Dear Quarter-Life Crisis Girl,
You’re 25ish, which means you’ve been out of college just long enough for you to feel like you should have it all figured out, and just not long enough for you to actually have it figured out. Actually, no. That’s not even true. I’m 32, and I’m starting to think no one ever really has it figured out. I think the best we can do is be ok with not having it all figured out and just enjoy it.
Here are some things you should be enjoying right now:
- Your ass has not yet slid down the backs of your legs.
- You still get a youth discount at hostels and museums all over Europe. GO TO EUROPE.
- Your face skin is all taut and bright. Moisturize that mess. (I was a Mary Kay lady fresh out of college – weird, I know – and that was the best lesson I learned, and probably why people still don’t believe I’m over 30. Also I got good genes, but don’t let that minimize the importance of moisturization.)
- You have a LOT of energy. Run. Play. Frolic. Fly kites. Dance at concerts late into the night on a school night. I can’t think of any more fun things. Just the thought of that last one wore me out.
- You are fearless. I know you feel a lot of fear right now about the future, about who you are and who you’re becoming, about what you’re supposed to do in life, about what your passions are and how you’re supposed to use them, about what people will think of you if you do something crazy. But the truth is you still feel invincible enough to do the crazy things, and I say do them. Never stop doing them. Take opportunities when they come, and love every minute of it. Run a marathon, go skydiving, backpack Europe by yourself, try to eat a spoonful of cinnamon, do open-mic nights, teach English in Taiwan, participate in a flash mob. If it intrigues you, excites you, makes you feel alive, or scares the bajeebers out of you, do it. And remember the feeling.
- You have an incredible amount of freedom. This is for those of you who are not married yet. Do you realize how much freedom you have to do…whatever the heck you want? Girl. DO IT. Live in a big city just to say you did. Go to grad school. Take road trips with your friends. Take road trips alone. Send postcards from all the random little towns you stop in for gas or Taco Bell. Drive to the beach just to watch the sunrise. Have sleep-overs. Invite me.
- Jesus likes you. You can always enjoy this, but I think it’s important to hear when you feel like you’re doing everything in life wrong. God’s not just a cosmic score-keeper marking down all your successes and failures and making you feel guilty about the latter. And he’s not like your mom, who has to like you no matter what. He straight-up, legitimately likes you and thinks you’re awesome and is proud of you.
- Boys make you feel giddy. Not gonna lie – boys still make me giddy, but married people seem to think this is just a phase I’m still in, so let’s all enjoy the giddiness while we’ve still got it, eh? Crushes are fun (until they’re crushing, but even then, you get to enjoy listening to really horribly sad music, eating mint-chocolate-chip ice cream and watching The Three Amigos with me, sooooo…win-win). I just looked back at my own blog from when I was 25, and I wrote a LOT about boys. And it was fun.
- There are lots of people to love. And loving them is not always fun, but it’s worth it.
- You fall in love really easily. Maybe not with people, but with restaurants, music, jobs (that don’t suck), activities, movies, places, ideas, books, catch phrases, oddities, stories, plans, beers, hobbies, you name it. At one point, when I was younger than you and not as wise, I said I didn’t want to throw the L-word around flippantly because I was taking love REALLY seriously and wanted to give it the weight it deserved. Now I think I probably missed out on experiencing some love because I was afraid of calling it that. I was afraid to really enjoy things because I thought I needed to be more serious and grown up.
Don’t do what I did, Quarter-Life Crisis Girl. Love the crap out of life.
I sometimes look back on my time in New York and think about how much fun it was, how I was always having adventures and seeing crazy things, but really, my life wasn’t that much different. I worked, I went to school, I went to the movies, I hung out with friends in my living room. It wasn’t all that exciting. I was just living there with a greater sense of wonder and expectancy. I was open to adventure, so I had adventure. I was captivated by love, so I felt it a lot. I was curious about people, so I was amused more often than I was annoyed.
I think these are things we can cultivate and continue throughout our lives. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m a complete lunatic, maybe it will all come crashing down around me. I don’t know, but I’m having fun. Grab a sparkler and join me!