The Morning Debrief- On Having a Quarter Life Energy Crisis


Welcome to the kitchen table. You’ve joined us in medias res.

As my flatmates roll their eyes at this completely unnecessary use of latin, I must get on with ‘the middle’ of the story. 

You see, you’ve entered the kitchen at a time of crisis. My flatmate has left our gas hob on. All Night. For hours and hours and hours and hours. My other flatmate has inhabited the state of Professional Lost Ginger Cat and is currently perched in a corner licking the wounds of the evening before. My other other flatmate is displeased with the cat on the floor and the general mess of things. One’s at her grown up job. And I, my friends, I am slowly dwindling into insanity over the cost of the energy bill.

This story, this column, is about the kitchen table.  You are hereby cordially invited to sit and unpack the General State of Things in our humble home. Myself and my flatmates- four final year English Lit and one poor psychology student (both parts of that sentence being equally terrifying)- are your host and rather sorry victims of the story. And perhaps, you, as our very special guest will be too. 

So as I turn off the hob, let me explain today’s predicament. Recently, a truly terrible affliction has taken over our minds, our bodies, our very beings! It’s something I have heralded as the ‘Frontal Lobe Development Era’.

I have created a very scientific spreadsheet to help exhibit the symptoms of your Frontal Lobe Developing:

Things that we only care about now that our frontal lobes are semi-developed:

  1. The energy bill (as you can imagine the gas hob scenario did not go down well)
  2. Having hangovers (17 year old me is baffled) 
  3. Red wine
  4. Spilling something on the carpet 
  5. Spilling red wine on the carpet
  6. Doing yoga (17 year old me is equally flummoxed)
  7. Eating porridge (only real adults like porridge)
  8. The amount of stuff in the washing machine
  9. Using latin literary phrases (I can’t pretend that this isn’t exclusive to me)
  10.  Attempting to take care of oneself 
  11.  How bad it feels when you’ve failed to do this 
  12. Doing things that might get you a post-uni job

How we know it’s only semi- developed:

  1. We are collectively useless at looking for  a post-uni job
  2. The copious amount of money spent in The Arlington 
  3. Fundamentally refuse to go to the gym (there’s a very real air of mystique about this)
  4. Pretending to read books we haven’t  (my favourite lie claiming to have read Ulysses)
  5. Inability to only have one drink 
  6. We’ve still not paid the energy bill (must get on this) 

Scientifically speaking (and this is some really good science here) your frontal lobe isn’t supposed to develop till you’re 25ish (your life’s half middle) yadayeeyadayaa, but in my very humble opinion something is definitely happening to the minds that once drank litres of vodka for fun, had time to have several suitors, consistently woke up with shoes on in their beds (is this a universal experience?) and would inhabit the role of Cat with Zoomies after a night out.

But Ginger Cat, despite having seemingly recreated a scene from Dante’s Inferno this morning (not a zoomie in sight), fundamentally disagrees that her Frontal Lobe is developed at all, the hob culprit remains at large and I battle on with my dark energy bill obsession. 

Due to the overarching fact that, in this story, my flatmates and I play the roles of Five Professional Grown Ups we find ourselves at a confusing crossroads. 

Maybe it’s the last year of uni effect, or maybe it’s our bodies finally giving up the fantasy that we’re able to fill ourselves with stuff-stuff-and-more-stuff and not feel any effect- or maybe it’s actually just a consequence of growing up and reaching your quarter life in a time of crisis. But surely these alley cats aren’t quite ready to be domesticated yet?

And indeed as indicated by the General State of Affairs in our kitchen- we’re not. So where does one go from here? 

Do you play into the wistful nostalgia of your first year self?  Do you cope with the price of bills by swigging and spilling wine on the carpet with reckless abandon? Do you simply pretend that your hangover from this is a fun and new experience?

Alternatively, do you think of nothing but the smart metre in your soul? Do you continue to have sleepless nights over the energy bill? Do you vow to become a teetotal, vegan, Latin speaking, yoga God after every night out?

I find myself edging towards the latter category, while Ginger Cat and the Hob culprit scoff at me across the table. Psychology student is too busy for this nonsense because she is busy at her grown up job. My other flatmate is a Vegan Yoga Fan Number One so you can imagine her position here. 

But alas, despite all my ranting and raving none of us have paid the damn energy bill because we’re too busy turning it into a damn metaphor at the table. And maybe this ambiguity is the way to cope with our quarter life energy crisis. I think until one of us does this, the cat (me) stays in the bag (the middle of the categories). 

The Frontal Lobe Development Era remains an underdeveloped kitchen table concept for now.

Leah Sinforiani

(The Morning Debrief is a monthly lifestyle column by Leah Sinforiani, exclusive to the qmunicate.com. Stay tuned for more installments!)

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