I think I'm having a quarter-life crisis.
It all started the day I turned 24. Instead of thinking yes, this is going to be the best year yet, I thought wow, I'm in my mid-twenties and my bank account is empty, how am I going to pay for bottomless brunch?
So, in terms of manifesting your own reality, I probably need to work on glass half full thinking. But back to the quarter-life crisis.
At 16 I remember my friend's older brother was 25 and flatting and I thought, wow, what a failure. That won't be me. I'll have a boss career, lots of money and I'll either have a super cool one-bedroom apartment where I live Carrie Bradshaw style, OR I'll live with my own Mr Big.
Aren't we all laughing now? Absolutely none of that has been achieved except I guess I kind of do live Carrie Bradshaw style. I'm selfish, spend all my money on clothes, am a writer of sorts, and date men, so yeah, that part of my vision gets a big fat tick.
Anyway, I can't help but wonder if my quarter-life crisis began due to unrealistic expectations for the timeline of my life.
Wasn't anyone going to pop my fairytale bubble and tell me that basically, no one lives by themselves at 24 unless they have suspicious amounts of money, a career isn't the be-all and end-all, and a boyfriend? No comment.
And on top of the unrealistic expectations and over dramatic generation, I'm a part of, I find utter confusion when consulting friends because some are pouring literal house foundations and seemingly have it all figured out, while others are as lost as me and agree that frozen margaritas solve all problems - at least until the hangxiety kicks in.
Backed into a corner, very close to blowing out my Afterpay account with stress purchases, I did what any Gen Z/millennial would do. I consulted with my favourite psychotherapist and relationship counsellor, Kyle Macdonald, to find validation in my feelings. Here's what he had to say:
What is a quarter life crisis?
This is a relatively new term that has been coined to describe the struggle that many people in their twenties encounter as the move from their family of origin and school and university study into the "real world" of work, managing a home and adult responsibilities.
Why do they happen?
It's normal to struggle when we hit big developmental points in life, and our twenties have always been a time of change, of stepping up and establishing our adult life separate from our parents and families. I'm not a fan of describing it as a "crisis" but it is helpful to acknowledge it's an important time, and for some, it can throw up challenges.
Do quarter-life crises have anything to do with how different our lives are compared to grandparents'? For example, it's harder to get into the housing market, there's greater career pressure and all the "highlight reels" on social media – how are these contributing to a quarter-life crisis?
I think these pressures have changed and, in many ways, become more of a challenge than for previous generations. However, I also think we know that the expectations we place on young people may be unhelpful, as well as the expectations created by social media and the relentless comparisons that such mediums can create. Growing inequality, and a focus culturally on comparing ourselves to others' success breeds and creates anxiety, which can spiral into feelings of despair, hopelessness, and failure for some.
Kyle, in true Kyle fashion, validated my feelings while subtly telling me what I'm feeling is called life and his parting note was so perfectly written that I aggressively nodded my head and couldn't help but make it the end to this hot mess of a column.
"Mostly for people struggling in their twenties, I want to say, "slow down!". It's OK, you have plenty of time, life isn't a race, work on finding work and people you find meaning in, and if you're not there yet, stay open and keep working on it."