I’ve been going through a quarter life crisis trying to find direction and happiness. Yes, technically I’m 33 and I probably won’t live to 132 but a third-life crisis makes it sound like I’m living three times and having a crisis about it. It’s confusing, like my dilemma.
I’m not sure how to explain what I’ve been going through so I’m going to describe it in terms I think might be more relatable to people who don’t live in my head.
Imagine walking into a store and seeing a single pair of jeans made by the hottest designer this season. Everyone wants these jeans and you have the chance to buy a pair for yourself. You pick them up and admire them. They seem lovely, luxurious and owning them would make you the envy of all others. You trace your fingers over the tag and realize they are the wrong size. They are too small, but you’re young and optimistic.
You gaze at them longingly because they are what you think you always wanted. They are what everyone tells you that you should want. You put them on and suck in a little, pouring yourself into them. You constrict your very favourite parts to fit inside. You decide they will do and buy them. They aren’t so bad, maybe you will get used to them. They should stretch a little. How lucky you are!
You take them home and over time, the “too smallness” of them gets grating. You try to harden the pieces of you that were once soft to fit but you can never quite get small enough. You’re always too much. Truth be told, you loved your softness and feeling those soft and squishy bits turning hard makes you feel like you’re giving up pieces of yourself to fit into someone else’s ideal. You were ok with being too much. You loved that about yourself.
Worse still than not fitting properly, they limit your range of motion. You can’t do the things you want to in them without people talking. You can’t run. You can’t dance. People tell you you should be happy to have such wondrous jeans and shouldn’t mind not being able to run or dance. What use are these things anyways? You are a fashionable person now.
Maybe they didn’t even start out too small. Maybe they fit just fine on the first day you took them home but you grew past their edges as you gained strength, size and substance. You felt empowered to take up space but your jeans just don’t allow for that sort of thing.
What do you even do at that point? It’s been fifteen years and having these jeans has become part of your identity. People admire them and you, the girl with the jeans. When you wear them, you’re part of an exclusive club. People in your club have jeans that don’t really fit either and you all talk about it but nobody ever buys new ones. That would be crazy.
After all, jeans aren’t supposed to be comfortable. Nobody ever claimed they were. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.
They say you should be satisfied you have something to wear and stop filling your head with these daydreams. These days, pants are in short supply. If you can find a pair, you should hang onto them no matter how ill-fitting they are.
People who wore ill fitting jeans for thirty five years wax nostalgic about it. The good old days, when the jeans were uncomfortable but you could walk with your head held high.
When you complain they are a bit too tight to people who don’t have your jeans but wish they did, they chastise you and call you ungrateful. You have what everyone else wants. Why can’t you just be happy with that? Plus these jeans will last forever. It’s why everyone wants them. You will literally never need another pair.
And then one day you wake up and realize maybe you WANT another pair. You want ones that fit you. Maybe you want to try out a different colour. Maybe you’re actually more of a leggings person. Maybe you want to try on some leggings and see if you can dance and run. Maybe you want to wear something that will stretch with you. Maybe you could even cartwheel. You’ve never cartwheeled before.
You’re tired of pouring yourself into the jeans that everyone else wants. You’re tired of struggling into something that’s the wrong fit. Jeans can be lovely, desirable and last forever and still not be YOUR jeans. Maybe you don’t even like jeans. It’s ok to not like jeans. I mean they aren’t for everyone. Lots of people live in leggings and are perfectly happy.
You look at your jeans and decide you need to take them off, if only for a while, but you don’t know how to get out of them. Panic sets in and you feel as it you are being suffocated. You grab at the zipper which feels like it won’t yield. You’re drowning in denim and it’s so ridiculously first world a problem you can’t help but feel selfish for complaining.
That’s my quarter life crisis. I wish I could tell you how it ends. The truth is, I don’t know but something has to give and it better be the damn zipper.