With four months to go, I can nearly say I’ve survived my quarter-life crisis. That being said, the struggle is so very real and I can personally attest that there have been quite a few instances where I have felt disappointed or overwhelmed. When people talk about the “formative years”, I’d like to think they specifically mean your twenties, a period of time where you are literally forming into the person you will ultimately become, encountering, enduring and appreciating situations all on your own without the help of anyone else.
Keep reading for survival tips to get through any day of your twenty-fifth year!
Adults are living proof.
You will survive. I know this because there are these things called “grown ups” who are (sometimes perhaps only slightly) older versions of you who also went through periods of self-doubt, disappointment and overwhelming decision-making. They’re going to say things like, “It’s okay, you’re young” when something heavy comes up that gives you anxiety. Don’t feel guilty for doubting yourself and instead accept your emotions and tackle each struggle incrementally and with the assurance that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, older and wiser.
Ask for help.
Part of being an adult is knowing when and how to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re incompetent or weak. In fact, it means just the opposite. Reaching out actually demonstrates that you know your limit and welcome the opportunity to learn from others. And I’ve never known a single person to refuse a fresh batch of cookies, case of beer or Uber ride in exchange for an extra hand.
Be the kind of person who makes lists.
Instead of committing yourself annually to resolutions that go unfulfilled, set goals (plural or singular) that can be achieved just by setting a Saturday afternoon aside. The sense of accomplishment (see also: relief) you get from making good on a plan will inspire you to tackle more and motivate you to reach for things that can be mentally crossed off and not added to your plate. Trust me, Netflix can wait.
As you sip your morning coffee every day, finish this sentence: “Today will be a success if I __________.” It doesn’t need to be complicated, simply pick-up your dry cleaning (it has to still be there, right?), call your Mom, or make tomorrow’s lunch tonight so you don’t have to shell out extra cash you can save for later. Plan your day early enough so you can be successful before bedtime.
Do what makes you happy.
If going out every weekend doesn’t make you happy then stop doing it. If hanging out with friends you’ve had for years but no longer have anything in common with doesn’t make you happy then stop doing it. If spending an entire lazy Sunday afternoon at home with your cat, trying out new recipes for the week makes you happy then, by all means, do it to excess.
I don’t know about you but when I was little, I could picture what a cool tween, teen and college kid I would be. Sure, in reality there were less flare leg jeans, scrunchies and eye glitter from Bath & Body Works but the principles were basically the same. Now that I’m twenty-five, I have no idea what a cool thirty year old me looks like let alone twenty-six and that’s kind of terrifying. So instead of panicking, I’m starting small. In five years I want; a job that gets me up in the morning and a place of my own (even if I’m only a renter within 25 miles of Boston).
Plan for downtime.
It seems to me that a lot of go-getters don’t know how to relax. They seem to always be buzzing, even if it’s a Saturday night and they’re at the bar with you. Wherever you are when you plan to relax, remember to be all there and appreciate it fully so that you can truly recharge in good company with all the benefits.
Remember to water the grass.
It is way too easy to look to others for examples of success and get sucked in. There are always going to be people who get into grad school on the first try, are engaged to their high school sweetheart, get pregnant at the exact age you always swore you would etc.. Be happy for them and also happy for you that great things are coming your way. You might have to work a little harder, longer or smarter to get there but good things are inevitable if you stay focused on your own journey.
Spice it up.
One of the most affordable ways to get a change of scenery during a time in your life when you could really use a vacation is by adding variation to your everyday. Pick up a new hobby, try a new class at your gym or start a new weekend tradition with friends. Building in variation will take your everyday grind to extraordinary.
Talk about it.
I take a lot of comfort in the fact that someone else coined the phrase “quarter-life crisis”. This means it was a thing before I found myself stuck in one and also leads me to believe that it was a thing because someone else experienced it too. Chances are, you’re not the only person in your social circle who is in a rut and it’s okay to lean on friends for advice or support. You are not alone in feeling this way.