What happens to life after college? For so many of us it’s a time where we don’t know exactly where we are going or heading. Friends get engaged, married, and pregnant while we wonder if life is passing us by faster than we thought. We worry about finding jobs and wonder where to go in our careers once we do find that first gig. In short, the Quarterlife crisis is where we stop being kids and start being grown up.
For the next few days I’ll be hosting different perspectives on our post-college lives because even though we maybe going through times of personal growth and exploration- we aren’t doing it alone.
Today’s post is from Andrew Weitsman, a marketer, entrepreneur and pop-culture enthusiast who blogs about work, business, and being fancy at Needle, Meet Haystack. Like me, he once at a Double-Down. It didn’t go too well.
Man, it seems like I’m having a quarter-life crisis every day lately. Between my two jobs, my blog and a bunch of side projects, my life is getting pulled in every direction. I’m always freaking out that I’m making the wrong decision, doing harm to my future self, killing my personal brand, or making some other kind of screw-up that will spell doom for the future generations of my family. And you know what the worst part is?
I’m actually a few years younger than quarter-life crisis age.
I mean sure, there’s no real age requirement to join that club, but I had always figured that I would at least settle in to my post-college lifestyle a little bit before I started freaking out about the other 75% of my life. And then it got scarier: what If this is one quarter of my life? What if I’m not destined to hit triple-digit ages? It all got very confusing and frightening and disheartening. Of course, it does help to realize that I’m not the only one.
Consider that one, maybe two generations ago, there really wasn’t such a thing as a quarter-life crisis. Whether that’s due to the economic, political, technological, socio-cultural, ecological, theological, archaeological or alien invasion-based influences, there was a shift that led to a whole generation of young people suddenly facing personal crises. All of a sudden, we’re hearing that certain phrases denote a personal crisis:
“I don’t know what I want to do with my life!”
“I’m not sure if I’m making the right decisions!”
“I might be killing my chances at future happiness!”
“I should probably do my laundry!”
You know what all of those have in common? They carry exactly the same weight.
Your twenties, Hell, even the early part of your thirties, are about finding out who you’re supposed to be. You don’t need to have the answers right away. It’s okay if you’re still worried that the Bachelor’s in Sanskrit with a minor in English Literature you picked up while floating through college on a sea of cheap beer (and ramen) won’t get you where you want in life. It’s okay if you’ve been forced by economic necessity to move back in with your parents, even if they were in the process of turning your old bedroom into a fitness room/office/sex dungeon. It’s acceptable to deal with job whoring to make a buck while you look for something better.
All these feelings and fears and thoughts and concerns? You’re supposed to have them. And everyone else has them too.
You won’t wake up one day with a grand epiphany about your purpose in life. You might never change the world in a profound, amazing way, even if it’s one of those “unsung heroes” things like Norman Borlaug or Henrietta Lacks. But what you can do is enjoy your time of indecision to try new things, meet new people, take stupid chances and work on discovering who you want to be.
It’s not a crisis at all – it’s self-discovery.
So maybe I’ve been looking at this all wrong. I’m not having a bunch of rapid-fire mid-life crises; I’m just learning more about myself. And chances are, you’re learning more about yourself too.