4 Tips for Navigating a Quarter Life Crisis

There’s something interesting I hear people talk about pretty much every day. The quarter-life crisis. The existential questions we ask ourselves around the ages of 22-28. We ask ourselves why we are here, what is our purpose and why aren’t we doing said purpose yet. Am I wasting my time at my current job? Should I be doing something completely different? Did I waste 6 years of my life on the wrong path?! It sucks! I’ve been through it, and tbh I am still going through it! Quarter life crises can cause stress and anxiety to some, and even cause people to quit their jobs in search of the meaning of life. There have been a few things that have helped to make my personal quarter life crisis suck less, so I wanted to share them with you!

Tip #1: Learn something for fun – not to master it

One thing that really helped me during my three year year-long quarter life crisis was taking up a few skills just for fun, and honestly, it was a pretty weird feeling at first. I was itching to get out of my day-to-day routine, while still doing things that made me feel productive. But I didn’t want to quit my job(I had bills to pay!). I also didn’t want to join an in-person class, because, you know, people. So I did what any creatively curious person would do.

I went to Hobby Lobby.

What I did:

I remember consciously walking up and down each aisle of the store hoping that the universe(or Hobby Lobby’s craft section) would inspire me. I also gave myself a budget of $15 because I figured this new skill would probably be short-lived. After about thirty minutes of wandering through some pretty intimidating quilting, scrapbooking and home decor sections, I found the yarn section. It looked colorful, cozy and semi-promising. At this time I didn’t know the difference between knitting and crocheting, let alone what types of tools I would need for either of those. But the yarn felt super soft, so I decided that I wanted to learn how to knit. One $5 ream of yarn and a $4 set of knitting needles later,  I was out the door, off to deep dive into YouTube Tutorials. That was three years ago.

While I am no expert knitter, I can now knit a mean beanie. At least that’s what my dad tells me.

Some other things I taught myself:

  • How to knit a headband
  • What a Roth IRA is and how to open one
  • How to buy my first stock
  • What gluten is and what foods I can find it in
  • How to play “Somewhere over the rainbow” on ukulele
  • How to properly lift 8lb free-weights

What I learned:

I feel like we’ve all been primed to learn stuff and work hard to achieve x, y or z – never just for fun. But when we get in the habit of learning things for fun or just out of curiosity, it engages our brain in ways it isn’t used to! When you learn something for fun, there is an excitement in seeking information and finding that information. It starts a productive habit of learning new things. There’s something so satisfying about figuring out how to make your first knitting stitch, or making your first stock trade. Not everything you are curious about learning has to be productive, because the habit of learning for the sake of learning is productive in itself!

Tip #2: Create a Vision Board

Now you may be thinking – everyone always tells me to write down my goals, but I don’t know what the hell my goals are! Well, I was right there with ya. Heck, I still am. That’s why I call my board a vision board rather than a goal board. The concept is pretty simple. You create a board that has a general vibe/aesthetic that makes you feel good. Include some motivational quotes, some magazine clippings of skills you want to learn or improve on, and you’re set! If you happen to have actual goals, feel free to add them to your board, too! The most important step: leave space on your board for a few goals. It’ll make space in your universe for you to manifest your goals eventually!

What I did:

This one is actually pretty fun one for me because I’ve started to organize Vision Board making parties at the beginning of each year. What’s a Vision Board Party? Here’s the secret formula:

a few girlfriends + mimosas + magazines + poster boards

It pretty much screams #girlpower and I love it!

What I do is gather some of my friends, provide them with magazines, poster boards scissors, etc. Then, I prompt them to think about what type of vibe or essence they want for themselves for the next year.

How do they want to feel: physically, emotionally, spiritually, work-wise, relationship wise?

I try to not pressure anyone to create specific goals unless they want to! Then we flip through the magazines, sip our ‘mosas, and enjoy some much needed #girlboss time. I encourage them to pull quotes, images(i.e. vacation destinations, food ideas, etc.) and anything else that may inspire them for their boards.

