Ah, the quarter-life crisis, a not-quite-new phenomenon striking anxiety, misery, and #firstworldproblems into the lives of twentysomethings everywhere. It happens to some but not all, and it hits at varying degrees – much like anything else. If you're going through one yourself, however, you're probably all up in your feelings about some things. I think I know where your head's at, I really do.
1 General Malaise is Your New Best Friend
You know there's nothing physically wrong with you, but you can't explain how you feel in a way that doesn't make you sound like you're whining about absolutely nothing.
2 You Start Toying with the Idea of Becoming an Existentialist
You vaguely remember the term from college but since you didn't really pay attention, you constantly remind yourself to visit the Google. Unfortunately, the whole malaise thing keeps you from ever doing so. Still, this does not stop you from telling all and sundry that you are going through an existential crisis, a statement that is always followed by a hollow little titter that tries for humor but barely hides a fine edge of hysteria. Or … no? Just me?
3 You Have an Odd Reaction Whenever Someone Older Asks Your Age
It goes like this: “Me? Oh, I'm 25. Hahaha, that's young, right? HAHAHA, I'm still just a baby, right? RIGHT?!”
4 You Get Caught between Youth and Adulthood
You're still so young and there's still so much you want to do, but THERE IS SO LITTLE TIME.
5 But Somehow, Taylor Speaks to You
You've never even liked this song, but it speaks to you SO MUCH. You're just not really ready to adult yet.
6 Your Stamina Undergoes a Definite Shift
Staying up until 5 am and sleeping until noon is no longer a good idea. Bouncing back starts to take longer and longer.
7 If You're in a Relationship, You Start Obsessing
Time to get a move on, right? People are asking questions. You basically either have to break up or get married, but you're so young and is this even the person you want to marry? Is this the face you want to see every morning forever? Are you even ready to get married?
8 If You're Single, You Start Obsessing
Time to get a move on, right? People are asking questions! You're 25, you'll be 30 in five years, everyone you know is getting married or having babies, what happens if you just end up dying alone, and your beloved dachshunds eat your face?
9 Hangovers Are No Longer Something to Joke about
You will never take another #iwokeuplikethis selfie ever, ever again. Alcohol is the devil's nectar. In your thirties, you will become a teetotaler.
10 There Are All These Things You Feel like You Should Be Doing
Why didn't you study abroad? You need to go backpacking in Thailand. Do you like to go backpacking? You've never done it before and you hate being outside, but doesn't everyone do that before they begin Real Life? Maybe you need to go back to school, get your master's or your doctorate. School was safe. Sure, it created crippling debt and your diploma is moldering somewhere in your parents' basement, but all you had to do was study and write essays. Essays!
11 You Realize That Some Things Are beyond You
Like doing your taxes. And making chicken breasts that aren't raw in the middle. You made the dean's list for four years, but now you're living out of clothes baskets because you can't be assed to fold or put away anything.
12 Creating and Sticking to Any Kind of Budget is One of Those Things
You feel like you will never have money. You dream of savings accounts and disposable income.
13 You Start Comparing Yourself to Other People
You do this in frankly different scenarios. “Snooki is roughly my age, and what's she done with her life? Just been on reality TV and … oh.” Protip: don't do this, not with celebrities, pseudo-celebrities, friends, or family.
14 Time Shifts
No, seriously. The way time moves starts to change. You are astonished to realize that the things you loved as a college student or high school kid did not occur just a few years ago. You were fifteen a decade ago. A DECADE.
15 Sometimes You Go Overboard
Maybe you call it YOLO. Maybe you're more of a Carpe Diem kind of cat. You just start YOLOing and seizing the day all over the place, is the point here.
16 You Second Guess Your Entire Life
I mean, the whole thing. At some point, you second guess every decision you've ever made, even your decision to take tap instead of ballet when you were NINE YEARS OLD.
17 Your Instagram Life is Way Better than Your Real Life
Like, they don't even resemble the same life. It's not limited to Instagram, either. Social media you has her ish together so much better than IRL you.
18 You Get through It
You might experience it at 23, 26, or even 30. Maybe it will be terrible, easy, or nonexistent. Maybe it won't even be a blip your radar, maybe it will take you to your knees. But you'll get through it. That might mean changing your career path or your goals or just getting through the moment, but you'll do it.
Some people make fun of the quarter-life crisis, some people wallow in it, and others fall somewhere in between. I think some folks experience it and some folks don't, and it's cool either way. The point is to recognize it and pull through, or to offer help where you can, you know?