Finish school, travel the world, get the job, spouse, house, and baby. A lot of millennial ladies will scan this to-do list with a sense of dread and familiarity. We’re expected to do it all—and document it on Instagram—SOON, which is why some of us are freaking the fuck out.
This particular brand of freak out is a rite of passage—it’s called the Quarter Life Crisis. It happens when you’re in your early- to mid-twenties, and it usually comes in the form of recurrent who am I/what am I doing with my life/could there be more pondering. When the QLC strikes, it’s tempting to overreact and ditch life-as-you-know-it in favor of some remote village where no one has twitter, but don’t head for the hills just yet.
There’s a way to get through this gracefully; I’m here to tell you how. I got through my crisis without losing my partner, my home, my passion for my career or my sanity. Better yet, I came out of it with great experiences and a sense of clarity. Here’s what to remember:
Do What You’ve Been Putting Off
And do it now. This could be as simple as going to the dentist after a long estrangement. Or travel, end that toxic relationship, quit that dead-end job, write that novel. If there’s more than one thing you’ve been avoiding, make a priority list, then start checking things off one by one.
Don’t squash your goals
Stop telling yourself that you can’t, even before you’ve started. This is the time to start working toward your long-term goals. Take baby steps. Find out what you want and do your research—make a plan to get there and follow it.
Listen to your gut
They say the gut is the second brain; we feel stress in the gut and emotional baggage often leads to digestive issues. Make the choices that you feel are right, and if your gut is sending you red flags, listen to it. People might judge you. People will give you their two cents. But it’s your life, not theirs.
Remember, you’re only a twenty-something. You have decades to experience the world and achieve your goals. Life won’t fulfill itself overnight. Keep moving and let the process happen.