And again the most important part: leave space on your board for your goals – especially if you don’t have any yet! Leaving physical space for your goals will allow the universe/you to fill it!

What I learned:

Everyone struggles to some degree with defining their goals! I honestly thought I was the only one. That’s why I love vision boards – they allow people to start getting inspired for the following year, without the pressure of having to have defined and concrete goals. Vision Boards provide a starting point for the general vibe or essence someone wants to feel for the next year. Leaving space on the board for goals reminds us that goals are always a work in progress, and you can create them at any time!

Tip #3: Write down your skills

This one is always hard to do because the word ‘skill’ is subjective. But I’ve realized any ability or piece of knowledge you have is something that someone else may not have. And in that sense, it is a skill. I think it’s important to create a list of skills you have because it allows you to see how far you’ve come in your life. You definitely didn’t come out of the womb with all of the skills you have now!

Note: Skills do not have to be work related! They can be anything you’ve taken time to work on.

What I did:

To start, I divided my list into three sections: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced based on my current perceived adeptness. This is my starting point for growth.

Part One: My List:

Basic Skills:

  • Utilizing SEO
  • Weight Lifting
  • Investing in the stock market
  • Cooking meals in a rice cooker

Intermediate Skills:

  • HTML/CSS
  • Blogging
  • Cooking weekly meals

Advanced Skills:

  • Patience
  • Prioritizing ‘Me’ time

Now that I’ve listed out my skills in order I take a look at what I want to spend more time working on, and what I can spend less time and energy on. I recreate my skill list as a goal skill list – what I want my skill list to look like! I can add more skills to the basic list, move some basic skills to intermediate or advance, etc. The world is your oyster!

Part Two: Create a Goal Skill List

My goal skill list:

Basic Skills:

  • Utilizing SEO
  • Taking aesthetic Instagram pictures
  • Python
  • Monetizing my blog

Intermediate Skills:

  • Weight Lifting
  • Investing in the Stock Market
  • Javascript
  • Prioritizing working out
  • Blogging

Advanced Skills:

  • HTML/CSS
  • Patience
  • Prioritizing ‘Me’ time

What I learned:

Sometimes listing out your skills can be daunting, but it truly reminds you how far you’ve come. It helps when you are in your quarter life crisis. Skill lists bring perspective. You’ve done a lot and you can definitely do more! I also like creating a skill list and then using that list to create a goal skill list. The reason is that when you’re going through a quarter-life/midlife crisis, a lot of times you don’t have too many goals you are working towards. You feel lost. Creating a goal skill list based on your current skills list actually helps to get the ball rolling in terms of figuring out new goals.

Tip #4: Celebrate how far you’ve come

This is SO important! Because of Tip #3: Creating a skill list, you start to realize just how much you know! Take time to appreciate yourself and your life growth. Buy yourself that fancy coffee that you can never normally justify buying! Make yourself your favorite meal! Or just simply read your skills list and give yourself a pat on the back.

What I did:

After I made my skill list and my goal list, I took it with me(it was on my phone with Evernote) to Barnes and Nobel bookstore to #treatmyself. I don’t know about you, but my Barnes and Nobel also has a Starbucks in it, so I really went to town! I bought myself a hot mocha(which I never do) and walked around the bookstore. One thing I love to treat myself to is a book that I’ve been wanting to read. I usually check books out from the library, so buying a book is a real treat! I bought myself #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso. And lemme tell ya. That book rocks.

What I learned:

Celebrating how much I’ve learned in life really has helped to remind me that I am capable. Capable of learning, capable of growing and capable of failing! All of these things have brought me to the point I am at in life today. And even if I’m not where I want to be and let’s be honest, I don’t know where that is yet, I know that I am capable of doing it!

And I know you are too!

What strategies do you use when you’re in a slump? Have you ever experienced a quarter-life/midlife crisis? Let’s talk!

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