Some people don’t believe in the quarter life crisis (QLC). For those that do it is very likely that they have experienced it. I definitely did and I am glad to say that I am now fully recovered.
I first encountered this crisis right out of graduate school. I had just started my first “real” job and bitterly realized that my passion, enthusiasm and expensive education would result in me being nothing more than a paper pusher for the rest of my life. I suddenly realized that “success” was a fraud. As my concept on life and success changed and feeling of bitterness came over me. I broke up with my college boyfriend of 5 years. I was in crippling debt and was now living with my parents. Student loans were consuming my already miniscule paycheck. Even with no living expenses I was living hand to mouth and wondered would I ever make it through and is this the life that I had worked so hard to build only to be bitterly disappointed by it?
The quarter life crisis is horrible its a time when you question your life choices and discussions. It is a time when you learn who you are, who you are not and reconcile these individuals with who you thought you were.
I am relieved to say that I have officially gotten over the quarter life crisis. There are somethings that I took away and steps I took to get myself together without losing my mind. All of which I found by trial and error and none of which is guaranteed to work for everyone or anyone else. With that in mind this is what I did.
1. I clung to a higher spiritual power
I discovered how important my spiritual life was to my happiness and well-being. I focused on the positive aspects of my life and learned to push away negative thoughts and people. I switched from the church I grew up in to another church near-by because I felt like I was not receiving a message that I could relate to. This ruffled feathers but at the end of the day it is my life, my happiness and my well-being and eventually everyone that was so-called deeply affected got over it.
2. I started a business I could be proud of.
I started Stephanie Atieno. A fashion and lifestyle brand dedicated to making fair-trade African fashion and promoting wellness. This was a dream and I went out and did it. It made me a happier person because I started realizing that living your dream is not as illusive at it might seem and that my humdrum life was only as humdrum as I wanted it to be.
3. I found a job that I enjoy.
I started looking for a new job in my field. I found one that I was way happier going to and where I could be more engaged. (I know it doesn’t look like it in the picture but I like my job!)
4. I changed my student loan payment plan.
My student loans were the most stressful part of my finances. When I cut the down to pay a reasonable amount that I could afford, I finally got my life back together. Although I will pay more interest over a longer period of time. For me it makes more sense than struggling and stressing about money.
5. I moved out of my parents house
Less financial strain due to the student loan reduction allowed me to move to my own place. This helped me tremendously because after grad school I had been living with my parents for 3 years. I love my people but my small childhood bedroom was not working for me anymore. It functioned as not only my sleeping space but also where I kept my inventory for my business and where I did my design work and ect. Also being kicked out of my room anytime a guest or visitor needed a bed was distracting to my everyday life. For me consistency is important for focus, and focus is fuel.
I did not know it then but I realize now that these five areas of my life were the main contributors to my feelings of overwhelming anxiety. I did not change my life overnight or all at once. More like one at a time and over the course of 3 years. So yes it did take me a full 3 years to get better from the QLC. Although, at times I may have anxiety episodes from normal life challenges, it is nothing like when I once constantly felt as though I was doomed forever. That has passed. Thank God!
Let me know if you would like to hear more of my thoughts on the Quarter Life Crisis or if you would like to share your experience please comment below.