I’m straight up in the middle of my own personal quarter life crisis (assuming I live to be 108 that is, #goals), so now is the perfect time to give someone else advice, right??
But for real, in the past year pretty much every aspect of my life has been turned upside down. On a positive note, this endless turmoil has made me into quite the expert on crisis management! Despite originally thinking otherwise, I’ve managed to survive every one of my worst days and personal catastrophes so far. While I don’t have enough distance for that 20/20 hindsight just yet, I can share what’s come into focus for me so far.
1. You aren’t actually alone
If you’re anything like me, you probably tend to keep your struggles to yourself—never wanting to bother or burden anyone. Call it pride, call it embarrassment, call it whatever you want. People like us want to feel like we’ve got a handle on life and that we don’t need to lean on those around us.
We’re the strong ones. The ones other people lean on. We can’t be weak!
But that’s where it all starts to fall apart.
Humans are social animals. We need one another to survive and thrive. When we try to carry all of our burdens by ourselves we wither away, crushed by the weight of our own stubbornness like a starving, loaded-down little donkey.
But the good news is, you aren’t actually alone!
Those people you don’t want to burden? The ones you’ve been propping up, supporting, helping out? They can do the same thing for you! If you’ll let them.
Maybe it’s your girlfriends. Maybe it’s your significant other. Maybe it’s your momma. Maybe it’s a co-worker or a pastor or a neighbor. Or maybe it’s the professional counselor you finally start seeing on a weekly basis on your own after starting couples’ counseling (*raises hand*).
Whoever it is, I promise, I guarantee, that they want you to reach out instead of struggling and eventually breaking down on your own.
2. It’s OK to question everything…
At this stage in life, most of us have followed “The Plan” to a T. You know “The Plan.” The one society has told us will make us happy and successful and normal? Go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, etc. etc.
“The plan” works just fine for some people, but for those of us who find ourselves in the middle of a quarter life crisis, it’s probably not working out so great. You’re probably questioning everything…
And that’s OK.
This is your life! You’re in charge! You have every right to question and assess and re-evaluate every last bit of it.
Maybe you’re burnt out at your job (yep). Maybe your marriage is a hot mess (been there). Maybe you haven’t talked to your sister in six months (uh-huh). Maybe the friends you thought had your back were actually busy stabbing it (oh yeah). Maybe you’re slowly but surely becoming an anti-capitalist hippie who wants to go off the grid and stop shaving her legs (ehh… pretty close).
Whatever you’re questioning right now, it’s totally OK to be second-guessing it. Once you zero in on the things you’re unhappy with you’re one step closer to making meaningful change.
3. …Just make sure you question YOU too
When you’re already questioning everything around you, it can be really easy to just zero in on the faults or negative challenges presented by the people, things, even situations in your life.
- “If my husband would just…”
- “If my boss wasn’t so…”
- “If ” fill in the blank…
This is your life, and you absolutely, without a doubt, have the right to choose how you live it and who you let take up space in it. But don’t forget that at the end of the day the person you go to bed with each night and wake up to each morning is always going to be the same.
If you’re unhappy with who you are, who you’ve become, then you’re never going to be happy with the people or things or situations around you. Trust me.
Go to your local bookstore or head over to Amazon and buy some of those wonderfully cheesy self-help books (I recommend Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, and no, she didn’t pay me to say that). Watch some TedTalks about a subject that inspires you. Join a Bible study group and dig into the Word. Save The Daily Positive to your favorites bar, and stop by every day for a little dose of happy! Whatever you need to do to repair your relationship with you, do it. Once the two of you are getting along better, you’ll both be surprised at how different those outside challenges start to look.
4. Change is the only thing that remains the same
When you’re right in the middle of the hot mess, dumpster fire that has become your life, the last thing you want to think about is the fact that the next three quarters of your life very well may be equally as chaotic and terrifying.
It makes me a little queasy to think about, honestly…
But the truth is, if we humans are alive and kicking, we’re probably making a mess of something.
Some seasons will be tidier than others. Some may even feel downright put together. And then some will look like your smoothie-splattered kitchen after you forget to put the lid on the blender.
Pretty much the only thing that we’re guaranteed in this life is struggle.
But what I’m learning from my own quarter life crisis is that as long as we keep on struggling, as long as we keep crawling forward despite the knives sticking out of our backs and the missing front tooth and the black eyes we can barely see through, as long as we keep going and reaching out to the people around us, as long as we keep evaluating our lives and ourselves, as long as we don’t give up, we’ll eventually make it through to the other side where we can look back and see that it was all worth it.