Navigating the quarter life crisis

Graphic by Jaime Mere

This article, although it outlines my personal vulnerability regarding aging, can echo the insecurities of anyone who is unsure of their future. Lately, I have been having difficulty wrapping my mind around being two decades old.

I am less than a week away from entering my twenties, which are said to be the most influential years of an individual’s life, and I am terrified. Although I can appreciate the various opportunities and roles I will take on in this next decade, there is a great nostalgic feeling in leaving my teenage title behind.  

The melancholy of having the easiest part of my life over coincides with the sorrow of being halfway through my undergrad. I am approaching the critical age of being a bona fide adult, which comes with the price of forgoing the excuse of being just a kid.  

In your teenage years, you have the freedom to project your emotions or angst, to view life through the lens of Kurt Cobain or Billie Eilish. The sad truth is that when you hold onto your materialistic selfishness from your teenage life, it just makes you a negative and unemployable adult.  

Hence my realization that I must leave my materialistic and selfish teenage years behind to enter the formative reflective-selfish years.  

When visualizing my twenties, I can imagine that my roadmap is entirely different than everyone else’s, even my best friends. Last January, I had come across a quote that claimed the best way to embrace your twenties was to acknowledge the decade as your “selfish years.” The decade where we can take time to ourselves without feeling like we’re letting anyone down.  

To mature in your twenties means making selfish decisions in a limited yet reflective manner. There is a certain devout aspect in putting your own wellbeing first. Done with good intentions to follow your individual path will make you a better person in the long run.  

A prime example in how you choose to spend the treasure of time: something we hold an abundance of in our youth, mistreating it with wasteful activities or deprecating people while wasting our limited time to build positive characteristics.  

Looking towards the fresh start of age 20, I plan to reflect on the long list of mistakes I made in my youth and rectifying what I took for granted as a teenager while holding the goals of appreciating my family, spending more time with my dog, reading more and cutting out all my youthful bad habits.  

However, everyone has their own path to follow to figure out their personal happiness through the most formable decade of their life. If there is one way to do that, it would start with being thankful for the ability to turn twenty an opportunity to learn from your teenage mistakes.  

This decade is meant to be immersive in every single way possible. To be selfish is to put your own happiness first. By the time you reach twenty, you have worried about friends, relationships, aspirations and experiences that were simply not worth your time.  

Having the dial reset to zero means you can embrace the one time in your life that is meant to let you find yourself; to establish the person you want the world to see and, more importantly, to put your own passions first when you have no roots to tie you down.  

There is no way to escape age. In accepting that, in a few years there will be impactful life changes that will be entirely separate from what your peers experience.  

Then you can prepare for the adventure of an unknown future. To be open to the fact that some of your friends will get jobs faster than others. That people the same age as you will settle down, while others travel for years.  

Or, in the possibility of yourself experiencing a quarter life crisis at 25, you reorganize your  priorities, even if these stresses do not bear a heavy burden on you.  

Holding your “selfish” interests and establishing what you truly want in your twenties can only have benefits. To pave a path devoted on finding your identity and rectifying youthful mistakes will lead to your most impactful decade being well spent.  

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