Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

 

A   Q U A R T E R   O F   A   C E N T U R Y

Last week I turned twenty-five.

Do I look twenty-five? Is this what twenty-five looks like?

To my child’s mind, twenty-five was a big number. An adult number. Not a still cutting your own hair and having ice cream for dinner kind-of-number.

Whether realistic or not, I think I expected to feel a bit more settled or established by this point. Perhaps with a home of my own (whether rented or mortgaged), a car that wasn’t too rundown, a “proper” job that made my parents proud and perhaps something resembling a skincare routine. Instead, everything feels a bit in-between; neither here nor there. I almost always feel that I should probably have more to show for myself than I currently do. Perhaps this is down to perfectionist tendencies, but a very deep and genuine fear I hold is that my single, sacred time on earth is passing me by and I am not living it to the extent that I should. I’m afraid that right now I might be missing some magnificent possibility.

 

 

For my birthday, we spent the day at Trelissick House and Gardens. As always when out for the day, my camera swung from my neck or off my shoulder. And I captured, as I always try to, so many of the small things; the easily forgettable details (and a not so forgettable birthday cake) that build the memory of a day. And this is something I find great pleasure in. I find it evermore difficult to go on days out or to particularly beautiful places without my camera. And it makes me question myself; do I find an intrinsic enjoyment in photography, documentation and story-telling? Or is my enjoyment found in a feeling of mild accomplishment? Of having something to show for my time, my day, myself?

Since graduating three years ago (circa July 2014) there have been many moments where sat on the sofa, wine in hand, on a Friday night, I have considered myself to be having something akin to a quarter-life crisis. Pervasively feeling like time is passing me by at a dangerous speed. That I’m not certain what I’m meant to be doing with my life; where it is I want to be. Let alone how best I dedicate my time, energy and resources to get there. But if I don’t realise it soon, it isn’t going to happen. The question of “where is it I want to be” is almost always gnawing on the back of my mind. At 30, at 40, at 50? I’ve heard it said that your twenties are about becoming, but what exactly is it I’m trying to become?

Growing up, I thrived in the education system. At the end of each year I felt like I had something substantial and quantifiable to show for myself; certificates, exam results, proof my hard work was paying off. I grew up with parents who worked as professionals; high-achievers who raised my sister and I to be high-achievers ourselves. Yet it feels impossible to follow their route into the world of work. Or onto the property ladder for that matter! Now untethered from school and the home of my childhood, I feel almost uncomfortably free. Figuring out my own path as I freefall; somewhat paralysed, amidst the overwhelmingly limitless possibilities.

It seems instead, when it comes to my generation entering the workplace, we hear a lot about hustling and having side projects. We can expect to work for free doing what we love, before someone will pay us to do what we love. And maybe that’s the clincher. What is it we love? What work is it we want to dedicate our lives to? What is it exactly we find fulfilling or meaningful? I cant speak for us all, but on the whole, I think we see work satisfaction as more important than salary, status or climbing any career ladder.

 

In my twenty-five trips around the sun, I’ve (maybe, just about) figured out a few things. Particularly with regard to finding meaning or purpose or at least purposeful work…

Firstly know what you believe. Write down your values, your principles, your core beliefs. What are your personal philosophies? Your work needs to be aligned with this; with what authentically overflows from you. Work won’t be fulfilling or meaningful if you find little value in it; if you don’t believe in it.

Next look at your gifts, talents and particular areas of interest or curiousity. Again write these things down. What are you naturally drawn to? What is it you do in your downtime when no one is watching? What do you not need to be asked to do? Don’t worry if these things aren’t established or recognised professions, write them down all the same.

Fear skews our judgement, so for just a while suspend your thoughts regarding money. Forget about paying bills for just a few moments and really study your subtleties, however far-fetched, unrelatable and niche they may seem. Then with these lists in hand, look at the needs in the world. Look for the places of overlap, where your aptitudes intersect with real-world needs.

Finally, I feel I should slip in some kind of disclaimer here, that this stuff takes time. It would be completely normal if you needed years to think this through. And that after your life changed course a few years down the line, you’d need to think it through again. Personally, I’m reflecting on this stuff every day and still don’t feel like I’ve got it down to a T just yet. But I’m getting there. Maybe by twenty-six.

 

“Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfil this vocation he can only be one person: himself”- Thomas Merton

 

 

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

Trelissick Gardens Cornwall Twenty Five Quarter Life Crisis

12th November 2017

6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Melanie Fontaine

    2nd November 2017

    First of all: Happy (belated) Birthday! And secondly: I love the dark and mysterious mood you have gone for with these images – they fit the season perfectly! 🙂

    But now on to the writing: I have often felt the same way as you have described here: Like time is passing me by without me having anything to show for it, like I should have achieved so much more in my life already. And just like you, I’m often not sure what exactly it is that I am supposed to be doing, what it is that I feel truly passionate about. Is it what I’m studying? Is it photography? Is it writing? Is it food? The answer sometimes seems to change weekly.
    But I think these days that’s actually fairly typical for someone of our age. It might have been normal in our parents’ generation to be perfectly settled at 25, but as the way we are educated and approach careers has changed over the years, so has the time in our lives when we start to do the same – but our expectations of what life is supposed to look like haven’t changed and that’s why we’re feeling so confused in our mid-twenties. At least, that’s my suspicion!
    I guess the only thing we can really do is follow our inclinations and not worry so much about how the different steps we take will build on each other. Eventually, we will be able to see that there was a common thread all along, but that takes time.

    Anyway, I hope these somewhat random thoughts make you feel a little bit less alone on this journey! 🙂 May 25 treat you well!

    xx
    Melanie

    • Reply

      Alex

      2nd November 2017

      Thank you, Melanie. I think you’re completely right, feeling this way is pretty normal for those of us in our mid-twenties and the best thing we can do is be kind and reflective and ride out this wave of confusion and doubt, as graciously as we can. xx

  2. Reply

    Rosie

    2nd November 2017

    It’s a funny age, 25, isn’t it? I remember feeling somewhat similar (and I can’t say I consider myself a ‘proper’ group-up even now, 8 years on!) I must say, well done though for sitting down and thinking through your goals, bit by bit. It’s easy to let yourself drift and then wake up and think “oh shit, I’m seventy, what did I do with my life?” Happy belated birthday too x

    • Reply

      Alex

      2nd November 2017

      Thanks, Rosie. It’s comforting to hear things have a way of sorting themselves out as we get older! Although maybe some of us will never feel quite like “proper adults” 😉 xx

  3. Reply

    Kaiya

    4th November 2017

    Hiya! Happy belated birthday! I saw your post on Twitter, cane for the gorgeous photography, and am staying for your writing. I wish I were on my laptop so I could ramble about how much I agree with this entire post, but I’m not so I’ll keep it short.

    I turned 25 in July and feel this post 100%, but I haven’t been able to put my feelings into words myself. Thank you for doing it so well. 🙂 x

  4. Reply

    Emma Vincent

    11th November 2017

    I am turning 28 this month (this is the first year I haven’t been 100% how old I am… I keep having to work it out to check, maybe that’s a sign of trying to do too much or just getting older, I haven’t decided yet!) I still feel exactly the same, myself and my husband have moved in with my parents to try and figure out our freefalling path into the creative world… being brought up to believe a big corporate job meant you had made it, but, hell, who wants that life! Let’s be friends!

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