Sunday, June 5, 2022

I just reached my quarter-life checkpoint a little less than four months ago. Of course, that's assuming I'd live till 100, which is a tad of a stretch, I know, considering my current lifestyle habits. 

Somehow, phrases like 'quarter-life' or 'mid-life' are usually accompanied with 'crisis', as though the coming of age signals an impending doom. In some ways, I get it. The act of turning a year older serves as the most obvious reminder that that there is a finite resource and limitation all of us grapple withtimewhich is a potential impediment stopping us from achieving what we set out to do in this life, whatever that might be.  

Admittedly, upon graduating and entering the workforce almost 2 years ago, I've gone through periods of burnout and over-exertion. Not sleeping adequately to complete work that's not even expected of me, mindless worrying about things I have no absolutely control over, and procrastinating because of a deep-seated insecurity that I am not good enough to even complete the task—even though I'd end up still pulling through at the last minute, usually at the expense of even heavier eyebags and an accelerated heartbeat. And doing all of the above without a clear direction of what I am even trying to attain in the long run, and being blinded chasing short-term and superficial "wins" like a good performance rating or an early promotion. 

The way I see it, this form of age-based crisis is a result of a future-looking anxiety. A worry that our future selves may not live up to expectations of ourselves or others, or a fear that we're not spending our time in the most meaningful way, the latter of which is usually compounded with the reality that such a huge chunk of our lives has already passed. In some senses, it is a bit of a first-world problem, where one can still technically survive in their day-to-day as long as the status quo continues. 

A huge part of this feeling could be due to my supposed "perfectionist" nature, a title that I'd honestly hesitate to claim because I could never see my output being anything close to perfection. Yet, by pushing myself to the limit, I am giving myself the opportunity to rest easy (when I finally do rest) knowing that I've done whatever I could and outcomes would be left up to chance. Definitely easier said than done, especially when the voice inside my head is my harshest critic. I don't think I've ever given myself credit for "doing my best" and I do actually berate myself with actual profanities. I would never say any of such words to anyone else, so I don't know why I do that to myself. 

Considering I don't know what I'm working towards (which is not a bad thing, may I add), I probably need to do a better job at living in the moment, and accepting the fact that in this life, there is only so much I can do. One of my favourite Pixar movies, 'Soul', illustrates this heaps better than I ever will. Without giving away much of its plot, it challenges typical notions of "success" and "failure", bringing to life the beautiful but also harsh truth that attaining our achievements may not even bring us the happiness we'd expected, so it's even more important to express gratitude for your current state. 

And truly, in spite of it all, there is so much to be thankful for. 

This weekend, I'm thankful for the company of friends (old and new) who embrace all of my quirks, the luxury of spending time with my family over Saturday's really filling lunch, my boyfriend for travelling all the way to Punggol with me only to find that the pasar malam (night market) we had travelled for was postponed, and McDonald's for bringing in smoky nacho cheese sauce to pair with their most consistent nuggets. 

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