25 is a hard age. 25% of me wants to be a successful adult with career opportunities and financial stability, 25% of me wants to pack up everything and gallivant across the globe, 25% wants to take my photography more seriously, invest in some sweet lenses and drone gear (@findingx_ if you’re interested…) and 25% wants to eat Jolly Time Blast’o’butter popcorn in bed while watching Harvey Specter rip the shit out of Louis Litt on Netflix. I’m sure I’m not the only quarter-life hot mess struggling through life so I’ve noted down nine paths you could choose to take when you hit the big 2-5 milestone.
- Travel the world
Do you ever wish you could be over the other side of the world? Sometimes (read: every day) I wake up wishing I was in a bed and breakfast in Tuscany, go to lunch wishing I was eating bread and cheese somewhere in France, get on the train wishing I was on the New York subway and go to bed wishing I was sleeping under the stars on a boat in Greece. Then I remember my $54,000 student loan, ridiculous rent and semi-adult responsibilities holding me where I am aaaand I fall asleep feeling very stressed out.
- Climb the corporate ladder
Those who know me will know I love and am completely dedicated to my job – I’m a Senior Marketing Executive at a travel agency so I’m lucky enough to incorporate my passion for globetrotting with my nine-to-five (more like eight-to-six-thirty). It’s not all free travel though (in fact, it’s not free travel at all), it’s a lot of hard work, long days, endless to-do lists and a helluva lot of multi-tasking that seems to never end. Being a career gal is stressful and challenging, but there’s no doubt that it’s pretty damn cool seeing your hard work materialise into something epic, be it a marketing campaign, a business you’ve started, something you’ve created and sold or whatever your job entails.
- Study your way to the top
Apparently study isn’t only about two minute noodles and never going to your 8am classes… You’re at the age now where you could consider returning to further your education. Whether you want to head back to get a Master’s in whatever you graduated with, turn your career on its head and change completely, or after a gap year (or five) have decided what you’d actually like to do, Uni is always an option. As Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Smart guy, that one.
- Binge watch something on Netflix
Sometimes I just want to sit in bed with no pants on eating popcorn and ice cream and watching two seasons of Shameless in one day. Life hack: Play your current TV show obsession at 1.5x speed – it won’t be too fast to understand but you’ll be able to get through more episodes in your three hour downtime. The more you know…
- Have a drink
I’ve now got to that horrifying stage in life where I really just need a cider after work some days to relax and reboot. Seriously, last week after a hard day in the office I drove to the liquor store to get a single cider (Wildside Feijoa & Passionfruit is the tits) and I sat on the couch drinking it while watching the news. I was half proud of how grown up I felt, and half worried about my growing dependence on a 4.5% pint of fermented fruit juice. If your quarter life crisis is getting too much, take a break, have a drink and chill for a sec – just maybe stay away from the tequila.
- Become an Instagrammer who gets paid to travel
#lifegoals, am I right? Unfortunately unless you have 1.5m legs, perfectly tanned skin, a constantly photogenic face and a personal photographer to actually do the photo-taking this doesn’t come that easy, but how great would it be for a Thailand resort to legitimately pay you to stay in their beachfront villa. I think I’m a reasonably okay amateur photographer though, so I feel like this one isn’t totally out of reach for me – I’ve got a pretty decent camera kit, an eye for colour and some epic travel experiences which do make for a bright and pretty feed so hopefully that can get me somewhere – check it out here: @findingx_
- Give up everything and move to another country
If you had no other responsibilities, where would you go? Take a moment to seriously think about that, and then see how it’s going to fit into your future plans. Some days your feet will itch so badly that you will consider quitting your job, packing your stuff and moving over to New York, San Diego or the south of France to get a job, get a house and live like a local. This is the path I’m about to take, with some pretty exciting changes coming this year!
- Become a tour guide/dive master/ski instructor
If you can’t decide on any of the above, this one kind of combines a couple. Move overseas, learn a new craft and forge your new career path! Choose your activity, choose a country and figure the rest out from there. I’d lie if I said I wasn’t tempted to cancel my ticket home after sitting my PADI license in Koh Tao, but (unfortunately) my sense got the better of me and I got on the plane. We did our PADI course in Koh Tao with Antal from Oceansound Dive & Yoga, and I would 100% recommend them to anyone who’s going there too.
- Save for your future
Amongst my desperation for travel and cravings for adventure, there’s a part of me that wants to grow my savings account without splurging on plane tickets, look into buying a house and really figuring out a five or ten year plan. Then I think ‘F*ck it, I’m only 25’ and go back to planning my next overseas trip.
All jokes aside, I really think transitioning into an actual adult is a long, difficult process that everyone does but no one talks about. I’m almost seven years out of home but I’ll be the first to say that I fail at some key adult responsibilities! I’m halfway there (I have a vege garden, that’s good right?) but I admit that tonight I did eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream straight from the tub while watching Jane the Virgin. It was delicious. At the age of 25 it feels like everyone is trying to push you into an adult category. People will see you as a go-getter, success-hungry and focused on your career goals, or perhaps you’re a wanderer, who traipses around the world with a Polaroid camera and zero fears. Some friends are getting married and having families while others are getting drunk and having one night stands. In order to make myself feel better and hopefully some of you too, I’m going to put it out there that it’s OKAY to not fit exactly into one category – unless you’re having a family AND one night stands, that’s not okay.
I need to stop writing now before I have an existential crisis, but I’ll end with one of my favourite quotes ever…
‘Nothing will ruin your 20s more than thinking you should have your life together already’
Now I’m going to go eat more ice cream for dinner.