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Emily summer studios | 406.871.2199 | emilysummerstudios@gmail.com | Missoula, Montana

The Quarter-life Crisis

I came across this piece that I had written a whole year ago. It is crazy how much has changed in the last year, but how much everything embodied in this piece still rings true.

Quarter-life crisis: a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.

Recently, I have had events occur in my life that I can only describe as life-changing. After two and a half years of feeling confused, anxious, ambitious, yet slightly cynical, I came to a realization. Life is not going to magically present itself with my dream job or life on my doorstep. I have to work for the life I dream about. I read somewhere that 22-27 are the most challenging years in your life. I don’t doubt that for a second. There is so much pressure to be successful right away. So much emphasis placed on finding the dream job right out of college, and to make as much money as possible. Not to mention, finding that perfect guy, settling down and having a family. I am at a point in my life where I can count my single friends on one hand (really, I only need two fingers). Soon, babies will be coming and I am over here deciding which flavor of cat food to buy this week. A year ago, if you had asked me where I thought I would be right now, my answer would have been 100% different from where I am. After three moves, a devastating break-up and frustrating job hunt after job hunt, it seems easy to fall into a pit of self-doubt and defeat. Quarter-life crisis is a real thing. I have felt victim of it and I know I am not alone. No matter which stage of life they might be in right now, nearly every close friend of mine and I have had this conversation in the last year, and I know we are in good company. I don’t think it's necessarily a bad thing, and we need to stop negatively viewing twenty-something women without careers. Who cares if you haven’t found your dream job yet? Does it mean you’re inadequate or you wasted thousand of dollars on an education that got you nowhere? I know it may feel this way, but I believe we need to stop allowing these thoughts and doubts and fears to control our lives and our happiness. Since when did our lives have to revolve around school, then work, then marriage? Who decided that was the norm and anyone who doesn’t fit this mold is unsuccessful, lonely, or immature? We need to stop telling girls they have to find a man before their biological clock runs out, or they must get married before they become an old maid. Instead, we should remind them that they are beautiful, intelligent and worthy of the greatest love. I think one’s twenties should be used to adventure, experiment, explore, LIVE. I want to travel the world, see things I have never seen, taste things I’ve never tasted, experience things I had only imagined and feel exhilarated every day of my life. Maybe you haven’t scored your dream job yet. Or maybe you don’t even know what that might be. Think of how different your life may seem if you saw this as an advantage. You are free to choose any career you want. This is a time for experimentation, exploration and figuring out a way to combine your passion with your paycheck. Your next job doesn’t have to be your career. Learn from it. Evaluate what you like or disliked. No matter what, you will continuously be one step closer to where you want to be. We only get this one life. What a tragedy it would be if we spent it constantly comparing, questioning, and wishing for the things we thought we needed. Instead, let’s spend it learning, adventuring, dreaming….living.

#quarterlifecrisis #twentysomething #overcomingselfdoubt