The Quarter-Life Crisis

A quarter of a century later….

Being in your mid-20s is a weird time. If you’re in your 20’s you know this is true. We have some friends who go out and party every weekend (and week night), and we have other friends who are engaged and/or married…maybe they even have kids already. 

I’d like to think I’m a happy medium between the extremes. I don’t really go out drinking very much anymore – maybe once a week at most (before COVID, of course), but I could also not be farther from being engaged…let alone married. 

I recently celebrated my 25th birthday – the mark of the true middle of my 20’s.

Being in the middle of a global pandemic is a weird time to be celebrating something, but I was lucky enough to be at home with my family in Connecticut and they put together a lovely little celebration for me involving a few close family friends, a set of giant “2” & “5” balloons, and some delicious spicy margaritas. 

A few margaritas into my little birthday celebration I got a text from my college roommate – one of my absolute best friends in the whole world –she had gotten engaged. Abby, my best friend, and her boyfriend, Dan, have been together for ~6 years by now. They met the first day of class freshman year and after a year of “just friends” status they started dating. Fast forward six years later, Dan got down on one knee and asked Abby to marry him. 

I am BEYOND happy for Abby and Dan; their love story is one I hold very dear to my heart. I considered it a lovely gift to me that Dan and Abby would get engaged on my birthday. After all, I do credit myself a bit with them finally starting to date…but that’s a story for another time. Still, I couldn’t be helped but to think about how different my life was from Abby’s. We’re the same age, but we’re in very different places in our lives. 

I could not imagine being engaged right now. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t met the right person, or because I have been spending some time focusing on myself after my last relationship ended. Or, maybe it’s because I’m naturally independent, or maybe I’m less mature. But no matter the cause, it’s clear I’m just in a different place in my life. 

My true love.

My neighbors had a litter of dachshund puppies and let us “borrow” a few for my birthday festivities.

This got me thinking about whether one place was better than the other. Is being career focused better than being relationship focused? Is spending more time traveling better than being settled in one place? Is being engaged or married better than being single?

I would say no. 

About a week prior to my birthday my sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year. I told her all I wanted was happiness. Naturally, she meant as a gift, a physical present, but truthfully I didn’t want any tangible good, all I wanted was to be happy. 

And that’s why I don’t think any one lifestyle is better than the other, at 25, in your late 20s, or at any age. There is no one size fits all model for life, it’s about following your heart and doing what makes you happy. And that’s exactly how I am living my life. 

I was incredibly happy to be spending time with my parents, sisters, and close friends for my birthday. I was elated to get in a 6 mile run the morning of my birthday – and was extremely grateful that the oppressive June heat and humidity had calmed a bit that day. I am also happy and SO excited to celebrate Abby and Dan’s engagement (and eventually their wedding) because I love them both and I know that they are following their hearts and are happiest together. 

The fact that we each find happiness in our own way – that’s what matters most.