Being a twenty-something has been a time of self-discovery as I define my life on my own terms. I and millions of Black women in their 20s are trying to figure out how to handle the curveballs of life. We’re told if we work hard, go to school, land a good job, and find a loving partner that life will be fulfilling.
What I have found is that between all of those milestones of establishing independence, there’s little to prepare you for adulting; which can lead to a Quarter-Life Crisis.
The Quarter- Life Crisis is a time period in someone’s 20s where they are experiencing stress regarding changes in multiple areas of their lives. Similar to a mid- life crisis, folks in their 20s encounter numerous crossroads that can change the trajectory of their lives such as relationships, career, financial challenges, and family responsibilities. While there is excitement about future possibilities, many young Black women are smacked in the face with harsh realities that go unnoticed.
As a Social Worker and Therapist, I serve young Black women who are coming to the couch to seek support because they are having trouble coping with issues that they did not anticipate. In addition to transitional life issues, they are dealing with heights of mental health crisis. Young adults are one of the most vulnerable groups to experiencing mental health crisis. Women I serve have been holding in problems that started throughout their childhood, problems that they’ve ignored for a long time – and now its manifesting in other areas of their lives.
From countless conversations that I’ve had with my circle of friends and the women I serve, I believe that the Quarter- Life Crisis can be less stressful if we have the proper tools.
Here are 5 ways that you can make it through your 20’s and have a thriving life:
1. Tell the Truth, nothing but the whole truth.
It is critical that we are honest with ourselves about our experiences. Some truths leave us vulnerable and make us uncomfortable. When that happens you know that you are getting somewhere and are moving closer to the source of your challenges. Telling the truth also helps you to receive needed support. You can not receive the support you need if no one knows what you’re really experiencing. Walking in your truth is the first step to overcoming obstacles and provides a pathway to self-liberation.
2. Set firm, consistent boundaries.
Starting early with being assertive about what you will and will not do touches every area of your life whether it is work, relationships, family. Letting people know where you stand and being consistent with it, saves you from worry and stress of trying to be everything to everybody.
3. Create your squad.
While you are establishing your independence, create a circle of support around you that you can lean on in good and challenging times. Having someone you can call on, someone who can cheer you on – and call you on your stuff makes getting through adulting that much easier.
4. Set manageable and realistic goals.
I often see young Black women in a rat race for things that are not always necessary- setting too many goals before accomplishing even one goal. You create your own timeline and there’s no need to compare yourself with others. In addition, don’t plan too much. I’ve heard the phrase before that “God laughs at our plans’. Give room for growth and opportunity that can take you in an exciting direction.
5. Move with wisdom and purpose.
Wisdom teaches us to sit back, learn, and reflect on life lessons. The more you are reflective and intentional about the moves you make in lfe – the better the outcome. Reach out to wise woman who are aunties, mommas, and elders for guidance. Discovering your purpose for each season in your life requires some stillness and soul- searching. Purpose keeps us hopeful in challenging times, gives you direction and most of all peace.
The hopeful part of the Quarter-Life Crisis is that it is temporary. The impact of this time depends on how you cope and put into practice what you’ve learned along the way. While the 20s may be an imperfect ride, when you continue to show up and roll with the challenges, you’ll look back and know that it was a part of the growth and healing needed for you to truly flourish.