This past weekend, I turned 25. I rented a car, the only thing other than running for the House of Representatives that 25-year-olds can do to as a right of passage. Now, I could go on and on about how all the milestone birthdays have already passed and how 25 is SO OLD, but I’m not going to do that. Why? Because 25 really isn’t that old. Since most old people are crotchety complainers (and I just said 25 isn’t old), I should be embracing my quarter of a century, not begrudging its very existence.
Sure, I still have my parents health insurance as a back-up and I will always love boy bands and sprinkles on my ice cream; but I’m pretty sure that I’m an adult by the most basic of definitions. I mean, I’ve got an apartment in the city, a steady job, and a 401(k). Also, I found a helpful list of things that I should no longer be doing now that I’m 25. What, I shouldn’t be making lists?!
But, the “Quarter Life Crisis” isn’t just an excuse for us 25-year-olds who don’t have our lives figured out yet. It’s a real psychological phenomenon that’s been scientifically proven. A blog post from New Scientist explains the five phases we go through during a quarter life crisis.
Phase 1 – A feeling of being trapped by your life choices. Feeling as though you are living your life on autopilot.
Phase 2 – A rising sense of “I’ve got to get out” and the feeling that you can change your life.
Phase 3 – Quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making you feel trapped and embarking on a “time out” period where you try out new experiences to find out who you want to be.
Phase 4 – Rebuilding your life.
Phase 5 – Developing new commitments more attuned to your interests and aspirations.
Assessing myself: if there was a phase 2.5, that’s definitely where I’d be. What does that say about being 25? That there’s a lot of time spent in the “in-between.”
I said I wasn’t going to complain, and the reason is that I’m trying not to attach age to accomplishment. Accomplishments, big or small, can happen at any stage of a person’s life. There’s a lot I have to be proud of, but my impatient side expected I’d feel older, worldlier, and more accomplished at 25. They say that’s true of the millennial generation in particular. We all just thought we’d have more things figured out by now.
That said, I am trying to be more patient about optimistic about eventually get where I want to be. I’m not there yet, but where I am is okay in the meantime. It’s normal to not know where you’re headed and people make career changes throughout their lives, but for now, I’m going to embrace this in-between 25-year-old thing.