Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development never fails to fascinate me. Although stages of life cannot be quite the categorical black and white, the stages in the psychologist’s theory have more or less grown to manifest in me.
Less than two months from now, it is Happy silver! to me, and it seems like quarterlife crisis has been issuing its advance blowout.
At the border of the sixth stage is my age, although some accounts maximize the upper limit to age 40. Then again, if this humble Wiki is right, I am really crossing the boundary toward the seventh stage.
Four months back, I’ve already decided that I’ll make a giant shift and simply write 30 in writing. I could have done it earlier but there are things that come late in life in order for you to have a bigger leeway whenever the time is ripe to choose again.
There’s no future in reportage and journalism, at least for me. Believe me, I am in the industry and I know how things work. Had I listened to my mom years back, I guess, I am on my way to becoming a pediatrician or cardiologist now. But no, I decided to write and my decision turned sour. I hate to say farewell to this wonderful industry where I’ve found career, not just a job, but I guess one must encounter things only to find out those aren’t for them in the long run.
In the past months, two newspapers (I dare not say which ones are they) have been acquired or its major stake been acquired by a more powerful entity due to dipping sales. Add to that, a fellow colleague has asked me to watch Page One: Inside the New York Times. Ninety-two minutes after, my heart sunk.
Before one enters my minimalist bedroom, one will find this comic strip. I especially like this line: “You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in.”
I know I’m rationalizing the seeming failure that’s plaguing me right now, but please, cut me some slack. If there is that crepuscular ray that makes this rough ocean worth the sailing, that’s the afterthought that this phase may be the needed jigsaw piece that will make a sense to the whole.
I may have erred in my decisions as I was still young, I may have not opened my mind to my mother, then again, I am not yet bereft of any chance to make things work out. Existentialism has taught me well when it comes to life decisions and the parting line in the comic strip is the ultimate balm to whatever that’s presently decimating me. It’s a kinder and a more philosophical counterpart of “Get your fucking act together, you messed-up grown-up.”
Erikson’s closes the sixth stage at 24 and begins the next at 25. This is where the rough settles. On one breath, I just want to find a great man who would take this hand that I am offering. In another, I want to tap my innermost potential, be of help to someone, totally abandon the hopeless romantic in me, call duty for the shots, and look back someday at this day or at this splice of my thought to smile and smirk that it could’ve been a jagged otherwise had this rough waters aren’t here.
The bridge that adjoins the sixth and seventh stages cannot be less than grueling: the former is a selfish stage; the latter is selfless. I don’t want to prophesy the ultimate precision of Erikson by fitting myself into the theory instead of the theory making its sense through me. Then again, if one may say that this entry is a vindication of his psychological sagacity and a crude attempt to phenomenology, so be it.
Each of Erikson’s stage in the Wiki kicks in with a question: Can I love? (sixth) and Can I make my life count? (seventh).
One thing in my elementary English that I will never forget is our teacher’s constructive criticism whenever we interpose the question wrong:
“You can go to the restroom, but you may not.”
So yes, I can love, but–Boy, it bothers me still but I have to rehearse myself–I may not. Until the heaven conjures a clearer answer, abandon ye hope and move to the next stage.
So there. Here’s to quarterlife crisis. Here’s to the grim and glory of silver anniversary. Here’s to pondering the right suffix to append after “self.” Here’s to the advent of the rainy season. Here’s also to hoping that the coming weekend will lay down all the cards.
June has never been quite a kind month to me. May yours be gentle, Sir, Mam.