Every time a family member or friend has asked me how I feel since graduation, I have pretend to be so excited. What they don’t know is that behind the scenes I am 100% having a quarter life crisis.
I often wonder, is this what being adult is like? It’s so boring, just eight hours of work a day and then what? Four free hours a night mostly just straightening out all the other details of your life and paying bills? Wow, so life is over and adults have no fun and do nothing.
Of course I know this isn’t accurate, and when this thought crosses my mind I’m just being dramatic because graduating college is a huge transition… but that is what it feels like, at least right now.
I think that you can see why I am a little confused after being used to hanging out with friends, and eating Ben and Jerry’s while watching Frozen or gossiping until 3 AM for the past four years. Having friends around pretty much 24/7 is a blessing that I honestly think I took for granted. I was never concerned with going to bed at reasonable time to only get up to do the “adult” cycle all again. I was living the life at college and the whole last year I could barely sit through classes because I couldn’t wait to be out in the “real world”! Now that I’m here, in a new city without any of those things in life, I realize that I may have rushed that part instead of truly enjoying the time with my best friends. Which brings me to the classic phrase; the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
While most of my friends have grown up jobs, I have been busy watching Sex and the City or SVU in my one room apartment or working part-time, as I eagerly wait for graduate school to begin. After a few huge breakdowns, I’m learning that plans in the real world do not always go smoothly. Life as a semi-adult is much harder and lonelier than I thought it would be. And the time that I have to be alone has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I have learned how much I like to hang out with myself (I’m cool, duh) and a curse because I’m lonely. What a mixture of emotions! Although these days have been some of the loneliest days I have ever had, I’m grateful because the next time I see my friends I will soak it all in and treasure the time much more.
One month ago I looked at my life and my list included new city, family and friends all states away, little money, and spending almost all my free time alone. Now my list looks something like this: enjoy being with yourself, do free things, walk around and watch others, and just make the most of everything because time is forever fleeting.
I have grown so much in short amount of time and in large part I think that comes from trying to readjust to be more positive. Yes, I still freak out and feel alone, but if 70% of the time I can feel good about being an adult I would say that’s a win. The funny thing is probably the majority of the people who walked across the stage with me over a month ago feel the same way. Knowing that there is no way I am floating at sea by myself is comforting.
So here is to being an adult and living through a quarter-life crisis!
Tips to living through a quarter-life crisis:
1. Read these books
2. Create an IMpossible list
This list is similar to a bucket list but has more of a positive twist that can contain smart goals. The list can be whatever you want it to be! Mine includes short and long term goals about career, travels, events I would like to attend, what I want my legacy to be, minimalist goals such as going without Facebook for a certain amount of time, etc.
3. Create a quote book
Include every quote you love, and every picture. I have a huge notebook that I have been filling for two years. I write quotes in different colors, put stickers everywhere, pictures, goals, travel, etc. I actually put my IMpossible list in my quote book. Every time I feel down or need some encouragement I flip through my quote book.
4. Join a local club
In D.C. I have been signing up for local recreational activities, there are tons of clubs and meet-ups. In this way it’s kind of like college. You have to attend some of the weird events to meet people and make friends. At some point you have to force yourself to smile, dress like a human, and make a few new connections.
5. Read blogs that you feel you relate to – Hey there!
6. Take control of your health. It feels awesome to eat well and exercise.
7. Find a few hobbies or activities that you enjoy and are generally cheap.
This can be a windowsill garden, going to a library, or people watching. You just need a few activities to get you moving and take your mind off of your quarter-life crisis.
8. Paint your nails bright, fun colors.