Ask Aryssa: Help! I’m Having a Quarter Life Crisis.
posted on August 19, 2020 | by Aryssa Durrell
Advice From a 20 Something was created as a modern advice column which provides honest, down-to-earth advice to 20 somethings. To keep providing just that, we’re so excited to introduce Aryssa Durrell, who has an MA in conflict resolution and a penchant for peacekeeping. You can catch up with Ryss on her Instagram advice channel, and if you want to ask a question on life, love, career, or just navigating your 20s, DM us here.
Dear Aryssa: I am 23 and currently in graduate school for psychology, something that I 98% feel on most days is a perfect career for me. Lately, I have been doubting myself as I watch everyone brag about how awesome their job is, and as they establish their lives. I guess because I feel my life is “on hold,” I get scared that I won’t have that feeling one day too. I start to second guess the profession I am pursuing when there are so many reasons why I AM in the right field. What is the best way to manage those confusing years as a 20-something that sometimes makes you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing?
Dear Reader: If you think you are having an early twenties “midlife crisis,” you may be right. In fact, the correct diagnosis is a “quarter life crisis.” Often, starting in childhood, we create this picture-perfect imagery of what our lives should look and feel like at a certain point. Almost everything we do up until early adulthood is to prepare us for this life that we have imagined. When we reach a point where things aren’t falling into place exactly as we expected, we basically start to freak out.
Reframe Your Idea of a Perfect Life
Luckily, there’s a little trick to help ease those worries. You can release all of your tensions by loosening expectations and inviting the flow of life to guide you.
This is not to say you should not have goals or plans, but once you allow those goals and plans to become fluid, you realize that a fulfilling life can be achieved in many ways. Coming to this realization will allow for feelings of confusion or aimlessness to subside. One of my favorite quotes is, “after you’ve struck like lightning in all directions…surrender” (unknown). Meaning, work hard toward the things you want to achieve but know that at some point destiny will take over.
It is great that you have found something you’re passionate about. So, set your goals, track them carefully—but, don’t close yourself off from other interests that make your life well-rounded. Even when you are working in your dream field, there will be aspects of that journey that aren’t enjoyable. Exploring other outlets of creativity or fulfillment will help to balance those lows. Release the idea that we all have one passion and that thing is supposed to be all-fulfilling when in reality, we can have many passions that can be ever-changing.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself with others will leave you coming up short more often than not. It may seem like your friends are enjoying their jobs or flourishing in other ways, but everyone is facing uncertainties of their own.
There will be seasons when things naturally feel aligned and easy going, while in other seasons you may have to work harder to find joy in your passions and work. Both seasons are necessary for a well-rounded life.
Embrace that we may never feel like we know what we are doing, while still being able to live a fulfilled and passionate life. Everything is a learning experience—working together to take you where you need to be. Follow your intuition and breathe!