Inspiring Resources To Help You Through Your Quarter Life Crisis
Quarter-life crises are real. Don't let anyone tell you you're just a self-obsessed, lazy, entitled millennial. I mean, you might be, but you might be going through a quarter-life crisis too. I know I probably am. I have been feeling unsettled for a couple of years now, wondering why I'm working in a technical desk job rather than being the writer or painter I always wanted to be when I was at school. I even considered moving back home to Suffolk so I could change careers to something more creative. I'm glad I didn't, and I have a great job now, but there's still a big question mark hanging over my head. I'm nearly thirty and I know I don't want to be working in marketing when I'm fifty, or even in five years, but I'm too scared to try and do anything else without a regular income.
Well, maybe not. But I can maybe make you feel a bit better. Here are a few things that I've come across that have pushed me to think outside of my comfort zone in terms of my career, life, creativity and happiness, as well as some things that cheer me up when things feel overwhelming.
First up, the Holstee Manifesto, which looks like this:
Holstee are a collection of startups who make lovely products that encourage mindful living. You can download the manifesto as a desktop background for your computer or phone. I have it on my computer at work and it reminds me that, at the end of day, it is just a job and not the end of the world if things go a bit wrong or a client gets annoyed with me. It's also a constant reminder to keep pursuing things that make me happy, and not just slump in front of the TV when I get home, because life is too short.
This infographic shows loads of famous people who got their start later in life:
Did you know Van Gogh didn't start painting until he was 27?! There's another good infographic at that link which shows the ages at which founders launched their businesses, but Mark Zuckerberg being highlighted in a massive font is a bit depressing to be honest.
Amanda Palmer's TED Talk, The Art of Asking, explains how she used to work as a living statue, earning money to pay rent from the kindness of strangers on the street. But when she met her future husband, Neil Gaiman, she struggled to accept help from him. This difference in views led her to explore the reasons behind why we are so averse to asking our loved ones for help.
Her book expands on the topic and tells the story of Amanda's music career, as she travelled the world relying on strangers for beds, food and transport to her gigs. I suppose I included this because sometimes starting a new career or making a big life change can seem too difficult if you don't have the support or money, but Amanda Palmer explains how asking for help is usually a lot easier than most people think.
This article from The Debrief called Meet The 20-Something Girls Who Are Rejecting The Rat Race, is pretty self explanatory.
Here's a snippet:
‘It’s about drawing a line on a page for your twenties, then another for your thirties and forties. What’s important to me? What can I do now that I won't be able to do when I’m 60? You need to make sure you’re making priorities for you, not for your boss or your parents or those three minutes conversations at house parties.’
On a similar note, this post from Superlatively Rude - How It Feels To Build The Life Of Your Dreams - explains the author's journey to building herself a freelance writing career and finally becoming her own boss and moving to Malaysia. The author Laura has written a ton of other inspirational posts, so next time you have a slow afternoon at work, take a virtual stroll through her archives.
Brain Pickings is another great blog that, in the creator's own words, is "a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why ... an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life."
One of the best posts - How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love - lists 7 resources, including speeches, videos and books, that will help you find your purpose in life. (One of them I've already mentioned here).
Quora is a great place to find perspective, as there are so many people from hundreds of different backgrounds answering insightful questions. One of the best things I've found on Quora is The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher. It's essentially a 50-point list of simple instructions on how to change the course of your life. A lot of it is easier said than done, but if you need a quick kick up the arse then it's a good place to start.
Another useful Quora post is Oliver Emberton's answer to the question: How Do I Find My Passion? In his answer he outlines three rules that help us understand passion:
1. Passion comes from success 2. Childhood is where passion goes to die 3. Passion can be created
He also gives three options to help you succeed at making your passion your life. Here's a bit of the summary:
Passion is an emotion specifically intended to make you go crazy and work your ass off at something because your brain believes it could rock your world. That, like love, is a feeling worth fighting for.
The brilliant webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a great comic called You Have Many Lifetimes, which dispels the myth that we only get one shot at living our lives. Apparently, it takes about 7 years to master something so we get around 11 opportunities to do something new. If you are in your late twenties, this means you have a bit more than 8 lifetimes left, which is a nice thought when you're feeling a bit lost.
If you like comics, then check out Zen Pencils. It's one of my favourite art blogs, run by Gavin Aung Than who, after working as a corporate graphic designer industry for 8 years, quit to fulfil his dream of drawing cartoons for a living. Gavin adapts inspirational quotes into comics, which focus on creativity, passion and happiness. There's a book too. Buy it, it's amazing.
My favourite is Bill Watterson: A Cartoonist's Advice. (Click for full length version).
This one is also brilliant: Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
These others are excellent too:
But seriously, just buy the book, it's brilliant. Or at least scroll through the entire blog. Up to you.
Next up, this dying man's message is pretty inspiring. Here's a snapshot:
Take control of your life Take full responsibility for the things that happen to you. Limit bad habits and try to lead a healthier life. Find a sport that makes you happy. Most of all, don’t procrastinate. Let your life be shaped by decisions you made, not by the ones you didn’t.
And finally, this TIFU (Today I Fucked Up) post on Reddit: TIFU my whole life. My regrets as a 46 year old, and advice to others at a crossroad
If you're reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please. Don't procrastinate. Don't leave your dreams for later. Relish in your energy, your passions. Don't stay on the internet with all your spare time...
Well, I hope you are somewhat inspired or uplifted from reading through those. Good luck with your quarter-life crisis, and if you have any other useful links then let me know and I'll add them to my list!