Does anybody else feel like you’re nowhere near where you thought you would be at this stage in life, and that you have approximately 0% of your shit together?
Fear not, you are not alone! Below are the paradoxes of one in the throes of a quarter-life crisis – because in an age where social media is constantly telling us we should be living our ‘best lives’ while we’re still young, I find myself constantly having wildly bipolar changes in my mindset…
Saving vs Splurging
Sensible Mature Adult Me: You should be saving for a mortgage and, really, a pension and always have some money set aside for unforeseen expenses. Making small sacrifices and being financially sensible now will set you up for a more stable and enjoyable future.
On The Other Hand Me: You only live once! Buy that new dress, go out for cocktails, brunch every weekend and book more holidays than you can afford. You deserve it. You’ll regret not spending money on fun things when you’re old with more responsibilities!
Travel vs Career
Sensible Mature Adult Me: This is the key time in your life to get work experience, build a great CV, make contacts and work your way up the career ladder. You may not be in your dream job but if you lay the groundwork now it will be within reach down the line.
On The Other Hand Me: Jack it all in. Buy a one way ticket to Australia and never look back. You can work in bars and on farms to get by, but can you put a price on life experience? No! Work will always be here waiting when you get back, so what if you have to start at the bottom?
Current Job vs Dream Job
Sensible Mature Adult Me: You may not be ‘living the dream’, but you’ve got a steady salary, a few nice colleagues and it took you so long to get here- remember your degree and all the unpaid internships and work experience? Starting on a new career path now would be madness, so plough on, no one really has a dream job.
On The Other Hand Me: You’re still young enough to be anything you want to be. Remember last year when you thought about changing careers and didn’t? Well if you had you’d have a year of experience under your belt now. Stop hesitating. Do it. Quit your job and live your dream. You’re not getting any younger.
Settling Down vs Staying Single
Sensible Mature Adult Me: If you want to be married by the time you’re 30 you really need to settle down with a suitable partner soon. Lower your expectations; you’re probably not going to find someone who absolutely blows you away but as long as they’re kind and hold similar values to you that’s the main thing.
On The Other Hand Me: I’m young and carefree and fabulous and I won’t settle for anything less than a tall, smokin’ hot millionaire who makes me roar with laughter, treats me like the queen I am, has a sparkling vocabulary, loves Disney and makes love like a literary lothario. I’d rather be single and happy than settle with someone less than perfect.
Kids vs No Kids
Sensible Mature Adult Me: I’m not sure if kids are really for me, but if I don’t have them while I’m young and fertile I may regret it later in life. Everyone I know with kids adores them plus when you’re old and grey you always have someone to visit you and take care of you
On The Other Hand Me: Kids? No way! They’re noisy and messy and expensive. Why would you sacrifice your sleep and a peaceful life to waste all your hard earned money on an ungrateful sprog when you could spend it on fabulous holidays? Plus, stretch marks, weight gain and childbirth? No thanks.
Living With Your Parents vs Renting
Sensible Mature Adult Me: I know living with your parents in your 20s isn’t what you envisioned, but you’re saving so much money. The money you’d be wasting on rent and bills right now is going straight into your mortgage savings account. Sacrificing a little freedom now will pay off tenfold.
On The Other Hand Me: I don’t mind if renting is pissing money down the drain, I’d have my own cool space and every night would be like a fun girlie sleepover. We could watch Love Island and drink wine together and decorate with kitsch tropical prints and flamingos and cushions and fairy lights!
Prada vs Primark
Sensible Mature Adult Me: Stop frittering away money on disposable clothing. Spend more and invest in sensible wardrobe staples that you’ll have for life. Buy chic, good quality pieces and start dressing like the sophisticated lady you want the world to see you as. It’s a far better investment in the long run.
On The Other Hand Me: *looks at House of Fraser price tags* You want me to spend how much on a boring, sensible jacket? Eh, I don’t think so. I can buy a whole outfit in Primark for under £20, including accessories! And I’ll totally wear it again. I really feel the sequin-festival-mermaid look is here to stay and it’s definitely age appropriate.
Ageing Gracefully vs Getting ‘Help’
Sensible Mature Adult Me: OK, you may have aged a little since you were a fresh-faced teen, but that is perfectly natural. There is nothing wrong with laughter lines or a few creases in your forehead. Society has put far too much pressure on us to look flawless and never show any signs of ageing but it’s baloney. Buy an anti-wrinkle cream, stay hydrated and embrace the changes
On The Other Hand Me: I need botox. Not loads, I don’t want to look too frozen, but I simply can’t cope with having expression lines on my face. While I’m at it, a girl I know got cheek fillers and she looks amazing so I guess I’ll go for those too. And do my boobs look like they’ve dropped a bit? They do boob lifts cheap in Turkey you know, I saw it on Instagram. Maybe I could go for a whole package deal…
Healthy Lifestyle vs Treat Yoself
Sensible Mature Adult Me: You can’t get away with eating as many takeaways and drinking as much wine as you used to, your body has changed- and that’s OK. Be more mindful of what you eat, minimise weekday treats and swap sugary cocktails for gin and slims. You can still have a great body, you just need to work a little harder at it than before.
On The Other Hand Me: Girl, you work hard, you deserve midweek pizzas and post work pints. You look fine and let’s face it, your body’s only going downhill from here, so enjoy all the delicious treats while you can. Don’t practise self-control, you could be hit by a bus tomorrow! Eat all the donuts you can.
Going Out vs Staying In
Sensible Mature Adult Me: Every time you go out you remember why you hate going out. It’s noisy, it’s crowded, you have to wear uncomfortable shoes and drinks have gotten so ridiculously over-priced. Why would you waste time and money doing something you don’t enjoy with nothing to show for it? Stay in, you know you want to.
On The Other Hand Me: I’ve got the rest of my adult life to sit in and be boring, I should definitely go out. £9 isn’t that expensive for a cocktail and loud music doesn’t bother me that much. Plus, I’ll get a new outfit pic for Instagram!
So, did any of this ring true for you? Are you, indeed, having a quarter-life crisis too? If so, I have no advice to offer (I never claimed to, sorry) but hopefully this article distracted you for five minutes from the baffling car crash that is your life. Now then, as you were!