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Quarter-Life Confusion


How the hell did that happen?

But, just so everyone knows, I am moving into my quarter-life crisis with open arms. I’ve been feeling it building. That feeling of: Oh shit! You’re 25 now. What are you doing with your life? And I’m okay with it. Because even though I’ve felt a little frazzled lately, I’m also very happy.

Perhaps it does look like I know what I’m doing. After all, I’ve got the ‘big girl’ job, I live in a recognizable city, I have a flippin’ line of credit!

Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of everything I have accomplished since college. I am proud of the career I’ve started to build, and the home I’ve made for myself in a new city. But ask me if I think I have it ‘figured out’ and I’ll respond with a resounding: hell. no.

In fact, in some ways, I feel more confused than I ever have. Where once I had pre-built timelines, direction and graduation dates, now all I have is options. Granted, this has been true since college, but the kicker now is that I also feel like I have to start choosing ‘paths’ and the older you get, the scarier those paths seem to become.

Where once I asked myself questions like: Should I eat mac-n-cheese or pizza as my late-night snack? Or, will bleaching my hair blonde again be a bad idea?

Now I ask myself questions like:

Am I on the right career path? Could my potential be better leveraged elsewhere? Am I ready to settle-down somewhere? And, if not, should I move cities? Am I ready to be in love again? Will I ever get married? If I want kids, well, the clock is ticking...and instant panic attack.

This is new for me. This panic at all the paths that lay before me. And it’s not so much because I’m necessarily in the wrong place, or unhappy, but it’s because maybe I’m in the right place, and that’s terrifying.

However, I got some clarity recently in an unlikely place.

The other evening I was listening to my mom’s friend talking when we were out to dinner. She is a beautiful woman in her 60s, with kids who are grown and a loving husband and a beautiful house and a good job. I listened to her say:

“I feel like I am at a place in my life when there are a million things flying at me, all these options, and I just don’t know which path to choose.”

Huh. I found myself thinking. Same here.

With 35 years separating us, and gallons of life experience, somehow we’re in the same place.

Everyone has someone that they look at and they think to themselves: “Wow, that person really seems to have it together.” I look at those people who have been in healthy, loving relationships for years and I think to myself: they have it figured out. I look at the people who are traveling the world and I think that they are living the dream. I look at the people who aren’t really doing anything right now, and I think about how I could’ve taken more time for myself before jumping into the “real world” and I feel a bit jealous.

And it’s the truth – all these people do have pieces of their lives that are together, but I can assure you that there are other pieces that maybe aren’t quite fitting. Maybe they have a great career path but feel like they haven’t been making any friends; maybe they are in a loving-relationship but they don’t feel like they are taking great care of their health; maybe they are traveling the world but they feel lonely.

Life is one big puzzle, and we’re all just trying to put together the pieces. Some people get certain pieces right away and others have to fiddle around for a little while. One thing is for certain: we don’t put our puzzles together in the same way.

So maybe there’s no point in worrying about it. There is no point in stressing out to try and figure it out. Your life, your goals, your passions, they will inevitably change. You can spend your time holding onto the life you had planned, or you can embrace the life you are actually living. You can take each opportunity, each hardship, each ounce of pleasure as it comes. Because there will always be another ‘something’ around the corner.

Maybe you don’t figure it out, really. Maybe the only thing you have to figure out is how to enjoy the present moment.

Today, I am 25. And I’m in a place that is uniquely my own. And there are places that might take me years to get to, and there are places where I might excel further than others. And that’s all okay.

My quarter life confusion isn’t a universal experience, but I can assure you that the human experience is the one thing we do all have in common.

So, cheers friends. Confusion and all, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.


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