Illustration by Francesca Gibson

I went through a complete mid-twenties life crisis and want you to know it's totally normal to have one in 'the best years of your life'

Forget the mid-life crisis!

28 Oct 2018

Everyone says your twenties are the best years of your life. Your school days are behind you, you’re finding your feet as an adult, and beginning that long, winding path towards career success, a happy marriage and puppy parenting.

Or so you’re told. Instead, all too often we find ourselves shivering in a rented flat, waiting for our second Deliveroo of the week, 57 weeks deep into our ex BFF’s Instagram.

You worry about partying too much, or too little. Not having enough friends, yet your WhatsApp pings every three minutes. You don’t have enough money to pay rent this month and live, yet you work 45 hours a week and brunch every Saturday.

You want a tattoo, you want to move to Sweden, dye your hair pink, take up crocheting, scrap your degree to become a yoga instructor… And have a threesome with your boss.

You might even be the total opposite – living a city miles from home with your partner, dream job in tow but feel like you’re just not as good as everybody else, like you don’t deserve your success.

Don’t worry, this is totally normal. You’re having a mid-tw(enties)ife crisis.

Forget the mid-life crisis, apparently 82% of 24-35-year-olds have admitted to having a crisis in their ‘best years’. Sadly, out of the 256 millennials surveyed for Portafina, only 31% said their crisis made a positive impact on their lives because it made them change things that were making them unhappy.

While we’re lambasted for spending too much money on smashed avocado on toast and Tinder add-ons, we feel like we’re working harder than ever before, for very little – and it’s getting us down.

Psychotherapist and life coach, Hilda Burke, says: "I think part of the reason that 25 has become an age that triggers anxiety in many is the polarity of experience that millennials are having around this age.

"On the one side, there are some who have already built businesses, achieved YouTube fame and/or amassed great fortune by their early twenties.

"And on the other hand, there are graduates who cannot imagine ever having enough money to buy a small flat.

"The former tend to question their achievements, feeling they haven’t ‘earned’ it, that they’ve just gotten lucky.

"The latter feel hopelessly despondent and struggle to see an independent ‘grown up’ future where they’re fully supporting themselves."

At school, we all imagined we’d be ‘grown up’ by 25 - a married, pregnant homeowner, who juggled work, feeding the cat, driving a nice car and having a spicy sex life.

Instead, we’re working ourselves into the ground while desperately trying to keep up appearances online to compete with classmates we haven’t seen in 13 years.

Your social media feed is packed with ultrasound scans, successful weight loss stories, glowing wedding shots and new home keys.

All you seem to have is a wallet full of receipts from the kebab shop and Friends reruns on Netflix.

Portfina revealed that 32% of young adults asked admitted that it was seeing their friends and family living out their dreams online that led them into a crisis.

For some young adults, this life that we’ve been woefully unprepared for can lead to a whole new world of anxiety and depression. According to Forth With Life, young adults struggle with stress at least 12 days a month - with work being our primary concern.

And in 2015, the Office of National Statistics revealed that the annual figure of young people under 35 committing suicide was greater that it’s ever been in the last 10 years.

So how do you deal with a mid-twife crisis? Firstly, you need to learn to switch off. Do you need to follow as many people as you do? I’m sure mum-of-two Susan from that house party you met in first year isn’t going to complain if you mute her.

Taking a break from social media won’t harm you, you won’t get FOMO - you’ll feel refreshed and focused on what’s important in your life. Swap your phone for that book you’ve always wanted to read, get lost in another world that isn’t your own.

Visit somewhere that is familiar to you – this could be home, a park or certain shop you used to go to with old friends or family. Relish the good memories and really take in just how far you’ve really come since then.

Exercise. You don’t need to join the gym, you could always go for a walk and be mindful. Make up stories in your head about the people that you pass, make up a distraction.

Lastly, you could even call the people that mean the most to you. When was the last time you actually had a good chat with them? The friends you secretly envy online don’t post pictures of their debt, their bad days at work or their anxiety troubles – by calling them, you get to know how they’re really feeling. Deep down, I can bet that they’re feeling exactly the same as you are.