Familiar with the good ol’ quarter-life crisis? If you’re not sure whether you’ve had one, you probably haven’t (lucky duck). Quarter-life crises come in many forms, big and small, but we bet you’ve experienced or will experience the seventeen life events below.
Unfortunately, they hit you in the face like a Mack Truck. Just remember: They won’t quite kill you, but they’ll teach you some hard-earned lessons.
1. You start questioning whether your chosen career path is purposeful
Coming out of college and landing your first job feels like an accomplishment in itself. But there’s nothing worse than having a few years under your belt before you start wondering what kind of impact you’re making on the world. Our advice? Don’t just think about being a positive influence through your job. There are tons of opportunities beyond work, like volunteering, that can help fill the void and find meaning.
2. Your friends are getting married and popping out kids faster than you can pop M&Ms at the movies
It’s tough to watch your friends go through huge life events when you’re still at square one. Don’t beat yourself up too much, though. Everyone has their own timelines.
3. You suddenly realize that your parents are getting legitimately old
You’re visiting your hometown one day and take a few seconds to look at your parents’ faces. Maybe you notice some extra wrinkles, or they seem shorter than they did. Yep, they’re getting old. It’s heartbreaking, but true.
4. That friend you’ve been straining to connect with for months may not want to be close with you anymore
You may have been connected at the hip in college, but people change. Lives go in different directions, and though it sucks that your Facebook timeline reminds you of that amazing night you spent together at the frat house foam party, you gotta let her go. RIP, Courtney.
5. Your savings plan is a joke
401(k) who? Your savings account might be a little weak right now, and it certainly doesn’t help that your parents are stressing that you won’t be able to retire if you don’t act now.
6. You compare what your parents did at your age to what you’re doing now
While millennials are roasted for eating avocado toast instead of buying homes, they’re secretly crying over how impossible it is to be a functioning adult in 2018. Sure, our parents may have been able to afford a mortgage and three kids on one income at 25 years old, but that is nearly impossible now.
7. You realize that the path you took is different from the one taken by everyone around you
It’s easier to do things with a buddy, right? Well, what if your entire family lives in suburbia hundreds of miles away while you’re fulfilling a dream that they could never dream of attempting? Even though it’s tough to be the only one doing what you’re doing, know that your independence will only grow that much more. You’re creating your own destiny, and that will feel pretty damn powerful once you stop panicking about it.
8. Your home will never look the same way as it did when you were in high school
Maybe that home isn’t even there anymore. With so many physical memories wiped out, you might feel a little sad and nostalgic. But just know that your memories are still yours, and you can remember the good times while accepting new experiences.
9. You realize you have to figure out where your “home” is (that’s not your hometown)
Once you leave the nest, you’re off seeking tons of opportunities, but then you have to settle down somewhere. Where will that place be, and will it feel like home in the same way your hometown felt? Is your home still back there? You’ll have to answer these questions at some point.
10. You want a dog, but then you realize how much physical, emotional, mental and financial responsibility it entails
Not everyone is ready for a pet, even if they adore animals. You have to be stable enough where you are that you can care for another being. More importantly, you have to be prepared for that 4 a.m. hospital visit that ends in a $2,000 bill.
11. Your body doesn’t bounce back anymore after that 3 a.m. pizza binge
Womp womp! You can’t slam back half that pizza without feeling intense heartburn the next day, along with serious guilt and a moral obligation to go to the gym for five hours. Your body is not interested in anything but kale these days, sadly. That said, don’t deprive yourself! Everything is good in moderation, right?
12. You can’t remember the last time you tossed back shots without thinking about your own funeral
Yeah, remember that pizza? You can say goodbye to binging on both the cheesy goodness and that cheap vodka you chugged during freshman year. You might have to choose the nicer stuff or switch to a less aggressive alcohol. Or, you know, don’t drink it straight from a warm bottle.
13. You clean out your childhood room and realize how much you’ve changed
There’s nothing more equally heartwarming and heartbreaking to find those notes you wrote back and forth with your boyfriend from the ninth grade. You had so many hopes, dreams, and passions at that age, and probably thought even through high school that anything was possible. Maybe your dreams changed or you didn’t accomplish what you thought you would. Come to terms with it or it’s time to switch up your priorities.
14. You start understanding that employment is not guaranteed or stable
You’re taught in school to work toward getting a job. Once you get a job, it’s all good, right? Maybe you’ve been through a nasty layoff or left a company because the workplace conditions were unbearable. Don’t give up hope. You will find the right job for you if you listen to your instincts.
15. Ordering Girl Scout cookies is straight up dangerous now
As a child, you tore through a sleeve of those puppies in minutes. Now, you’re reading the back of the box hoping that you can have more than a few without wrecking your body. The sugar content in those cookies is…well, dangerous.
16. You ask your parents a question and they tell you to figure it out yourself
Man, if that isn’t a letdown all on its own. You assume your parents are there to guide you through every issue you may have. But unfortunately, your parents don’t know everything. Even more: They want you to start making your own decisions and learning lessons for yourself. It’s honestly the best thing they can do for you. Start relying on your own knowledge and resources to find what you need.
17. The fear of bringing someone home to meet your family is real
This one isn’t just a silly crush like the ones you brought home in high school. This person might be the one, and that’s a huge deal. The thought of your family not liking this person is brutal, but you have to trust that they’ll give you an honest opinion and respect your wishes.