Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter Life Crisis was actually an email that I wrote to my friends and subsequently decided to publish. It was printed in Play Magazine in April of 2001.  I sent the piece to those 8 women and they sent it out.  The result? The  essay is on over 25,000 blogs and web sites, has inspired an album and been printed in The Hindu. I am honored that so many people are getting something valuable from it and am grateful you are here reading it now.


My boyfriend of 4 years had been caught cheating and subsequently confessed to gallivanting around  town (and back to his apartment) with nearly two-dozen other women,  my best friend was  an ambitious New Yorker who was freaking out about her first job and my other friend was in love with two people  and didn’t know how to choose between them. 

We were a group of eight young women dealing with “big life issues” and weren’t quite sure how to navigate through this new phase society called “adulthood”.   Young, confused and completely unsure as to  how to get what we wanted from our lives, we had just graduated and weren’t quite as prepared for life as we thought we were…or maybe we were. As it urns out, we all wound up doing pretty well for ourselves. The ambitious girl is now in a top spot at a great firm. The girl torn between two lovers realized neither were right for her. The others are now mothers, wives, executives and one is an assistant director on films like Pushing Tin. 

I continued writing, dumped the cheating ex, sold a book and fell in love.

The cad?  Well, he realized he needed help and got it and wound up finding love with a lovely woman who knows all about his past and loves him anyway.

That’s the funny thing about life, isn’t it? Fear can overwhelm us and make us certain the world is ending and then the sun rises the next day.

The quarter life crisis Twenty Something

Brenda Della Casa, Play 2001

It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are a lot of things about yourself that you didn’t know and may or may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.
You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren’t exactly the greatest people you have ever met and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you do not realize is that they are realizing that too and are not really cold or catty or mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.
You look at your job. It is not even close to what you thought you would be doing or maybe you are looking for one and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and are scared.
You miss the comforts of college, of groups, of socializing with the same people on a constant basis. But then you realize that maybe they weren’t so great after all. You are beginning to understand yourself and what you want and do not want.
Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging a bit more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and add things to your list of what is acceptable and what is not. You are insecure and then secure.

You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life.
You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.

You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you or you lay in bed and wonder why you can’t meet anyone decent enough to get to know better.
You love someone but maybe love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you are not a bad person. One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap and getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic.
You go through the same emotions and questions over and over and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision.

You worry about loans and money and the future and making a life for yourself and while winning the race would be great, right now you’d just like to be a contender!

What you may not realize is that everyone reading this relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.

Content © 2001, Brenda Della Casa. All rights reserved.