From self doubt to the fear of missing out, The Ambitionist discusses how to navigate a quarter life crisis.
1. 99 percent of the things we worry about never happen
Worry is one of the worst feelings in the world. Its stomach wrenching, blood draining, and totally all encompassing. We’ve all been there, from unpaid bills to job uncertainty and everything in between, and if you’re anything like me then immediately you’ll assume the worst is going to happen. But the truth is 99 percent of the things we worry about never happen (disclaimer this is not scientific, but y’know what I’m getting at). Face things head on, take a step back, think about the situation realistically and speak to someone who can give you some perspective.
2. Nobody is talking about your downfalls as much as you think they are
In fact, they probably haven’t even noticed them. People are way more concerned about themselves than they are with you, and in all likelihood you are your own worst critic. The only people truly interested in your downfalls are those who are jealous of what you’ve already achieved.
3. If you’re not happy with your career you can change it
If you’re not happy with the career path you’ve chosen (or happen to be on) then you’re not too old to change it. In all likelihood you’ve picked up some pretty transferable skills already and your dream employer is looking for someone just like you, but if it’s a major step change you’re after get back into education and forgo a few pairs of Joni jeans to foot the bill.
4. If you haven’t achieved everything you want to achieve in life yet don’t panic
This is my major stress. I know whole heartedly that one day I want to run my own company and beat myself up about the fact that I’m not there yet at least once a week. When I’m in a ‘my life is vanishing before my very eyes’ mood then 26 seems like way too old to even consider starting a business. When I have my sensible, realistic and less dramatic head on, I know that I still have plenty of time to get my empire off the ground.
5. It’s important to disconnect from social media
Y’know what, I’m a big fan of social media. It’s changed our world forever and has made it a much smaller place. However, I’m also a firm believer of ‘everything in moderation’ and I think we could all benefit from disconnecting every now and then. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post speaks frequently about her digital downtime, a conscious effort to unplug from mobile phones, social media and the Internet in general.
6. You can say ‘no’
I like to think I’m over the peer pressure thing and I try and turn my back on the whole ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) phenomenon, but the truth is we can all get a bit swept up doing things that we don’t actually want to do because other people say we should. We could all do with reminding ourselves that it’s okay to say ‘no’ if you don’t want to do something. If you’d like to stay in rather than go out, that’s fine; if you don’t fancy going on that group trip, no worries; and if you’d be more comfortable not attending that event, then that’s totally up to you. I lead a really sociable life, don’t get me wrong, and I’m not for one moment suggesting that you should say ‘no’ to everything, because keeping busy and experience different things is great too. But every now and then, if you don’t feel up to it, then saying ‘no’ is A-Okay.
7. A problem shared is a problem halved
When I was a teenager I used to deal with my problems by furiously scribbling them down in a purple fluffy diary before having a tantrum and pouring my heart out to my mum. Today I deal with them in a similar fashion, however I’ve ditched the ‘Bang on the door’ diary and rather than throw a tantrum pick up the phone to my boyfriend, mum or best friend. By looking at a situation objectively and talking things over, you’ll immediately feel like a weight has lifted. Sometimes all you need is a rant to clear the air and help you face things head on.
8. Your friends should make you feel good about yourself
As you get a little bit older you learn that true friends make you feel good about yourself. They build you up when you’re feeling down, they support your choices, they offer truthful advice and would never take pleasure in your unhappiness. They celebrate your achievements and would never judge your decisions. Friendships that make you feel uncomfortable, under pressure or unhappy are not friendships at all.
9. Stop worrying about what other people think about you
I’m trying my very hardest to stop giving a f**k about what people think and I’ll tell you why. If you care less about what people think you can concentrate on what makes you truly happy. By giving less of a damn about what those around you think, you’ll be able to shrug of criticism and therefore become more self-confident, you’ll make decisions without fear of being judged and as a result they’re more likely to be the right ones and you’ll be able to think more independently.
10. It’s okay to cry
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you just need a good cry and that is absolutely, 100 percent, totally and utterly okay. We all have those days when everything and nothing just seems to set us off and having a good sob can do us the world of good.
11. It’s really important to look after number one
Looking after yourself physically and mentally is incredibly important. Going to the gym, eating healthily, enjoying a hot bath, painting your nails, curling up and reading a book, saying ‘no’ if you don’t want to do something – all these things and many more help you think about yourself more often and what you want to do. ‘Me time’ is very underrated – the ability to enjoy your own company, think your own thoughts and do what makes you happy is something that we should all learn to do more of.