We’ve all heard of the mid-life crisis. Usually it happens when you’re reaching your 40s and realising that you’re pretty much half way through your life now, resulting in a massive panic that you’ve not achieved anything, your life is a disaster and you ultimately start doing a load of dumb stuff to make yourself feel younger. For men, it typically manifests as buying sports cars and having affairs. For women it’s shorter hemlines and overly obsessing about their perhaps not so youthful appearance.
Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m having a mid-twenties life crisis, or a quarter-life crisis as it’s also referred to. When I was 15, I’d often imagine that by the grand old age of 26, I’d have my life pretty much set. I’d have a great job and lots of money, a place of my own, a car, an amazing boyfriend, etc. Fast forward 11 years though and there are a number of things on that list yet to be ticked off, resulting in this immense sense of dread and guilt that I’m failing at life and will basically never amount to anything. Hands up anyone else who has felt this way??
Let’s take a stroll through the list of things that are keeping me up at night.
Career? What career?
Hello, my name is Bee, I’m 26 and still work a minimum paid job! How depressing. It’s made even worse when I sit and compare myself to my friends who all seem to be excelling in their careers and getting a promotion every other week (a slight exaggeration, but still.) I know why I am so behind in my career path. When I was 23, I decided to quit an ok paid job and move to the other side of the world. When I returned after 2 years of living the good life in Australia, I moved to Liverpool with the intention of getting a job in marketing. My cousin helped me to get a *temporary* job in her company as a hotel receptionist, with the promise of moving into doing their marketing.
That was a year ago and whilst I am doing marketing for the company, it’s not full time and I’m still only getting paid that receptionist wage, despite multiple requests for a pay rise. I have of course been applying for positions elsewhere but I’m sure everyone knows just how frustrating job hunting can be, especially when you just never seem to hear back from anywhere. I always think, if I hadn’t taken that time out to go travelling, how much further in my career would I be?
Then of course I have to stop myself and think about all the amazing experiences I’ve had over the last few years: the places I have been, the friends I have met, etc and honestly, would I want to give all that up just for a few more pounds in my paycheck? Mostly the answer to that question is no, of course not. But when it comes to the end of the month and I’m living like a pauper I often wonder how different my life would be if I’d focused on my career rather than going travelling.
Everyone is getting engaged or married and I am STILL single
One of my best friends recently got engaged and is planning her wedding. Not long ago we got the save the dates and my invite said plus one, and although the wedding isn’t until December 2019, I am filled with dread at the thought of having to go it alone. Especially since my other school gal pals I’ll be attending with are in long term relationships. When I received the invite I had just broken up with a new boyfriend. I thought we’d be together forever, he had other ideas and moved to london not long after we got together. Queue months of heartbreak, complete lack of self confidence and worth, crying at the mention of his name and the inevitable drunk texting shame asking if he missed me at all (he *said* he did but did he realllly?) I once again convinced myself that I would die alone and no one would ever love me. I know…so dramatic!
They say everything happens for a reason, that if it was meant to be it will be, blah blah blah. It’s hard to believe all that stuff when you’re right in the middle of it all but when you’re finally coming out the otherside, you can kind of see how it might be true. Following the breakup, I started watching Sex and the City for the first time. In one episode in the aftermath of Carrie’s breakup with Big, Charlotte says that it takes half the total time of the relationship for you to be able to fully move on from it. I didn’t believe her at first but you know what, Charlotte is totally right. Those rose tinted glasses finally get removed and you see things for how they really were and actually, maybe things were not as perfect as you believed. If this person was actually the one, you would still be together. Maybe that means they’re not the one right now and years down the line you’ll find your way back to one another, but you cannot put your life on hold for maybes. Whilst I’m not really sure I want to be in another relationship right now and would rather focus on sorting out the other areas of my life, I’m starting to feel more open to the idea of meeting someone new. After all, the clock is ticking to find a plus one for my friend’s wedding!
Still not summer body ready
Every year, I tell myself that this is the year I’m going to get that elusive summer body and every year it just doesn’t seem to materialise. I’m starting to think that just saying you want to get in shape isn’t enough to actually make it happen. Funny isn’t it! It’s not that I’m in horrible shape. I’m an size 8/10, I regularly gym and go to body pump once a week. But when I look in the mirror, I am filled with dread and just feel like I am not good enough. I regularly feel like a bloated, lumpy mess and like every single item of clothing I own just makes me look 10 times worse. It’s so easy to compare yourself to all the perfect looking ladies you see online and feel immense guilt that you don’t look like them. I always used to say that I didn’t really care and that I was happy with the way I look but I know that’s not really true. There is just too much pressure on girls to look perfect. I know what I need to do to make myself feel better (like not eating an entire loaf of bread in 5 days) but when you’re feeling so low, it’s hard to find that motivation to make the necessary changes. You start to believe there is no point in working out more or eating a bit better because it won’t actually change anything but this isn’t true. Whilst I won’t see results overnight, if I actually commit to a healthier, more active lifestyle, I will get those results I’m after, whether it’s that summer body or just more confidence.
Am I 26 or 36?
Recently, I read an article that compares the way you feel about things in your 20s to your 30s and to my horror I realised I related more with the 30s opinions. It made me stop and think for a second…how old am I actually? I much prefer sitting in on a friday night and watching trashy TV like Love Island Australia than venturing out into the cold and traipsing from bar to bar. I regularly go to bed before 11pm, even on a weekend and love waking up early on a saturday morning to go to the gym and I have actually had in depth conversations about the cost of cheese 3 times this week alone.
According to all the films, your 20s are for being wild and spontaneous. You’re supposed to have adventures every weekend, meet new people and create the funny stories that you’ll tell when you’re older. But honestly, that just sounds like hell to me. I’m not saying I’m a total shut in who never goes out. I love to get dressed up, go for a gin and tonic and be home by midnight like a modern day Cinderella. Sometimes though I panic that my life is really boring, that I should be out having more fun and I’m wasting my best years. In years to come am I going to regret the decision to sit in and do a face mask rather than staying up all night on the weekends? I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up with me doing something completely stupid to try and prove to myself that I’m not a boring old lady.
Has anybody else experienced a mid-twenties life crisis or is currently going through one and has any advice on how to get deal with the stress? Please let me know! I am ready to stop waking in the middle of the night filled with dread that my best years are behind me!