A midlife crisis occurs during middle age at a pivotal point where we realise things aren’t going in the direction we planned. Youth waning, hair receding, dreams failing, we sit in our newly purchased, ego-fueled, red convertible and lament our wasted years. This is—from my understanding—what many of us have to look forward to. But as a 20-something female, I’ve yet to reach this stereotypical, male-centralized epiphanous moment of regret.
When I was in university, I took a few sociology/psychology courses (which I believe now makes me an expert on all things human.) There, a (middle-aged, male) professor suggested something that illuminated my perception like sunlight gleaming off a set golf clubs: a midlife crisis doesn’t have to happen exclusively in middle-age. It can happen to anyone at any time. Midlife just means “in the midst of life” and, surely, we are all in the midst of our lives.
I find this revised concept incredibly reassuring, because if a personal “crisis” is defined as “a loss of self-confidence and feeling of anxiety or disappointment” then I’m pretty sure I’ve had countless of those on a bi-monthly basis. Factor in student-loans, unused degrees, familial pressure, break ups, an inability to afford anything, and the general dawning that we have no idea who we are, and we twenty-somethings have always been a perfect breeding ground for a crisis of identity.
Too often I’ve found myself profoundly re-evaluating: Do my friends even like me? Do I even like them? Why is my love life in shambles? Am I a bad person? Maybe I should move to Europe. Have I made the right career choice? What the hell am I even doing? And usually, this ends in an ill-advised online purchase to compensate for my complete lack of direction. My over-priced lingerie is just another man’s age-inappropriate affair.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling: every once in a while, we all realise we have absolutely no idea what’s going on anymore. Given this, why should the concept of a midlife crisis be reserved for the balding, insecure, middle-aged male? Are we not all capable of extreme anxiety brought on by the general realisation that we are royally f*cking things up?
Listen, in the end, I guess what I’m really asking for here is equality. As a female nearing my mid-twenties, I demand my Freud-given right to my own midlife crisis.