Ode to the Quarter-Life Crisis

It was Summer. You were in an office. Unaffected by the record-breaking rain and the odd, hour-long sun spot, because the windows seemed to be posters of weather, teasing the senses – smugly projecting the illusion of the outdoors. The heat kicked out by the computer monitor is now fresh air. The tapping of keys replaces bird’s song. The birds are outside, swooping against the glass; ‘Corinne, don’t you love us anymore?‘ I don’t know how to love you, birds. That was the old days; the glory days. Must you taunt me so, oh birds? I’m trying to enjoy the Summer. This long, never-ending Summer of .doc.

Can I just say, before we get into this – if you’re younger than twenty – log out, go drink some vodka in the streets and do yourselves proud. What I’d give to be hanging off some concrete step wearing fairy wings again, concerned about whether a second trip to Chicken Licken would be excessive, rather than my dreaded office phone. There’s nothing wrong with my job, I just think freedom is nice and I’m still not used to its absence. The highlights come in someone making me tea. When it goes luke warm with a skin, that’s my life in beverage form. Of course you understand.

Or maybe not. A lot of people have said to me, ‘Six months! Try twenty-six years!’ or something along those lines. Nothing could be more terrifying to me. Or they’ve said, ‘Yeah, thanks; wish I had a job.’ Or, ‘God – First World Problems.’ A lot of my problems warrant that response, funnily enough. I get it, grass is always greener. A twenty-something is never happy.

To further dampen the mood, I’ve been reminded many times that I should use my newly-earned cash to save for a pension – old-age is for fun, apparently – not now. In your prime? Please. If you’ve not heard, zimmer-frame disco dancing is where all the struggles of your life condense into one beautiful moment of validation. Looking out across the Atlantic from the deck of the cruise ship – through your top-of-the-range bottle-cap lenses – you’ll know that the mashed potatoes for dinner won’t irritate your premium dentures, and that saving and missing out on your youth paid off big time.

Whilst I wait impatiently for this, I go a bit wild in private celebration. Purchasing salmon instead of tuna. Topshop instead of Primark. Heinz baked beans – y’know, classy stuff. Living the dream. But as I unpacked my middle-range produce from a Tesco carrier one day, I thought, ‘I appreciate living the high-life, but something’s not right. This urge to throw cash at things, it’s beyond my control.’ I felt most poignantly that I should throw it at a budget airline so that they would allow me to board one of their planes.

Like, to Italy.

But who would go with me? At the time I want to go, and do what I want to do, on the budget I can afford?

(I couldn’t be bothered to ask) NO ONE.

If I was to do this, it would be solo. So I did a lot of research, drummed my fingers on a lot of surfaces, stared at a lot of walls, held my breath – and booked it. Booked the time off work, booked the hostels, booked the flights. Booked. Hit myself round the face with a book. THE BOOK OF LIFE, PEOPLE.

Yeah stuff it in Julia, ‘cos soon I will be

BUY A TICKET (ok!) GET A TAN (burn) FALL IN LOVE (ha) NEVER RETURN (probs will) – I’m living out Pinterest!

Since then I have had to answer to the phrase, ‘ON YOUR OWN!?’ many times, including my sister’s – ‘You’re mental, but millions of people do it without dying and you might be fine’ – which was comforting – but actually it’s made me happier that I am doing it, to prove to myself that it’s no big deal. To prove that my dreams about hostels full of locusts are being over-dramatic. For some people it really is no big deal; just like I find travelling alone in the UK completely fine, whereas others hate it. I mean it’s not like there are slums and disease, just the cousins of Gino D’ACampo. They would find this post, and the fact that I wanted to puke this morning, a gross over-reaction. So?

Italians eat brains and hearts, wave their hands around, catcall in the streets and think spaghetti is a starter – I’m mildly shittin’ a brick.

If you’ve done this, especially in Rome, Pisa and Florence, please comment so that I feel less insane. I leave tomorrow. I’m counting on your support, and restaurant suggestions.


Quarter-Life Crisis

‘I hope a this like tha Italy you see on Pinterest. Thass a hundred dollar each.’


