How the hell did I get this old?

By the

March 29, 2001

My name is Donald. I am not 40 years old. I am not balding. I am not stuck in a job that I hate. I do not look at my kids and think about how big they have grown. I don’t even have kids. Despite these facts, I have been asking myself lately, “Where did the years go?” I have recently looked back at my life and thought about whether or not I am happy with what I have accomplished. I am 20 years old. I am a junior in college. And I am having a mid-life crisis.

At hearing such a claim, one might ask, “What is wrong with you?” But is it really so strange? No, I am not 40, but I am 10 years away from 30 and that’s old enough for me right now. No, I am not a senior; but I am closer to graduation from college than I am to graduation from high school. Law school may still be in my future, but too many of my friends will actually have real jobs in a year and a half. If college is a different world and lifestyle, then it is not really so implausible. I am a second semester junior. This is my college mid-life crisis.

When I came to Georgetown, I was a bright-eyed graduate of the Horace Mann School, and I had aspirations to learn Spanish and speak it fluently. I was going to double-major in American Studies and sociology. I was going to learn to play the piano and compose my own classical piece. I was going to continue my career as a concert choir singer. But things didn’t turn out that way.

I dropped Spanish for a year and struggled through it last semester. My double major turned into an American Studies major with a concentration in sociology. My piano piece can’t even be called a work in progress, and my performance career has gone into complete hibernation.

Now, graduation is not such a foreign concept, and the years that I have left to relish in being a kid are turning into months. The problem with having a mid-life crisis at my age is that I don’t have the same luxuries that come with actual middle age. I can’t exactly afford to buy myself an expensive, gas-guzzling car. Nor would it be a particularly good idea to start dating girls that are half my age (that’s also illegal). Thus, I find myself with limited options to help ease the stigma of being a middle-aged college student.

But with this realization has also come a bit of clarity. I had a lot of lofty goals for myself when I entered Georgetown University, and despite the fact that I have not achieved all of them, my time at Georgetown has not been in vain.

I have made a great deal of friends since arriving on this campus. Next year I will live with five guys who were on my floor my first year and who will probably be my friends for the rest of my life. I got involved with a student newspaper, and although I had no journalistic experience and probably still don’t, my time there has been a great learning experience just the same.

This semester I have had the opportunity to study abroad, living in England for several months. I have engaged in social activism and protests that have challenged my own opinions as well as those of my peers. I don’t think that I exactly planned for all of these events to occur as they did, but as a result of these experiences, I have become the person I am today. So how could I not consider them to be valuable?

At some point in an individual’s life one must consider whether the decisions he or she has made have been the right ones. The same holds true in the four-year fantasy world known as college.

This semester, I have called into question the value of the last two and a half years that I have spent at Georgetown. However, it seems strange that this time for personal reflection is characterized as a “crisis.”

Although at first my own mid-life crisis was exactly that, a cause for great concern and misgivings, I now realize that it has been a blessing in disguise. I have done a lot of things at Georgetown. But the best thing about the mid-life crisis is just that?it is mid-life. My college career is not over. I can still learn to speak Spanish and play the piano and meet tons more of my peers. But for now, I just have to get busy?I don’t want to have any regrets when middle age really comes knocking on my door.

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