8 Things My Quarter-Life Crisis Taught Me (The Hard Way)

They say our twenties are a roller-coaster and that feels about right. But I’m surviving. I’m finally certain of my passions, but totally bummed out by what keeps me stuck. In the past, my usual way of dealing with discomfort was the take-off-and-RUN-from-the-problem method.

But growing means that I’ve been forced to feel discomfort, and even worse, let it marinate. Part of doing that is simply becoming aware of what lurks beneath while maintaining a sense of faith and trust in the process. With that, here’s what I’ve learned at 27:

1. Whatever, I’m cool with who I am. 

We don’t have to be more like anyone else. We are who we are and it’s up to us to figure it out, let it shine, and be unapologetic about it. Getting to that point is tricky if, like me, you’re plagued with insecurity and a general goal of perfection. But, if you look at the origin of that feeling, you’ll uncover all the places inside where you are shut off, where you are real, but disconnected (or hiding). It can be hard to peel back the layers and let yourself be seen, but that’s a lesson in learning to love your whole self.

2. I’m over drowning in self-doubt. 

Life happens, we internalize painful experiences, and then they pile up to become blocks in the way of achieving what we want. If we can just process the pain and let it pass through, we will stay open enough to receive our calling and have the wherewithal to pursue it. Accept the darkness as part of your path and then move on. Dropping that weight is a tremendous relief.

3. It’s all about me (in a not totally self-absorbed kind of way). 

Despite how close you are with your family and friends, or what a great relationship you have, this trip of life is our own. Nobody knows the answer better than you so stop asking everyone around you for advice and approval. Commit to yourself; know that your process is perfect for you. Hang on and keep going forward. There is no right way. Cultivate an unshakeable trust in your instincts and belief in yourself.

4. Hello Stef, it’s yourself trying to talk to you. Stop running around so you can shut up and listen, would ya?

We stand behind our dreams because we don’t yet fully believe in ourselves. Or, maybe we give someone else’s opinion too much power, and second-guess our intuition. If we get still and listen, we will know that if we keep on keeping on, while we remain our authentic self, everything will fall into place.

5. Whether I like it or not, I’m single so I’ll embrace it. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to be single. I love being alone and spending time with myself. Not being accountable to any else’s schedule but my own is liberating. But, especially when the road gets rocky, the desire to have a companion is strong. It leads me to an intense feeling of lack in my gut that I haven’t met my soul mate yet. But, I realize, it’s just not time. I have found so much clutter inside myself lately, I am grateful that I get to clean up house without shedding my mess onto anyone else.

So, to everyone else who hasn’t found The One, I think this is why: we’re not ready and we’re lucky that we’re given the time to figure it out and make the shift. Until then, fall in love with yourself!

6. The car cut me off, I spilled coffee on my shirt, I’m late for work – oh well, It’s all leading me somewhere.

Love, care, compassion, and gratitude – read some studies – it’s the heart’s proven optimal state and operating from this place is how you attract more. Be grateful for not only everything that makes you smile, but also for the obstacles along the way. They're our greatest teachers.

Once you start vibrating in that place of all-encompassing gratitude, you start noticing all your thought turning into form, and are presented spontaneous opportunities.

7. I promise to let my imagination paint my life canvas.

We should keep a big picture vision of our dreams, desires, and goals. Everything we want to accomplish, hold the space for it to manifest in our lives. Don’t attach to the details of how and when it will happen, just keep engaging in the process.

8. I’m determined to commit my attention to this moment.

Maintain the faith that an energy greater than you realize knows what’s up. Return to your breath and you will remember there is nothing to worry about in this moment. Learn how to be your own guru and shift your perspective when it gets weak. Have patience. Don’t wait for life to happen, start living the life that is happening, let go of what you cling to, relax, and enjoy the waves.

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