At 18 I had my entire life planned out and, you couldn't tell me nuffin'! I knew exactly where my life was heading. I was going to pursue a degree in medicine, marry my boyfriend when I graduated college, have children, go to medical school and then open my private practice. Well, have you ever heard the saying, "We plan, God laughs"? I can tell you now, God had a real good laugh.
Now, here's where God did the laughing. I flunked through pre-med and had to switch my major. My beloved fiance died of cancer. I racked up a mountain of student loan bills. My first job out of college was a minimum wage position that I felt forced to take to make ends meet. So now here I am almost 30. No husband. No house. No children. I am certainly not a doctor and still in debt from student loans.
As I have been reflecting over my life I began to find it hard not to look back and think about what I should have already accomplished by now. I can't say there weren't any successes along the way. I have obtained a Masters in Education. I am in a full time position in a career that I am passionate about. And I am in a happy and healthy relationship. Yet I still couldn't help but focus on the goals I had set for myself when I was much younger. Wondering, where did I go wrong? And wishing I could go back and pick a different path.
It wasn't long before I found myself immersed in depression, so I began listening to podcasts. One of which was by Pastor A. R. Bernard. He spoke on the purpose of going through crises in life. Pastor Bernard stated, "Crisis is common to human life, how we respond is determined by the perspective you have of it's purpose". He also explained, as humans we tend to take the path of least resistance, so we need to experience crisis to move our lives to the next level. Listening to this message helped me to move pass feeling depressed and reflect on my life through a different lens.
I started to ask myself, what purpose did the crises in my life serve? I knew I didn't want to waste the efforts I put into achieving a bachelor's degree and settle with working for minimum wage. So I kept on applying for other positions suitable to my degree. It was my desire to advance my career (and let's be real my salary) that pushed me to getting a master's degree. And my hopes to experience love once again that gave me the courage to put myself out there and keep dating. I could have given up at any point as I was experiencing rough times. Instead, it was these critical moments in my life that has driven me to get to a better place. It was the push I needed to stay motivated to meet my goals. Even though my life veered down a different path.
Yes! For a moment I found myself stuck in the middle of a late-quarter life crisis. Many of us who are currently in our mid-twenties to early-thirties have either been there or currently going through it. Don't get yourself stuck holding your own pity party by shifting your focus. Here are ways you can re-center your focus and get yourself back on track:
Focus on your strengths. As humans we have the tendency to zoom-in our weaknesses, hindering our ability to see our strengths. Shift your focus to a strength-based perspective of yourself instead. What are your gifts, talents and abilities? How can you use these strengths?
Celebrate the small moments of success. When you zoom in on your failures you fail to acknowledge moments of success. You may not have reached that big goal just yet. But think about the steps you are taking to get there and celebrate each moment. Honor your progress. Did you complete that degree? Made the decision to go back to school? Starting getting interviews? Is finally able to put away money towards buying that house? Your just that many steps closer to achieving your dreams.
Goals are meant to be adjusted. It's hard sometimes to accept this, but as we all already know life doesn't always pan out as expected. Whether we experience set backs due to major crises, failures or small mistakes. It's good to have an outline or time frame for achieving your goals, but our goals shouldn't be viewed as static. Setting goals gives you a framework to work from. But know that at any given moment in life your circumstances can change. All you have to do is go back to the drawing board and do some recalibration.
Experiencing failures or falling short of meeting a goal isn't always the easiest thing to deal with. However, re-centering your focus, acknowledging your successes, and allowing room for mistakes can help you to get through it.
Are you currently experiencing a quarter-life crisis? What are moments of your life that you can celebrate? What is your most recent achievement? It doesn't have to be big. Consider your goals and dreams, what changes or adjustments do you need to make in your life to make sure it is still possible?
Photo Taken By: Amanda Bermudez