audrey hepburn tired

 

You may have noticed that I’ve not updated my blog for almost a year now.

I could make up a load of fake excuses like it’s because I moved house (which I did) or it’s because I’ve been so swamped at work (which I have) or it’s simply because I couldn’t be bothered (highly plausible).

But the truth is I was busy having a quarter life crisis.

That’s right, at the ripe old age of 25 I suddenly felt overwhelmed with anything and everything.

Of course at first I was in denial and I convinced myself that this ‘episode’ was down to some sort of physical illness (a breathing problem, a lingering sickness bug or perhaps a hormone in-balance?). I’m now aware that this was in fact my mid-twenties meltdown.

Thankfully nine months on I’ve got my s*** together. But before I get into all that please join me in reflecting on some of the many ludicrous signs to look out for if you too ever have (or have had) a quarter life crisis:

  1. You start to question deep stuff like “what’s my purpose in life?” “do I have a destiny?” and “is having a destiny even a thing???”
  2. You have major jealousy/resentment of your cat for having such a great stress-free life. Sleep. Eat. Sleep. Kill a mouse or two. Sleep some more.
  3. You’re terrified at the contrast of your mum’s life at your age compared to yours (a husband, a house and 2 kids – how is that even possible?).
  4. You ponder the question, “am I ever going to feel like myself again?” most mornings.
  5. You get a fresh pang of anxiety every time there’s a baby announcement, job promotion, engagement or wedding shared on social media.
  6. You’re Googling “quarter life crisis”.
  7. You have just realised that Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black song is officially a decade old – therefore you too are old!
  8. You have a short fuse with everyone, your bestie, your bf and your mum over pointless stuff like the way they stir their cup of tea.
  9. You visualise yourself 10 years from now doing your boss’s job and suddenly you want to throw up.
  10. You go into Topshop and walk back out realising you are too OLD to get your middrift out.
  11. You dread hearing the phrase, “Congratulations, you’re getting a promotion” because you’ll end up getting trapped deeper into your job.
  12. You start to realise that your coping mechanism is spending your monthly wages on eating out every night of the week.
  13. You’re torn between wanting to be a proper grown-up with a house, a successful job and responsibilities and sacking it all in to travel the world.
  14. You ring your mum all the time because you feel the mental age of 18 again.
  15. You no longer feel smug when you don’t get asked for ID when buying wine.
  16. You then proceed to go home and drink the entire bottle of wine even though it’s a school night.
  17. The job you accidently fell into three years ago is now referred to as your ‘career’ and you’re not sure if/how to get out.
  18. You buy yourself expensive make up and clothes to appear like you’ve got your s*** together even though you DO NOT.
  19. You look at people that have a clear passion or goal in life and wish you were as driven as them.
  20. You don’t get dressed unless you need to leave the house.
  21. You find yourself binge watching trash TV series and then feeling guilty when the charity adverts come on and make you question your moral compass.
  22. You feel powerless to all the s*** that’s going down in the scary world we live in.
  23. You feel like you need to just escape the rut that you’re trapped in.
  24. You feel angry that no one prepared you for post-university revelations such as “dream jobs” aren’t a thing for us mere mortals.
  25. You’re 99% sure that quitting your job and owning a coffee shop in [insert your favourite place] is the answer to all your troubles.

Any of the above sound familiar?

Well, never fear, fellow quarter life crisis-ers, what you are experiencing is completely normal (even though it shouldn’t be!) and it’s also much more common than you might think. In fact I discovered after reading a really good article in Glamour that a third of British women will experience anxiety at some point in their careers. So you are not alone!

Our mid-to-late-twenties are a funny age, we are part of a completely different technological world to the generation before us. We feel too old to just be muddling through life stressing out that we need a grand plan, but too young to settle down and give up on our dreams. But that’s ok. Why do we need to be such fully-functioning-finished-specimens when we still have so much life ahead of us?

I know for me all of this stemmed from the unnecessary pressure I was putting on myself at work: pressure that I’d let people down, pressure that I wasn’t good enough, pressure that I might fail, pressure that I needed to earn a ‘successful’ wage, pressure to be a proper grown up and pressure that I had to constantly live up to ideals.

I’d fallen into a career, which just wasn’t for me in the long run, but I felt trapped. It was like I couldn’t escape this ‘great’ career that others strive for. I was on good money, the people were lovely, I’d worked my way up the ranks and I was doing well. But I wasn’t happy.

So guess what? I quit my job.

Not quite so quickly and dramatically as that sounds, but after much thought I decided that there was more to life than having the Sunday night dread and feeling stressed 90% of the time. Instead I went back to basics and thought about something that I’d like to try/learn more about and it turned out to be working with young people.

So here I am now in 2017 in a new job, starting from the bottom, on a lot less money. But I have a fresh perspective and I’m full of optimism and excitement. I still don’t know where my new move will take me long-term or if I’ll even stay in this sector forever, but I don’t care! I took a risk, ignored what anyone else was doing and tried something new and it’s the best decision I ever made.

Danielle x

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Danielle's quarter life crisis

P.S If you can remotely relate to any of this I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.P.S. I read two amazing books during my meltdown, both of which I would highly recommend, Mad Girl and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.