1. At least once a month you watch clips of old school Nickelodeon and other childhood materials. Or you break out your old Disney VHS collection until you’ve built up enough feelings of nostalgia to move you to deep depression or tears.
2. Considering quitting your job to chase your dreams is a regular occurrence each night before bed and every morning before work.
3. At 20-something years old you’re just now smoking cigarettes, marijuana or experimenting with some other drug for the first time.
4. You give yourself miniature panic attacks when you sit and think about how rapidly your 30s are approaching (or disappearing), with your 40s looming shortly thereafter.
5. You’d much rather stay at home on a Saturday night and have a glass of wine or a brew while watching Netflix, but instead you go out to avoid feeling “old.”
6. You often take lengthy, thought provoking drives to “find yourself,” but end up crying as Coldplay (or some other alternative rock music) surges through your speakers.
7. You really want a new tattoo, hairdo and/or piercing for no real purpose, other than that it’s new.
8. Drinking adult beverages used to make you carefree and social; now it makes you sad and sulky.
9. You’re dreading your next birthday the same way you used to fear going to the dentist as a child. (Aww, remember when you were just a little tyke, petrified to go get a cleaning? That feels like ages ago now, doesn’t it?)
10. The sight of hugely popular celebrities that are 18 OR UNDER disgusts you. Nothing personal, you just envy how lucky they are to be so young, wealthy and successful.
11. You feel a sense of urgency to get settled down so you can have a house, wife/husband and baby.
12. You didn’t finish school but you speculate what life would be had you gotten a degree, OR you graduated college but finding a job is so difficult, you’re wondering if it was even worth it.
13. You’ve strongly considered ditching your current situation and traveling the world, Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love style — but with the current state of the economy and a lack of funding, you held off.
14. At times you look around and feel like EVERYONE is doing better than you in everyaspect of life.
15. Not only are things related to your current financial situation nerve-racking, they’re also rather perplexing.
0-5: Kudos to you for being so magnificent at life that you have little to no cares in the world. You must be highly successful or have an abundance of confidence. Whatever the case may be, it’s people like you that make the rest of us cringe at our current living situations. That’s not your fault though, we don’t hate the player — we hate the game.
6-10: So, you’re on the fence and undecided on whether you should keep calm and carry on or freak out like the rest of us. Look, if you can remain composed until you’ve found some way to muddle through this rough patch, I encourage you to do so. Take life’s lemons and do with them what you may but tread carefully — you’re not too far from hitting the panic button like us Quarter-Life Crisis-ers.
11-15: CRISIS ALERT! You’re officially in catastrophe prevention mode but that’s OK, there are others out there experiencing the exact same struggles. We can embrace this uphill battle and see the beauty in the breakdown. Let’s all just stop and take a few moment to drop all of life’s stresses right this very second. Take a deep breath and relax. Below are four methods we can try adapting to ease the growing pains that come with this tough stretch:
GUIDE TO THE QUARTER-LIFE CRISIS
Believe. Corny, I know — but 100% true! Invest and trust in yourself. If scarily large steps are necessary, then take a leap of faith into the unknown future and have enough confidence in yourself to either land on two feet or get back up after you fall and bust your ass.
Slow down. Deadlines and paying large amounts of attention to time are detrimental to one’s stability. Never feel rushed to make significant life changes. Hasty decisions don’t always pan out well and if you appreciate life for what it’s worth in this very moment, you’ll probably feel a whole lot better.
Do what’s best FOR YOU, not others. Whatever it is that you see other folks doing may seem alluring and enchanting but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. Be comfortable making firm, independent decisions for yourself and spending time doing the things that you genuinely enjoy so that you‘re carving your own path instead of gliding through somebody else’s.
Whatever it is that you’re passionate about, DO IT: How many people aren’t chasing their dreams because they’re afraid that they’ll fail and end up right back where they began? Or perhaps they are misunderstood/discouraged by their closest friends and family. That can’t happen. You can’t allow that to stop you from doing what you love. Far too often people are working jobs that they hate, going to clubs that they loathe and living unsatisfied lives because that is what’s considered “realistic.” Throw “realistic” out of your vocabulary and dream the way you once did as a child. Like the Fresh Prince, Will Smith once said, “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.”