I don’t typically swear, but there’s an “F” word that, to me, is far more offensive than the typical “F” word, and that word is Fine.
When someone says that they’re fine in response to a question of how they are that day or how they’re feeling, it sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me!
Sure, not every day is sunshine and rainbows. But we are given this one miraculous, beautiful life with endless opportunities and the true ability to create and experience absolutely anything we wish. How could it ever be described as… fine?
To me, this is an immediate indication that someone is in a quarter-life trap. And, I say this with compassion, because I know what a quarter-life trap is like all too well. In fact, it’s the reason I started Urban 20 Something to begin with!
What’s a quarter-life trap?
Glad you asked! I call a state of “fine” a quarter-life (or mid-life!) trap because it’s not quite as intense as a quarter-life crisis. It usually occurs when things in your life are okay… not really bad (you have a job, you can afford to eat and live, you have friends), but they’re not really great either (you don’t love your job, you can’t afford to live well, you wish you had more time for your relationships). Simply put, it occurs when your life is fine.
For me, my quarter-life trap came in STRONG when I was a couple of years out of college. I had a good job as a paralegal in New York City, I lived in Manhattan with close friends as roommates, I had a boyfriend that I loved… and in a lot of ways, things were great and I was happy. But it didn’t take long for me to hear “Fine” start to be my own response when asked about my life.
I had to get real with myself.
Things were not bad, but they weren’t great.
I didn’t LOVE my job and was concerned I’d never find career fulfillment. Yes, I was able to live in New York City, but certainly not luxuriously or with any freedom to save. I loved my boyfriend, but knew our relationship could be even more if I got out of this quarter-life trap and started saying “yes” to myself.
Maybe you can relate?
Thank God I did not accept that state of fine as my reality. Fast forward two and a half years, and my life looks completely different.
I left that job, and the field of law altogether, and started my own business, which is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever had the privilege of doing. I moved into an apartment I love (with a terrace!) and feel I truly live the New York life to the fullest. No longer do I feel stuck or stagnant. And that boyfriend will soon become my husband! We support each other in pursuing all of our dreams and it’s the best partnership I could have ever asked for.
Of course, this transformation didn’t take place without hard work and some trial and error. But none of it would have happened if I didn’t reject a state of being “fine” and became determined to do what it ever it took to live in a perpetual state of “great”, “excited”, “elated”, and “curious.”
So why do so many people respond with “fine”?
The reason so many people get stuck in this area is because we’re often taught growing up that we should be grateful for the blessings we do have, and as a result, people convince themselves that they’re current realities are enough and don’t ask for more.
I am all for gratitude. But why does gratitude have to negate the desire for more or the refusal to settle?
To me, gratefulness for what we have been given and the desire and drive to create more don’t contradict each other, but rather, go hand in hand.