I did it, guys. On September 14th, 2019, I reached a quarter of a century. According to neuroscientists, most rental car companies, and the California DMV, my brain has reached full maturity. I guess this is as good as I’m ever gonna get, right?
Really though, while some of you might be rolling your eyes about the fact that I’m actually writing about a quarter-life crisis like it’s a real thing (spoiler alert; it is, and this blog is a direct product of that crisis – you’re welcome), I heard some scary sh*t from people about this monumental time of life. This included fair warnings, mostly from well-intentioned women, who usually said something to the effect of “Hey! Happy birthday! Just a heads up, 25 sucked/was the worst year of my life.”
Even my sister-in-law had words of wisdom that “you just realize that sh*t’s getting real”. To this, I laughed, flipped back my hair that was freshly colored a slightly darker shade of brown with a hint of red to make me seem edgy and cool, and assured her that there was nothing to worry about because I had already gone through my quarter-life crisis!
This was true, or so I thought. In fact, I could argue that the past year was a crisis as suddenly everything seemed to come into question. I changed my career for what seemed like the millionth time since graduating from CSUSM in 2016, then again a few months later, ended my relationship of two years with the man I thought I was going to marry, and got an Instagram message from another man who I ended up moving in with less than a year later.
Notice how my crisis mostly revolves around men and work so far? Mostly kidding. 😉
But amongst all these changes that I kept making to try to get a better life than what I had before, I was constantly stopping to think about why I was making them and where I was really trying to go. Do I really want to spend the rest of my life with someone who makes me feel “less than”? Do I really want to stay at a company that makes me feel limited?
Once I had started healing from the worst heartbreak of my life, I realized I had gotten to the point where I’ve learned enough about relationships to really know exactly what and who I want in a partner. Many of the qualities I had decided on were based on what I didn’t want.
I became so sure, in fact, that I actually wrote a list and kept it saved on my phone to carry with me. This might sound silly, but I know I’m not alone when I say that putting what you really want in writing actually makes it happen!
There’s just something about having some sort of visual to look to for guidance that keeps your goals at the front of your mind until they come to fruition. I know this to be true because, seemingly out of nowhere, this incredibly kind, genuine and brilliant guy showed up within a few months of making that list.
Call me crazy, but I knew within the first five days of dating Jake that not only do I love him on such a deeper level than I had loved anyone before, but that he had most if not all of the qualities on my list. For those of you who are just sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to spill the beans on this list, I’ll share just a few of the main qualities; a family like mine, relationship/life experience, and above all, the same level of basic respect and kindness that I hold myself to.
Fast forward to a year and a half later, having been through a thing or two together, I feel so entirely confident that he’s the one I’m meant to be with while also being so afraid of losing him.
This brings me back to my quarter-life crisis, if you’re still with me. As I’ve truly contemplated the idea of “forever” for the first time and continue to picture what I want the rest of my life to look like, everything else comes into question once again.
Now that I’ve found someone who brings true happiness into my life, my standards on how the rest of my life will make me happy have raised; how can I make the other aspects of my life as happy as I feel with Jake? What if I can’t make everything fall into place at the exact time I want, just the way I want?
What if I’m never able to build the life that I think I deserve for myself and the love of my life?
Although I think the worst of my quarter-life crisis is over (knock on wood), I still think about these questions almost daily and am constantly searching for answers to them. But if I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that maybe it’s not the answers that matter – because, deep down, we know that we’ll find them.
What matters is that we keep searching, keep struggling, keep fighting for the life that totally surpasses whatever life we may have imagined for ourselves at a fourth of the way there. That we don’t succumb to a life of complacency or path of least resistance.
I think that if we strive to do anything but that, we will find answers to life’s biggest questions.