Quarter-life-crisis. That’s a thing you know, and I think I had one.
I think we all have one at some stage.
You’ve spent the past few years studying and now finally, the finish line is in sight. But you’re not as ecstatic as you thought you would be. Popping bottles and throwing graduation hats like no tomorrow doesn’t seem realistic anymore. Secretly you thought having studied, you’ll know exactly what you want to do. You’ll be ready. You thought those years of lecture halls, midnight assignments and multiple choice exams would prepare you for the big bold world out there. But then you come to realise, well … college was not all that it was made out to be. College taught us one thing or another, but it also skipped quite a few bits along the way.
And I’m not all that ready for that big bold world out there.
So here we stand, side by side, bachelor scrolls in hand. And we look down over the edge, and we wonder. Where to jump to? Where to go? What to do? Almost paralysed, tempted to turn back, but this is it – you’re on your own now honey.
So what to choose?
Faced with too many options nowadays – maybe an internship at a startup in Berlin? Or do I play it safe and try my luck at one of the big fours, competing with hundreds of others? Maybe work at my Uncle’s friend’s travel firm in Boston?
Feck it….. I think it’s best for me to just pack up my sh*t and leave. Get the hell out of here, travel for the wrong reasons. So I can put the crisis off for another while, cause you can’t travel once you have a steady job right?
Then again, I should get moving on the job market… Get my freaking foot in the door. OR I could do a masters. That would serve for a little procrastination of real life worries too, and I can live a yolo-student-lifestyle for another year or two. Although my body’s asking for a break at this stage.
Hmmmm….overwhelming isn’t it? Growing up.
The thing is there is no right or wrong.
Actually there is a wrong – it’s standing at the edge of that cliff and not jumping at all.
Here’s what I did to make the jump a little easier, maybe it’ll help you too:
1. Get a pen and paper: visualising thoughts always helps to figure out what’s important and what not.
2. Write down these key areas: family & friends, relationships, career, health & fitness, money & material things and any other category that you see fit. Yes your career path is important, but you shouldn’t neglect your wishes for other areas in your life and it’ll probably help narrow down your options. If you’re still not sure what to do career wise – I suggest picking the top 3 subjects you enjoyed most at college and your hobbies, combining these might give you an idea.
3. Brainstorm: what your goals are in the next 5 years in the above categories, highlight your top 3 in each. Writing down safe goals will literally do no good for anyone. Nobody’s gonna see this piece of paper you can burn it after if you’re that worried about it – but set the bar high, (cliche alert) dream big!
4. KEY STEP: breaking down goals. I think this is what we need to work on the most, this is where people crumble and fall – realising that a big ass goal needs to be broken down into baby steps. I’ve learned to apply this throughout many areas in my life and I must say it works for a heck of a lot of things. When you feel like something is HUGE or IMPOSSIBLE, it probably isn’t. Simple example: I had 5 days to go to an exam date, the amount of study I had done was pretty minimal, I literally thought it was impossible. But I decided to give it my best anyway. So I pulled out a piece of paper, checked past exams and picked out the key sections that the most marks were going for. Wrote down what chapters I had to study to get those right and made a plan on how much time I would spend on each. I passed, I didn’t get a great grade – but that wasn’t my goal either.
5. Take the first baby step towards getting you there: success doesn’t happen over night, one thing leads to the next and people get what they want by going after it. So make sure you’re on the right track in the first place, always keeping those big goals in mind.
6. Be ok with curveballs: it’s good to plan – but things won’t always turn out the way they were supposed to and that’s fine too.
I don’t believe in A midlife crisis, I think we have plenty of them and we need to learn how to deal with them. Quarters, halves, eighths…whatever. We’ll often be standing at the edge of what the f*ck to do with our lives. Getting to the bottom of the cliff is a journey, not a jump, and there’s another one waiting for you on the other side.