Unless you’ve read my blog, I’m sure you wouldn’t think that I have ever been through a quarter life crisis. Well, believe it or not, like many women in their twenties, I have. I have had one of the hardest last eighteen years of most people you might know, but my story isn’t a pity story, but instead, one of strength. I also know I’m not the only person to have been through hardships, nor are mine as bad as many others’ I’ve met. Still, I’m extremely humbled to not only have survived the last ten years of my life, but be here to tell about it, and be incredibly happy with life right now. I couldn’t have gotten through sexual abuse, a family divorce, a deathly eating disorder, the death of my father, losing every best friend I ever had, financial ruin and living off government aid, being unemployed after graduating college two years, and surviving a near death traffic accident, without grace, perseverance, and strength I was sure I didn’t have. Let me tell you something- you are all stronger than you know, and if you’re like me and in your teens, twenties or even any older, I’m telling you that life does move on, if you want it to. If you’ve been through a quarter life crisis and don’t know where to start, try reading what I learned about myself, and see what you can learn about yourself during this hard time you’re going through. Trust me, you’re more amazing than you know, even when you don’t feel like it!
Before my world crashed, I was like everyone else and really never even knew what a quarter life crisis was. Yet, in the midst of one, I learned I wasn’t emotionally void of pain, and sometimes, there were days I felt like I had nothing left. Yet, even though I realized I wasn’t made of steel, I learned how to live through pain. I learned that getting up each day, going out for a walk, sitting down to write, and doing simple things like making up my bed and cooking were signs that I could make it through. Soon, day by day, I learned to survive, even in the midst of sadness, being broke, being ill and living in distraught grief.
How many of you have always relied on your friends or parents to cheer you up or fix things? Well, during my trials, I learned that friends and even family, can’t always fix things for you. They can support you and love you, but when it comes down to it, it’s up to you to survive, be strong and make the changes you need to have a life for yourself in the future.
Listen, just to be honest, I was a train wreck in my mid twenties. I was deathly underweight, in a brain fog for about two years after my dad’s death, I personally looked like death, suffered anorexia and binge eating at the same time, lost my ability to drive, and I was financially so far in debt I couldn’t see above water. I was a wreck, and I had to face my issues and deal with them face to face. As ugly as that was, it was the only way to move ahead.
Instead of trying to control my body, and decide what I wanted it to be, I had to learn to listen to it more. Not only physically, but emotionally. Since I was 10, I shoved away emotional feelings trying to be strong, and instead, ended up becoming depressed, taking my issues on out on food, spending money and relying on friends or relationships to fill the void. I had no self esteem or sense of independence. During my quarter life crisis, I learned that I needed to stop trying to do and control, and listen more. If my body needed to eat, I let it eat good food. If it needed to rest, I let it rest. If it wanted to move or was anxious, I went for a walk or jog. I also had to learn to listen more to my intuition than rely on other people’s opinions to guide me.
I’ve never appreciated movement so much as when I did when I went through a hard time. I refused antidepressants, and instead learned just how therapeutic yoga, walking,stretching and healthy food can be. I gave up my gym rat days and instead, turned to nature for a workout and wellness. I walked and ran outside, then came in and did yoga in candlelight with the windows open, allowing the sensations and movements of my body to calm me, strengthen me and center me. If it sounds hokey, it might be, but it worked in incredible ways. Many times, movement can help you sort through things in your head. Exercise is just as mental, as it is physical.
No, I didn’t have the luxury of shopping at Whole Foods each week anymore, I didn’t buy any new clothes for two years straight, I had to live off $40 a week for groceries many weeks, and I didn’t ever get the luxury of going out to eat, having an iPad, or going to a movie. Yet, I did learn just how much I did have. I had a family who loved me and a mother who let me live with her, I was able to get aid financially to provide food for myself, I was able to have a safe neighborhood to walk in each day, and I had a roof over my head, along with just enough money to buy myself healthy food, plus, I had hands that allowed me to write and create, giving me an outlet for release. Plus, my health was recovering, which was more than I could have asked for above anything.
I always knew I was a smart girl, but I didn’t realize just how smart I was until I had only my skills to rely on during my hard times. I was smart enough to cook for myself each day, create my blog, get a freelance writing job, and turn my life around through various resources where I could afford a better lifestyle for myself, free of financial aid. I realized I was smart, and I didn’t need money, the perfect life, or rainbows and puppy dogs to show me that. I just needed to finally start believing it.
One of the best things I learned during my quarter life crisis was that my story could help more people than I knew. That was the thing that truly kept me going. I knew my story wasn’t just a story of grief and sadness, but I was building a testimony. It was my responsibility to not only survive, but be able to share it, so others could too.
Lastly, one thing that always kept me going was I didn’t accept where I was. I knew I didn’t want to live that life forever. There comes a time in a person’s life when tragedy hits, a fork occurs in the road, and you must choose which road you want to go down. You can stay where you’re at, and proceed down a road that leads to a life of sadness, hardship and loneliness, or you can take the road that is unknown, harder, yet incredibly worth it, and live a better life. I knew I wanted to go down that second road and knew I could. It would take time, but I had to keep moving forward, and I did.
If you’re dealing with a hard time, don’t give up or in. Forgive, accept, and move ahead each day you have. If you’ve ever been through a hard time, what helped get you through?
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