The Quarter-Life Crisis: Give Yourself a Break


“What should I do with my life?” is the million-dollar question for most people spanning the uncomfortable age bracket of 25-35.  If you haven’t figured out the answer to that question, it’s okay.  If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, give yourself a fucking break.

Forget what you see on Pinterest and tune out the self-important statuses of your seemingly perfect, braggart Facebook friends.  The first years out of college are not – make the perfect home, find the perfect job, and meet the perfect man – years.  Those years are “get your shit together” years.  They are for us mere mortals, at least.

Following the flying of the caps and the keg-fueled graduation parties, our concerns circled around how to get by.  Find a roommate who isn’t a Craigslist killer, learn to juggle the work and play balance without filling a prescription of Xanax, and similar to-do’s on a Millenial generation-blanketing checklist.

You’re a baby duck when you graduate: you’re supposed to keep your head above water, you’re not supposed to be flying South for the winter.    

With such information in tow, I’ve had an epiphany: I’ve done a pretty good job in my post-college years.  I realize now that “success” is different from what I always thought it was supposed to be.

In the past two-three years, did I become the Martha Stewart-esque, Gretchen Rubin-inspired, Carrie Bradshaw version of myself I aspire to be?  No, far from it.  But in this time, I became an adult.  I needed those days to start at ground-zero and work through the hard stuff.  And although no one ever says so, becoming an adult ain’t easy, and it does require time.   

I realize now that it’s normal to not know what you want to do with your life at this stage in the game.  It’s normal not to know, but it’s important that you power through.  That you figure it out eventually.

It’s near impossible for me to just let uncertainty be.  But truth be told, most of our happiness is not determined by what we do, anyway.  It’s determined largely by our attitudes and our relationships with others.  So, allow that thought.  What steps would you take moving forward if this was all there is?  What if I were to focus on being happy with what I have, and making the best of the life in front of me?  It’s food for thought, anyway.

In the end, even if finding work you love is only a piece of the pie, I do want it.  But, I do take comfort in knowing that uncertainty at this stage is expected, and I am, you are, in very normal places.        

These years are symptomatic of a chapter in your life, and they are necessary.  If you find yourself in a job you don’t love, you are meant to work there, at least for now.  If you’re single and dating future Bachelorette candidates, you’ll meet Mr. Right someday.  If you get lonely from time to time, it only gets easier as you get older.

I’m not telling you that you’ll find your dream job, that’s up to you.  What I’m telling you is: you is smart, you is kind, you is important.  Regardless of whether or not you are who you want to be just yet.  I believe you’ll get there.  I believe in you.

9 thoughts on “The Quarter-Life Crisis: Give Yourself a Break

  1. I hope that many in the 25-35 bracket read this because it is very insightful and may save many a lot of grief. Wish I would have figured this out way back when but it happens when it is supposed to anyway…the great epiphany that is. Well said, young scribe!

  2. Hey, I’m in my forties, and still trying to figure out what I want to be if I grow up.
    As long as you’re enjoying your experiences along the way and learning as you go, you’re doing well.

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