The quarter life crisis is a recent and very real phenomena. I know, because I myself experienced one. Before I turned 25, I was freaking out! Now that I recently turned 30, I felt prepared for this milestone with the three lessons I learned below. So whether you are about to turn 25 or are reaching another milestone birthday, read the lessons below and learn from my mistakes so that you will only celebrate each miraculous year of your life for many years to come.
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1.) Let go of your expectations
When I was a senior in high school, we had to write about where we thought we would be at age 25. I naively wrote that I would be happily married, with multiple kids, living in a giant mansion in the suburbs. Flash forward 7 years: I was single, living in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, alone.
But wait… my life wasn’t at all bad! I had successfully graduated college, gotten a big girl job in NYC, lived in a one bedroom apartment in the UES and was living a life many others dream about. So why was I freaking out?
I was freaking out because my life didn’t match my expectation of what life at 25 looked like. Subconsciously I was comparing myself to the expectation that my 18 year old self had of what 25 was to be, instead of living in the moment on what a happy life I was living.
So no matter what age you are, let go of the expectations of what that age is “supposed” to look like. There is no normal life at any age. People choose different paths, and end up doing different things at different times in their lives. Let go of the expectations!
2.) Put it in perspective
One trick I use whenever I feel myself getting stressed out about turning a certain age is reframing what time looks like. Let’s say I am about to turn 25 and I start thinking “oh my god, in 5 years I’ll be 30! I’ll never get married! Or have kids! I’m practically a grandma!” I pause, take a deep breath, and reframe the time.
If I am 25, 5 years ago I was 20. What was I doing at age 20? Look how far I have come in 5 years. Think of all the things that happened in those 5 years. Now think of all the things that can and will happen in those next 5 years.
Chances are, you have accomplished many, many things in 5 years. You can even look back just one year. It is amazing all of the things that we accomplish in a year, even though that time seems to have flown by.
Reframing the time and putting it in perspective is the key to staying happy in the present moment.
3.) Stop comparing yourself to others
Just stop! It is ridiculously easy to go down a rabbit hole on social media. One minute your seeing what bar your bestie from home was at on Saturday night, and the next your checking out the page of that dorky girl from high school who has a hot husband and baby #3 on the way and feeling like you are so far behind where you need to be. Stop it!
Each and every one of us has our own path, our own journey. If there is something in your life that makes you unhappy, or a goal you want to strive towards, by all means start making the necessary adjustments to get there. But don’t decide you need to go to law school because Ashley Z. from your pre-school class just passed the bar in New York.
Besides, Ashley Z. is probably ridiculously stressed out at her job and jealous of your nights out on the town. The grass always seems greener on the other side, and all comparing ourselves to others does is get us worked up about nothing. Live in the moment, and stop comparing yourself to others.
These books helped me out immensely in my early twenties, and I highly recommend them (even if you aren’t full on freaking out!)
What do you think about the quarter life crisis?