Right, I’m 27 soon…
…I know I act much younger and look far older but if you aim for the middle of those two figures, 27 is the number you’ll wind up with. It would also appear I’ve chosen the age of 27 to have a (technically delayed) quarter life crisis.
What are you on about Lee?
Well I first read the term ‘quarter life crisis’ on the back of a book that my brother Adam gave my sister Lizy a few years ago, I didn’t read the book for whatever reason (probably due to the fact it wasn’t mostly pictures of Batman on the inside, or maybe I just didn’t like the cover). The term “quarter life crisis” must have subconsciously stuck with me though and I had forgotten all about it until recently when somebody asked me what had been up with me lately and in a rather “meh” tone of voice I told them of this theory of the quarter life crisis.
It’s most likely to strike in the mid 20’s but could be sooner or later depending on your personal circumstances I guess. It’s probably going to strike around a birthday or one of those odd moments where somebody says something like “you know Grand Theft Auto III is ten years old today?”. Your first reaction is to declare them a dirty liar while you start bringing up Wikipedia on your iPhone to check. It’s that kind of almost insignificant event that leads your mind down a path which has only one conclusion…
“…Shit, I’m old.”
The next thing you know your stood watching your secondary school self give Mr Parkes the answer “Johnny Vaughan” to that time old question of “So then Mr Williams, what do you want to be if you grow up?” For the record I answered “Johnny Vaughan” to that question. No I didn’t want to be involved with the supply of class A drugs (although I understand a lot of people in that room at the time have since chosen that career path). What I actually wanted to do was present The Big Breakfast. Seriously that was my life’s goal at that time; I wont lie it kinda still is, The Big Breakfast was bloody good.
As I reached the end of secondary school I made the decision not to go to college, there where many reasons behind that decision but the main ones were quite simple: I was too lazy and hated students (especially art students). A small part of me had always regretted that decision until recently when one of my more promiscuous friends informed me that college wasn’t all shaggin’ and casual drug takin’ and for her the whole thing was actually a bit boring. I’d chose to throw caution to the wind and actually followed up on what I wanted to do, so I got a voluntary job at the local hospital radio station. I won’t lie I didn’t stick it long, that place was grim and I have the utmost respect for anybody that gives up their spare time to produce content, put on a happy face and actively involve themselves in people’s lives who really aren’t very well.
It was good fun though and as I was the cool new kid with the denim jacket and sideburns put on “the younger persons show” on a Saturday night under the wing of one of the stations vets, a lovely lady called Lin. I’d go around the children’s wards talking to the kids a generally being me having a laugh and getting requests for the show later on that evening.
Wyclef Jean – Perfect Gentleman was often requested and it seemed odd having kids asking for a song about a stripper to played for them. It was good fun and I really enjoyed that bottom rung of the ladder to fame but then came that make or break moment that everybody who works on hospital radio goes through and the day when that sick kid who had been there every week since you started was suddenly gone. Nobody need say what happened, you could feel it in the air. I broke, that was me done. I don’t think I ever went back.
Simultaneously to that me and Lin had scored a job on a lovely (but very local) radio station in the south of Birmingham. It was fucking brilliant, while all my mates (I say “mates” more “people I knew”) where reading up on paint or dribbling wax on the floor and claiming each dribble represents and emotion or some crap me and Lin were out at Faithless gigs and hanging out backstage with Ash (remember Ash? What the bloody hell happened to them?) It was brilliant! I was on the second rung of the ladder to my Big Breakfast dream and I wasn’t even 18.
Then it started to go south for god knows how many reasons, blah blah blah… really long paragraph… skip to the end and before I knew it the radio station had long stopped broadcasting and I was working in a Sony Centre. I won’t lie it was a good laugh and looking back its no wonder the shops got closed down, I think I was single handedly responsible to all the dicking about in at least two of those shops.
We’d play off ground tig on a Saturday while also serving customers, we’d pile up TV boxes then Starsky and Hutch the Van through them out the back and encourage some guy wandered in off the street (who was quite clearly mentally ill) to have a little dance in the shop…
…and video him
…and then put it on YouTube
…and produce a line of mugs with his face on and sell them out the back for £12.
That was a good laugh, but it’s no wonder we went bust.
Many moons had passed since the those last days of Radio Hollymoor and before I knew it I was stuck in retail, I was a lifer. Those “people I knew” had all gone on and completed university, become teachers or pharmacists, had kids, been to jail or got hideously ugly and I was exactly where I didn’t want to be. Stuck in a dead-end job where I’m constantly pissing into the winds of stupidity for less than my brother makes working part-time in Wetherspoons. I know it’s wrong to complain about having stable employment in the current economic climate but there isn’t a day that goes by in that shop where I don’t dream of a CH-47 Chinook carrying a full cargo bay of munitions crashing into the side of the building (not the side of it I’m stood in obviously) and bursting into a ball of flames.
If it’s not who you are but what you do that defines you then I tend to not mention that place when people ask what I do, working in a Hi Fi shop isn’t interesting in the slightest, it’s a challenge sure I’ll give it that but it’s just not the right kind of challenge. I struggle with what to tell them when people do ask though, I’m not a journalist even though I hang out with that crowd, I don’t think I’m a particularly good writer so I tend to avoid that one for fear of the first thing coming up in the google search they run on me being ‘Tweet Nothings’ and although my business card says Social Media Manager I tend to avoid that too because it makes me sound like a bit of an asshat. GamingLives is what I do now though, all day. Every day.
I couldn’t tell anybody why though; I feel a sense of duty towards it, some bizarre need to stay up till daft o’clock in the morning and make sure all the bits I’ve declared myself responsible for are where they should be and that some fanboys haven’t come a long and trashed them. I can’t quite pin it down to just one thing it is that I love about it, I think its more about having a sense of belonging or being a part of something great.
It’s not all sunny days in Los Angeles and Cheesecake Factory burgers though, its hard work, really hard work and just like any job there are days where you just wanna twist your pad in half and throw the bits at the wall in a massive rage quit fit. Regardless of the odd low though, I couldn’t give it up. Granted it’s not the big breakfast, it’s become more than that now.
So what exactly is the quarter life crisis?
Well it’s kinda this blog post…
It’s the moment that where you start analysing all of those decisions you’ve made be them big or small; from what you decided to do at an age when you really weren’t qualified to answer the question to deciding if you should get on that train to London to meet the strangers off the internet.
It’s the moment where you realise that it really didn’t pan out how you wanted.
and it’s that moment where realise that you won’t be presenting The Big Breakfast.
It’s not a depression though, its more of an acceptance.
It’s the acceptance of all the bad choices that lead you to where you are at that very moment.
It’s the acceptance of that nagging feeling you have had in the back of your head for a while, knowing that you need to make some big changes, sort things out and start doing what you really want to do before it really is too late.
The trick is just having the bollocks to do it.