You are not on a clock. You do not have to achieve things by a certain time date or age.
Listening to a talk show on the radio, people were laughing at the idea of a quarter life crisis. How silly it is. How funny that at 25 years old you have things to worry about when you should be out enjoying life and partying.
But let’s be real. Maybe not for these radio talk show hosts that are in their 40s, but for some, a quarter life crisis is a real thing. There is so much pressure to do well and succeed. I remember sitting around with my friends in high school, mapping out our futures. Married by 24. Kids by 26. Full salary career by 30. And you better be running that shit. Whatever company you work for, you better be the top of the crew, promoted like nobody’s business. You will have a white house with blue shutters and a white picket fence. You are gonna have your BFFs and you will constantly hang out and have kids around the same time so they can grow up together.
And then 25 hits and you’re like…shit. I am still a part time manager or whatever. Low guy on the totem pole in my career. I have 5 years to get my shit together. And I was supposed to be married a year ago. I can’t even hold a relationship, let alone kids. When was the last time I heard from my BFFs from high school other than social media? Couldn’t tell ya. But I do know that two of the three are married. One has kids. And one has their own business. Why am I failing at liffffeeee?!
I’m here to tell you, where ever you are, what ever you are doing, you are fine. I’ve lived through that. I completely panicked for two years. As my 27th birthday is approaching, I realized how much calmer I am that it is here.
I realized that I show up on my own time. Every person is different. Every person has their own timeline. And I know you hate hearing that when you have a literal timeline on social media showing when everyone else had achieved these things. You are an individual. Maybe you haven’t met your lifelong partner yet. So what? Maybe you are still serving fries at McDonalds. Who cares? You need to make a list of what you are doing right now. It may not seem like much but as long as you aren’t stagnant, it is. Maybe you work at McDonald’s because it is the only place that works around your school schedule and you are rocking a 3.5 GPA. Maybe you changed your mind and are going back to school. Maybe you have your own photography or coding business but it hasn’t quite taken off yet. Maybe you feel like you are lacking because analytics seem to send people skyrocketing into salary jobs, but you are creative. That’s all great.
I used to cringe or laugh at myself when I was asked what I did for a living. Giggling I would tell them I was a part time retail manager. It was always a joke and really quite embarrassing for me, and I wasn’t sure why. I figured because my “title” wasn’t big enough or good enough to be proud of. But I should have been! I did a hell of a lot of work. Be proud of what you do. Don’t laugh it off. If you aren’t proud, move on!
When you compare yourself to others, you feel less. At 25, my son and I, were still living with my mom. I was still paying on my car. I worked 2 jobs and a third I did on the side. I was an alterations manager part time, and a part time assistant manager. I was dating someone but it only last three months. I, like many, was screaming “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? WHY CAN’T I GET MY LIFE TOGETHER?” And then I realized, in this economy, as a single mom, my life is together.
Here’s what I did to feel better about my life. I took a serious look at my life. I realized I was so stressed an anxious over jobs that didn’t pay me enough to even rent an apartment. I was stressed with the crazy scheduling that retail gave me. I stayed because I knew I was liked and good at my job. So I knew when a full time position became open, it would be offered to me. And it was. But soon after I found out I was having brain surgery and would be off for three months, meaning someone else would get it. I was so mad about how unfair my life was at the time. It took me those three months being off to realize, wait a minute, I am so happy right now. Why am I so happy? Because I’m not working. And that’s all it took. In the last 6 months I have changed my life around drastically.
Because I mapped out what would work well for me now, I was able to go after it. I knew I wanted a fixed schedule. I wanted to be able to creatively express myself without “rules” about my appearance (I mean really, clothing, nail polish, and hair color restrictions? So over it.) I hoped my job would be closer so I didn’t spend so much time driving.
I also figured out that right now, I don’t want a relationship. I really want to spend more time with friends. And I have. I have put myself in situations that I normally would not. Like going to a friend’s party where I wouldn’t know anyone. Or driving to meet up with a friend from college. Getting coffee with a couple friend’s from high school. The idea of those would send my anxiety skyrocketing. Now it’s becoming normal for me.
Another reason I decided I did not want to date is because I do want to take myself more seriously. Because if I’m not who will, right? Taking blogging seriously. Looking into starting my own business. Both of these take a lot of time. Once you get in the habit of doing them, it’s easy, but forcing yourself to do it, that is a different story. And I’ve been doing a pretty decent job.
I knew that I wanted to spend more time with my son, giving my mom more time to herself because she is my babysitter. Knowing that is what I was looking for, I got the job that gave me these freedoms. I spend much more time with my son and I’m not tired from working 12 hour days running from one job to another.
It is because of these changes I don’t dread turning 27. Even though it’s only three years from 30! Yikes! It’s okay. I feel good about where I am. I still have some things I am working on, like getting my own place. But I am getting there. I am proud of myself going into year 27. I just had to make the moves to get me where I wanted to be. Now it’s your turn. Make necessary, scary changes to get to where you want to be.