The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



My quarter-life crisis

| Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Year’s Day sales were great. Being called “ma’am” was not.

The beaming employee in Macy’s meant no harm. That made it worse. She thought she was being polite, that she might get a gold star from her manager. She didn’t realize that when she was ‘ma’aming’ me, she was maiming me. I’m being a smidge dramatic, but I can’t help it: I’m in the middle of a quarter-life crisis.

I used to be a Miss. I never minded hearing, “Miss Thomassen is an exquisite being” or, “Why can’t you be more like Miss Thomassen?” (The sentence choice was arbitrary.)

I do not like hearing, “Can I help you, ma’am?” when I am trying to browse. I want to be left alone in peace to stroke the silky scarves. Later, I will need a changing room to try on five dresses and buy none of them. For now, I would like to be left alone to enjoy my thread therapy session.

One might ask: “Why did you, MISS Erin Thomassen, need therapy?” I will answer nicely because One called me Miss. Well, it was New Years Day, and I realized that in 178 days I would turn 20. I would enter the roaring 20s, the I’m-roaring-because-I’m-not-a-teenager-anymore 20s. I like being a teenager.

Twenty times four is 80. I can do math, yay. I can also compare this number to 78.7, the average U.S. life expectancy in 2011. Oh wait, I already passed the quarter mark. Pro: that excuses last year’s moodiness. Con: that means I’m closer to death than I thought.

Maybe I will live past 80. Maybe I will die tomorrow. Maybe I have high cholesterol. Must purchase Cheerios. Cannot pick flavor. Darn the more than a dozen delicious varieties. Multigrain vs. ancient grain? Frosted vs. fruity? I JUST NEED NORMAL CHEERIOS NOW BEFORE MY CHOLESTEROL KILLS ME.

If I can’t choose and crunch Cheerios in my mouth, I might as well crunch them with my feet. I was about to rip the boxes off the aisles and stomp on them when I remembered: General Mills made up high cholesterol to sell more Cheerios. I swiveled away from Buzz the Honeybee and snagged the box[es] of Krave instead. I pat myself on the back for my healthy decision, which is harder than it looks, especially while balancing three cereal boxes between my other arm and knee. Stop laughing at my short arms.

Speaking of arms, I should probably take this quarter-life crisis as a reminder to take better care of my body. It may have to last me a long time. It would be nice to have teeth left at 60 and my original hips at 65. As a teenager, I pound on the pavement day after day thinking my knees are indestructible. What’s a little Holy Half? My joints are crying and I ignore them, shout at them and tell them to push through. I am a mean coach.

Changing my habits and respecting my body more would be smart. It would turn my fear of old age into a positive opportunity. Hmmm, what else could I do?

I could ponder death deeply and write about it. That’s never been done before.

I could ask God to increase my faith in His promise of eternal life. I could stop worrying and put my energy toward being a good and faithful servant instead. That would be a good thing to do.

I could realize that my fear of death implies that I love life. I love sipping mint tea and stretching to classical music. I love the downward dog and my dog at home. I love swinging until my butt hurts, reading until my eyes hurt.

I love sweet potatoes.

Heaven may not have sweet potatoes. I panic momentarily. Then I remember: heaven will have sweeter things to offer, like pure love in the form of God. That may trump an entire day’s dose of Vitamin A.

The day I die will actually be an amazing day. “MISS Erin!” One may remind me, “It may not be a day since you may no longer be in the dimension of time.” Thanks, One. I can always count on him to spot holes in my logic and socks.

Anyways, back to before One interrupted me: I am not looking forward to being laid in a coffin, but I suppose I am looking forward to heaven. Wait, what am I saying? Of course I’m looking forward to heaven.

I may not have mint tea, or even my oatmeal and shea butter hand lotion, but I will not need or miss it. The God-shaped hole in my heart will be full, and I will scoff at the days when I yearned for youth, to be mistaken for a Miss. “Aren’t you better off now?” I will ask myself. “Yes ma’am,” One will reply. I won’t even smack One, for hitting isn’t allowed in heaven. There will be greater joys.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , , ,

About Erin Thomassen

I am a freshman double majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and French. PLS (aka the Notre Dame Book Club) is the history of ideas through literature, philosophy, math and science. It was the perfect major for me, because I couldn't possibly choose one subject and hurt the other subjects' feelings. French was also a natural pick, since I have been prancing around my house under the pretense of performing ballet for eighteen years. If someone asks me what I do in my free time, I will tell them that I run and read. What I actually do is eat cartons of strawberries and knit lumpy scarves. If you give me fresh fruit, we will be friends. If we become friends, I will knit you a scarf for Christmas. It may be lumpy, but it will be in your favorite color. And if enough people become my friend, lumpy scarves might just become a trend.

Contact Erin