Editor Column: Quarter-life crisis, kind of
I use to find it comical when people expressed dread at advancing one more year in life. A birthday as cause for authentic anxiety baffled me. At the same time, I’ve never quite understood the need for celebrating such an occasion either.
There are an estimated seven billion people populating the globe. It stands to reason that the majority of those people are surviving on a given day. The website ecology.com actually breaks down the numbers and, according to their math, 151,600 people die each day which equates to 55.3 million deaths per year.
So, yes, an overwhelming majority of people survive each day. Recognizing this might be a simplified and curmudgeonly view, I still don’t see this as a big deal — a cause for dread or celebration.
With my own birthday approaching, though, my perspective has shifted. I know some of you will snicker at this so I’ll get it out of the way — I’m turning 25. Yes, that’s right, laugh it up folks.
My change in perspective settled in like a panic attack several weeks ago as Sam (figure I’d finally use her name rather than continually saying “the girlfriend”) and I discussed what we do for our birthdays, which are separated by 10 days.
As we batted around ideas, I started thinking about that number: 25.
According to the Social Security Administration, “a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3.”
That seems a little generous, but let’s say it’s true. Under the best of circumstances, I am, and was before this birthday, more than a quarter of the way through life. However, eventual death was not the cause of my panic, neither was physical aging.
What spurred my apprehension was the thought of what is really slipping away: freedom.
The ability to pick up and move — say from Cincinnati to Colorado — is more burdensome a task than it was even two years ago.
The clock is ticking increasingly faster and decisions such as “do I try to start a family?” can only be pushed off so much longer. For what it’s worth, the not-fully-thought-out answer at this point in time is “no,” but eventually that will have to be a firm “no” or possibly a “yes.”
Again, freedom is fleeting, however, so was the anxiety I felt about turning 25. I’ll get to those decisions, eventually … maybe when I turn 26.
But in the meantime, I’m going to try to relax — not celebrate — and be more sympathetic when somebody expresses dread about a birthday.
Yup, Ryan Hoffman definitely did not win the Powerball last week. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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