Now that I’m back to commuting every morning I’ve started to work my way through the backlog of my favourite podcasts that I’d been saving up over the summer, and one, in particular, has been stuck in my mind ever since I first listened to it. The episode in question was from the first season of Let’s Discuss and covered the concept of a quarter life crisis. I’ve been pretty open about my headspace as of late and had even jokingly referred to my current “wobble” as a quarter life crisis, but up until I listened to that episode I kind of thought it was just me. As soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to listen, and I spent the next half hour feeling an overwhelming sense of relief as I realised that I wasn’t the only one struggling as a twentysomething faced with the prospect of adulthood.
I think I’m coming to the end of this quarter life crisis rollercoaster ride, and recognising that this was exactly what was happening to me was a huge step forward in seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back at the year, I’m not surprised that this has consumed me in the way it has, and the wonder of hindsight has highlighted some pretty obvious causes as to this bump in the road. Obviously, the main issues this year for me have been health-related, as well as the loss of my childhood pet and coming to terms with my boyfriend and my best friend moving to a different country. Not together, I should add. Outside of that, however, 2017 should have been the year that I graduated. If I had stayed at university, I would have completed my degree in Fashion Management this year, and I would have been joining my friends to toss our caps at our graduation ceremony instead of watching it unfold through snaps on Facebook.
Seeing the people I went to school with, the people I met when I first moved away to university and even virtual strangers celebrate the start of the rest of their lives stirred up a lot of emotions within me, which when you add everything else into the mix, creates a recipe for disaster. As my 22nd birthday approached I was an emotional wreck, to say the least, my moods were volatile, I’d spend my evenings sobbing and my anxiety was sky high.
Now, I’m easing myself back to a place that feels a lot more like “me”. Instead of dreading the future, I’m excited to see what it holds for me, and I know that just because my path has diverged from what I pictured for myself it doesn’t mean I’ve failed. My quarter life crisis is fading, and I feel much more able to cope with whatever life throws in my way. Hopefully, that will be a winning lottery ticket, but based on my current run of luck it seems unlikely…
Me, being me, a chronic oversharer, I thought that I’d share a few of the things that have helped me overcome my quarter life crisis and have left me feeling ready to tackle the road ahead. Obviously, different things work for different people, so I’d take what I say with a pinch of salt, but even if this post shows just one person that it’s not just them who feels a bit lost in their twenties, then I’ll be happy.
One of the first steps to overcome my quarter life crisis was taking a step back and reassessing the goals I’d set myself for the future. I’d had ~big plans~ for the year, but life got in the way, and that was a huge catalyst in my downwards spiral. Because of this, my overall direction for the year had to change and sitting down to evaluate just what my ethos for life is was a huge part of moving forward. I had a look at what was happening in my life, what I was happy with, what I wasn’t so happy with and what I had the power to change, then took it from there. For me, one of the major milestones here was quitting my retail job, which luckily I was in a position to do as I had other avenues to focus on instead. Some situations, like my health, aren’t so easy to control, which is a bit of a nightmare for someone with control issues like me. Instead, I shifted my focus to the parts of my health that I could work on, and as a result, I’ve signed up for a 10-week fitness boot camp with AG Fitness Training. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either, but 10 weeks of 9am classes on a Saturday await me.
Basically, I had to sit down and figure out what really matters to me and align my priorities accordingly. By taking the time to do this, I was able to come up with a rough plan of action, which clearly highlighted just what had to be done to get me out of my funk. I think it’s important to remember that no matter what your plan might be, life often has something else entirely in store. Regularly reevaluating your goals in light of the diversions that life throws at you is crucial, as life events can make your original plan totally irrelevant or unachievable, which can throw you off course a little. This makes quite a nice first step, as it leads neatly onto my following tips…
So this is still a work in progress for me because I am not good at keeping things tidy, but it’s about more than that, really. After figuring out my direction, priorities and desires I set myself some new, more manageable goals. I felt rejuvenated, and this new sense of purpose helped everything settle into place. I’m clearing out my wardrobe, throwing out those clothes that I swore I’d fit into one day, giving away the makeup I never used and deleted half of the photos on my phone. It’s a clean slate, of sorts.
