The post-school or post-college years can initially seem like a breeze. Sure, you have to find roommates, get a job and navigate your way through the adult world, but at least you’ve got a focus. Then suddenly your mid-twenties arrive and, just when you think you kind of have a handle on this whole “grown-up” thing, it all starts to spiral out of control.
We’re all guilty of setting unreasonable goals for ourselves, and when we realise at the age of 25 that we’re not on the way to being a millionaire, or about to get engaged to a Ryan Gosling lookalike who makes breakfast in bed every day, it can feel like we’ve failed ourselves.
The imaginary mid-twenties you rises at 8am on a Sunday with no alarm and goes for a 10k run, picking up the papers and coffee on the way home. In real life, you’re waking up mid-afternoon every weekend morning and eating cold pizza for brekkie, trying to push all thoughts of work the following day out of your head. Cue a “what on earth am I DOING with my life?” meltdown.
Don’t freak out. The quarter-life crisis might be a relatively new concept, but you’re not the first twenty-something to feel like this, and you certainly won’t be the last. Questioning how you’re living your life is pretty much a rite of passage for any adult. It might seem like your parents had it all sussed out, but remember, you’re only getting a tiny portion of their story. Ask them and you’ll probably find they weren’t so certain about how to get through their twenties, either.
Another very important thing to keep in mind is that this is just a transitional period. You might be feeling totally lost and left behind right now, but it’s amazing how fast things can change in a year.
Could your worry and anxiety be a sign that something in your life needs to change? Remember, you’re the only one who can take charge of your own life and change it for the better. If you’re feeling trapped in a job or relationship, take a step back and think about ways to change that – be it an open chat or a move in another direction.
Don’t worry if you feel like you’re always second-guessing yourself – uncertainty is normal and can even be healthy if you use it to help weigh up your options.
As twenty-somethings, we’re in that difficult period between entering adulthood and actually settling into our grown-up identities. We need to embrace this time of change and remember that – like everything else in life – this too shall pass.