Monday, August 15, 2011

Quarter Life Crisis -- Let Them Eat S'Mores

Occasionally, I truly understand why I named this blog what I did.

To apologize for the huge, wordy blog post to follow,
here's a s'mores bar to tempt you to read on.

A handful of us 20-somethings, we're not like our parents. Our parents who left home at 17 or 18 and never looked back, who figured themselves out and grew up in a linear fashion even if it was difficult at times. Those of us who aren't ready to settle down and marry or have a family, and those of us who aren't lucky enough to be financially free to go off and start adult life full-force post-college (whether it is from their own doing or with help) even if just barely and with five roommates in a sketchy part of town, are in what I call Weird Transitional Phase or, as John Mayer would put it, The Quarter Life Crisis.

We are post-grads living back home with the folks. This is probably the last place we want to be. Nothing against the 'rents--you could have the coolest, most laid back parents in the world. You could have full reign of the house or even your own house inside their house and you still probably want to get the heck out of there. Oprah could be your mom and you want to get out of there. Anyway. You're either frantically looking for a job, in a not-what-I-want-my-career-to-be job, or somehow in a job relevant to what you want to do in life but probably not at a high enough salary to feel like your degree is paying itself off quite yet. You're either single and loving it, single and hating it, or in a relationship of some sort and maybe or maybe not heading towards the altar in the any sort of future. You may or may not have the same friends from high school milling about.

Not so pretty, but sweet and amazing on the inside.
Like me, right?
In any case, the future seems so uncertain and so far away and you feel stuck in the Not-Yet-An-Adult-But-Definitely-Not-a-Kid-Anymore Limbo. Where you need to act professional but also kind of want to do a keg stand every now and then. You want to be taken seriously but not too seriously. Annoyed when you're mistaken for a high schooler but fear the day you're not. Hoping for the day you can just "find yourself" and become a real person. And the WHAT IF Monster plagues your nightmares: WHAT IF I don't achieve my goals? WHAT IF I am stuck living at home forever? WHAT IF I don't find a job, don't find the guy (or girl), don't get my crap together and GROW UP? When am I SUPPOSED to GROW UP? WHAT IF I FAIL??

So, last week the WHAT IFs decided to sneak up on me and freak me the heck out. I had the sad realization that even if I consolidated my loans, it wouldn't bring the monthly repayment low enough to warrant moving out of my parents' house. As it is, I can not afford rent in addition to them unless I want to barely break even each month. This led to a downward spiral of I will be in Western Mass FOREVER and I will never achieve my dreams and I will just be a lonely old lump with a bunch of cats forevermore. I tried to call friends to hang out and get my mind off it, but on the particularly darkest day no one was free or responding. On this same day things ended with the dude I had been kind of sort of casually seeing. Ending in a big crazy explosion of doom and WHATTHEHECKAREYOUKIDDINGME-ness that ended up with me just feeling lonely and unimportant with a dash of used.

Om nom nom nom...

The feeling lingered for the weekend, despite me getting out and about and roaming around Umass with a younger friend, trying so hard to live vicariously and feel like I was a freshman again, thinking this might help. It was fun, but afterward I still felt strange. It wasn't until Sunday, after some mild retail therapy and a quick stop to visit my former cat at an old theater friend's house (she gave her a wonderful home when I no longer could), when one of my very closest friends came over to hang out. We talked about her upcoming wedding, played with my dog, and made these amazing s'mores bars. Somehow, and I can't even explain it, I felt better. A combination of new clothes, a quick cuddle with my old kitten, being so happy for my friend (Weddings are fun! Love is great!), and making the most delicious of baked goods was just the medicine I needed to get me out of the funk.

I accept that sometimes, I'm just going to feel this way. The future IS uncertain, but that's okay. I can't escape to NYC, or LA, or Chicago, or London, or any of the amazing cities I feel are calling to me--not right now. I'm single again and trying to remember how to do that properly (still in the healing process, but kind of wanting to "get back out there" too) without hurting myself or selling myself short. I don't have a lot of friends in the area, but the ones I do have are there for me when I need them, but I need to understand that they do have their own lives and can't always rush to comfort me when I want them to. I have a job that I love, and that I learn something new at every day, even if it's not necessarily the career I pictured myself in. I am lucky to have a job, having a job I love is even luckier. I'm going to take a cooking class. I'm going to be in a play. I'm going to write an article for a magazine. I'm doing just fine.

Recipe = Almost Here. You've come so far...

Dear WHAT IF Monster, I AM ON THE RIGHT TRACK. And it's totally, completely, 100% fine to be scared and uncertain and stress sometimes.

It IS a Quarter Life Crisis, afterall.

These S'mores Bars, for a little while at least, make everything so much better. They were the first thing to come out of the test kitchen when I interned at FamilyFun and are still my favorite.

Magical Make-You-Feel-Better S'Mores Bars
(From FamilyFun Magazine)
*note* I doubled the recipe for mine, but this is it as-is from the magazine

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 (1.55-ounce) chocolate bars
1 (7-ounce) jar of marshmallow creme

-Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

-In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the crushed graham crackers, flour, salt, and baking powder and beat until well mixed, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.

-Spoon half the dough into the pan and spread evenly with your fingertips. Break the chocolate into pieces and arrange over the dough. Spread a layer of marshmallow creme over the chocolate. Flatten the remaining dough into pancakes and lay them over the marshmallow.

-Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the bars cool before serving.

And all is right in the world.

*Note: I overuse parenthesis, don't I?


  1. Nothing really ever changes other then you may become a parent and have to seem like you have it all together. As for love advice I feel like the right person comes to those that do not seek it (it did to me at the time that I was oh so happy to be single). Try different clubs or meet-ups and enjoy this time before you have to look like a grown up even though you are far from it.

  2. Great post. You will be an inspiration and provide motivation to many!

  3. I love you girlfriend!!! Had so much fun making these with you :)

  4. It sounds like you are on the mend. I'm glad that your friends and this dessert helped bring your spirits back up!

  5. You ARE on the right track. Glad you could pull out of the funk and recognize all the great things going on in your life. And thank you for sharing these s'mores bars to make one more great thing in MY life. :)

  6. Um, those s'mores bars look fantastic. =D Want!

    Also, I found a new foodish blog and thought I'd share:

  7. Those s'mores bars look scrumptious! It sounds like you're doing great, always think positively - life is full of good surprises, sometimes we just need to be a little patient :)

  8. These look great! Yum! early twenties sucked too. Everything got way better around 26. Way, way better.