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:
- 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???”
- 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.
- 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?).
- You ponder the question, “am I ever going to feel like myself again?” most mornings.
- You get a fresh pang of anxiety every time there’s a baby announcement, job promotion, engagement or wedding shared on social media.
- You’re Googling “quarter life crisis”.
- You have just realised that Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black song is officially a decade old – therefore you too are old!
- 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.
- You visualise yourself 10 years from now doing your boss’s job and suddenly you want to throw up.
- You go into Topshop and walk back out realising you are too OLD to get your middrift out.
- You dread hearing the phrase, “Congratulations, you’re getting a promotion” because you’ll end up getting trapped deeper into your job.
- You start to realise that your coping mechanism is spending your monthly wages on eating out every night of the week.
- 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.
- You ring your mum all the time because you feel the mental age of 18 again.
- You no longer feel smug when you don’t get asked for ID when buying wine.
- You then proceed to go home and drink the entire bottle of wine even though it’s a school night.
- 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.
- You buy yourself expensive make up and clothes to appear like you’ve got your s*** together even though you DO NOT.
- You look at people that have a clear passion or goal in life and wish you were as driven as them.
- You don’t get dressed unless you need to leave the house.
- 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.
- You feel powerless to all the s*** that’s going down in the scary world we live in.
- You feel like you need to just escape the rut that you’re trapped in.
- You feel angry that no one prepared you for post-university revelations such as “dream jobs” aren’t a thing for us mere mortals.
- 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.
P.S If you can remotely relate to any of this I’d love to hear your thoughts.