You don’t just turn into adulthood with grace… you kind of tumble into it. Not really sure where you’re going, what you’re “supposed” to be doing, or where you’ll go next. A lot of people don’t understand the struggles of being an almost adult. It’s the situation where the cup is exactly half full and half empty. It’s truly confusing. When you tumble into your mid-twenties, it’s like a hurricane coming your way which you had no idea was coming.
Going through a quarter life crisis is a trial of confused identity, misguided purpose, and hopeless days. You feel lost, anxious, and panicked. We are all desperate to hold onto our youth which is slipping through our fingers, and yet are excited for the stability adulthood brings. Quarter life crisis is a gut-wrenching feeling of fear, uncertainty and hoping things will get better. The monster in our head is constantly questioning: Am I pursuing the right career? Should I have stayed at my last job? Will I ever be happy with my career? It’s all confusing and there really is no right answer. The positive side is, this is completely normal and you are not alone. Even if everything feels impossible now, there are plenty ways to make the ride a bit easier and enjoyable.
The times are changing and what our parents did is not necessarily what we are meant to do. As a millennial, we want more adventure and a bigger purpose. We want to feel like we are making a difference, while enjoying the ride. Due to this characteristic, most of us are struggling to enjoy the 9-5 lifestyle. We are all trying to move away from the typical: stay with a good company for 20-30 years, retire and then enjoy your life. We may be somewhat selfish in that we want to enjoy our life NOW. Not when we are at an old age and may not be in the best health condition to do all the adventurous things our little heart’s desire. We are coming up with more creative ways to make our future brighter and don’t necessarily want to be tied down to something that will drain our energy and creativity.
What I wish I knew before turning 25 is that you don’t need to follow one path to “success”. There is no one path. Stop feeling like you must do all the right things — everything will unfold like it’s meant to. All the tribulations and struggles you are going through now are truly part of the process. Think of yourself as a masterpiece that hasn’t been perfected yet. It must go through many tests to become braver, stronger, more resilient, and smarter. Being a constant learner is part of the ride and you must look at it with young eyes as you did when you were a little kid. See everything like you are for the first time and welcome whatever comes your way. And don’t forget to always get rid of anything that bursts your happiness.
What I have noticed about being 25 so far is….
- Quarter life crisis is so real
- Life isn’t all sugar and plums and struggles are real part of everyday life
- Anxiety is so real and annoying
- Rush through life, and you have missed the small miracles that happen each day
If I could go back in time, I would tell little me that you need to look at life with curiosity, awareness, and awe. Never lose hope or sight of who you are. Stop letting people take control of your life. Learn to say no and learn to keep your head up no matter what. Smile at every opportunity, don’t ever take anything too seriously. You got yourself a ticket to the best show you’ll ever experience and that is this amazing life. Don’t waste it trying to live it like how somebody else wants you to live it. This is your show, don’t ever waste it being anything but happy. Always ask yourself, what would make me happy today? If the answer isn’t clear, then it may be time to make changes and adjust accordingly.
The only thing that is guaranteed in this life is death. We all know that is inescapable. So, don’t ever act or do something because it might be guaranteed. Experience it, try it out, look at it, feel it, smell it, but know it is temporary. Life is a crazy ride, who knows what will happen today, tomorrow, or next year. It’s truly amazing for that reason. It’s filled with so many adventures that awaits at the end of our comfort zone. Always live for the moment. Don’t fill your days with anxiety waiting for better days to come. Keep your inner peace by doing things that your soul is yearning for. Even something small as choosing the type of coffee that makes you happy is an enough reason to be happy.
The phases of going through a quarter life crisis is necessary and it will get better within some time. Dr. Oliver Robinson at the University of Greenwich did a recent study and wrote about Emerging adulthood, early adulthood, and quarter-life crisis: Updating Erikson for the 21st century, in which he talked about the 5 phases of going through a quarter-life crisis:
- Phase One: You feel trapped by your life choices, like your job, relationship, or both. You’re living on “autopilot.”
- Phase Two: You get a sense of “I’ve got to get out of this” and feel a growing sense that change is possible if you just take a leap.
- Phase Three: You quit the job, end the relationship, or break the commitment that’s making you feel trapped. Then you detach and enter a “time out” period where try to rediscover who you are and who you want to be.
- Phase Four: You begin rebuilding your life slowly but surely.
- Phase Five: You develop new commitments that are more in line with your interests and aspirations.
If you look at it through these phases, you can assure yourself that everything will be fine. You are just trying to figure out your life at such a vital and fragile time. Things don’t have to be perfect for you to enjoy your youth and your life. Every age is special which brings a new adventure and a whole new depth of clarity to your future. Keep listening to yourself and trust your gut feelings, they seem to already know what you are meant to do.
Keep in mind that happy and successful people have experienced exactly what you are experiencing right now, including your parents. It is a time of a whole lot of confusion and unnecessary stress you put on yourself. If you need reassurance, talk to your friends your age, or talk to anyone else that may be going through something like this. They will tell you the same thing. You are going to make it through this, with a whole lot of grace, happiness, good times, and miracles. Don’t forget, don’t waste your ticket to this show of life on anything that doesn’t align with your values or allows you to be who you are!
Thanks for reading!
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Until next time,
“Take chances. Take risks. Today is the oldest you’ve ever been. And the youngest you’ll ever be.”