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Power Ranking the Responses to a Quarter Life Crisis

This article is part of our Post Grad Survival Guide that we’ll be rolling out this summer. Join our email list to follow along all summer and email workretiredie@gmail.com if you’d like to guest write.

As a human being, there are pros and cons to the whole ‘having intelligent thought and consciousness’ thing. On the positive side, we can control the food chain, make Netflix limited series and bet our paychecks on preseason football. The downside is, we’re troubled by questions like “What is the point of my life” or “does anything I do matter” or “why is everyone I went to college with making more money and getting laid more often than me?” I don’t think pigs, sheep or goats have these thoughts (mainly because they don’t go to college) but I don’t really know. I don’t spend as much time with farm animals as I should.

The point is, at one point in everyone’s life, they start to question their place in world and examine their values and choices. When this happens in mid-twenties and early-30s, we call this bad boy a quarter life crisis.

Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. We live in a world with an infinite amount of possibilities, endless competition, and extremely famous 16 year old Tik Tokers. It’s not that weird to wake up one day and question whether you’re living your one life on this planet the right way. Honestly, I’d be concerned if you don’t, because you’re going to get hit with an extra hard mid-life crisis in 20 years. Now, when you decide to quit your job at a hedge fund to go backpacking in Peru, your children will have to drop out of private school and develop a pill problem. Selfish prick.

Anyways, the point is, I’m not here to tell you how to address your quarter life crisis. No, I’m here to judge and criticize the different ways that everyone else copes with the natural process of forming your place in adult society.

Kicking & Screaming (2005) - IMDb
Having your existential crisis now before you end up emotionally scarring Byong Sun

Power Ranking the Responses to Quarter Life Crises

7. Going to Grad School

The safest way to feel like you’re addressing your concerns about your place in the world is by spending six figures to get the same education a few YouTube videos would have provided. I power ranked which degrees I respect the most a few months back, but if you want to save yourself five minutes, the basic summary is fuck dentists and based on some people I know who have law degrees, law school seems very doable.

Pros: Easy access to Adderall. You can have an answer to questions about your future from parents, friends, and yourself for 2 – 7 years. You can buy a new sweatshirt and root for your grad school’s football team even though everyone knows you don’t really count as a fan (looking at you Michigan MBA students.)

Cons: What if you get like halfway in and decide you don’t want to use your degree but you already wasted the prime years of your life and it’s definitely too late to back out now? Also, you have to do homework as a 29-year-old. Get a job.

6. Training for a Marathon

Run from your problems for 26.2 miles and pay hundreds of dollars to do so.

Pros: You’re in shape. You get a cool Instagram post. You have a good fun fact for your first day of work for the next 10 years.

Cons: You have to stop running eventually. Sadly, your problems will still be there when you cross the finish line. Also, running is boring as fuck. Why would you do it for 6 hours?

ENHP to Exhibit at Hartford Marathon | University of Hartford
I’m just gonna keep running until my horrible credit score and repeated failures in personal relationships just go away

5. Developing a Passion and/or Side Hustle  

Don’t like your job? Try ANOTHER job in your free time. Side hustles include cycling instructor, something to do with candles, and running a relatable corporate humor meme page. Popular passions include CrossFit, cross-stitching and cross dressing.

Pros: You’re doing something you actually like for the first time since you were 16 years old. You have something interesting to talk about on a first date.  You can write a LinkedIn status about it and get 24,000 likes.

Cons: If you’re lucky enough to make your passion your full-time job, you end up working 18 hour days and associating the thing that once brought you joy with stress, anxiety, and humiliation. Also, less time to watch Netflix.

4. Making Travel Your Personality

Other people’s cities, countries, and lives are here for one reason – to serve as a backdrop for your own journey to self-discovery.

Pros: Unbeatable Instagram content. Limitless small talk material, particularly during the pandemic (“yeah, they made us get tested at the airport” “well actually, Italy is wide open right now.” “No, I don’t care that I’m spreading COVID to the entire Eastern seaboard.”)

Cons: End up spending a lot of time and money to realize that America is still better than everywhere else and you haven’t fixed your life by going to Greece for 4 days.

It’s ok if i break men’s hearts, they live in another country so they’re not actually real people to me 🙂

3. Get a Dog and/or Significant Other

Bury your worries and anxieties into another living being.

Pros: It’s not as embarrassing to stay inside and watch TV all day if you do it with someone else. You can go to cool restaurants without having to sit alone with a book that you don’t end up reading. Great excuses to get out of plans.

Cons: You can’t go out for more than few hours without leaving to check on them. They will eventually either die or run away from you. Very expensive.

2. Embracing Your Depression

Instead of fighting your demons, you’ve welcomed them into your home. It’s ok that you don’t have a perfect life – who does? Rather than take steps to fix the problem, you’ve decided to accept it and learn to cope with disappointment for the rest of your life.  

Pros: The key to happiness is low expectations and you have set the bar low enough to consistently hurdle. Way less stress. You’ll probably end up being funnier.  

Cons: People get sick of you referencing your therapist in every conversation. Your new haircut isn’t as good as you think it is. If your identity is ‘depressed,’ the very act of finding happiness means you lose your sense of self, so you’ll probably be sad forever.  

1.  Move to Denver

In the middle of the pandemic, you said to yourself…fuck it. I need to do something vaguely adventurous while not taking too much of a risk. I’m moving to Denver.

Pros: Skiing. You can go on hikes and stare pensively at trees while it rains. Legal weed.

Cons: You still have to work East Coast hours. You realize within 2 weeks that what you’re doing is not that unique and you actually know zero people in Denver. You should’ve just moved to Austin.

Wild Movie: Cheryl Strayed's True Story in the Reese Witherspoon Film | Time
What every person who moved to Denver in the pandemic thinks they look like

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