The Quarter-Life Crisis

18 Feb

Ray: I feel like I’m experiencing a quarter-life crisis and I know I’m not the only one.

Your situation may be different from mine, but my mid twenties have really challenged everything I thought about life. It has even challenged everything I thought about myself. There used to be a time when I felt like King Midas and everything I touched would be gold. In my early twenties, I put together a stretch of years where I couldn’t lose and I basically got everything I wanted. I was spoiled in almost every way imaginable.

After an amazing college career, I immediately started working at one of the most powerful companies in the world. They paid me a great deal of money and I traveled around the country twice a week. It was a great gig for a recent college grad. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it came easy and it was tolerable. At least for a while.

My quarter-life crisis began when I decided that I absolutely hated my corporate job. I hated being stuck at a cubicle looking at a computer screen all day. I hated going to meetings that I had zero interest in. I hated being around people who loved that job and wanted to emerse themselves in the corporate culture. What appeared to be a great opportunity and tremendous blessing had become a thorn in my side. I was unhappy and I wanted things to change. I just didn’t know how to make it happen.

As they say, be careful what you wish for. The economy went downhill fast and I was laid off with 25,000 other employees. However, I imagine most of them weren’t as happy as I was. I felt like I was given my freedom and a second chance to do things my way. So I decided to do into business for myself… during the worst recession in decades… in the industry that caused the recession… real estate. Perfect! But I’m King Midas and I’ve never had trouble finding success. Well, not anymore.

This past year has been the most difficult year in my life. I haven’t made anything close to the money I used to make. After a while of being broke and finding it really hard to catch a victory, my personality changed. I had never doubted myself as much as I have over the past year. The thing I feared most seemed to be right around the corner and catching up fast. Failure!

It’s amazing how that type of outlook can deplete all feelings of confidence and optimism. It was no wonder why I spent countless nights wondering what in the world am I doing with my life? How did things come to this? Why me? I used to have it all and now it looks like I’ll never have anything again. Just reading this makes me laugh at how off my mentality and perspective on the situation was.

What I have realized is that I wanted a different life for myself but I wasn’t prepared to go through the changes it would take to get there. All of my praying wasn’t in vain. In fact, God answered my prayers by taking away all of my safety nets. God took away my crutches. Furthermore, he allowed me to fall so much that there was no way I could be my old cocky self anymore. I wasn’t King Midas. I was just a kid who believed way too much in his own abilities but wasn’t strong enough to endure all that a real man must endure.

Realizing all of this, I am able to clearly see what my flaws are. Understanding that the old me was not good enough to be the future me officially put an end to my quarter-life crises. This is the purification process when gold goes through fire to burn off the impurities and be made perfect. This is Moses wondering through the desert lost, tired, and completely unsure of his ability to survive. This is Saul on the road to Damascus, Michael Jordan getting cut from his Varsity basketball team, Bruce Willis going from being a bartender to becoming a mega movie star. I think you get my point.

The quarter-life crisis is a blessing from God because it’s telling us to analyse ourselves in a way that we never have. To be completely honest about the person we have become and determine if that’s matching up with the person we want to become. It’s accepting everything that is, taking a count for all that you do have and figuring out how to make it work.  It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it’s necessary. Let it humble you. Let it break you down. Let it take away from you what needs to be taken away. Endure the pain. Suffer in the loneliness. Wallow in the failure. It sucks because it’s supposed to. This is what makes you stronger, wiser, and more confident about your future. You weren’t the first nor will you be the last to go through it. This is how it is on the road to righteousness.

Never forget that life is marathon, not a sprint. Never give up. Never give in. The answers are out there.

***By the way, I’m feeling better than I ever felt in all ways imaginable. And business is picking up 🙂


6 Responses to “The Quarter-Life Crisis”

  1. Faaz February 18, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I feel you on the quarter life crisis. I am currently reading “20 Something Manifesto”. This book basically explains all the transitions we as 20 somethings go through as well recalling stories from other 20 somethings and what they have learned.

    • adjacent2jason February 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm #


  2. nblades February 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Ray – Great Post! I know there are so many other 20-somethings (and even some 30-somethings) who can completely identify with your post. I also hit my quarter life crisis after realizing that I couldn’t stand my corporate job anymore. Kudos to you for taking the opportunity to learn about yourself and what truly drives you.


  3. adjacent2jason February 18, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Epic,touching,and very insightfull. At this point in our lives, the twenties, we are growing out of the freshman stage in life. Yup, the good oh one- eight crisis,teenage wasteland anyone. We are Metamorphosing, if you will, into the sophomore stage. In other words, we are wise fools; We think we’ve figure it out, but got along road of adulthood to travel . I wonder what the junior stage is going to be like?……ha

  4. someoneushudno February 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Hurray for you Ray. You got your wake up call and got up and about the bizness – while the rest of us spend a decade after decade on the endless wheet to nowhere.

    Have a fulfilled and happy live

  5. Emily February 19, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    I think it’s different for Mexicans. 🙂 u know I’m kidding…Ray, the funny thing not only did u find urself and realize the need for this moment in life, but by pushing through u showed me that it was unacceptable to give up. Ur a mentor if not more.

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