Quarter-life crisis: A period of life following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult; what Emily is going through right now.
It’s a crisis that affects us all in different ways. If you’re lucky, you might not even go through it at all. But many of us do.
Maybe you enroll in grad school for no reason other than the fact that you’re scared to enter the real world.
Maybe you quit your full-time job on a whim, and move back in with your parents.
Maybe you move across the country to live with your significant other, who has shown no signs of committing for good.
Maybe you chop off all of your hair and go blonde, in hopes of creating a new identity.
Or maybe, if you’re like me, you quit your full-time job and take on a temporary summer job, in hopes that it’ll turn into something more. Only, when the summer ends, you end up as a 24-year-old housewife. That’s really when the quarter-life crisis really sets in.
If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing right now, it wouldn’t have been this. I “wasn’t supposed to” get married until I was 29. I “wasn’t supposed to” live in Indiana forever. I “wasn’t supposed to” still be searching for a career; I was supposed to live in New York, with a writing position at a big magazine. Or that’s what I thought at 14.
And then life happened. If I hated being away at college, how was I supposed to move to New York for a career? I changed my major a handful of times, never sure of what it was that I was supposed to be doing — how was I supposed to pick a career path? And then I fell in love — at 20-years-old — right when I least expected it. They say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans,” right? Well, he must’ve been laughing a lot throughout my high school and college years.
And here I am now. I’m 24-years-old and happily married, but confused about the other parts of my life. In May, I quit my full-time job. A full-time job that I never really discussed on here…or with my family…or with my friends. You see, I started in that company as a music writer. And then I took on the role of health and fitness writer — my dream job. But that dream was short-lived. New management took over, and all of a sudden the only things we were allowed to write about was sex, drugs and celebrity gossip. I never talked about it, because I wasn’t proud of what I was doing. Many times, I couldn’t help but think, “I went to college for this?” I didn’t sign up for that job, and I felt stuck. And sick. So, I began looking for a way out — hence, the temporary summer job as a camp counselor. I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
Of course, seasonal jobs only last for so long. Eventually, you have to move on, and that’s when the anxiety sets in. My friends are beginning their careers and starting new lives. I’m at home, doing laundry and watching Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie” for the 15th time. Colleen described her time of being unemployed as one of the hardest times (for her) in her first year of marriage, and I couldn’t agree more. Not that it’s hard on the relationship; it can make the relationship stronger. But it’s hard on you — being the unemployed one in the relationship makes you feel like you need to be doing something more, you need to be contributing to society too.
Thankfully, Jordan has been my rock through it all.
We’ve been able to enter the ‘real world’ together, and I feel blessed that we don’t have to go into it alone.
What’s next for me? I still don’t know. Tomorrow I begin my part-time job in an aftercare program at an elementary school. It’s the same program that I worked at while I was in college, so in a way, it feels like I’m going backwards. But I can’t just sit at home for the rest of my life, I have to do something.
I know that this post is heavy, and maybe even a little wordy at times, but I am writing it because I know that I am not the only one going through this.
Don’t feel weird, or stupid, or sad if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I have felt all of those things. Other people have made me feel all of those things. And it shouldn’t be like that. Because the reality is, the majority of us don’t know. And it only makes us stronger.
We just have to get through this crisis together.