I vowed to spend less time on social media, and alongside this, I’ve been working to make it a more inspiring environment for those inevitable nights where I just can’t tear myself away. I’ve been unfollowing people left right and centre, cutting down on the noise on my feed that can be oh-so-overwhelming at my lowest points. I can’t avoid social media completely, both because I’m a little bit addicted and because of the blog, but making the time I do spend scrolling mindlessly through Twitter and Instagram a bit more inspiring has been making such a big difference already.
See also: Facebook. Deleting those people who you don’t really know or don’t really like feels like a weight off your shoulders, and as I reach the time in my life where people I went to school with are buying houses and getting married and having babies on purpose this has been massively helpful for my sanity.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about this in relation to offline friendships. I’ll be honest and say I really struggle to make friends, it’s not something that comes easily to me, so when I do make a friend I tend to hold onto them for dear life. It’s not healthy, because people change. Resolving not to worry about toxic friendships and realising when things are coming to a natural end is a huge step forward but can totally change your way of thinking. I’m no longer wasting effort on friendships where that effort wasn’t mutual, and now I have more time to invest in the ones that matter.
A huge part of my quarter life crisis stemmed from the fact that I’ve barely stopped for the past few years, filling my days with tasks and projects until I reached breaking point. I know I need to make more time for self-care in my routine, but this has been bumped up to the top of my priority list for the foreseeable future. Taking the time to look after myself puts me in a much better position to tackle whatever the rest of day holds, and even something as simple as making sure I get enough sleep or drink enough water can have a snowball effect on my productivity and well-being. This became glaringly obvious after I was caught up in a car accident at the start of August, which forced me to take time out to help my body heal properly. Unfortunately, my injuries still bother me over a month later, but in a way, it’s been massively beneficial in helping me prioritise my self-care routine.
There are so many different ways to recharge, and as much as I wish I could jet off on a sunny beach holiday or head to a spa every week, the little things still add up. Taking the time to switch off in the evening, indulging in a luxurious skincare routine or just taking a day to myself to curl up and read a book work wonders for me. Ultimately, what I’m angling at here, is that a bit of me time, however that may look for you, never goes amiss.
As much as I’ve dwelled on culling relationships and unnecessary distractions, the opposite can also be true. Taking the time to get reacquainted with things you love, that you’ve maybe let slip to the bottom of your list, can be a fantastic way to move forward from a quarter life crisis. Be that making the time to catch up with an old friend over coffee and cake instead of communicating exclusively via GIFs, or even spending an evening re-reading your favourite book, rekindling relationships with things you’re passionate about can be massively therapeutic. Go binge watch Gossip Girl for the fifth time, or get lost in the world of Harry Potter all over again. I’m not judging you! Find the thing you love and make it a priority in your life again.
Investing time in the relationships that matter to you can open up a whole new realm of possibilities for your life. Opening up with a close friend and sharing exactly how you feel can be hugely cathartic, plus you’ll most likely find that they’re feeling a similar way too. Sharing your experiences and thoughts and feelings is tough, but it helps. I promise. In a similar vein, it’s possibly worth considering looking into some sort of counselling or therapy. I found counselling incredibly beneficial in relation to my anxiety and having someone impartial to speak to and work things through with was pretty life-changing. It’s intimidating, but it’s worth trying, and that way you won’t be left wondering what if.
Similar to the stereotypical post-breakup recovery process, I found that updating a few key areas of my life were pivotal in overcoming my quarter life crisis. I’m a huge believer in retail therapy, as I know that new clothes can bring a little bit of joy when it’s needed most. As I’ve reached what is hopefully the end of my quarter life crisis I’ve found myself with an overwhelming desire to refresh and revamp my life from the bottom up. I’ve bought new stationery, I’ve been buying new clothes and trying new styles, I treated myself to some new makeup and I changed up my hairstyle too. Little treats can go a long way, and there’s something seriously empowering about a sassy new style. But, you know me, I’ll take any excuse for shopping!