Our early years brought us bruised knees and the agonising choice of chocolate vs strawberry ice cream. When we were teenagers, puberty hit and it felt like the whole world was against us. We’ve survived the worst life can throw at us so things should get a bit easier now right?
As I hurtle towards another birthday and deeper into my mid twenties I have an inescapable feeling that my life is, quite frankly, a mess. Queue the quarter life crisis…
Quarter Life Crisis, n. (phrase) – anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.
Unlike other significant life stages, the quarter life crisis is largely unprovoked. There’s no medical reasoning behind it nor is it part of our biological clock, yet it’s something that around 70% of people in their 20s and early 30s feel.
We have so many choices, options and directions we could go in. We’re a generation that has been empowered to “be whatever we want to be” but haven’t been given any advice or direction on what that looks like. We don’t know what we want.
Just when I think I’ve finally got my shit together, someone asks me what my 5-year plan is or where do I see my life going. HA, please! I barely have a 5-day plan together. Am I in my dream career? No. Do I go to the gym enough? Definitely not. Do I have a healthy savings account? Hell no. Can I relate to all the self -depreciating meme accounts on Instagram? You betcha!
So how exactly am I supposed to figure out what I want and try give my life some direction?
Step 1: Take Life 1 Day / Week at a Time
Life seems to move at 100 miles a minute so it’s important to focus on taking each day as it comes. Focussing on the here and now is a fool proof way to reduce anxiety about what your future looks like. When I find myself getting anxious about things I can’t influence or control in that moment I simply tell myself “That’s for future Emma to worry about”…
Step 2: Lower Your Expectations
Don’t rush into setting huge or unachievable targets. I used to train 6 days a week back in 2017 (sigh) but the chances of me hitting the gym more than 2/3 times a week now is very slim. By being more realistic with what I want to achieve, I feel accomplished rather than inadequate. This can apply to the gym, social life, money – you name it. *Disclaimer – NEVER lower your expectations when it comes to a relationship! You’re better than that, hun*
Step 3: Celebrate the Small Stuff
Made your bed this morning? Amazing.
Commuted on the Underground at rush hour and stayed calm? Winner.
Saved a grand total of £10 this month? Every little helps!
Stop being so hard on yourself. If you celebrate the little wins, it will make the life-changing wins so much sweeter.
Step 4: You Do You
Stop comparing yourself to those you’re surrounded by. So what if someone else seems to have their life together? Chances are you have no idea what that person’s life is really like. We’re all different and do things at our own pace.
Step 5: Confidence is Key
Do things that make you feel confident and smile. Listen to a great playlist or album. Wear your favourite top with that ironic slogan that everyone hates. Embrace what makes you, you and own it!
If only these were 5 fool proof ways to live your best life…
These are just small changes I’ve been making over the past few months that I have found to work for me.
Maybe one day (hopefully in the near future) I’ll be in the right headspace to look at the bigger picture and what I want to do with my life. Maybe you will too. Maybe you already have.
Until then, I take solace that in 30 years time I’ll look back on this moment with happiness. Until the mid-life crisis hits that is…