"I'm having a quarter life crisis" I declared grandly to my ridiculously talented friend Carmel. "Oh..." she remarked "...what's that?"
For me it's the growing realisation that everything might not be okay. I'm officially a proper adult. I'm going to be 26. And my shit is far from together.
Buzzfeed calls it a "mortality year". Yes I know it's not Psychologies magazine but still...
However if it was they'd ask:
What triggered this?
Well, a number of factors but it started with an article on a popular conservative news site. In a daily dose of body bashing they went after Gareth Gates and his receding hairline. To younger readers Gareth Gates was on a show before the X Factor.
Gareth Gates is young. He isn't cool. But he is still young yes?
"Leave him alone!" cried one commenter....(commentator?)
"He's a middle age man. It's normal." said another.
I'm sorry...middle aged? So now I feel old and it's all Gareth Gates' fault.
Even as I write this blog I know that there are better examples of the quarter life crisis. Take "Girls" for example. I'm totting up the years and nothing I've achieved seems to make a great mark on the Lena Dunham-o-meter. Again not a scientific tool. It's a bit like that episode of The Simpsons when Homer compares himself to Edison. One of the dumbest characters on television compares himself to one of the greatest minds and I strive after Lena Dunham.
This is probably where I'm going wrong.
So far. So frivolous. So..."I need to make a change" I declared grandly again. My life has become static. I'm going to scare myself by going on a trip far away.
All my friends thought it was a good idea. I'd see different cultures and realise how lucky I had it. Maybe I'd go to India. Then I saw the stipulations for a visa and I opted for New York. Not quite what my mates had in mind for me - I wasn't about to "find myself" deep in the concrete jungle.
Nevertheless I booked it.
I got to Manchester airport. Bags packed and excited to see my friend Vicky who lives out there with her husband Louis. I was nervous but if Kevin McCallister could do it so could I.
Then I heard the tannoy.
Hang on...that was my name.
I arrived at the gate to see a man who looked remarkably like Stanley Tucci (in a serious role i.e not the Hunger Games). What followed was a series of questions about...me.
Now as you've probably realised I have no problem talking about myself. Far from it but these questions that encompassed faith and family at times left me stumped. My birth name is quite common I was assured that's why I'd been stopped but he still wanted to know if I was a practising Muslim, where my parents were born and whether I'd written anything political.
Ironically I was stopped because my name wasn't unique. In this moment I could have been anyone. My name was apparently representative of hundreds of other British Muslims. But being who I am I wasn't outraged by the fact I'd been stopped for these...factors. I was more concerned by the effect these questions had on me.
How often do you go to mosque?
Maybe I should go to Mosque more often...
Where were your parents born?
Perhaps I should see more of Pakistan...
Have you written anything political?
I should watch more Question Time.
All of these were pointing to the ultimate question:
How well do I actually know myself?
I had eight hours to ponder love and life in a metal tube in the sky. I was like Sanda Bullock in Gravity.
But I came to a conclusion.
A quarter life crisis.
This means (hopefully) I'm only a quarter of the way through. I potentially have three quarters of my life left. This means time to travel and to be more political and to learn more about my heritage. I have a new found determination to do all of those things in this "mortality year".
I am going to enlighten myself...
Gareth Gates is an English singer born on 12th July 1984. He's only 29.
See things are looking up already.