25 to 30. Some like Ben Casnocha and Kate Caraway call it The Quarterlife Crisis. If you don’t feel like reading the articles, its basically summed up by the internal monologue we’ve all had at least once in our life: ‘How is my life going to turn out? I don’t have a clue; I don’t have a map; I don’t have a vision for it.’ With the economy running on idle and building/design work taking baby steps in this “Great Recession,” the mind can become a bit idle. In my own life I have sensed an advance of apathy and ennui. I’m trying to stem the tide before it arrives and figure ways out of it
First, I think the most important thing here is to work towards the benefit others. Whether its volunteering for the church or some old fashioned manual labor for the neighbor that needs it, serving something outside of yourself and helping those who need it is one of the most gratifying experiences. (There is a further discussion about William James Moral Equivalent to War that could go on here…I’d like to get into that one later.) At about this age, its time to stop being the sole actor in our autobiographical film, walking the earth alone. We, and everyone else around us are not islands. And I say this mainly as a critique on my own life.
Second, the best advice I’m trying to work from immediately is to draw, watch, write, work, craft – do anything. I believe it’s important to have something to talk about besides college or the day to day minutia of the job. (Have a hobby – idle hands are the devil’s workshop.) Working is not living, but if your job is your passion, why? Write about it. If you love movies, go to as many of them as possible and let me know what you think. There was a quote floating around somewhere on the web to “be interested so that you can be interesting,” and I think that’s the key to this “quarter life crisis.” Be interested in other things. And let other people know why it interests you.
Surprisingly, this website has held my interest alot more than I intended. There is a certain instant gratification that comes with pushing pixels and the craft of making sure your code is tight (and all the other intricacies of the ‘interwebs’). But I’m learning that the same things that hold my attention with this site are the same things that inspire and drive me in architecture and other areas of the built environment. I tend to look at the big picture and quick zoom down into the tiniest detail and work on the relationship between those two extremes. And as an effect of those lessons learned, I’m starting to write a bit more.
Merlin Mann and John Grubber spoke about writing in your voice, and writing about what really interests you…and Charlie Hoehn speaks on this two. Regarding Charlie’s points, at this point, I’m still writing for myself because it’s a way to set forth a course of action and understand my own pattern of ideas. And maybe some will find it interesting. Maybe the ideas I explore and talk about here will become something more and help define the work I do in the future.
And that’s important, because you will become known for doing what you do. After college and a handful of years of working, I don’t believe in the “rite of passage.” I don’t believe that once I pass this that I will be able to do the kind of work I want to do. At this point, to do what I love and do what I want to do, I have to find a way during the day, nights and weekends to see it accomplished. I’m hoping that if I’ve amassed an amount of work that is mine, and is excellent, then I’ll be the guy who “does that thing” and does it well.
I don’t think that I need a definitive plan. Just goals to shoot for that are based around the things I love. As I look at the priorities in my life right now, I’m going to see how they line up with what I love and what I’m passionate about. For what it’s worth:
It’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- F. Scott Fitzgerald