For as long as I can remember the words, "Oh. You're still young, you've got time," and any variation of this failed attempt at advising the young, have driven me beyond insanity.
Foremost, it's almost always condescending. Followed by that is the reality that the advice is also false.
If there's one thing you learn quickly in life, is that time is not endless and on a deeper note, tomorrow is never promised. Furthermore, it comes and goes at lightning speed. The old adage "time flies when you're having fun" has likely been confused with "time flies when self-medicating with bottomless mimosas and wine nights" by decades of adults. And that's where I'm at with it.
So when you tell me I have all this time in the world before I settle into a career, start a family, or whatever, I have to wonder where this time is that you speak of. I imagine that the next 25 years will come and go just as quickly as the first. And, with 30 knocking on my door, what will you tell me then? That I still have time?
I watched my life unravel after being laid off just days before my 24th birthday. Feeling the relief that came with knowing a higher power gave me an easy out from a job I hated and yet the stress of being uncertain that this higher power would catch me during this freefall, weirdly made me feel depressed and more pressed for time than ever.
I knew all of my interests and didn't know how to spin that into a career I could love for the rest of my life.
Watching your friends thrive in a seemingly effortless manner, all the while feeling like your direction is unclear or that you're not doing enough in the pursuit of your success (whatever that should mean to you) can feel a lot like going into crisis mode -- or, better yet, Quarter Life Crisis mode. And if you're currently in the throes of a quarter-life crisis it can feel like a downward spiral.
So, how do you ensure that you don't fall prey to one "make or break" moment with the rest of your life ahead of you? What is one to do if and when you find yourself questioning everything you've done up until now, and everything you want to do do moving forward? Well, I spoke with self-care experts to best offer some helpful tips on using this stage as a time to flourish instead of crumble under the pressures of growing up in the digital age where everyone's moves are so visible.
Learn more about what these experts had to say by clicking through the gallery below:
Bring the focus back to you.
"Step away from social media or other places people will be tempted to compare themselves to others. Also, remember that peers usually post the good things they accomplish, not the full complexity of how difficult life is. Clarify your values."
"What is important to you? What do you want to strive for? What kind of person do you want to be?"
"Define goals. Maybe the old goals don't make sense any more. Maybe they need to be adjusted for what life is like now. And maybe they've been accomplished and it's time to find new ones. Cultivate appreciation for how far you've come and everything you've done, whether or not your challenges were expected."
- Stephanie Bloodworth, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Let go of control.
"When our lives are not going exactly as planned, sit back and ask ourselves, 'What can I learn from this situation?' Then express to the universe, and say, 'Thank you for the lessons learned, I am ready to move on now.' Releasing the need to control the outcome, and accepting each life experience as a beautiful learning experience."
- Stacee McGee, certified life coach and energy healer
Be the master of your life.
"Create a plan of action of what you truly want to do in life. Don't conform to societal or parental pressures of what you should be doing. Live your life with joy and purpose. A life with meaning is more fulfilling than a life with money."
- Avni Parekh, author of self-help book Be The Bigger Person: Scenarios & Solutions to Better Yourself
"Remember to be kind to yourself. We tend to over-judge ourselves and overlook our successes. Another thing that helps to deal with it is to be in the moment. This is hard for many because we always want to change the past or predict the future, so we are scared of letting go in the moment. Often we future trip and don't enjoy where we are because we are already on to the next thing. We are busy being busy."
"Often, we future trip and don't enjoy where we are."
"So when you are in the future or past, come back to the moment by focusing on your breathing, breaking state or focusing on what you are grateful for. Think about what you want to do now and how to get it. Do one thing at a time and avoid distractions. Most importantly, focus on being the best version of you in the present moment."
- Ruth Kudzi, a qualified mindfulness and business coach for female entrepreneurs
It's imperative that we take advantage of the newfound opportunities we've been presented with. Thus, we must relish in the moment, frustration and all. Immerse ourselves in these changes and create a life that we want. A life to call our own.