How to Recover from a Quarter Life Crisis
My 25th birthday just passed and leading up to it even the thought of it stressed me out. Maybe the word crisis is a bit strong, but I feel like I am having a very strong reaction to my age. For me, I think I’ve discovered it all goes back to my career relating to my age — that’s what makes me feel stressed or like a break down could happen at any moment. I start to doubt myself and question whether or not I’ve accomplished enough. Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you! I say that 20 somethings need to quit being so hard on themselves, but this is a classic example of me not taking my own advice.
Succeeding at what I have chosen to work very hard on is important to me, so the older I get, the more I feel like I’m running out of time. I can’t keep saying that in five years I want to have x, y and z accomplished, but only be 27 at the end of that five years. I’m not very good at math, but even I know that 25 plus five does not equal 27 (unfortunately). It equals 30 and there’s no way I can wrap my head around turning 30. So, here I am, trying to pick myself up off the floor with some tips for myself (and you, if you need it) so I can dive in to 25 with a positive attitude instead of feeling like I’m failing.
1. Revisit Your Goals
If you’re like me and you’re stressed out about your career and accomplishing certain goals by the time you reach a specific age, maybe now is a good time to revisit said goals. When you get wrapped up in things, it’s easy to lose focus on what you’re actually trying to accomplish. I suggest getting a sheet of paper and drawing two lines to create three columns. Name the columns immediate, important and future. Visuals like this help me to prioritize re-evaluate. Maybe some of the things I thought were immediate or important won’t even make my list anymore.
2. Think Big Picture
I’m starting to accept that at my age, things change often and goals evolve. Knowing this, instead of feeling like I’m failing when I don’t accomplish a goal I set five years ago, I think about the bigger picture instead of this small, probably not-as-significant-as-I-think moment. When I take a step back, I realize I’m actually doing ok (most of the time).
3. Drop All Negativity and Fear
In 2017 I made a commitment to do two things. First, let go of all my fear — to stop being afraid of pursuing things I was passionate about for fear of judgement. Your whole life can go by before you realize you never really did what you wanted because you were afraid. Second, drop the negativity. I can’t carry around all the negative energy from the past and expect to be able chase down my dreams. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done, but it’s something to work towards.
4. Don’t Give Your Bank Account Too Much Weight
If I valued myself based on the amount of money in my bank account, I’d never have a good day. But it’s a definite cause for a quarter life crisis. The pressure (from yourself or otherwise) to make a good living that allows for freedom and travel is highly sought after. The minute I see someone posting about a vaca or some materialistic item, I instantly think I must not be making enough money because I don’t have those things. I hate when I think this way. I’m working hard now with the intention of putting myself in a better place later, so although I have to make sure I can pay my bills, I try not to give too much weight to the balance of my checking account. If you’re feeling down, think about where you were last year or two years ago. I always feel better when I do that because I remember how far I’ve come.
Photography by Kelly Theye