So I thought I’d write a little more personal post today, and explain what’s been going on in my world recently… Navigating the early to mid twenties is something I’ve found surprisingly difficult. Did anyone else just assume that everything got easier once you were officially an adult? Because I definitely did, and I was definitely wrong. It’s not been an overly easy time and I hope this post might help others who could be going through the same thing.
24 is here, and I can only describe the earlier part of this year as a bit of a quater-life-crisis. We all know about the mid-life crisis, but no-one really talks about the earlier years: namely your early to mid twenties. Perhaps it’s just a part of growing into adulthood, and something everyone goes through. But anyway, it’s nice to shed a bit of light on the subject nonetheless. For a while I was really struggling with the whole topic of ‘the future’. I know where I want to get to, but how on earth am I going to achieve it? How do I get from here to there? Will I ever make it? You get the idea… And part of that meant falling out of love with most things, especially in a work sense. I wondered about a total career change numerous times, but mostly I just wanted to run away to a remote cabin by the lake (with Euan, obvs) and hide away from the world.
Maybe I should get into travel blogging… (jokes, although how fun would that be!).
I’ve not been amazing at talking about it either, not even to Euan. Which I think is mostly down to the fact I can’t actually put it into words, or certainly not whole sentences. I guess overwhelmed is probably the most accurate way of describing it, but it goes a whole lot deeper than that. Also, I’m very good at beating myself up over the tiniest thing. So in a slightly more fragile state than normal you can but guess how unhelpful that trait has been…
Basically – in short – I spent a good few months feeling like a total failure, for no reason other than it’s what I kept telling myself. (Yes, Euan, I did just manage to admit that I’m my worst enemy). I knew deep down that I was actually doing fine and actually in a really good place. But despite knowing that, the doubt still came and still felt totally overwhelming when it did. I would get stuck in a place which I found incredibly hard to pull myself out of. A lot of crying and soooo much self-doubt. It makes you want to give up everything and start over again, and feels like you’ve ruined your life somehow. When I managed to get out of one of these moods, I’d look back and think how utterly ridiculous it was to have thought all of those things. But that somehow doesn’t seem to make it any easier at the time.
I guess it’s largely to do with the fact that the decisions I make now really are starting to shape and impact my future and the direction I take my life in. And I think this is pretty common for people in their ‘early to mid twenties’, and probably beyond too. The older you get, the harder it is to have freedom in a lot of ways. If I want to make something of my life, if I want to have a thriving future, I have to work towards that now. And in my moments of despair it often felt like I wasn’t achieving that and so need to just give up.
It’s not something that’s always easy to talk about, but the few times I have had conversations about it I’ve felt sooooo much better afterwards. I’d be surprised if there’s a single person on this planet who didn’t spend large portions of their 20s feeling like this. Which I found to be a huge comfort. You’re not weird. You’re not a failure. You’re not destined for disaster. In actual fact, you’re just human.
Some Top Tips
To be completely honest, I don’t think there’s any ‘quick fix’ for something like this. But if you’re navigating your early to mid twenties (or any age for that matter!) and feel like you’re having a bit of a quarter-life-crisis, here are a couple of tips that have helped me:
- Firstly, something that really really helped me was weirdly enough a personality test. I actually took it just to calm myself down, but when I got the results and they described my personality to a T it made me realise that I am who I am and the reason I think/behave in certain ways is all part of my personality. Not because I’m broken or weird, but because that’s just who I am. Even just answering the questions properly & honestly opened my eyes to a lot about myself. It probably won’t work for everyone, but here is the link if you fancy giving it a go.
- Talk about it. It’s so easy to pretend everything is fine, especially when other people around you assume that everything is fine. But keeping it all to yourself is detrimental. Trust me!
- Don’t compare your life or achievements to others. Whether that’s your friends or – like me – people (‘proper’ adults) who have made it already, it’s just not healthy and makes everything worse. Everyone is walking down their own path, and there is no right or wrong way to do life. So just do you!
- And closely linked with the above, don’t keeping focussing on what you think you should be doing. Like I said, there’s no right or wrong way to do life so there’s no should or shouldn’t either. (Well, to a point. I mean you shouldn’t break the law for example…).
- Lastly, figure out what you want and keep going. Let your mind wander, put yourself out there, and invest in yourself if you need to. Even on the bad days, keep pushing and don’t give up because if you stay on the right path and are determined, you’ll get to where you want to go.
I hope that if you’re having a hard time, this post has helped a bit. Talking about it has definitely helped the process for me, just to get my head around it for the most part. And if you’re going through something similar and want to talk, I’m just on the other end of email or Instagram for a chat! And this isn’t necessarily felt by people in their ‘early to mid twenties’, it just so happens that it is the most common time for a quarter-life crisis, and it’s also the age category I fall in.
And for something a little lighter, take a look at my last post.