I don’t know about ya’ll, but my quarter life crisis hit me hard. *record scratch* What’s a quarter life crisis? Okay, let’s move it back a little. You know that feeling of existential dread that hits you when you enter your mid-twenties and you’re starting to move toward your thirties? When you wake up and your back is constantly aching and your knees feel like they’re starting to wear out and you know that you’re getting older and oh my god what have I done with my life?
So there are ways to handle your quarter-life crisis, and there are ways you really shouldn’t. Let’s start with the ways you shouldn’t.
Doing anything impulsive
You wanna know what I did? I was going through life all happy and normal and then before I knew it I had purchased a motorcycle and I found myself in front of my hairdresser, asking him to lop my hair off in a manic pixie cut.
That’s really not what you should do if it doesn’t make you happy in the long run. Luckily, hair grows back and can be accessorised cutely. You know what doesn’t disappear when you get tired of it? The motorcycle.
Fortunately, I love the bike and still ride it (I’m still going through my quarter life crisis). But it did teach me a lot about spontaneous decisions and how ready I am for them, as well as whether I even planned for the consequences of my actions. Basically, I learnt responsibility.
Unfortunately, I did not learn my lesson with my hair and so when my quarter life crisis hit me again recently, I dyed my hair pink this time.
Doing anything you usually wouldn’t do
I made many questionable life choices over my early mid-twenties that resonate till this day. I’m still feeling the effects of some terrible decisions I made, precisely because I broke rules that I set for myself and put my principles down. An example of this was in dating people that I had “settled” for, ignoring behaviours that set off repeated red flags, and indulging in risky behaviours.
People, nobody’s ever worth putting yourself down for. At the end of the day, you’ll be miserable and the most important person in your life is you. I completely forgot that I’m the one who has to cope with the situation and experience it, as well as deal with the consequences.
Have principles and stick to them. This holds true for standards. Have red flags, yellow flags and green flags for all your social situations and apply the “three strikes and you’re out” rule when you have to. You don’t need to be surrounded by toxicity.
Physically unhealthy decisions
You know all that binge drinking and smoking you go through? Yeah, I overindulged in those vices and boy, do I regret them. I developed alcoholic tendencies and I had to slowly wean myself to a point where I can now control my drinking and have a drink and stop there.
As for the smoking? I just quit, finally! After years of trying, this has been my latest attempt. I’ve switched to a vape pod and it’s helped me greatly. I aim to wean myself off it in a month’s time and transition to a regular vape and then off that, so I can be nicotine free.
Picking up negative habits like these just to quit them for your own good? That’s not worth it either. I really wish I’d instead invested in a far physically or mentally healthier activity – like knitting (which I’d just picked up – there’s something very therapeutic about the clicking of the needles and the repetitive movements).
So we’ve covered the explicitly bad decisions I’d made. What about we inject this with some positivity and move on to the things you should do?
Focus on self
Although I firmly believe that nobody is late for anything at their age, or early, just on time – I do believe that a quarter life crisis can be made much better with some me time. It’s good to spend some time being a bit of a social hermit now and then with yourself. After all, you’re your only guaranteed constant companion through life.
Skills such as meditation can be particularly grounding to learn, as well as good for the spiritual self’s needs. Journalling is also a highly recommended activity to do to increase your intrapersonal skills.
You know that skill you’ve always wanted to learn? What’s stopping you from picking it up, even for at least for ten minutes a day using a YouTube tutorial? If you have some extra money, it might even be worth investing in an online course that comes with a certificate.
Motivate yourself to keep your mind agile through the learning of new skills. Pick up a musical instrument, learn a new language, teach yourself programming… The world is your oyster. With the existence of free apps and online resources, you can learn almost any skill you desire to.
Your quarter life crisis will probably be a bumpy ride reminiscent of puberty. But you know what? You’ll get through it. Nobody will have the exact same quarter life crisis you will experience, so your mileage may vary and try not to compare yourself to the people around you. The important thing is to come out of it with your fists swinging and ready to hit back at life!