The quarter-life crisis


  • Opinion
  • Monday, 24 Mar 2014

I THINK I am going through a quarter-life crisis.

At 28, the thought of turning 30 in less than two years is still daunting.

The Peter Pan in me isn’t quite ready to grow up and say goodbye to my twenties.

I am usually blissfully in denial but the occasional discovery of a grey hair on my head or a tiny wrinkle under my eye is always a reminder of the approaching big 3-0.

Whenever my ex-schoolmates and I get together for drinks, someone will end up mentioning that it has been eleven years since we left school.

And then we all go quiet, wondering where the time has gone. Suddenly there is pressure and responsibility. Bills and loans.

Everyone, if given a choice, would want to remain young forever. Right?

At least, this is what I thought until I met my fiancé, who is the complete opposite.

He wishes he could just fast forward and skip it all; especially the wedding and all the preparations involved, and teach our future children about cars, Lego and other stuff.

I, on the other hand, wish time does not fly by as swiftly as it does.

Approaching thirty, you are at that stage when you expect to be treated like an adult, especially at work, but it is still painful to hear someone calling you “aunty”.

The first time this happened, it took a while to sink in.

I visited my friend and her tiny new bundle of joy, and while the baby stared at me with its big eyes, my friend happily told her child to meet “Aunty Aruna”.

I suddenly felt a hundred years old. I wanted to strangle my friend for having a kid so early and instantly making me an “aunty”.

“Why not call me Akka?” (Tamil for elder sister), I offered, but my friend rolled her eyes and repeated, “Aunty! Deal with it”.

Even before that, when my childhood friend Stefanie first announced to us that she was getting married, it caught my friends and I by surprise as well.

It was not that she was getting married very young ­– we were 25 – it was just that she was the first one from our group.

I mean, this is the girl with whom I used to play “masak-masak” and “teacher-student” when we were in Standard Two, and now she was going to become somebody’s wife!

Were we already at THAT age?

It felt surreal for all of us to attend her wedding, but we soon got over it and were busy making bets about who would be next.

It also hit me when I was talking casually to a younger cousin who was telling me about how all his classmates had iPhones, and how he needed one, too.

I caught myself saying “when I was your age, things were different”.

That’s the line my grandmother would use before launching into her lengthy pre-historic tales about the “good old days”.

On the brighter side, getting older has earned me the freedom and respect I desire.

I am no longer seen as a rookie at work after a few years of experience under my belt, and especially when you’re a journalist people tend to believe you, even when you don’t know what you are talking about. Which is great.

My parents and family give me the freedom to decide on most things and respect my decisions as I am “old enough to know what is right”.

Well, as I still have not discovered where Neverland is, I guess this Peter Pan will just have to accept the ageing process and enjoy every moment as it comes.

Anyway, it is how young we feel inside that counts right?

  • Aruna is turning 29 this year and will remain 29 for many more years to come. She can be contacted at aruna@thestar.com.my.
  • The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.


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