I’m really excited! Last Thursday, I promised you a 2-part series, exploring some of the steps I’d recommend taking if you feel like you’re stuck in a quarterlife crisis that you’d like to get out of. For me, it meant quitting my job and starting to tackle some of the things on my “someday” list. But I think this mini-series can help anyone who wants to make some big changes in their life – whether you’re quitting a job, starting a new career, going back to school, getting married, getting divorced, taking a dream trip – you name it!
Now, I’m not claiming to be a certified expert on any of the above situations, or any of the suggested tips below – but I‘m currently wading through my own quarterlife “crisis turned quest”, and these are my personal recommendations.
Here are my suggestions on the personal side of things (stay tuned for Thursday’s “professional” suggestions!):
1.) Develop a Support Team
If you’re contemplating some big life changes, I really feel there’s really nothing better that having a good support team on your side. Talk to your family, your friends, a counselor. I did all of the above. My husband, my sister, my mom and my counselor were my biggest cheerleaders when I decided to quit my job and pursue the great unknown. Initially, I was petrified to talk to any of them – I was sure that I’d get laughed at and that they’d try to convince me that I was making a mistake. But I was taken by complete surprise – all of them were behind me 100%.
2.) Figure out Your Finances
I think one of the biggest things that holds people back from making changes in their lives is money. And why wouldn’t it? If you’ve gotten used to a certain lifestyle, it’s going to be hard to give it up. But the truth is that there are too many of us that have an embarrassingly loose grasp on our financial situation. Start tracking your spending. Create a budget. If you don’t already do this, I guarantee you, you’ll be surprised to discover where your money goes. Knowing exactly where your money goes will help you figure out where you can cut back and where you can save. Figure out what your bottom line is, and start taking steps to live it.
3.) Ask for Help
My man John Donne said it first: No man is an island. You do not have to do this on your own. Since we were teenagers, we were bred for independence, but there are times when you need (and deserve!) help. If you’ve got a good support team, chances are they will be more than willing to help you achieve your dreams. No one wants to see you fail – take help when it’s offered and run with it. You deserve it.
4.) Create a Life List & Start Tackling It
Until I quit my job, I was 100% against creating a life list. I think I didn’t want to actually acknowledge that there were things I wanted to do that I’d never actually get to do if I kept on the same path. I didn’t want to live with the disappointment. When I finally created my life list, it made me realize that in order to achieve many of the things on it, I had to start living my life differently. Once you have that list, start tackling it – pick one thing and do it. Life lists can be menacing, but you don’t need to do everything at once!
5.) Take a Holiday
It’s really, really, REALLY hard to clear the space in your mind when you’re constantly worrying about laundry, dishes, work assignments, vacuuming, appointments, paychecks etc etc etc. Give yourself a vacation – even if you can’t actually go somewhere exotic. Allow yourself a week or even just a weekend where you are officially “on holiday” and don’t look back. Take the time to really sink back into yourself. It can be done. The world will not implode without you in it.
6.) Kickstart Your Social Life
Reach out to old friends and new friends. Try new activities, eat at new restaurants, hang out with new crowds. Start talking about your plans and continue to build that support team around you. People in your social circle may have fabulous connections that you were never aware of before. Just be careful that you aren’t using people – be genuine and enthusiastic and I guarantee you what goes around, comes around.
7.) Get Familiar with Your Bottom Line
Whether it’s quitting your job, going back to school, starting a family, NOT starting a family, or taking off on a trip around the world, change is going to bring….well, change! If you’re ready to take that leap, you need to brace yourself for the inevitable “what if’s.” My blogging friend, Heather, wrote about it once here and I think she sums it up quite nicely. Sit down and actually write out what your absolutely worst case scenario is – chances are, it’s actually not that bad. And even if it makes you really REALLY uncomfortable, at least now you can look at it face to face. Learn to make friends with it. Learn to love your rock bottom so you can be even more proud of yourself when you don’t hit it J
What other steps have you taken personally to turn your quarterlife crisis into a quest?
Also, stay tuned for Thursday’s post, when I explore some tips to help tackle your quarterlife crisis professionally.