The Quarter Life Crisis and Not Having A Plan

When I was younger, 23 seemed like the sort of age where you would start to have things figured out. I would be thinking about mortgages, making progress in my career, brunching with my girlfriends and our dogs. In reality, 23 is living at home with my parents, in an entry level job with not a single brunch (or dog) in sight.

A quarter life crisis is when somewhere in your twenties (usually around 25) you have a bit of a flap over where your life is at, where it’s going, what’s the plan and wtf you are going to do about your student debt. Not only is this crisis a real proper thing, with articles from legitimate academic sources claiming 86% of us 20-somethings experience some sort of general life panic, it seems to be becoming a regular occurrence. I don’t know about you but I seem to be researching mortgages and job prospects and life insurance every couple of months.

quarter life crisis graphic


I think the whole concept of the quarter life crisis is so prominent because our 20s are essentially a period of change. Most of us will go to uni, graduate feeling on top of the world and then have to move back in with the parents, thus losing the independence we just spent the last 3/4 years building. Most of us do struggle to get a job that pays enough to pay any kind of rent or save towards that elusive first home. Most of us are likely to chop and change and muddle our way through minimum wage jobs and decide it’s not what we want and cry and drink cheap wine. No wonder we end up slobbering messes in dressing gowns on the sofa at 3pm watching Netflix.

Social media only heightens the comparison and makes it easier for us to feel like a failure. It’s so easy to feel like you are falling behind when you see a friend getting engaged, or renting their first apartment. Society expects us to move along at a certain pace. We set ourselves milestones that are most likely totally unrealistic. I won’t lie, I do envy the people who have what I would like. I am in awe of the people who at my age have a house and a dog and go to brunch at the weekends. But I am willing to bet that they don’t have it all figured out either.

image of a green and white 2018 diary on a grey woof floor, with a

For someone who likes to be organised and to have a plan, not knowing what the future holds is something that has and will always scare the crap out of me. But I think we all need to start putting a more positive spin on our lives. Okay, we may not be where we thought we would, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing (after all, I’m sure your parents have a fridge you can raid 24/7). It’s not the end of the world to be undecided on your career, because think about all the exciting options that gives you.

My guess is we will all look back on our twenties with rose-tinted glasses. We’ll remember falling out of kebab shops at 3am, the friends we made at university and that all important first pay cheque. And we’ll forget the overwhelming lack of money and the stress of job applications and the not-so-great aspects of living at home.

We can only hope that our thirties bring more stability, less chaos and more expensive wine.

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  1. insidemegansmind says

    I’m only 20 and still in college so I have some time, but even now I have no idea where my future is going. Hopefully everything will be okay, but I can see my quarter life crisis sneaking up on me real quick.

  2. Michelle says

    You are an excellent writer! I just turned 25 in February and I am still trying to figure everything out ! As long as you’re happy, that’s what counts 🙂

  3. Zara Anne says

    Oh my gosh how relatable! I’m 22 and I’ve often felt a bit bad because I wasted my first two college opportunities and I’m only now getting ready for uni when it seems like everyone my age has their act together! I think it’s a common thing to be anxious at this age because it can seem like we’re not as prepared as others but everyone has their own path! Xx

  4. Kayla says

    I felt as if I was reading my own thoughts here! I love this post, it’s so accurate! I just turned 26, and had a freak out moment because of this feeling. Then I started my blog, and it gave me a purpose to write and hopefully help people along way. Honestly, 30s sound way more appealing to me because of the stability.

  5. Sarah Elle says

    33. Still figuring it all out but I’ve learnt to love the journey. Every decade will bring it’s own challenges and uncertainty but I think we just get more settled and self assured.

  6. sullialice says

    I relate to this so much. I’m 22 and I’ve decided I don’t like the career I’m in, which has completely thrown me off. I’ve changed jobs to something similar but in a different environment to see if that helps. I plan to work one more year and then take time off to travel! Everyone keeps telling me to do it while I’m young, but I like the idea of going and not coming back. We’ll see where I am when I get to my 30s.

  7. Eleanor says

    I know exactly what you mean! Im doing a masters partly because im too scared to step into the wider world! I guess we’ll have to hope that it becomes clear soon!
    Eleanor x

  8. acupofsai says

    I’m turning 20 in September and to be honest, I’ve already started panicking. There are people that I was in school with that are moving out to get their own place and seem to have their lives together but I keep trying to remind myself not to compare to everyone else. x

  9. Tasha Louise says

    I’m 31 and still don’t have it all figured out! I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up! When I was younger I thought I would have it all sorted out by this age but I just don’t feel 31! I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to buy a house etc by a certain age when really who cares as long as your happy!

  10. thisdreamsalive says

    I’m going into my final year of college and accepted before starting my course that I’ll probably be in retail for a few years until my dream job comes up, I’ve accepted that but I’m dreading the pressure from everyone else to immediately use the degree for one I won’t like

  11. karlenaclifford says

    I completely relate to this. I’m 22 and thought I would have my life sorted by now but instead I have no idea of what I want to do which is really difficult when I see other people my age graduating but hopefully I’ll get there in the end xx

  12. whatabigailsays says

    You are definitely not behind! Everyone does life at their own pace, and yours just might be different to your friends but that’s okay! Please enjoy being 20 and don’t get bogged down in all the boring life stuff x

  13. katesbeautyhome says

    The pressure we put on ourself these days is immense. So what if you don’t have the car, house or dog lol. I think as long as you have goals and are working towards achieving them whilst being the best you, you can be at the time, it will happen. Things take time and as you get older we become so much more confident in our abilities until then let’s try and get through the quarter life crisis together haha.
    Kate x

  14. Komal says

    I had the quarter life crises set in at exactly 23 years old. It’s not pretty man. And the best decision i made in that condition was to stop taking social media seriously. Comparing ourselves with others only makes it worse. Everyone has their own pace and journey.

  15. Arteria Sha'nay says

    I understand your frustration. I had this moment on my 24th birthday when I was in the shower. I asked myself about my life and for the most part I am not where I want to be. However I wrote down how far I come and it made me happy. I want a house a dog too, but I also am doing pretty well for my age. When I have these crisis I write what I am thankful for. I also write my goals for the week and for the month and when I accomplish them it allows me to see my progression so i don’t beat myself up.

    Give yourself some credit. You’re doing a great job in your life. Times are hard these days. Jobs are paying little to nothing and everything is expensive. The cost of living has tripled. Now of days people are living with their parents longer. Also keep in mind that people have work two jobs just to pay bills. It’s tough out there, but you’re smart and you’re trying everyday. You will over come this and get your house and dog soon.

  16. M4nic Digression says

    I am about to turn 30 and I’ve no idea what I’m doing. All I know is that no matter how difficult it seems, every year things get a little better and as long as we’re moving forward and only measuring ourselves against our former selves then we’ll be just fine. 😊 Oh, to be 23 again!

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