Everyone knows about mid-life crises–when you hit mid-life and suddenly yearn for the adventures of your youth. Some people buy sports cars or go on big vacations or try to get back into the party scene.
But what about quarter-life crises?
A couple years ago when I was on my two-week trip around Eastern Europe, a girl in my travel group, who was 19 at the time, told us that she had been at university but had a quarter-life crisis, panicked, dropped out and was now traveling until she figured out the rest. I found it hard to believe her. How does someone at 19 panic that badly? That’s technically not even “quarter-life.” Sure, at 19, I wasn’t close to having my life figured out, but I thought having that kind of reaction was over the top. We’re too young for quarter-life crises.
I didn’t believe that quarter-life crises existed…until I had one of my own.
At the end of 2015 and in the beginning of 2016, a lot of things in my life changed. I suddenly had more time and more energy, and more desire to get out and live my life. I had a whole city to explore and a whole blog of my own where I could write about it.
The problem was, I didn’t know how to do that or where to start. As exciting as this new freedom was, I found myself apprehensive and scared to take the leap. Did it “fit” my blog to do these things? Is my blog “that” kind of blog? Should it be? Should I change it? Am I limited to Chattanooga? To Tennessee? Suddenly these thoughts turned into, why am I here? Why Chattanooga? Why Tennessee? Am I where I’m supposed to be? I was asking myself questions I didn’t know how to answer.
That night, I opened my computer to attempt to write a blog post and ended up emailing my mentor Lauren. I told her everything I’d been feeling. She texted me just before I went to bed. “Oh sweet Kate,” she said, “you’re having a quarter-life crisis. I know this all too well. Let’s talk more tomorrow.”Have you ever had a quarter-life crisis? I did, and I survived it. Click To Tweet
The next day when we talked, I recounted my recent thoughts, anxieties, insecurities and anything else I’d been feeling. At one point I felt silly worrying about some of those things, but Lauren assured me it was normal and perfectly okay. Everyone has quarter-life crises, she said.
I asked her what I should do to get over the hurdle. How can I make my blog what I want it to be? I’d worked too hard on it for four and a half years to let it slip away. Am I where I’m supposed to be, here in Chattanooga?
“Of course you are,” she said. “So you know what you’re gonna do? You’re gonna go out and make your own adventures and find your own Chattanooga. Because how you see and experience the city is different from how someone else will. And because you have time, freedom, talent, a full-time job and a car. And passion. You’re gonna go do that and you’re going to write about it and tell that story on your blog. And you’re gonna kill it.”
And right then, something clicked.
One February morning on my drive to work, I flipped to my usual morning radio show (Elvis Duran, if you’re curious). That day, two members of the show, Carla Marie and Anthony, were leaving and moving across the country to start their own show in Seattle. Listeners called in one after another to share their favorite memories of Carla Marie and Anthony, to thank them for their years on the show, to wish them luck in their new adventure.Find that one thing that makes you feel alive, and do it. Click To Tweet
I remember one caller in particular. She told Carla Marie that she always wished she’d majored in something different in college, like broadcast radio, and is jealous (in a good way) of Carla Marie’s new adventure and wished she could have an adventure like that. “You’re doing what I wish I did in my 20s,” the caller said. “You’re such an inspiration to me.”
Carla Marie told her that it doesn’t matter what she majored in, that you don’t have to work in radio to have an exciting life. If you want an adventure in something, then go make an adventure. Just find that one thing that will always make you feel alive, and just do it.
Once again, something clicked.
After my talk with my mentor, and after hearing that caller segment on the radio, my perspective changed. I understood that I was where I was supposed to be, and I had a world of opportunity before me. The Chattanooga Bucket List was born shortly thereafter.What do YOU do that makes you feel alive? Click To Tweet
I think about my talk with Lauren and that radio segment almost every day. It’s never too late to start or to discover something new. Anyone can have an adventure if they take the leap and go.
Today I leave you with this: take the leap. Do what makes you feel alive. Don’t let the quarter-life crisis get you down, whenever it hits.
Have you had a quarter-life crisis? How did you get past it? What makes you feel alive?