Rejected for Being Too Old at 24
Why are quarter-life crises so common?
In this day and age, where young equals relevant, aging feels like a crime. Mainly because you supposedly lose your vitality and good looks associated with our youthful years. But also because of the emerging under-21s who are already much more successful than you are. I am 24 years old and I have never imagined I would feel like my prime years have already flown by. But is this deeper than your average quarter-life crisis?
It’s not that I feel like I should have my life together by now; in fact, it’s actually very reassuring to find my friends in a similar position. What bothers me is the unshakable notion that when I finally get my shit together, it’ll be too late. It’s much more than not knowing what you really want to do with your life, it’s about coming to terms with the idea of aging. And consequently, with the idea of your own mortality. But before I get too morbid, I think it’s important to look at how society celebrates young people and condemns the older generation.
Sure, we all love hearing a story about a grandma that was able to finish her degree at age 85 and how you’re never too old to start something new or how age is just a number, blah blah blah. But in reality, we’re pressured to achieve our goals, and to achieve them fast. And I feel like this mainly comes from the pressure to settle down and raise a family, especially if you’re a woman.
I have always felt like “my biological clock was ticking,” which is funny because I’m not even sure I want to have kids anyway. It is not one of my goals in life and it is something that I certainly don’t lose sleep over so why do I feel like time is running out? Perhaps because I feel like there are certain things I need to achieve before I am mature enough to have kids nevertheless. I must travel the world, get my heart broken, get an education, pursue a life-long career and by a house, all by the time I’m 30, which isn’t that far away. It also doesn’t help that people like Kylie Jenner have made it to the Forbes list at 21, or increasingly popular SoundCloud rappers who have reached fame at the tender age of 17. And of course, there’s the massive herd of social media influencers and YouTubers making millions in their early 20s.
Not only that but the way we associate beauty with young age in women is actually really worrying. An attractive minor is referred to as "jailbait," which is something I was obsessed about when I was 17. I was worried that once I turned 18, all of my Lolita-esque charms would suddenly render useless, which is an incredibly problematic thought to have, I am aware. But bear in mind that older men seeking younger lovers is not a thing of the past and there’s plenty of websites, such as SeekingArrangement, that allow you to find your "sugar baby." I also watched a documentary once which claimed women reached their peak age for beauty at 24. After they start aging and their beauty, to decline. Absolutely condescending and pure bollocks, if I’m honest. And of course, if a woman takes too long to get married, she becomes a spinster. And nobody wants an undesirable spinster, right?!
I also feel like there are certain expectations of how you should behave when you reach a certain age. You can’t be goofy, you must be responsible in all areas of your life and you must NOT enjoy having fun, otherwise you’re an immature idiot with Peter Pan syndrome. And to be fair, I can’t stand to see those over 35s still getting embarrassingly drunk with their mates down the pub. Or the occasional 40 year old hanging out with 20 year olds, which by the way, it may be legal but it’s still creepy and predatory AF. It terrifies me that I will one day become one of those people and lose all my self-respect. But perhaps you can be mature and still be a party animal with class. Let’s not forget about Amanda Lepore, who’s still on fire in the entertainment industry at 60 years old or legendary Hugh Hefner.
Perhaps I wouldn’t feel so rejected if we didn’t have deadlines on when to achieve things. And considering advances in technology keep improving our quality of life at older ages, is it even necessary?