Archive for November, 2010

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Quarter-life crisis? Perhaps

November 24, 2010

As I stated in a recent post, I’ve had a sort of mental funk overtake my world lately and I couldn’t figure out why or what to do to get rid of it. It turns out, I’m not alone.

I started wondering if this was some sort of quarter-life crisis. Since I wasn’t exactly sure what the term entailed, I began my web search. Of course, it all begins with the Wikipedia entry. Many of the emotional aspects mentioned in that post rang true for me, which I find oddly encouraging.

In 2005, ABCNews posted an article talking about the growing occurrence of the quarter-life crisis. The Huffington Post chimed in just over a year ago with a quiz to see if you were a QLC victim. Hatch Magazine even came up with a suggested soundtrack to get someone through this time in their lives. It seems many people are thinking about this topic, and that I’m not alone in this. Thank goodness!

The question now is what do I do to get out of a quarter-life crisis? There are many books on the subject, for anyone interested. For now, I’ll pull from a Suite101.com article and an EzineArticles.com post.

These articles suggest that I stop putting pressure on myself to know exactly what I want to be doing with my life. I should accept that these things take time, that I have plenty of time to sort it all out and that I just need to aim for shorter-term goals that are more accessible. They also say that I need to keep an open mind for new opportunities, and that all of my hobbies are important to expressing who I am. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to feel bad about wanting to do so many different things!

The best thing I got out of my research was that I should not compare myself to anyone else. Everyone goes through this time in their lives in their own way. Some people know exactly what they want to do and are fortunate enough to find it right out of school. Others need to get out in the world and test the waters before they find their fit.

My cousin Jennifer recently started her own flower business, following a personal passion and making her dream a reality. She’s only a year older than me, and creates truly beautiful floral arrangements. Seeing her drive and success both inspires and terrifies me. On the one hand, I think, “If she can make her dream come true, then I can, too!” On the other hand, I wonder, “But, what is my dream? And how in the world can I do it?”

I need to keep telling myself that it’s just not my time yet to fully bloom (flower pun intended). And that it’s okay. No small thing to keep in mind, but I have to if I’m going to keep my sanity.

As long as I keep chugging forward and being honest with myself, my current frustration and funk will pass and I’ll come out of this quarter-life crisis better than when I went into it. I just have to be patient with myself. Any advice you might have on how to do that would be greatly appreciated.

Did you experience (or are you currently experiencing) a quarter-life crisis? What steps did you take to get through it? If you’ve gone through it already, what did you learn from the experience?

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Digital dependence: Is it a good thing?

November 22, 2010

Everything in our lives today revolves around technology. We’re lost without our cell phones. We check email countless times a day. Our iPods are constantly playing, our Blackberries always surfing the web, our GPS continually spewing directions. These things are so ingrained in our daily lives that we hardly even notice them when they work correctly.

It’s when our connections are disrupted that we get in a tizzy. Undoubtedly, you have been at work when the Internet goes down. Frustrated, you refresh your browser and email repeatedly feeling lost without your link to the digital world. How did we let ourselves become so attached to our gadgets?

In October, CNET ran a piece about the symptoms experienced by a group of first-year college students after a day not being plugged in. They had a very difficult time without technology and experienced withdrawal (much like someone beginning a drug rehabilitation program). And this was after just one day!

Growing up with all of these tech advances is changing the living and working habits of the current youth generation. The NYTimes explained how the ease and accessibility of online videos, games, phones/texting/etc. has directly influenced the ability of young people to focus on a single task. Some colleges are now trying to incorporate handheld devices into courses and lesson plans in an effort to connect to their otherwise disengaged students.

Even though we had a Commodore 64 when I was younger, my family didn’t get its first, real PC until I was in seventh grade (Christmas ’96). Today’s college freshman were mostly born in 1992. They’ve grown up with PCs (do they even know what dial-up is?), probably bypassed Walkmans for Discmans, and never knew a world without video games. My sister got our first Gameboy about 2 years after these freshmen were born when she was 13 (her son, my nephew, just got a Nintendo DS… for his fifth birthday).

It’s astounding how dramatically life has changed for us is such a short span of time. I really do love technology, for many reasons. I mean, I wouldn’t have a job otherwise, so right there is a huge thank you to the tech gods. But I do worry that all of these gadgets and gizmos, along with our need to be in constant contact and our general lack of attention span, could be causing a general dumbing down of our society as a whole.

Maybe we should all try a day or two without our devices, just to remember simpler times. We could read books, play board games, look through photo albums, talk with old friends…

Or we could just fire up our laptops and do all of those things at the same time from the comfort of our couches. Ah, progress!

What’s your take on all of this?

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Hoping to end my funk

November 8, 2010

Has it really been over a month since I wrote here? Bad blogger! Bad! My mom keeps asking me why I haven’t posted in a while, and honestly, I’m not entirely sure.

Part of it is certainly laziness, but that’s not a good enough reason. I’ve also been in a kind of mental funk lately, and I’m having a tough time shaking it. There are a million ideas swirling through my mind – things I want to do, events happening around me, obligations to fulfill, etc. Somehow, I need to sit myself down and get my brain organized because nothing is getting done this way, resulting in even more mental woes.

So, here’s what is going to happen. I will be writing here again, as well as posting any school projects I finish on my graduate school blog (put up a new one today, actually). I’m trying to clean our apartment and organize it so I can work on crafting projects that have a deadline. I hope to devise a plan to start selling some of my own work as well as other things I’ve been collecting to sell online. And I want to finally start taking care of my body and learning how to exercise. (I say learning because I have never really done it before, and I know it will be a difficult process.)

Yes, that’s an ambitious list I’m attempting to undertake. However, if I want to get myself back on track I need a plan that will accomplish some of what’s been bogging me down.

Have you experienced a similar stall in your life’s ambitions? If so, how did you get out of it? I’d appreciate any suggestions and kind words.

Until next time, I’ll keep shaking these cobwebs out of my head and get my tush in gear. Wish me luck!