The middle aged crisis conjures images of balding men in abhorrently overpriced fast cars, all accessorised with a younger woman. But no longer is the stress of life waiting til your halfway point, instead the often overwhelming pressure of being a grown up is taking hold a little earlier. Behold the quarter life crisis, a moment of self realisation where you feel like a failure or question your life choices up until this point. Your very own fork in the road, but it’s likely you can’t afford the glitzy toys to ease your pain, so here’s how to avoid it all together. And no Buzzfeed quizzes are never the answer.
Figure Out What You Don’t Want
Deciding what it is exactly that you want from life is like looking for that needle in that haystack that everyone always goes on about, except you’re not even sure where the haystack is. Steering your life can feel incredibly intimidating, you (if you’re a well adjusted human at least) are solely responsible for the course you choose and that can be nerve-wracking. We’re a bunch inundated with choice and decidedly indecisive about making said choices, so it’s best to start with the no pile first.
You don’t want to work a corporate job, you don’t want to do the 9-5 thing, you don’t want to live in Australia, by whittling away at life choices from the other way around you’re likely to be on a journey of self discovery like no other. You know realising stuff and what not. From this list of want nots you’ll be able to elicit a seperate list of possibilities and go from there.
Don’t Compare Yourself
Comparatively speaking, monitoring your own success alongside someone else’s is a straight up bad idea. You don’t know their goals, the steps they took to get to that spot, nor if you’re Instagram stalking even their age or what their real life even looks like. Don’t get stuck comparing a highlights reel of boozy Sundays and lavish yacht parties to your frozen dinner the evening before payday, it’s not a realistic lineup. Instead focus on yourself, it’s great to be aspirational and have a certain lifestyle in mind but don’t tie that goal to someone else. Because then you’re in danger then that as they ascend your goal will feel forever out of reach and totally unattainable. There’s no leaderboards in life, so hang your hopes on something a little more measurable.
Throw Your Regrets In The Bin
Yes, that drunken one night stand in uni or that outburst at work, the minor stuff first – into the bin it goes. And once you’ve shed the embarrassment of your indiscretions then you can get to work on eschewing any unhappiness or disappointment you have directed at your life choices thus far. Think of it like a stocktake, an inventory list of your goals and missed chances, then clear that internal warehouse of all unnecessary stock.
So you flunked a class, missed out on a grad job, slept with your best friend’s partner or picked a ridiculous degree, here you are now unable to change any of that. Instead look at yourself today with a clean sheet and think about moving forward. No regrets, although not a good tattoo idea is a wonderful life mantra.
Daydream Then Research
The quarter life crisis is a result of an intersection of your values, you want to live with frivolity and childlike enthusiasm but then real life grown up shit aka responsibilities gets in the way. It’s a push and pull of buying rounds and paying bills, all coupled with a friendly helping of unsolicited advice and parental disappointment. A recipe for unhappiness. So pull back on the stifling pressure and reassess for a moment. Although we’re always told to get our heads out of the clouds, a little daydreaming will help clear that head of yours. Take a breather and think of what you really seek, what you dream of and use that as your starting point. Do you see yourself in your boss’ place in 10 years time? If the answer is no, it’s time to redirect your course.
Once you’ve had a little siesta brainstorming session, see where these dreams will take you and work out a blueprint. Research, Google, deep dive and delve into how you would put those into practice. If you’re on the brink of that life crossroads and feeling out of control, this will pull you back into place. Clarity won’t come easy, but this exercise is sure to push you the right way.
Hey, have you met yourself? You know, like really got acquainted, got to know your quirks and passions. If the answer is anything other than why of course, then take some time for you and well, that’s it. Whether you’re tethered to a special someone or a relationship is nowhere near the horizon, solo time is a time of self discovery. You don’t have to pickup meditation but you do have to tune in a little better to your own wants. That lonely movie trip without companions will become a time to enjoy something all alone or a weekend brunch now a little less gossip filled thanks to your newfound companion.
If you’re not familiar with your likes, dislikes and behaviours how can you make your life the best environment for you to thrive? Your significant other should understand and if they don’t perhaps they’re not your ideal puzzle piece.
Look To The Future
Don’t get bogged down in the now, your overdue phone bill or credit card splurge, instead look ahead. If you’ve made the right little checks with yourself, thanks to this little preemptive strike of an article, you should be feeling more self aware and directional already. It’s easy to be disheartened by your current situation, laying in a trough of disappointment, but a little tilt in your glance and an empowered step and you’ll be back on solid ground in no time at all. Throw your regrets to the wind and fly your goals sky high, the future has never looked so bright. Age be damned.
Go On And Live A Little
If you were looking for an excuse to book that trip, this is it. Get away, reevaluate, and redirect yourself as you see fit. The assumption that it’s harder to change your mind as you get older is bullshit, changing your path is only as difficult as you make it. Responsibilities sure do get ever heavier as you grow up and pick up those adult behaviours, but don’t let anyone else’s routine dictate yours or even your desire not to have one.
Drink that Wednesday wine and run that side hustle, climb that mountain or cruise along blissfully enjoying yourself, the quarter life crisis is what you make it. So don’t dignify that little bastard of regret or let it hold you back one little bit.
Fuck What Other People Think
One of the beautiful things that comes with age is an attitude towards what other people think that, would you have had that confidence in your teens, seen your life been far more enjoyable. If you’re not there yet, don’t wait for the self assurance to roll your way, take it with your own two hands and forget your concerns about other’s thoughts. It’s incredibly freeing to eschew convention and by not giving a single fuck as to what others think of you, you’re sure to make decisions that satisfy yourself first and need not concern others. You deserve to do what you want to do, fuck what other people think.
Image source: Independent UK.