Quarter-Life Crisis

There’s this rumor going around that once you graduate college your social life dries up and you’ll never get another date.

People are so stressed out about this phenomena it’s even gotten a name: The Quarter-Life Crisis.

You know I never pull the punches, so here’s the truth: If you graduate college without finding your life partner you’ll never have another shot at romance and marriage again. In fact, your social life will flatline and you may as well spend $800 on three cats and legally change your name to Edith or Melvin because, well, the best years of your life are behind you.

Your friends will disappear, eaten up by the monster called “Gotta Be At Work At 8 AM.” Your family will mock you and holiday gatherings will be peppered with comments about how you missed your chance at true happiness but they could fix you up with their neighbor’s 35-year-old son who still lives in the basement and “have you ever heard of eHarmony? That’s supposed to be a really good thing. You might even meet someone there!”

This scenario is played out in lives across the country. So that’s it, give up. That ship has sailed, the fat lady has sung.

(I need to tell you a secret. What I just described? Well, that’s not what happened to me. I bet if you keep reading you’ll get some tips about how to keep it from happening to you.)

There is another way. A path. A light at the end of the tunnel that is NOT the headlamp of an oncoming train.

Hope. That. Your. Life. Is. Not. Over.

Yes, the above situation can happen and is happening to some people. But you don’t have to be one of them!

First, recognize you’re still growing. The largest time period of human growth outside of infancy is between the ages of 18-and-22. Yes, that coincides neatly with the traditionally recognized college years.

If, by chance, you get out of college without meeting The One, don’t fret! You’ve just come into your own as a mature adult with a Smörgåsbord of opportunities awaiting you!

Second, realize life will be different. There is an abrupt change between the life of a student and the life of a functioning adult. You’ll have to make your own fun instead of relying on the college’s Student Activities staff. But take heart – there are others like you who will want to have fun too!

Third, put yourself out there. Find a group that meets to do stuff whether it’s rock climbing, Jenga, gun shooting or Euchre. Invite people to do things like go to the Renaissance Festival or listen to a free concert in the park. If they don’t join you – go anyway and be pleasant to the people around you. You may find a friend. (I’ve heard www.meetup.com is a good resource but haven’t tried it myself.)

Get involved in your college alumni group, at least you’ll have something in common you can talk about right away. (If you don’t have one in your area, start one!) Go To Church and get involved in a small group.

Fourth, accept help from Aunt Gladys and your good friends Ken and Barbie. There’s something strange about marriage – married people always want unmarried people to join them in their lunacy. So if your friends or family members suggest going on a date with someone… as much as it may bug you… go on the date. Make it a group thing if you’d prefer, but go.

These people have a vested interest in your happiness and may know something about who you need to have in your life you don’t see yourself. And if it’s awful, just consider – you may get to blog about it someday or at the least when you’re in the retirement village you’ll be able to say, “I remember when…”

Finally, don’t look for true love in places where people are intoxicated. Intoxication could refer to many things but I’m going to mostly think about alcohol. People do, say and think stupid things when they’re tipsy or drunk. Bars can be a fun place to get out and about, but don’t expect a relationship centered around alcohol to be significant. (So if you’re looking for a significant relationship, maybe don’t go to the bars.)

I’m hesitant about online dating because of the safety factor but I know a few couples who are happily married after meeting online. Our world is changing, so virtual reality may be a good way to find new friends and dating relationships. BUT… it makes me nervous because I’m paranoid.

Paranoia and internet privacy aren’t good bedfellows.

Uh oh, I said bed.

If all else fails, you can always move to Chicago. Polls have put it at the top of the list for happy single people for several years now.  This map will show you where the highest concentration of singles are in the country. Or just cruise internet help sites. I liked this one myself.

What advice do you have for those who are missing their collegiate social life?

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