I’ve pretty much done everything in life early, from walking, talking, teething, figuring out what I wanted to major in during college, graduating college, buying a house, etc.
Part of this is because I’ve always been a very driven person and I’ve always had a tendency to think “What’s next?“. (This is something that until a recent conversation with Matt Giovanisci I didn’t realize is actually a very good thing when you’re an entrepreneur.)
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that I also experienced a “quarter life crisis” a bit early too.
I was only barely 21 when I graduated from college, got a “big girl job”, and bought a house. Having accomplished all of those milestones in a period of about 6 months I really started wondering what else I had to look forward to in life besides retirement in 30+ years.
I honestly think a product of my quarter life crisis and the unsettling feeling that there was nothing else to look forward to in life, besides retirement, is what drove me to build up my freelance writing and blog management business and quit my job.
The thing about a quarter life crisis that you have to tread carefully. It’s absolutely ok to have a quarter life crisis. In fact, I think a quarter life crisis can be a very good wake up to make you realize that the path you’ve chosen thus far in life is not what you truly want to be doing.
The danger in a quarter life crisis though is that by your mid-twenties, when most people have their quarter life crisis, you’ll likely already have some financial obligations to consider before you can make major changes to your life.
Not to be a drag, but you still need to pay your rent or mortgage, make your student loan payments on time, and possibly even provide for your family if you are one that got married and had kids young.
Wondering how you balance both your budget and financial responsibilities with your desire to change your life? Here’s how you can do both!
Make a Plan
I’m a planner. I think planning is a good way to avoid most of the bad things in life. Planning may not sound like fun, and if you enjoy spontaneity it might really be a drag, but you need to have a plan in place so you can successfully change your life according to what your quarter life crisis is telling you while simultaneously continuing to pay your bills on time.
When I went through my quarter life crisis I really wanted to quit my job, but I knew I had to have a plan to replace my income. So I started my business as a side hustle and I worked until I could replace my income before I quit my job. I made a plan and then I executed it.
Start Spending Less
I thought I had cut my budget until it couldn’t be cut anymore. Then I took a hard look at my expenses and cut them some more.
I’m definitely a believer in earning more vs. spending less, but when you are on the path to quitting your job to pursue your dreams, you need to save as much money as possible. One way to do this is by cutting your expenses and putting the savings you “find” into a special savings account specifically for quitting your job to pursue your passion, no matter if it’s becoming a yoga instructor, travelling the world, or being an entrepreneur. My buddy J$ has done something similar with his “Challenge Everything” experiment. You can check that out here.
Realize It Takes Time
Fulfilling your dreams and pursuing the life changes prompted by your quarter life crisis is awesome, but you need to realize it takes time. Most of us are not financially prepared to make major life changes overnight. We have student loans, credit card debt, rent payments, car payments, etc., etc. Each of these financial obligations is important and it might seem like they’ll hold you back from pursuing your dreams at all, but with a little planning you can definitely make your dreams come true no matter what they are.
My quarter life crisis prompted me to quit my job to pursue a business that I’m passionate about working on everyday. Following my gut instinct by making a plan, cutting my spending, and putting in the time to make it happen has allowed me to dream again. Instead of only looking forward to retirement, I now have goals and things to look forward to in the short-term too.
If you are going through a quarter life crisis, don’t ignore it. Use it to change your life for the better. But don’t forget about your budget and financial responsibilities along the way.
Have you had a quarter life crisis? How did you handle it?