In true mid twenties style I’ve been deep in my quarter life crisis for a while now. I’d heard whispers, I’d read stories but I never knew the impact turning 25 would have on my life. Cue the anxiety I had never before experienced and too many sleepless nights worrying about things that I simply couldn’t change. So, after six months of dealing with my quarter life crisis what have I learned? Keep reading to find out.
If you’ve been here for a while now you’ll know that it all started when I moved back to New Zealand. I honestly think one of the hardest times in your life is going to be the transition from having endless freedom to settling back into your version of society. Mine certainly was [cue the ridiculous expectations and standards we tie our self-worth to]. Whether you feel you need a 9 to 5 job, your parents expect you to be making bank by 30 or that nagging conscience telling you “I thought I’d have more by my age”. In my case this was when I’d finished travelling and struggled to ‘want’ to stay still.
The thing is I chose to come back for a good reason and I was happy to. I had pretty much run out of money, I was sick of packing up my gear every other week and starting fresh. But most of all, I missed sharing experiences with those who knew me the best. Surface friendships and Facetime could only sustain me for so long. It seems funny to me now since I’m planning my trip back, but I used to get so sick of walking around a new city for hours simply to just “see” it. And so, with no regrets, I moved home to create a more stable life.
The easiest part for me was moving, the hardest thing was figuring out what I wanted to be doing. I struggled with the thought that most of my friends had shacked up and seemed to be 3 years ahead of me in life. I, on the other hand, couldn’t even find a job. Sure, I’d travelled and experienced things a lot of other people never will but it didn’t seem as valuable on paper. I mean, my friends owned houses (yes, plural) and I had spent my savings roaming around Europe/Australia/Asia.
Houses, wedding and babies aside, there were all sorts of other weird things I can only characterise as the symptoms of a Q.L.C. The nostalgia for one: I started to miss shitty times (hanging out with my ex in-between his other girls) as though it was the highlight of my life. Then came how sad I’d get watching comedies (um, what?). Then lastly, the sheer panic that came with any kind of change. Seriously, when my friend told me she was leaving Auckland I nearly lost the plot. Then I just realised I was ACTUALLY losing the plot. Except, unlike my Mum and her mid-life crisis, I couldn’t afford a red sports car to make it all feel better.
It’s honestly taken me almost a year to start appreciating what I have instead of what I don’t. Even more so, to stop worrying about things I can’t change. Perception is everything and you have to adjust your expectations accordingly. It’s true that people move at their own pace and that’s something we have to learn to accept. If you don’t you’re in for a life full of anxiety and disappointment. Unfortunately thanks to social media it’s easy to forget when you’re bombarded with photos of how the ‘other half’ live. I know you know, but here’s another reminder of how unhealthy spending too much damn time using it is.
Another thing that’s taken me a while to adjust to is that life comes in waves. There’s so much pressure to be happy at all times and that’s just not realistic. You have to learn to accept that crying yourself to sleep is as much a part of the rollercoaster as laughing until you cry. I try to remind myself often that you can change your life to be whatever you want. You’re not stagnant, you have endless choices and it’s your responsibility to make them if you need to. Be selfish – this is your time to be.
In the end nothing good ever stays, everything bad passes and sometimes you just need a healthy glass of wine to see the day out.
So, once I accepted ALL of this, I had to come up with a way to make sure I didn’t dive any deeper into this crisis. I’m someone who hates that you can’t physically do something to put yourself in a better head space. Call it a Virgo thing; I like to be in control. And since the whole basis of the dreaded Q.L.C. is that you are not, this was not going to cut it. So my answer? Distraction.
Whenever that nagging feeling hits, I like to do anything in my power not to give it power. The more you think about something, the more important it is to you right? So if you don’t think about it, it will eventually never exist. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. So I like escaping my reality with someone else’s. Read a book, watch a movie, call Janet you’re most reliable gossipy friend (you know, the one with a million stories) and get out of your own head for a hot minute. Trust me, hearing someone else’s problems can make your own just that little bit easier to deal with.
So there you have it, my journey so far through my quarter life crisis and hopefully some kind of relief from your own. Look I’m going to be honest and say that I am no expert here. I have royally fucked up a lot and I’m still trying to outweigh the bad decisions with some stellar ones. Because, karma. But you know what? Each day is a new beginning with no mistakes, so just wait. A good day will come for you yet.