SOCIETY TALK

The three main crossroads of life

Different stages in life beg the question: Who are you and where are you going?

In Summary

• It is pertinent to stop and question whether we are on the right path occasionally.

• Your first crossroad. You are probably in your mid-twenties at this time.

Crossroads
Crossroads
Image: WIKIMEDIA

You are at a crossroad. The path in front is dark, illuminated by the little fairy lights of hope. The path to the right is green with success, but it is a maze you might lose yourself in.

The path to the left is a hall of mirrors, a reflection of your ambitions and desires multiplies to the nth.

The path behind is the most alluring of all. The comfort of your previous days that you do not want to leave behind; the innocence of childhood and the freedom from responsibility.

Your first crossroad. You are probably in your mid-twenties at this time.

I call this the quarter-life crisis. It happens to most of us, even if we do not pay enough attention to it to give it a name.

The mid-twenties are the first brutal encounter we have with reality, or as the youth, today call it, ‘adulting’.

 

In pop culture, adulting refers to doing grown-up things like having a job, paying rent, paying bills, and so on.

I believe the mid-twenties are among the times we actually start fending for our own. Having been armed with education, skills and the necessary tools by our parents and mentors, we are released into the ‘wild’ to make it on our own.

The first crossroads you come across in life is the hardest. It is the first time you realise you are a one-man army.

The family dynamics change, parents are no longer providers and protectors, and they become the cushion when you fall.

You can always count on your support system to be there for you after you have failed. However, for the rest of the way, you are on your own.

The quarter-life crisis is not so bad; it acquaints one with their purpose in life. You start forming goals and ambitions you wish to achieve. You start learning the art of adulating and undertaking responsibilities.

 

The second crossroad you might come across will be in your early 30s. Note that not everyone will go through this phase.

This phase is mostly associated with taking the next steps in the rites of passage: getting married, having children, and so on.

This phase is a knock-off course as you try to reconcile societal norms versus your own desires.

More often than not, one emerges victorious in this phase as they turn this hiccup into action that cements their fundamental ideologies.

The last critical phase is what is popularly known as the midlife crisis, which happens in the latter years of an individual.

Midlife crises can occur when one faces the crushing reality of ageing and inevitable mortality. In this stage, a person usually looks back at life with a saddening realisation of all they did not accomplish in life.

As a result, one can get into severe depression, have feelings of remorse or — the most popular symptom — have a strong desire to achieve youthfulness or make drastic changes to their lifestyle.

Men and women would usually dress younger, get younger lovers and be carefree with their spending.

Not everyone’s journey is the same. Some of us will come across these setbacks at different stages in our lives.

However, to say that it is not necessary for one to come at a crossroad in their lives would be stretching the truth.

 

Humans, we grow and evolve with the passing of time. It is, therefore, pertinent to stop and question whether we are on the right path occasionally.

The so-called crisis would have different impacts on different people. Some might use it to double-check that they are on the right path to their destiny. Others might succumb to the immensity of change.