10 responses to “Ode to the Quarter-Life Crisis

  1. UM. Reading this made me exceedingly happy, and you forrealz need to blog more. I have felt everything you have felt here, except for the actual sensation of, “Holy shit, I’m going to Italy tomorrow.” THAT is one feeling I’d like to experience for myself– alone– as well. I can’t give you advice. I haven’t done it. But man, I hope you’ll describe in detail when you have. Freedom!!

  2. I know I suck! When I write one I’m so happy, then for some reason I leave it a couple months before doing another. I am for suuuure doing an Italy follow-up post. Have to let everyone know I’m alive, after all.

    Thanks for being a loyal reader 😀 ! x

  3. Once again your blog is repeating my almost daily thoughts on this subject. The line ” I just think freedom is nice and I’m still not used to its absence” is especially true.

    I’ve been to Rome, but I was 10, and when faced with the Sistine Chapel’s statues with arms and legs missing, asked my parents “The Catholic Church is really rich, why don’t they just get new ones?”. So, I’m probably not suited to recommending things beyond the usual things to definitely go and see.

    Again, great read and have a brilliant time in Italy. x

  4. Ha, glad you can relate because I often just wonder if I’m a grumpy bitch.
    10 probably isn’t the best age to appreciate the Sistine Chapel, I’m still surprised that I actually want to go to churches and art galleries. That’s how I know I’m getting old.

    Thanks Adam 🙂 x

  5. Oh GIRL I love this post so much. Let me tell you why.

    1. I just came home from a month in Europe where I went to all the places you listed above. INCLUDING that restaurant that Julia Roberts ate at.

    2. I’m reading Eat Pray Love & reading about Italy all over again is making me want to just pack my bags and leave again

    3. I wish I could be at the phase where I’m PLANNING my trip rather than re-living it on my blog by writing about it.

    But seriously. Hostels were one of the most freaking amazing things I ever did this summer. I met some amazing people.

    I didn’t go to Florence, but I went through & stopped in Pisa for about 2 hours. SO worth it.

    I LOVED ROME SO MUCH. Anywhere you eat there, it will be worth it. I particularly loved wandering by the Trevi Fountain and eating my weight in gelato. Walk down the alleys near the fountain and pick a cute bistro. Order pasta or pizza. Enjoy.

    You’re going to have the time of your LIFE. I fully plan on going back to Italy as soon as I can possibly afford it.

    And if you can make a day trip out to Naples? I recommend it. That restaurant that Julia Roberts eats at (from Eat Pray Love) is called Da Michele and it’s in the heart of Naples. I still sometimes wake up from dreams thinking about that pizza. It really was THAT good.

    • Thanks for this cos it got me really excited before I went 😀 It was wonderous, I’m so glad I did it, and being by myself didn’t matter because I met people from all over. I want to go back! I couldn’t get to Naples… I’ve heard some quite dodgy things but I think it could definitely be worth it. I have the travel bug now. Grr! x

  6. Oh I wish I could offer advice on travelling in Italy but all I can do is wish you a wonderful trip. I took a spontaneous and somewhat crazy trip to Spain last year with a woman I met through my old blog and had only met in person twice before that. It was just so damn grand.

    Soak up as much of your Italian Holiday as you can and bring it back with you to turn over and look at and warm your hands on when the office air-conditioning gets to be too much.

  7. I’ve been to Rome alone. I stayed in a hostel. I had an absolutely incredible time. So awesome in fact that I’ve now stayed in hostels alone in thirty other countries on five continents. I’ve yet to come across a hostel filled with locusts.

    I’m excited for you. Although, once you get there you’ll find it very difficult to stay alone.

    If you want to see the Sistine Chapel you need to start queuing mega-early to be sure to get in. Like six in the morning. You don’t have to queue to get into Saint Peter’s Basilica, which I found far more impressive.

    I really don’t need to give you any more tourist advice as there are no parts of Rome that aren’t worth seeing.

    Or Florence.

    I’ve never been to Pisa.

    • I loved Saint Peter’s 🙂 I actually didn’t have to queue much at all to get in anywhere – pleasantly surprised! Only about 20 minutes in the Vatican and also the Uffizi in Florence which I was told would take like 3 hours?! I was usually alone to sight-see but then had people at the hostel to go back to and eat/chat with. It was the best kind of holiday. You’ll have to tell me more about your trip!

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