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Beating (To Death) Your Quarter-Life Crisis—Four Easy Steps

By Z.S. Roe

Getting older is never easy.  Sometimes the downward spiral toward old age and senility causes a personal crisis that results in a whole myriad of disastrous decision making.  For generations, though, such a crisis only happened once in a person’s life, generally when that person hit middle age, hence the term “mid-life crisis.”  But Bob Dylan was onto something when he said “the times, they are a-changing,” because we now have the “quarter-life crisis.”  Apparently, twenty-five is the new fifty.

Here’s the skinny for those not in the know.  The quarter-life crisis kicks in when a person leaves adolescence for adulthood, or rather school for the “real world.”  The quarter-lifer generally feels lost and confused, and has often just graduated from university with a degree in English literature or the like (who knew a B.A. wouldn’t get me a job?).  As such, most quarter-lifers are either unemployed or working in low-paying jobs that couldn’t be further from their fields of study.  To them, life is impossibly bleak and disappointing.

As if you didn’t already know…

Wouldn’t you know it, though?  I myself am 27, have a B.A. in English literature, and am employed at a (relatively) low-paying job that is miles away from anything in my field.  I once thought I’d be a high school English teacher, but that sure as hell didn’t happen.  And just how do I earn my dough these days?  Simply put, I cut glass for a living.  Swanky, I know.  Not too long ago I would have said that, yes, I am currently in the midst of my quarter-life crisis.  If you were to ask me today, however, I’d likely tell you that I’m past all that hullabaloo.

And just how did I get over it?  Being a completely non-certified self-help guru, I’ve compiled a list to aid you in your own personal journey of self-discovery and blah-blah-blah, wank-wank-wank … Anyway, here we go:

1.  Forget Happiness
Here’s the deal:  a periodically unhappy life is not a bad life, it’s a normal one.  These days, everyone is in pursuit of happiness.  “I just want to be happy,” they say, but very few people are happy all of the time, and those who are so are generally no fun to be around (they’re always smiling, which is creepy, right?  Only psychopaths smile that much).  Quit trying to be happy; just be you—it’s usually enough.  And just consider all the stress you’ll avoid because you’re no longer thinking about how unhappy you are.

2.  Keep Yourself Busy
Boredom is a killer.  No, seriously—important, official-like people have said so (click here).  But I’m serious—do something, whether it be a hobby or outing or peculiar fetish.  Just keep yourself (and, more importantly, your mind) busy and occupied.  This goes especially for those working odd jobs that are not in their fields.  In your spare time, maybe do something that is in your field.  For example, I majored in English lit in university, and now write whenever I have a moment to myself (that’s why I come off all super smart and stuff—cuz I writes good).

3.  Go For A Walk
Exercise is important, but taking a walk is about more than just exercise.  Simply put, walking is good therapy, especially walking alone.  What’s important is giving yourself time to reflect, to just let your mind go, and, strangely, walking seems to do the trick.  As I work in a glass shop, it’s important for me to stay level-headed and calm—safety first and all that.  On the days I walk to work, I manage to do this just fine.  On the days I’m driven in, however, I often fantasize about grabbing a handful of hammers and then firing them every which way.  Stay cool, keep calm, and walk on.  Seriously, try it.

4.  Treat Yourself/Celebrate Your Successes
Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I know—it’s cool to put others’ needs before your own, but you matter too.  Don’t listen to what your bitch girlfriend/dick boyfriend says; it’s okay to spoil yourself.  But let me be clear, it’s no use patting yourself on the back just because you managed not to shart in your pants today.  That trick gets old quick.  Instead, treat yourself when you achieve a set goal.  Did you do five push-ups every morning for a week like you’d planned?  Then celebrate with a juicy burger if that’s what makes your bunny hop.  Whatever you do, don’t let your successes go by uncelebrated.  They matter, so treat them like they do.

Opinion is a weekly column of just that, my opinion. While opinions are like noses and everyone has one, mine are especially snotty. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.


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