I don’t care what anyone says, the quarter-life crisis is a thing. It’s completely normal to freak out about.. well, every aspect of your ‘young professional’ life. I hate that phrase, it basically means fresh meat. It’s the unknown, always second guessing your recent career moves, city of residence, did we have one tequila shot too many last weekend? Once you’ve finished college there’s this ‘what now?’ grey cloud over your head. You have your degree, your next move is going to determine your career path. But where do I want to be in 5 or 10 years? Not 100% sure what Im doing tomorrow.
Right before you graduate, you’re full of ideas, you’re ambitious and you’re so ready to enter the working world. Once you start applying for jobs and start your first graduate position, you’re either right where you need to be or you’re second guessing and panicking about how to change tracks at this stage. If you work in the media industry, it’s always the latter, isn’t it? Weh. If you’re unsure career-wise, just take a moment to look around you (okay, ignoring your already successful friends who studied occupational therapy or biomedical science because their career paths are pretty set). Most of my friends are still confused at 25, 26 and 27 and have been since leaving college. You have to remember that everyone is in the same boat. If you need to vent about it to a friend, the likelihood is that they’ll turn around and say “Oh my God I know the feeling”. If it’s not about their job, it’s about one of the below.
We can’t forget about the pressure coming from your parents, always asking you how you’re doing in work, when you’re coming home. Then you have pressure from older friends who have their sh*t together and you’re constantly working towards that point in your life. You’re conversations are just like..
It’s time to start listening to older successful peers and family members when they say “Someday soon you’ll be right where you’re supposed to be and it just happened”. I’ve been told this one thousand times this year as well as something along the lines of; if you’re this anxious about where you are in life, it just means you’re a determined person. You’re not willing to settle, you’re just a little confused right now and that’s okay. Or maybe that’s what I’ve been telling myself.. eeeyep.
Travel and FOMO
Traveling or working abroad isn’t for everyone and I’m sure for some people it seems like the most daunting thing in the world. If you’re freaking out right now and traveling is always on your mind, it’s perfect for the quarter-life crisis-prone. Sometimes it means taking somewhat of a gap year (or two). In certain circumstances you can do both, work on your career while living abroad and you gain valuable experience that places you miles ahead of other graduates. However, sometimes visa restrictions and being new to a city may get in the way of your career progression. All of that aside, if you have itchy feet I will always say GO. Especially in your 20’s because now is the time. Not to sound like a bossy boots but if you’re humming and hawing about it and don’t do it now, when will you? You’re going to be working for the rest of your life so why not take a chance? Living somewhere like New York is experience in itself and taking the time out to live life and ‘find myself’ (I know) has been the best lesson. If you hate it after 6 months, there’s no shame in going home. Be proud that you gave it a go.
Every now and then I freak out about how long it’s been since hearing from my friends at home or abroad. Sometimes it’s been so long, I’m not even sure they’re the same person anymore. People change so much during their early 20’s and the best friends you once had turn into acquaintances from afar. You’re meeting more and more new friends, that you forget to keep up with your old ones. During your 20’s, friends move abroad, to a different county or your friendship just fades. I always say no matter how long it’s been, when you eventually meet up with your long-term friends after some time, it will be as though you were never apart. I was so terrified I had lost one of my very best friends having seen her three times in two years but when she came to NYC (even if it was for just 24 hours) we picked up right where we left off and I’m certain she will always be in my life. ❤ N’aw.
Relationships vs The Single Life
When you find someone amazing who supports you and you work really well together, it can work wonders for your stress levels. On the other hand, toxic relationships are sure to exacerbate the situation. It’s hard to let go of someone who has essentially become your best friend but countless arguments and uncertainty gives me anxiety just thinking about it. For some people being single can seem quite scary. I completely understand having been in a long term relationship. I think being single from 18-25 puts you in a position of self-reliance and nothing is standing in your way from putting yourself out there and going it alone. When I had a boyfriend and something went wrong in college or work, instead of facing it, I would just vent to him about it until I felt better. It was fantastic but didn’t really solve anything. Sure, I get lonely sometimes but if you surround yourself with friends and stay focused on getting through your quarter-life crisis on your own, it goes away. I also can’t have a guy putting a dampener on my avid social life…. lol.
Life at home
This doesn’t apply to everyone but if you’re working in an industry that has no opportunities in a small town in the south of Ireland, living at home is not an option. Luckily, I love big cities and I’m more than happy to leave Clonmel. But before I moved to New York and I lived in Dublin, I hated not going home to my family and my old bedroom. You’re always weighing it up in your head, the guilt of not returning home enough and the guilt of spending too much time at home that you’re putting your career on pause. Being away for so long has made me realize that nothing is more important than family. No matter where I am in the world, I always want to feel close to them.
To sum it up: You’re not supposed to know what the future will hold for you.