What It’s Really Like to Be in a Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter-Life Crisis is like the new hot blond at the millennial party. And for the first time in my life, I am that hot blond (although I am quite sure I look more like the ‘Amanda Bynes in her wig and Adidas slippers’ version). The media is doing a relatively good job of informing society of what the QLC signifies, yet it fails to show just how overwhelming everything can feel when you’re actually experiencing it day in and day out.

This is a snapshot of what is what is going on in my head on any given day. And despite just how much of a damsel in distress I sound like below, I assure you that in between these moments there are so many giggles, drinks toasted, and cheeseburger grins. This essay just happens to features the low points. I prefer to save the high points for Instagram. 

I finally cracked. I mean really, really cracked. For a moment, everything came to a halt and I looked down and realized just how high up I am. I’m high enough to be knee- deep in my job at a startup, where I finally understand how Rome wasn’t built in a day…but maybe there’s an app we can try to make the whole building pillars thing a bit more streamlined. Hold on while I take that idea for a test run and simultaneously do 20 other things just to keep us operating on a day to day basis. And that perfect relationship that I thought all 25 year old girls we were all supposed to be in, well, I couldn’t even tell up what it’s like to be in a relationship. I’ve forgotten. But if you want to know what it’s like to be broken up with, you better put your things down because this is gonna take a while.

Did I mention that I’m up every day between 5:45 and 6:30AM so I can squeeze in a workout before going to work for 10 hours? Or just how broke I am even though, according to statistics, I make more than the rest of middle America? God bless you private education and the private student loan system reminding me of my debt for the next 20 glorious years. Between my New York City rent and my $655 monthly student loan payments, I like to think I make living paycheck to paycheck extremely sexy. Meow.

This is all temporary. Of this I am sure, otherwise it old be called the Whole Life Crisis, right?

I know this deep down, which is why I cant help but want to grip the handle bars and hold on for dear life. But it’s when I look for the handlebars that I remember that nothing is going to make any of this this easier, except that bastard we call “time”. Still everything in my life right now still feels unnecessarily rude and without mercy. And the comforts of my last job in corporate world, which I left because it was draining me of feeling any passion toward anything (even shopping), has reminded me how much I thrive on a solid day to day routine.

Now I am learning the art of going through Monday through Friday as if its an old-fashion game of Whack-a-Mole. If only I could finds another freaking mallet, I might stand a chance. The guy I fell in hopelessly in love with last year made it just fine through his Quarter Life Crisis, in which he assured me he needed to be single for at least a year because he was all over the map with his job and recently got out of a long term relationship. I know this because I saw Facebook that he got a cool new job and a bright shiny new girlfriend to match…a tall leggy blond who just so happens to lives in my apartment building. I see them sometimes on Sundays going for the brunch. That’s really great for self-esteem, let me tell you.

Oh, and there’s no chance of my getting in a successful relationship anytime soon (or ever) since I can’t even bring myself to even go on a date. I just continue to email guys back on OkCupid until they ask me out and I say sure and then never follow up when the guy makes plans. I can just feel my mother slapping me on the head and asking “Wha- I never taught you any manners?”. The fear of rejection is simply too high a risk to take when I’m more emotionally vulnerable than a guest on Oprah. None of the other guys wanted to stick around, so why would anyone new? And the times when I try to expand my horizons socially or protect myself from doing something I don’t think is right for me, I somehow wind up pissing off at least one person that I care about. These days I feel like I am winning like Charlie Sheen circa 2010.

Seriously, I’m about as graceful as a dog on ice skates.

It’s just that too much has changed in the last few years. Too much is on my plate. Too much is unsettled, unstable, and unfriendly. Too much is in my head. I can’t focus. I can’t breathe. I can’t put my head down at night without feeling that I’ve done at least 12 things wrong that day. I am trying so hard and I still feel like I am messing up. Messing everything up. And as hard as I try, I can’t fix anything and yet I keep trying. It’s this seemingly never ending sense of unease. I spend so much time trying to be the powerhouse I know I can be.

And I’m tired. I want to feel like I matter. I need someone to tell me everything is going to be all right. To reassure me that I’m doing an okay job and that one day I will know success. That in 5 years, this will all be over and seem more like a Lifetime movie than my actual life at 25. I want to know that I’ll come through this relatively unscathed, and older, and wiser, and with a significantly better wardrobe god dammit.

It’s not like I am going to give up. Ever. Right now, I just really need a nap.

By Kelly Stryker

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