Lately, I’ve noticed this growing trend of the “quarter-life crisis”. I see articles, blogs, beauty ads and the occasional random post about this growing phenomenon. Admittedly, it’s nice to know we twenty-somethings have this commonality. At the same time though, I have to wonder — when did we become so obsessed with labeling the stages of our lives? Why does every certain number of years warrant a “crisis”? Can’t we all just be growing, learning and experimenting–enjoying our successes and learning from our failures?
Since apparently by age 25, we are old enough to experience a life-crisis, I feel it means we are also old enough to have gained some valuable insights. To that end–purely to encourage some perspective and with no intentions of sounding preachy–I would like to share a few of my own:
First, life is nothing like you expect it to be. Growing up, kids just want to be adults. And once we reach adulthood, guess what? We all just want to be kids again! Sadly, there’s no magical, mysterious aura that comes with being a grown up. There is however, a whole world of choice and opportunity just waiting to be explored.
Second, only you know what is right for you. Society will tell you to go to college, to get married, to find a good job, to get things “figured out”. But the truth is, none of that matters if it’s not what you want. Maybe you’ll get married? Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll graduate college? Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll fall into the career of your dreams? Maybe you won’t. Never let societal restrictions guide your life; be your own guide.
Third, college is not what it used to be. Time was: go to college = get a job. It’s not necessarily that way anymore. Sure, it pans out that way for some, which is fantastic. But it doesn’t always work out that way, and that’s okay.
Fourth (yes this is cliché), life is what you make of it. If there’s something you want to do, somewhere you want to go, something you want to see; you can make that happen. You have that power! Will it always be easy? Nope. But if you want something badly enough, then you can make it happen.
Fifth, don’t get so caught up in the chaos that you forget to listen. When someone is talking to you, really listen. It seems small and obvious, but it’s so important.
Sixth, there is no substitute for kindness. We all have bad days, stress, tragedy, and about a million other intricacies that come into play in our everyday lives. Bearing that in mind, be kind to your fellow human beings. We have all been there, are there, or will be there again–so have patience and kindness, always.
Seventh, and arguably most important, love. Love is what makes life so truly awe inspiring. Love for your friends, family, significant other, pets, nature, hobbies, and passions…all of the above, all inclusive. Whatever and whomever you love, don’t discount it. Take the time to tell people that you love them and to do the things you love. You’ll be happier for it, guaranteed.
There you have it. In my (nearly) 25 years on this earth, these are a handful of the life lessons I have learned. No, I don’t feel as though I’m in the throes of a quarter-life crisis, and (most days) I don’t feel lost, or stuck; I just feel human.
That’s life. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. But if you’re following your own path, growing as a person and living a life you love, then really you’re right where you need to be–and if not, don’t lose heart, you will get there.