Ok. I’ve done it. I’ve made it to 26 – or very nearly, if I’m being pedantic.
I’ve successfully managed to navigate my way through 25 years, and I’m proud of myself too. Those who know me know just how clumsy I actually can be; in the quarter of a century that I’ve spent on this planet I’ve broken my arm twice, broken my foot by dropping an iPad on it – don’t ask – and locked myself in a bathroom in a tiny Italian restaurant in the middle of San Diego – and that’s just the tip of a rather huge iceberg.
Recently, I read an article on the Independent that contained a study stating that more than half of millennials are going through a quarter-life crisis, so at least I know I’m not on my own. But feeling like you’re at a dead end, questioning your career path and making erratic decisions like deciding to book a £1,500 holiday on a whim doesn’t exactly scream that you’re loving life.
I often question how I’ve made it through each day of being 25, it’s definitely not been a kind to me, so to be quite frank I’m pretty glad to see the back of it. Growing up I always had a vision of what my life would be like by the time I’d hit this age: I’d have a house in somewhere like Brighton or Bristol, be in a safe a secure job that I adored, and maybe even be in a healthy and happy relationship.
Unfortunately for me, 25 was not as dreamy as I once hoped it would be. I was made redundant from my job – my dream job, I was forced to leave my apartment, I suffered from crippling anxiety and a dash of depression – for good measure. I felt isolated, cut off, too terrified to get on a train or drive, betrayed and broken-hearted, and my trust was shattered into a million little pieces. Not to mention I questioned my career.
I remember saying to a friend after I lost my job that I was done with writing, that I wasn’t good enough and I never would be. He told me I was being daft and not thinking straight, and that to give up would admit defeat at all costs. Looking back now I know how right he was, giving up my passion would have been the stupidest choice I made at 25, because I couldn’t imagine it not being in my life any more.
They say your quarter-life crisis always smacks you in your face when you least expect it, and my goodness did mine put me through my paces. I wanted to run away; I confided in those close to me and told them I needed to go, I needed to rebuild myself to give myself a chance at finding happiness again because as far as I was concerned, it had been sucked out of me just a mere two months after my 25th birthday.
Just a few weeks ago a family friend asked how my life was going, if I was still enjoying work and my life in Birmingham. They were shocked when I told them what I’d been through, mainly because throughout the mess that my life had suddenly turned into, my social media remained mostly positive, and they believed my life was damn near perfect. It just goes to show that everything is so easy to mask with a jazzy Instagram post, even when that person’s life has fallen apart right before their very eyes.
Despite all this, I owe a lot to you, 25. You’ve taught me a lot; that it’s ok to binge-watch countless episodes of Gossip Girl in one day; that it’s ok if I want to shut off from the world and take some time for myself. That spending time with the people you love will bring out the best in you, that it’s ok that I need to cry, and that drinking my bodyweight in rum isn’t a great idea – nor will it ever probably be.
I guess the thing is is that I’m still learning each and every day. I’m still terrible with money and I probably relate more to Bridget Jones considering a vast majority of my childhood friends are now either living with their partners, engaged, married and even have children, while I’m still the one who doesn’t know who to take on as a plus one to parties and receptions, but I’m ok with that. Mostly because it’s given me time to grow, time to really get to know who I am as a person, and what I want to achieve with my life.
A quarter-life crisis may not be a walk in the park, but you can be sure that it’ll teach you more about yourself than you ever thought possible. In the back of my mind I know that 26 is going to be a lot kinder to me, even if I am one year closer to 30.