My Quarter-Life Crisis

I’m not going to tell you my age. But you should know that I’ve already been through my quarter-life crisis. Hell, I think I might still be going through it! I’m certain I come off to most people as fun and carefree, but I’d be bald-faced lying if I said I didn’t have doubts about myself and question my life at times. I’m not doing what I believe I was intended to do with my life, I’m single as the day is long, I don’t live where I want to or have all the things I think or once thought I may have wanted; and that is confusing once you reach a certain age and had an idea of what it was like to be that certain age. But, we all feel like that sometimes, right?

When I was an ambitious teen, I had a full life plan. The plan went from college, to veterinary school to a career and husband and a whole bunch of dogs – a few Golden Retrievers; however, life happened. I lost interest in veterinary school, and by my early very early twenties, I had a job but not a career and was unmarried. I wasn’t even engaged! Now, assuming a quarter-life crisis happens at 25 or that I am over 25, what I consider my quarter-life crisis occurred after the breakup of what is still my longest relationship. I’d grown comfortable in my relationship and comfortable with him financially and emotionally. I had a job but I didn’t really worry about money. I lived at home but I figured one day he and I would move in together. I didn’t worry about dating or sex because I’d only dated two people and had sex with one ever, and we were still together. I had a very full social life, to say the least. I wasn’t the veterinarian with my house and dogs, but I was happy.

In actuality, I was happy until I was unhappy. After three years, my relationship ended. It wasn’t a bad breakup but one that changed things still.  When you’re still in your early twenties, three years in a relationship is a long time. I took a look at my life: I was fresh out of a relationship with someone I truly loved; I worked part-time at the same job I’d had for a few years with the same company I’d been with since I was in high school; I’d dated two people and had only had sex with one person in my life; and, I was newly single. So I tried to change things. I considered moving to New York since I’d always loved visiting there. I went on job interviews for the first time in years. I made a few new friends. I threw myself into dating and was totally open to the idea of casual sex. My friends did it and I never had, so why not? Oddly enough, my life didn’t get better by trying to change it. I didn’t get the job, I didn’t move to New York, and as easily as I’d found a loving relationship, finding another was not so easy. Sex was easy to find, but I found that everyone didn’t have the same ideas about sex that I did which really freaked me out. Things were different even though the problem was that some things had stayed the same. After a while, I simply worked and existed. I stopped going out and withdrew from some of my friends. I was just over everything.

I sat back one day and really evaluated my life. Things were not going how I wanted, and life definitely wasn’t what I’d imagined it’d be at that particular point. Sure, I had to take responsibility for it. Hell, some people may have been perfectly content with my life if it was theirs, but I felt unfulfilled. My once-successful relationship was over, I didn’t have the money I’d imagined or thought myself capable of having, I hadn’t lived up to my full potential and, no, I didn’t have my dogs! I actually thought about what my obituary would say if I’d died! It’d say good things of course, but nothing outstanding – and I wasn’t satisfied with that. Sure, I was being dramatic, but when I sat back and actually talked to some of my friends, I realized it wasn’t uncommon to question my life at this point. The truth is that your twenties are a tough time – somewhere in between post-grad adolescence and real adulthood and responsibility. Some people have it together and some don’t. Life just can’t be planned or scheduled and sometimes it’s OK if things don’t always happen when or how you expected them to. I had a crisis. Many of us do around the same time in our lives. But I’m still pretty young and I still don’t have my husband or my dogs, so…

Have you experienced your own quarter-life crisis? Share your story with us!

  • Cold Fire

    I think most of us have. It is just funny to say it around older people and they give you that side eye of death or just laugh at you. I just think we need to understand its ok to fight for what we want, but we can not expect it to go in a certain order. I think the old saying is LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY. It seems you’ll eventually get there if you keep trying, but not the way you planned. Life is a battleground in many ways. Hurdles are just jumping for joy every time you make plans and expect them to happen at a certain time.

  • Pres1

    This is a very common thing. I’ve gone through my own quarter life crisis and realized that I was not doing anything close to what I wanted to do in life. So I simply quit my job and decided to put myself out there. It’s a very scary things to do and I don’t suggest it for everyone but it was my journey to take and I’m still living in this journey. I don’t think life is ever how anyone expects it to be. As a believer in God, I know that He is the only one who will know where your life will go. I’m still going through my crisis but I think it helps be appreciate where I have been, where I am now, and where I’m going. Very well written article, Arnold. I commend you for putting yourself out there and letting others know they are not alone.

  • Eileen Apostol

    the quarter-life crisis is sooooo real. i wrote a whole song EXACTLY about the quarter-life crisis – called ‘sometimes it sucks’. cos sometimes it sucks.