We are all familiar with the phrase mid-life crisis, right? Immediately the image of a middle-aged man driving a sports car with a much younger woman in the passenger seat pops into our mind. This is something we have seen before and often hear about in movies or our personal lives.
But, what about quarter-life crisis? Any vivid image popping into your mind now? Probably not because this not nearly as talked about or even understood. I promise you it is real though and not always an easy thing to navigate.
I, myself, trudged this lonely path without even realizing what I was experiencing. I was a few years out of college and suddenly found myself unsure of what I wanted to do with my future, worried about how ‘off track’ I was, and concerned about whether I was living up to others expectations.
Not really the glorious 20s that are portrayed in the movies, right?
To make it even better I felt totally alone and like something was wrong with me. Nobody warned me of this stage. Everyone said you find yourself in college and then you build your life.
Heads up, I think people skipped a stage in-between. The stage of questioning who you are and what is truly going to make you happy. This stage doesn’t always feel so great and might leave you really doubting what to do next, but it doesn’t have to be all torture.
Think about it, taking time to re-evaluate who you are and what you want from life doesn’t sound so bad. Having the chance to really prioritize what matters to you and empower your individual voice is a really exciting thing. You just have to be willing to recognize the value in this chapter, instead of fighting against it.
The universe is trying to send you a wake-up call, but you have to be willing to listen.
So what do you do next, right?
Well, the first step is admitting that something is out of whack. It is okay to say that you aren’t totally happy and some things might need to change. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you.
Next, take the time to really explore what is making you unhappy. Is it your relationships, your career, your lack of confidence, your reliance on others, your location? Whatever it is, you can’t do anything about it without giving yourself some time to really dig deep for it. Write some journal entries, talk with the people who know you best, or try some new activities.
This stage is so important because you want to really understand what is making you feel this way before trying to change anything (ie. don’t just jump into grad school because you think education will magically solve your problems).
The key with exploration is to welcome and embrace it. Don’t expect instant answers, don’t force yourself into a box created by others, and most importantly don’t force yourself into a box you created.
Your life might look different than you thought, but that is okay. Give yourself permission to be exactly where you are and embrace it.
It is after all of this that you can finally take action. Get support, find resources, and make a move. You don’t have to do it alone. Hire a coach, go back to school, volunteer on a new project, or join a meetup group. Whatever it is, get support and take action.
Your quarter-life slump is unlikely to just magically go away. Stop waiting for someone to tell you what to do or for the answer to magically hit you over the head. Take the time to figure it out and then do something about it.
The most important part though?
Don’t see this chapter as a negative black hole. Empower it as a time of growth and learning.
See the value and be grateful for all it is offering you. Embrace the new you and see all the doors opening ahead of you.
I wasn’t always in the space of positivity and gratitude for my quarter-life slump, but looking back it is the best thing that could have happened to me. It woke me up from sleepwalking through my life.
Who wants to sleepwalk through their 20s? Certainly not me, so I count myself very lucky that I didn’t have to wait for a mid-life crisis to find my path.
Are you ready to say thank you to your quarter-life slump and start the journey of making this your best chapter yet? How will you let go of the negativity and self-judgment and instead create a space of exploration and growth?
This is actually your exact chance to create that amazing life you always imagined, don’t let it pass you by!