The terrifying twenties…

Quarter-life crisis

n.

A crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.

A sense of uncertainty.  Fear of the unknown.  The rest of your life stretching out ahead of you and no idea of what you’re going to do with it.

That’s the quarter-life crisis.

But…maybe there’s more to it than that.

It’s the feeling of being in limbo, hovering somewhere between being a student and moving out into the real world.  Some might liken it to being in a waiting room, compare it to the sense of anxiety and nervousness that you feel as you sit on the uncomfortable plastic chair at the doctor’s or dentist’s, staring at worrying posters about flu jabs and gum disease.  The only difference is that I don’t know what I’m waiting for.  (That, and there are no posters.)  There are so many questions.  What am I going to do?  Where am I going to go?  What’s the next step?  Is this it?  Is this all there is?

It’s the unfamiliarity of a new life, a life without the routine of full-time education, without the structure and habits of school and university.

Things used to be so easy.  Wake up, go to class, do the homework, go to sleep, do it all again tomorrow.  Of course, once you reach university, things change.  It’s a natural progression, a step closer to independence.  You’re in charge of your own life, living away from home, meeting new people and doing the things you want to do.  It’s a world away from the 9-4 of school.  Ultimately though, it’s still a world of its own, trapped inside the bubble of academia.

So it comes as a shock, those first few weeks and months after graduation, especially if you’re one of the ones who hasn’t made plans yet, hasn’t secured a job or found somewhere to live.  Suddenly, there’s no routine to fall back on.  Cut loose, like a boat slowly drifting out to sea, with no idea what will happen next.  That’s how I feel.

So what did I do?

I did what most uncertain, directionless graduates do.  I moved back home with my parents.  I’m currently waiting to hear back from someone about the possibility of some part-time work and I spend my days reading, playing the piano, watching television and feeling guilty, like I’m wasting my time when I should really be doing something useful, something productive.

Of course, I’m not really directionless; it’s just the empty weeks spent at home doing nothing that make me feel that way.  I’m actually one of the lucky ones.  I already know what I want to do.  I have plans.  They’re just not immediate ones.  That’s what I’m struggling with; the waiting.  It’s why I feel so lost, adrift, guilty for not doing more with my days.  Because there’s so much time still left before my plans kick in.

But things are starting to move along now, at long last.  I’ve finally sent off my Cordon Bleu Patisserie Diploma application form.  Now I’m just waiting to hear whether or not I’ve been accepted.

That’s the next step.  Fingers crossed.  (I almost can’t believe that this is it; it’s been just about twelve months since I first decided for certain that this was what I wanted to do. Now I’ve actually applied and I’m one step closer towards achieving my dream.  It feels almost surreal.)

In the meantime, let’s talk about biscuits.

Sandwich cookies – 06/08/2012

These are lemon and white chocolate cream cookies; tiny bites of crisp, buttery biscuit sandwiched together with a rich white chocolate ganache cut through with tangy lemon curd.  Originally, the Peyton and Byrne recipe uses the biscuit dough to make Jammy Dodgers; a home-made version of that classic childhood biscuit, but much more satisfying than the shop-bought ones.  (I was never that much of a fan of the ones that came in a packet, if I’m entirely honest.)

However, instead of making larger sandwich biscuits, I decided to make smaller cookies, glued together with a cream filling.  The sweetness of the chocolate is balanced beautifully by the light, bright citrus flavour and the cookies are an excellent base for the filling, crunchy and delicate, topped with a light sprinkling of sugar for extra texture.  Perfect with a cup of tea, these make for a perfect small bite.

(Biscuit recipe by Peyton and Byrne, adapted from Jammy Dodgers in British Baking.)

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