now; out of breath and scared that I might be super late in reaching my destination or that I might not even find another train to take me there. 

Okay, enough with beating around the bush. What I am trying to say is that for some time now, I have been feeling like I am late. And that’s saying something because I am never late. I am always on time, even before time mostly. But now I am late in life, and that feels miserable. I am in my mid-twenties, and when I think about the things that I should have done by now, the people I should have met by now, and the places I should have been to right now, I feel sick in my stomach. Like it’s a race, and I am falling behind. 

I know that I am not alone in experiencing this quarter-life crisis, but I am saddened by that thought more than I am comforted by it. Almost all of us have been molded into conforming to this notion that there is a time and an age for everything in life and the only way to stay happy and satisfied is to adhere to it. In a conversation with a friend a few months ago, he confided in me that he had been experiencing some ‘mid-life crisis. ‘You mean ‘Quarter-life crisis’’- I corrected him, to which he replied, ‘Well, the same thing.’ I recall this so well because I remember feeling terrified and questioning, ‘Is it the same thing? Is this what it’s going to feel like always? In my late twenties, my thirties, my fifties?’ Am I always going to feel like I am running late?

I will tell you what comforts me during these troubling times; stories of people doing amazing in life regardless of their age, Tiktoks of women explaining why their forties are better than their thirties and why their thirties are better than their twenties, accounts of people finding love when they had given up hopes and movies where the lead finds herself, at 34, as she travels across the world. Yes, I am obsessed with Eat, Pray, Love and maybe more with Roberts and her out-of-the-world smile. Anyway, coming back to the point, I believe that while it may feel like a race sometimes, and while something as futile as the ticking of the clock may cause you infinite dismay, things will happen when they are meant to happen as long as you put in the work and the effort and a pinch of belief. Come on, there can’t be a universal timeline that all of us are supposed to follow obediently. There’s got to be more, and I know that I can make a timeline of my own and that’s not going to be a crime, though sometimes society makes you feel like it is.

Another thing I have noted is that very often, the sound of what we have failed to achieve seems to repeatedly echo back at us and we keep pondering upon that very sound. What we fail to do is give ourselves a little credit for how far we have come, and applaud ourselves for the tiny positive changes we have made and the tiny achievements we have had. You don’t have to cross off a new year’s resolution to know that you are improving and taking baby steps to that goal. You, my friend, deserve a little pat on the back.

So, yes you age, yes sometimes you can’t keep up. But life is not a competition and ages aren’t benchmarks. And yes, I am saying this more to myself than to you. Some days are bad, some days are worse, and you have this need to jot down everything you feel to get better. Today was one of those days for me. So, now that I am done, I shall go back to my movie marathon. And if you are still here, thanks for reading and you are going to be alright.