I am a trendsetter – I was having a quarter life crisis long before it was in fashion. 25 year olds, I hear you. I know exactly how it feels to be sitting at your desk that you busted your ass to get by working hard in school and plunging yourself deep into student loan debt, and be haunted by the thought, “Is this it?” (For the record, there are plenty of people of all ages in companies large and small who are thinking the exact same thing and they don’t have any answers wiser than yours.)
Now that you’re 3 years out of college, you may have officially established a fair amount of distance from a friend circle that is literally next door. People get busy. They change. And sometimes we don’t change with them. This is an awful truth about aging of any degree. Times change us.
Maybe you’re in a great relationship, a bad relationship, or no relationship at all. Unfortunately, we’re bombarded in our society by images of happy couples that have no problems and are eternally in love, expect of course in all of the tabloids that we can’t get away from that show love is miserable for everyone. Either way, we’re getting really ugly messages about love and they’re causing us to have unrealistic and harmful expectations, both good and bad, of ourselves and others. In 37 years, this is what I’ve learned about love: we can only expect to get what we give freely.
Add all of this up – the job, the friends, the relationship – and who wouldn’t have a quarter life crisis?
I’ve got one magic bullet for you and you’re not going to like it but it got me through my quarter life crisis (and my 1/3 life crisis, for that matter) and I hope it helps you, too. Stop everything. Put aside your work, friends, relationships, family, bills, responsibilities, worries, disappointments, and fears for 5 minutes every day. Close your eyes, one hand on the heart, one hand on the belly. Breathe so loud in and out through your nose that you drown out the noise of your brain. Get lost in your breath and the absolute f’ing miracle that is you.
Your parents, friends, teachers, the media, and even our President have told you can do anything you want to do. They told you that you can be anything you want to be. And you can, but here’s the part they didn’t tell you – no one is going to make it happen for you. You have to make it happen for you. Don’t bet on someone else to help you get the life you want. Betting on yourself is a much better bet. You can create it with your own two hands. And that process begins by slowing down.
I know this is not the answer you wanted. It’s certainly not the answer I wanted because it was going to take too long, be too hard, and no one seemed to be willing to guarantee results for me. But I tried everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING else, and it didn’t work. Peace is a daily process; we must constantly tend to it and the only thing that makes that possible is to go in, slow down, and listen to our breath and the beat of our hearts. It’s still the only thing that works for me even today, many years post quarter life.
From one quarter life crisis survivor to another, just try it. Try it for a week. See how it feels. And if you’ve got questions, contact me. Seriously. I want to hear from you and I want to help.