In My 20s, My Identity Ran Away on Auto-Pilot

Originally published Wednesday, 11 April 2012.

On my 25th birthday, I had plans to meet my dad for lunch. He called me around 11 a.m. to say that he had gotten really busy and wouldn't be able to meet me after all. And I started to cry. The big old gasping ugly cry. He was stunned and felt awful and rearranged his day to meet me, but my funk never left me.

That day, I was never more aware of the fact that I was in a new job that I didn't like, had just moved back to California and didn't have any friends. I was overweight, living at home and painfully single. I wasn't living up to the expectations I had created for myself. The he list of things I was unhappy with could go on and on, creating within me a giant pity party. I was smack dab in the middle of my QUARTER LIFE CRISIS.

I can remember my best friend turning 25 the month before me. As I joke I'd bought her a book about the Quarter Life Crisis, something I didn't think it was a real phenomena. But after a week or so of these birthday blues, I realized there might be something to this.

I was experiencing a quarter life crisis and mine was clearly about my identity.

I didn't know who I was anymore. At about 25, we're usually no longer students or living at home and we've been in the workplace for a bit. We're usually exhausted with the responsibilities of bills, roommates, deadlines, time commitments, and adult life. We forget to invest in ourselves the things that rejuvenate us. And both the clock and calendar move on without us really knowing it.

And suddenly, it hits us, like an avalanche of confusion and emotion. No one had prepared me for the psychological roller-coaster one experiences in their 20s. I didn't know who I was anymore and where I really wanted to go from here. 

For me, I had gone away to college, then moved to DC to start a career. Everything was fresh and shiny and important for a while. Then major changes occurred, and I realized my life was no longer fresh and shiny. I had been on auto-pilot and I felt lost.


Maybe your story is different than mine. Maybe you are married, entered the working world directly after high school, or even have a baby by now. Maybe you haven't moved across the country and life feels just as it always has.

However, even if that is the case, I'm guessing there are some form of growth spurts and stretch marks on your soul. Frustrations that have appeared that you really don't know how to deal with because sometimes, you don't even recognize yourself.

This last November marked 10 years since that sad little birthday lunch and I look back on that day in relief. Relief because with time and maturity, I can say with all certainty, IT GETS BETTER!

We begin to learn that our identity doesn't come from being someone's child, attending a certain school, being someone's roommate, or the new guy at the office. We learn that our identity comes from how we handle new situations, treat people, and inwardly reflect.

I won't give you the Sunday School answer and say that I automatically clung to my identity in Christ. No, while that was present, it still took time to figure myself out. Who I wanted to be outwardly and how I wanted to be portrayed came through time. I made friends and built hobbies. I found a new job that valued my skills. I bought my first condo. I volunteered at my church. I started to spend time doing the things I liked. And before I knew it, I had built a life that I loved and an identity that I recognized.

I had grown up.

I share this with you to encourage you and also to let you know that if you're in a similar quarter life funk, I understand how you feel. 

There's no direct route or easy path to owning your adulthood. As a kid, we can't wait to get here, but it doesn't happen automatically; and that's where the growing pains set in. But once again, believe me, you'll be 35 before you know it and you'll know exactly what I mean. IT GETS BETTER!

-JJ, aka the Blah Blah Blahger
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***This post is part of a series on The Girl That Sings. Find out more here.