I’m not an EDM fan. I’ve never been to a rave. But I’ve spent the last few weeks listening to this damn Avicii song on repeat, not because I’ve suddenly decided that I am in fact a fan of the aforementioned, but rather because I think the lyrics speak directly to the essence of what a quarter life crisis is. And also, it’s a catchy song.
“Wake Me Up,” if you haven’t already heard it, is a seemingly ill-suited mix of EDM and country. The singer of the song is (according to Wikipedia) Aloe Blacc. When he’s not spending his team healing the burned skin of sunbathers everywhere, Aloe sings about quarter-life crises.
I discovered through Wikipedia that Avicci is my age (he’s older by three months). Aloe Blacc is apparently 34, though maybe he’s going through a delayed quarter-life crises.
If you haven’t already heard the song, I recommend you listen to it now – it’s more of an immersive experience to hear the song rather than read them. I embedded the lyric video rather than the music video, as my interpretation of the lyrics are different than the interpretation in the music video (which felt like a commercial for raves/triangle tattoos/Ralph Lauren.)
In case you were too lazy to watch that, here’s the chorus:
“So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older. All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.”
Here’s why I was struck by song and the chorus in particular – I’ve wished before that I could fast-forward through this decade of my life, or at least parts of it. I realize that being young and single and healthy offers a myriad a benefits, benefits that I will likely miss greatly later on in my life, and I try not to take these things for granted.
But I still envy people a decade or so older than I am who seem to have their lives more together – who are married, who are well-established in their careers and homes, who have started a family or are planning to do so soon. Maybe it’s a personal deficiency, or simply a personal preference, but I hate uncertainty. I view routine as a positive rather than a negative, and don’t understand why my “comfort zone” have to a place that I’m trying to escape.
Now a year out of college, and a year into my job and life in LA, I’m trying to shift this perspective and accept the fact that I am finding myself right now, and that’s OK. I may never be done finding myself; but if I don’t embrace uncertainty and what’s lurking in that scary place outside my comfort zone, I’m going to do a much less thorough job.
“Life’s a game made for everyone,” sings Aloe Blacc, and “love is the prize.”
If I were to fall asleep for the next ten years, I would miss out on plenty of embarrassment, pain and heartbreak. The guys I like that don’t feel the same way? Wouldn’t have to deal with that. The guys who hurt me in the past that I can’t seem to leave behind completely? Wouldn’t be a problem.
There are definitely moments from the last year, growing pains, that I wish that I could erase – mistakes I’ve made, times I’ve been hurt or upset that seem to have stemmed from youth and inexperience and the stage where I am in life.
I’m fully aware that my life once I’m “settled down” will come equipped with its own set of challenges and hardships. I just think that facing them might be easier when I have more stability and feel more settled.
But the scary truth of it is: no one has stability. No one has a guarantee that she, or her spouse, or her child, will live for the next forty years, or even forty hours. Divorce happens, death happens, natural disasters happen. Being older and wiser may help one to deal with these realities, but that’s not guaranteed either.
We don’t have control over what happens to us, yet we have complete control over how we deal with it. We will never reach an age where we have everything figured out, where we are immune to rejection, pain and disappointment. We’re along for the ride until we’re not anymore, and the best we can do is to give our best smile to the roller coaster camera as it snaps our picture during the big drop.
“I can’t tell where this journey will end,” sings Aloe Blacc. “But I know where to start.”
By Kathleen Toohill