Crushing The Quarter Life Crisis

May 29th, 2018. The day I turned 25. Twenty-five! A quarter of a century. It’s an understatement to exclaim that this thought triggered a bit…

May 29th, 2018. The day I turned 25. Twenty-five! A quarter of a century. It’s an understatement to exclaim that this thought triggered a bit of a mental breakdown; meaning I sat on the floor in my room and cried like a baby. The thought hit me like a brick–I’m half way through my twenties, a quarter of my way through life and I feel like I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. Where has time gone? Where has my life gone? What comes next? My emotional collapse has all the makings of what we millennials are now calling a quarter life crisis.

A quarter life crisis is defined as a period of time in one’s twenties that involves anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life. Or we can use Urbandictionary’s definition, which I like much better–when you realize suddenly that you’ve finished school, and it’s time to Choose Your Career, and Support Yourself, and enter the Real World — NOW — and you have no earthly idea what to do. That sounds about right, eh? At least, for me, this describes my anguish perfectly. I graduated from college in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. I quickly realized that it was officially time to begin “adulting”, to begin a career journey, and finally start to support myself financially (thanks mom & dad for supporting me during college, you’re the real GOATs). The cold, harsh real world welcomed me with open arms, but I began to sink before I could even attempt to swim. The pressure of trying to find a well-paying job with benefits in this career field (or any field for that matter) started to weigh heavily on me. To my surprise, a lot of jobs did not pay well, even though I hold a Bachelor’s degree. To add insult to injury, most companies wanted someone with five plus years of experience—for an entry level position! I was fresh out of school after what, 18 years? Where was 5 years of working experience going to come from?! Is this what being an adult is like? Feeling disappointed, discouraged, and crushed by debt, I began to question what life is all about– what life really even means.

What am I doing with my life? Where will my career go? Did I choose the right career path for me? Will I be successful? Will I help to make an impact? Will I get married and have a family? Will I ever be happy? What’s the point of all this? I found myself neck-deep in full crisis mode and scrambling to find answers. I, like many others, turned to the internet to attempt to answer such questions. Of course, Google can’t tell me what career path is right for me or if I’ll ever be financially stable, but Google did actually soothe some of my apprehensions. Because thankfully I’m not alone. A study of 2,000 British millennials from the ages of 25-35 showed that approximately 53% of individuals stated they are struggling to make ends meet financially, or are struggling with career or personal pressures. Me too, my friends, the struggle is real.

A sense of doom and gloom had been lingering over me. After having an extensive conversation with my parents, my anxiety started to melt away. Being older, and obviously much wiser, they gave me priceless advice on how to get through this rough patch in life. So let me share my wisdom with you:

  1. No matter what struggles you’re going through, whether financial or personal, you will get through it and things will get better. You’ll be okay even though you don’t feel okay all the time.
  2. Don’t waste your youth worrying—because before you know it, you’ll be 50 and regretting it.
  3. Live your best life every single day, crisis or no crisis—because you really never know what the future holds.
  4. Be kind to yourself. stop putting so many expectations and unwarranted pressure on yourself about what you “should” be doing. What will happen for you will happen at the right time.
  5. You are where you are supposed to be.
  6. How you’re feeling is normal—everybody goes through it, it’s just a part of this thing called life.
  7. Stop comparing yourself to others—everyone’s path is different, it’s unhealthy, and is likely to make you feel even more frustrated.
  8. Let me say it one more time—you are where you are supposed to be.
  9. It’s not a crisis, it’s a transition and all transitions have an end.
  10. The best answers come to us when we are not looking.

So, my fellow millennials, there you have it. I know it’s all easier said than done, but try to stay mindful and take each day one at a time. The mid-twenties are nothing but a pivotal transition period in what will hopefully be a long, wonderful life. I think Robert Frost said it flawlessly when he said “the best way out is always through.”  This anxiety-ridden phase that you’re going through with all its ups and downs and trials and tribulations is where you learn who you truly are. This is where your story begins. And that, my friends, is what matters. Crisis averted.

By: Julia Robinson

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