Enjoy your quarter-life crisis!
When I first heard about the so-called “quarter-life crisis,” I couldn’t help but laugh. I heard of this idea roughly halfway through my 25th year, and I was quick to say, “That’s for the lost 20-somethings who have no idea what they’re doing or what they want out of life – not for people like me!”
Fast-forward a few months, and light dawned as I stood in our new home, chatting with my husband on a lazy Sunday. Sure, we aren’t your typical 25 year olds – but that might be part of the problem. There are no typical 25 year olds. There’s no guide for the in-betweens… for those who are well-past 20 but not quite as settled as someone who’s reached 30.
I have friends in this stage who are very much still figuring it out – living at home, frequently switching jobs, living an extended version of college – I know others who live three thousand miles from home, forging their own path in an unknown place with no family to lean on – and I know others still who have followed closely in their parents’ footsteps, living locally, working at a job without much growth potential, hanging with the same old, doing the same old.
For me, I’m living an everyday quarter-life crisis. For the past four years, I’ve felt the desire – no, the need – to try something different, to live somewhere new, to spend more time exploring….but I chickened out at every turn. What does it look like for someone to want something different, to do something different, and to live somewhere different?
I didn’t have many examples to start from. I was forced to envision a life with fuzzy edges, ones I couldn’t quite picture, and that made it a whole lot harder to leap. What does my something different look like?
Cue the quarter-life crisis!
In my head, finding something different, unique, “me” sounds freeing, it sounds peaceful, it sounds like somewhere I’ll really fit in. When I say it out loud, it comes out as arrogant or dismissive, as though there’s something wrong with everyone’s expectations. But I think that’s just it – the problem with everyone else’s expectations are that they’re not mine.
Our life still feels like unchartered territory, and the landscape keeps changing around us. One day we take another step towards our ultimate goal of financial freedom, and the next day it feels like the tallest mountains are blocking the way. Sometimes those mountains are erected by unsupportive words from someone we trust, while others are built from unanticipated expenses or financial setbacks.
Instead of a leap towards my desire for newness, I made a little hop. I’m a whole 4 towns northeast in the same county I grew up in, but I’m an area that I practically never explored before. It feels new, and it feels like an adventure…all within 28 miles of my hometown.
As a 25-year-old married couple, we’re facing many obstacles for the first time. We’re trying to be landlords, home renovators, world travelers, avid readers, beach bums, financial experts, and, most importantly, a happy couple while juggling our full-time jobs. Is that what a quarter-life crisis is?
I think a quarter-life crisis is essential, it’s important, and it’s life-changing. Instead of freaking out and letting your inexperience get the best of you, prepare as much as you can and take the leap.
From what I’ve seen, everyone’s still figuring it out…. 30 year olds, 60 year olds, and even the occasional 75 year old – so go for it, do what feels right, and enjoy the unknown. Actually, don’t just enjoy it – get used to it!
If you don’t feel any fear or doubt, you’re not risking enough.