Nov 032010
Authors: Sarah Millard

I don’t know how many of you have had the experience of waking up on a Sunday morning and finding half a dozen people asleep on your front lawn, but trust me, it is unlike anything you’ve felt before.
Actually, that might be quite common in Fort Collins.

Despite the number of drunken lawn ornaments, walking outside on Halloween morning and finding several heaps of pinstripe suits, togas and feathers adorning the driveway brought me to a very important realization: I am way too old for this.

This weekend solidified my belief that I am experiencing a quarter-life crisis.

We’ve all heard the term “mid-life crisis” and may have been present when our fathers began buying sports cars, motorcycles or banana-colored Jeep Wranglers. We have probably also seen our mother’s hair stay exactly the same color for 20 years because she doesn’t allow any gray strands to slip through the heavy coat of hair dye.

Usually this sort of crisis occurs when we reach the age of 50, but on my 20th birthday I began noticing that I, too, was experiencing a personal calamity of sorts.

Twenty is an awkward age; you are no longer considered a teenager, but you aren’t allowed to order a beer from a restaurant. You can vote, join the military and buy cigarettes but can’t play a hand of poker in Black Hawk.

And as I’m sure everyone remembers, there is little in life as mortifying as dropping your friends off at a bar after dinner while you sit in the car.

But despite all of the setbacks to being 20, you are also confronted the fact that, if your life expectancy is 80 years, you’ve already completed a fourth of your life. And if you’ve taken up smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol that lead to you passing out in the street, you’re more than a quarter done with life.

You might have wondered: What have I accomplished in the first quarter of my life? Learning to walk is a big deal. So is laughing for the first time and maybe learning how to express a coherent thought (although I know a few people who still have trouble with that one). Of course, being born is probably the biggest thing you’ve ever gone through, but let’s face it; you hardly had anything to do with that one.

And then on your 20th birthday, you sit there in a dark room, watching the clock strike midnight, finally signifying your transition from being a teenager to being an awkwardly young adult.

Everything else aside, these first 20 years were probably the most eventful of your life in terms of exploration.

The future holds promises of alcohol-induced black-outs and losing a thousand dollars playing slots in Vegas. You will have a career with a salary and benefits, even though you’ll be on your parents health insurance until you are 26 (thanks, Obama)!

You’ll fall in love, get married, have kids and spend your nights eating brownies and watching the news instead of partying until 4 a.m.

Eventually, you’ll grow old and learn to knit. You’ll write letters to the editor concerning tax rates and go to bed at 8 p.m.

As I write this, it is 8:30 p.m. Election results have just started coming in and I’m glued to the TV, wrapped in a scarf I knitted myself. I yawn deeply; my bedtime is soon.

It feels as though I have completely skipped the middle portion of my life, going straight from high school graduate to retired senior citizen. The door slams as my roommate heads outfor the night, and I curl up into bed, my heated blanket turned full blast.

My quarter life crisis is not fueled by my physical age, but rather my mental age: I would rather watch “The Golden Girls” with a cup of tea than listen to Ke$ha and drink gin and juice (but in my defense, I would rather do almost anything than listen to Ke$ha).

My nights end early, usually with a Beatles record and crocheted blankets.

I am a 76-year-old woman trapped in the body of a 20-year-old girl.

And I’m alright with that.

Sarah Millard is senior political science major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be reached letters@collegian.

 Posted by at 2:59 pm

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