If you had told sixteen year old me my twenties would have been filled navigating a quarter-life crisis, I would have straight-up laughed in your face. (Okay, it would have been in my head because hey that’s rude but you get what I mean) The reality is the quater life crisis DID happen and the more I talk about it, the more I realise it is more common than we think. So why aren’t we talking about it more?
Your twenties are a strange time. For many of us, it is the first time we are living a life away from our parents. We are more in control over our actions than ever before yet the uncertainty of what the future holds is higher than we have ever experienced. For me personally, I had my life planned out – that is up to until my graduation. Aside from finding a job I love I had no idea what the future held and naturally, that scared me a little. (Okay, a lot)
I always worried about not being good enough or making my loved ones proud. During my teens, I had a self-preservation mechanism which allowed me to push these thoughts at the back of my head. When my twenties came around, the idea of being an adult and it was time for me to step up meant these thoughts, mixed with feeling like a failure and imposter took over 80% of my brain space. Part of this is because we are not equipped enough for life.
We have to remember, it takes time to find our feet. Our twenties are for building a career, figure out where we want to live and how to spend our life. It can also be the time where we feel the most alone. Our friendship change – everyone is doing their own thing. We go from seeing friends on a daily basis to seeing them every few months in some cases. The same with our families.
Our twenties are a robust period of our time. We are adults without the responsibility of having your own family. This means one month you could be living in one town and literally uproot your life across the country the next. Is it any wonder our mental health is heightened during this unnerving period of our lives?
What can we do to make it easier? Talk about it. When you do have conversations about how life is going with friends and family, be honest, tell them you’re struggling or you are worried about something. Even if it is small, it will make a difference. I promise you, you will be amazed at home many of your friends will say they feel the same. Yes, even that lawyer who you think is looking down on you for choosing the creative life.
Allow yourself time for therapy or counseling. In the same way, you take vitamins to prevent you from getting a cold you can do therapy before you are at the stage of burn out and it ends up being something categorically you need. You don’t need to be in a bad mental state to visit a therapist. I know this is something easier than done but after doing a stint of therapy myself I can tell you it was one of the best things I did during my twenties.
In short, your twenties are supposed to be a mess. They are not supposed to be the idyllic time we were sold growing up and that is ok. The best part of the quarter life crisis are the lessons we learn from it and the best way to do this is to talk about it.