QUARTER LIFE CRISES - THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND
Considering I wasn't around during the previous generation's "twenty-something" years, I could be completely off base when I say that quarter life crises have increased over the years.
Really, I have nothing to back up that statement, but it makes this piece seem timely and relevant so just believe it for a second... thanks.
In my opinion, quarter life crises are on the rise (maybe), because of a few things.
1. We get (have) to see our peers doing cool stuff every day online. While most of this is fake and/or only part of the truth, we see Sally that is three years younger than us running a business in New York and we now question everything we've ever known, including our breakfast sandwich... "that was good, but was there a better one?" We live in a constant state of "the grass is greener" because all we're seeing is everybody's watered patch of grass... not the brown chunks and weeds that are inevitably growing elsewhere.
2. Millennials have a different mindset. Hate me for saying it, but a lot of these articles about millennials are true. We want to travel the world, clock in when WE want to clock in, and run our own lives. We want to do big things and change the world... when we wake up and find ourselves in a 9 to 5 at 25... some of us may freak.
3. We have access to all the information. Kind of the same as number one, but like, we can literally research anything in the whole world and see what it looks like, etc. There are so many options out there, how do we know ours is the right one?
Cue: quarter life crises.
Let's take me for example (I'm unfortunately a prime specimen in this arena).
I grew up doing ballet. It was going to be my life. However, as I got older, my social life became more important to me than my life at the barre. While I'm so happy with everything I have done in my life (okay, most things), it is one of my largest regrets. People go through these things all the time. I luckily found a new dream and passion years after giving up that dream. But yet, I constantly see professional dancers on my social media, people I used to train with now dancing with companies across the world... which often has me thinking... is it too late? Can I go back?
When in reality, I want to write/focus on my business. But wait... do I?
This is just one example of me playing the comparison game. You could also add wanting to get my MBA, wanting to get an apartment, wanting to be a mountain-woman, wanting to live in New York City and work for a top firm, wanting to move to Montana and be a barista, and wanting to be a nomad in Thailand simultaneously to the list of my quarter life crises causes. And let's not even mention the hundreds of articles that say, "how this 23 year old started the most successful business..." or "why I quit my job and traveled the world at 24."
I imagine mine would read, "How I made millions of plans while also having a rad job but never followed any of those plans because how the f*** do you do that when you need health insurance without getting penalized by the ACA?" Really enticing, right?
I know, I'm exhausting.
But alas, I have many friends that also change their mind on the regular, in search of something more, or at least, something different. Always looking for that true happiness.
Because life must be more than emails and doing tasks for your boss, right?
Or at least, that's what we think.
And with all the options in front of us, we get paralyzed as we try to decide. For me, it's "what if I don't live up to my potential in the eyes of everyone else?" But mostly, it's something else.
It's the possibility that, the option I choose, whether it be staying in my rad job and enjoying life, or going across the world to become a buddhist - is the wrong one. It's the possibility that nothing will ever bring you that true happiness, or at least, whatever you "leap" to won't be right.
That's the scariest thing of all.
I don't even know if it's leaping and being afraid to fall, more than it is leaping and being afraid you land on the wrong stone. Or, leaping and realizing the stone you're looking for isn't there at all.
That's the scariest thing of all.
But I guess, you either wonder or you try it. You remember that the stone you land on doesn't have to be the last. That you can skip from stone to stone your whole life if you really want to. That trying is better than not. That everything will work out in the end.
I was recently asked if I have any spiritual faith. And the truth is, lately, I don't. I'm not proud of this, nor am I ashamed. It just is. I'm working on finding this in my life, but there IS one thing I believe, because if I don't, well then I would live in constant state of stress over the future - for a while, I did.
I believe, that it will all work out in the end. If you are true to who YOU are, it will all work out.
It has to work out. It just has to.
And so, here are my tips for getting through your quarter life crisis, or crises if you're me.
1. Be honest with yourself.
2. Write down everything you've accomplished & all the cool people in your life.
3. Turn off your f***ing social media and go on a walk.
4. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't.
5. Realize that we're all confused as shit most of the time. Even your idols, even the "greats," we're all human and we all lose faith sometimes, we all lose our way sometimes.
6. Remember that it will all work out in the end.
Oh, and then go get a huge beer and remember how good your life is. And also, that you can do whatever you want, even if you don't know what that is yet.