There’s a stigma that the 30s are old and that life ends at 25. And I know it myself because somehow when I was a teenager, there was a stereotype that I should be settled by the time I hit 30 years old. And now that I’m 26, I suddenly felt like I’m pretty far from the kind of success that I envisioned myself at this exact age many teenage years ago.
I was pretty much building my career pretty well for 5 years but I suddenly felt that maybe I should venture out on a new journey. So I quit my job to travel and now on time of the pandemic, I just found myself back at my parents’ house with no job and with no money. So I ask myself, is this properly right for a 26 year old like me?
READ ALSO: Dear friend, I am feeling lost at 25
This is the topic that always pinged in my messenger recently. A friend from Italy told me she’s experiencing anxiety because of the unsolicited advice thrown at her; family members asking her to reevaluate her life to slow down in traveling and start saving money for the future. And most of the people from my circle are always talking about this topic in between bottles of beers as well, asking ourselves if we are somewhat lost and eventually comforting ourselves by advises that it’s totally fine.
But after all the happy hours once we’re back home alone, can we even take our own advice?
“Beyond the age of information is the age of choices.”– Charles Eames
The 20s are indeed full of choices: should we want a 9 to 5 job or a business? Do we want to work remotely or in an office? Should we choose the career path or our lifestyle? Money or fulfillment? And if you’re also stuck with these questions then probably, just maybe, this is the right time to be honest with ourselves that we are totally experiencing quarter life crisis.
What is Quarter Life Crisis?
Based on Wikipedia and in popular psychology, quarter life crisis is a crisis involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life which most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person’s early twenties up to their mid-thirties.
It is defined by clinical psychologist Alex Fowke as “a period of insecurity, doubt, and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships, and financial situation.
Why you should take risks in your 20s?
Anyway, I’m not going to talk more about how twentysomethings feel miserable at this time of life but I will just talk about why it’s completely normal to feel this way.
Your 20s are a good time to start considering seriously what you really want in life. If you want to call it as a stepping stone to make you feel alright, then do so. This is the time where we have fewer obligations so it’s a great time for career explorations. And as they say, it’s the best time to take the greatest career risks because most likely, we are young! And that even if we fail, we have enough time to rebound and do it all right.
READ ALSO: Hitting The Reset Button on Life: When Your 20s Feels Pointless
But also, it’s important to take a break
We should always remember that being a twentysomething today is far different 50 years ago. So that we shouldn’t compare our pace to our aunt, uncle, or even our parents when they were our age. Not to mention the endless amount of pressure we put in ourselves because of these comparisons that often lead to becoming an unhealthy and unhappy young people.
At the age of 21, 28, or even 35, sometimes all we need is one good conversation and one valuable break in life. I have a little book about mindfulness that says: Sit and be calm. When you see a bird in flight, allow your eyes to fly with it. Admire it. Taste the day.
There’s a reason why we have recess in grade school, an hour break from our jobs, weekends off in between hectic schedules, and for chrissakes holiday vacations! That’s because one good break is hella beneficial. It reduces mental fatigue, boosts brain function, and it helps us reconsider the choices and important things in life.
Are your 30s the best years of your life?
Jenna Rink from the film 13 going on 30 reads “Thirty and flirty and thriving . . . Why the thirties are the best years of your life.” straight off from the fictional magazine. And perhaps that’s correct. For they say that by the time you reach this decade of your life, you are more mature with enough life lessons learned. Compared to your twenties where you were just transitioning from childhood to adulthood.
And honestly, I’m not in the right position to say things about this but all I know is that I am 26 years old now and changing careers is somewhat taking a toll at the moment and I know that allowing myself to be a beginner at this time of life is the right thing to do anyway – educating myself to the things that I’m passionate about will hopefully, reward me in four years time. I couldn’t wait and I’m excited for myself to turn 30 and it’s comforting to know that the thirties are still young and it’s the start for things to get better if I start claiming, declaring, and working for the things that I think really matter.
CONCLUSION: Are the 30s the new 20s?
Definitely not. Your twenties are your twenties and your thirties are your thirties. Both younger years but totally different decades in one’s life. And contrary to popular belief, your 20s are not a throwaway decade. Meg Jay says from her TED Talk that just because marriage, work, and kids are happening later in life, doesn’t mean you can’t start planning now.
After all, between the question and the answer lies free choice and our journey is always different from one another. And if it’s too much to make you feel okay, I’ll say that you are never too late – you are just in time. No matter how cliche it is.
Cover Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash
My experience teaches me that it is perfectly possible to start living even in one’s 40s or 50s
That’s what I learned from a book that I was reading too! But did you also felt ‘lost’ when you were at your twenties, Tito?
Yes, I did feel lost in my teens, in my “20s, in my “30s and beyond. Life is a constant readjusting and setting new priorities
Probably this whole new switching career, still living with my parents, broke as hell situation is just making me anxious. Haha! But maybe I’ll be fine soon.
I lived with my parents until age 37 when I got married…haha
I’m in 30’s bracket and still haven’t fulfilled my life’s passion and goals though I am still on the journey to it! It’s all a matter of time and sometimes being in the right place at the right time. Some of what I wanted to achieve in my 20’s I’m only just beginning to achieve now and I appreciate it more because of my age and the fact that no matter your age of you believe and keep pushing for that dream it will in the end surely come to pass! While I am getting older I still do feel young at heart though I’m mindful that I must as far as is possible build a good legacy in which family and loved ones in particular after me can be proud and take inspiration from.
That is spot on! And it also goes to the fact that we should normalize finding love at 40s, discovering and chasing new dreams in your 30s, finding yourself and your purpose in your 50s! At least that’s how this saying goes. Thanks for sharing!
No probs bro. We must not put ourselves into brackets or people’s time frame or expectations for us though as we are all individuals with freedom of choice.
That’s well noted to self. Thanks again!
Pleasure dude! Good post that’s got me thinking too! 😀😂👍
I think some experiences associated with 20s are becoming more of a 30s thing. In that sense, 30s are the new 20s.
Totally agree! There’s also a saying that ‘Life begins at 40s’ so maybe 40s are also the new 30s in that sense. Haha! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Agree with your final points, Marron! Each decade has its character. What I like about my 30s — I take myself less seriously. Also, less tolerance for BS. 🙂
That’s what I heard from my friends in their 30s too! That you will start taking care of your body, you’ll start to act like a ‘real adult’, and that you will start to give fewer damns to BS!
At risk of sounding pessimistic, we have way less control over our lives and choices as we think. So many things happen by chance, by accident or by coincidence.
I’m 39 and I’m told that my 40s will be my success decade. Ask me again in 11 years’ time if it turned out to be true.
Life begins at 40, Timothy! They say that when one reaches the age of forty, life becomes better at all aspects perhaps because one has the skills, experiences, and means necessary for an enjoyable life.
And I shall remember asking you again in 11 years time haha!
Good. I’ll mark my calendar for 2031 :P.
What tou say about 40 is also true about 30. You don’t start with a blank drawing board. And that’s both good and bad. It’s okay.
Let’s find a road between letting everything happen without thinking and overthinking everything. 😀
I will be 36 by then and for sure whatever your advice is, it will be very helpful with me! It’s so nice to think of a specific time in the future – i hope life turns out pretty well for us in 2031.
And yes, calmly living one day at a time.
May you always keep exploring and also savoring every moment! This is well written and very thought provoking, thank you. From one who continues to wander and question, even at 64. 😉
Thank you so much, Karen! 🙂