veryone is familiar with the iconic mid-life crisis that tends to happen in your 40’s and even sometimes 50’s, but what about the quarter life crisis of being 25 or even just your mid to late 20’s? Hitting a certain age will cause you to evaluate your life. So once you hit 25 you realize there are no more natural milestones for your life makes looking at the rest of your life feel daunting. If you’re feeling anxious about the future because you’re “getting up there” in age don’t worry we have few helpful tips on how to survive the quarter life crisis.
Avoid Impulsive Decisions
When you go into crisis mode often the first thing you want to do is act. For instance in mid-life crisis this might look like buying a sports car, opening a restaurant, or buying a toupee when the hair starts to go. See below a helpful list of Do’s and Don’ts when you feel the quarter life crisis coming on.
Don’t quit your job without having a plan. Whether it’s a backup job to work to make ends meet, some extra savings in the back pocket, or having a place to crash if you should so need it just make sure you have a back-up plan in place when quitting your job.
Don’t make any impulsive aesthetic changes. This includes but is not limited to: tattoos, cutting your own bangs, box-dying your hair crazy colors, shaving your head, and even getting some piercings. While all of these things aren’t inherently bad, people often switch up physical appearance to express themselves all the time. However, when in quarter life crisis mode you might not be thinking the most clearly or rationally. Just give yourself a responsible amount of time to decide your aesthetic changes and how they might affect other aspects like your career!
Don’t work yourself up about the future. While you do need to plan ahead, take small steps at a time. No one turns into a full-fledged adult over time. You start with one goal then work to the next. Also don’t let anyone tell you what that should look like for you. It’s something you have to decide for yourself.
Do think about career changes. Are you happy with your job? Do you want a promotion or salary raise? Is the company you work for making you happy? Maybe it’s time to rework your resume or go back to school and further your education. Take charge of your work life, most people don’t get to retire until much later in life so always try your best to get the most fruitful experience out of your work situation. If you’re feeling unsatisfied, mix it up! You’re in your 20's it’s okay to start over career wise. It’s better to make the change now then find yourself unhappy a few years down the line because starting over is a little scary.
Do think about family planning. Are you married and do you want to be? Is parenting/step-parenting something you foresee in your future? It sounds like an overwhelming conversation you want to avoid at Thanksgiving, but really take some time to think about it. Regardless of how you make that decision, it’s not set in stone; it just helps you sort out where your priorities should be.
With the overwhelming problem of trying to set-up your life you assume what you want might just fall into place, but if you want to make a recipe getting the ingredients for the meal certainly helps rather than hoping one day you’ll have all the right stuff just casually laying around.
Do think about money. If you haven’t already, try being responsible for your own finances. Now don’t panic, being financially responsible doesn’t happen overnight. Start small with something like paying your own phone bill, kicking in money for groceries, or maybe even paying rent. Then you can work on things, saving up to get your own place, buying a car, or even money to go school. It's never too late to further your education. But remember, start simple. Kicking yourself out of the nest or personal bubble too soon or too quickly will more than likely wind you back up in the same situation or possibly worse off. Don’t forget to start putting money aside too in case you run into unexpected costs. Start small with that too if you need too, even just a couple bucks from every paycheck will help.
Do become self-reliant. Start by being handy and self-sufficient. Learn how to change tires, brake pads, and the oil in your car. Learn how to cook, clean, bake, sow, do your own taxes, and any other garden variety life skill that might pop up. It’ll help you put away some savings and help be sufficiently adult-y.
Indulge in nostalgia
Do one of your parents have a box of mix tapes you’re nearly positive they don’t have a player for? Or even videotapes, but no VCR? It may seem silly but indulging yourself in a little nostalgia is healthy! Since the quarter life crisis tends to be panic induced by the future or how much you have accomplished, take a moment to enjoy things from the past.
Besides now that you’re at the quarter life status you are actually old enough to indulge in some deep nostalgia from childhood, tween, and teen years. The further back the nostalgia the harder the feeling will hit. If you’re not sure what to do invoke found memories of the past try out these few fun ideas.
Throw on a middle school playlist. Binge your favorite TV show as a kid, because honestly Spongebob holds up. Play a board game from your youth. Play your favorite playground or PE activity. Try an old vice, like trying to make fedora’s happen. Watch an amazing movie you haven’t seen since before you were 18. Conversely. pick a classic you can still watch on loop such as Mean Girls because it’s just that good and it reminds when everyone had flip phones. Play your video game that is only available on an outdated consul. Read your childhood favorite books. The possibilities are endless!
Have A Pajama Day
Putting on jeans can be a real bummer. Take some time and lounge in PJs. Bonus nostalgia if it’s a onesie or even just fuzzy pajamas; the ultimate comforts. These will be perfect for snuggling up and relaxing while you can possibly enjoy childhood entertainment. If this doesn’t get the nostalgia going, indulge in some deviant behavior by faking sick and taking a day off from school work. In a pinch if your work or school doesn’t offer personal days for mental health, this can help get you some time for yourself. Just don’t get in the habit of playing hooky!
Eat A Childhood Delicacy
Find yourself a meal that is kid classic. This can look like something simple like dino nuggets, pizza rolls, zebra cakes, ice cream sandwiches, and corn dogs. Although you could try reconstructing a cafeteria favorite like chicken sandwiches or square pizza. Last and certainly not least you can try a childhood delicacy “recipe” if you have some. An iconic example is cinnamon toast and the recipe is rather simple: toast bread, butter, then sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon. Now you have created a staple breakfast food item. There’s also the less popular, but equally as good peanut butter and sprinkle sandwiches if you want to try something different from cinnamon toast.
These are just a few starting points, feel free to pay homage to the past anyway you see fit. People value different things so what might hit home for you might not be something suggested in the above. Get as unique with it as you see fit.
Remember you have time
Remember you’re in your 20’s time is on side when you're feeling overwhelmed by the quarter life crisis. You’re even fortunate enough to not be at the halfway point.
So there is a possibility you’re stressed out because you think your life should look differently by now. A pesky feel that is inevitable in life from time to time. What helps here is to remember everyone progresses at their own pace. No, life isn’t a competition; it’s an experience, so it’s best to enjoy rather than compare against what others are doing. It’s all easier said than done, but here are a few iconic examples of people who were late bloomers of success in their life. J.K. Rowling was in her 30’s when Harry Potter was first published. Stan Lee didn’t create his first comic until he was 39. Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise KFC until he was 62, which is currently a multi-billion dollar corporation. Success will come. You must have patience when trying to achieve your goals. Feel free to start over if you’re not happy with how the story looks.
Last and certainly not least remember what you are feeling is only temporary. Remember in high school when you thought your latest social blunder was the end of the world? This too shall pass. So take a deep breath, relax, and know that the quarter life crisis will lapse one way or another.