What Helped Me Get Through My Quarter-Life Crisis
If you’re anything like me, you’ve struggled, or are currently struggling, with what John Mayer (and others) have labeled as the “quarter-life crisis.” After I graduated from college, I had a job offer that I thought was going to be awesome. I was dating a guy who I also thought was awesome, and who I really, really liked. I thought things were falling into place and my life was finally coming together (whatever that means). I felt comfortable and safe.
And then within a month of each other, my job and my boyfriend were both kaput.
Talk about rocking my world in the worst way. I felt rudderless and like a total loser. I had my degree, which I had worked hard for and I was incredibly proud of, but everything else around me had turned to crap. I felt like King Midas, but everything I touched turned to dust instead of gold.
My game plan after graduation had been to work my day job, spend time with my boyfriend, and in my spare time work on pursuing my passion of starting a non-profit organization for survivors of sexual assault. Those first two things weren’t an option anymore. I felt like just giving up on my other plans and crawling back to my mom’s house and curling up into a ball. I was totally having a post-grad, quarter-life crisis.
But then something in me said, “Not so fast, little lady!”
I had been reading a book called I Am That Girl about finding your passion in life and becoming a powerful woman. It was filled to the brim with nuggets of knowledge and inspiration, and really moved me to get working on what I really wanted to be doing with my life instead of wallowing in my breakup and joblessness. The paragraph that pulled me in was in the very first couple of chapters, and went like this:
I had also just listened to a motivational speaker CD that asked the following questions: Why are YOU here? Not why is the human race here, but why are YOU specifically here?
I pulled out my journal and wrote down the following:
This is my mission. This is why I am here. This is the path of my feet. I knew the minute I wrote these words that I couldn’t do these things if I was spiraling into my own personal quarter-life crisis. I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and put on my big girl pants.
That same day, I found this quote on Instagram and it hit me like a hard yet loving slap in the face:
In dealing with the quarter-life crisis, what I think the important thing to focus on is the path of your feet. Create your mission statement, and if you’ve already got a written one, read it and believe it. If you haven’t, write your mission statement down. Focus on why you are here. I think we forget those things a lot when we get comfortable and safe. Life has to shake us up every once in a while to remind us that we have a greater purpose.
For me, I learned that my relationship wasn’t supposed to last forever and it wasn’t what I thought it was at the time, and that my job wasn’t where I was supposed to be, either. I needed a hard-core redirection, and life just shook me extra hard in order to get me where I needed to be. I was being redirected to something better and I’m still figuring out what exactly that is. For now, I’m beginning to breathe and live.
Brittany M. Plothow is the daughter of a passionate journalist. She was raised to love newspapers especially the smell of ink and the smudges left of her fingertips. She is currently living in the Salt Lake Valley, with her cat Ringo Starr, working as a freelance writer for multiple publications. She also works in social activism, recently founding a non-profit organization.