Quarter Life Crossroads

I have felt like I was facing a quarter life crisis before. The time I most felt like I was facing one was when I was graduating from college and wasn’t sure what the next step was. Now, I look back and think sheesh! everyone is telling the truth, life really does have a way of working itself out. I know I will face similar thought cycles throughout my life– but even still, I really do feel like I’m facing what is a real quarter life crisis now.
I actually think that maybe crisis is too dramatic of a word. Crossroads is a much more positive and accurate description. So let’s rephrase: I’m facing a quarter life crossroads
I never in a million years would have guessed that this is what my life would look like at 25. While it’s impossible to know for sure what the future holds, my life right now is so far from what I ever could have imagined.
When I was in college, I had a(n admittedly naive) 13 year plan. I thought I’d graduate college, move to NYC, work in a very corporate 9-5 job where I’d aggressively climb the corporate latter, and maybe (just maybe) get married and consider children when I was 35. 
Starting a business was something I knew I’d eventually do, but never thought I’d be working for myself at 24. I had casually dated, but without experience with a serious boyfriend didn’t think I’d meet the right person for a long time. I thought NYC would be where I’d live and work through my 20s, as I grew my family, as I aged…
Needless to say, I’m in a place I never expected. It’s wonderful and challenging at times– as life might be for anyone in their 20s. It’s occasionally glamorous and often beautifully mundane. It’s put together so well one minute and unraveling the next.
In conversations with a few of my close friends, I know I’m not the only one in this boat. There’s a mutual feeling of restlessness mixed with an almost primal desire to nest. I have friends switching careers, quitting jobs, moving across the country. I have friends buying houses, tying the knot, and giving birth to firstborns. I have friends celebrating their youth with carefree spirit into the early mornings and then heading into the office at 8am for a conference call. 
The whole thing is strange. It used to feel impossible to see how small decisions added up to a Life, and now it all seems way too tangible. Instead of it feeling like a crisis though, it really does feel like a crossroads. An exciting, thrilling crossroads. 

Anyone else feel the quarter life crossroads?!

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Audrey Lin

I remember back in freshman year of high school I took Biology and we had quizzes every week, which isn't a big deal, but it was a lot more testing than I was used to from middle school. There was one week I totally freaked out about a quiz and was so sure I wasn't prepared and cried, and then my mom eventually called in sick for me even though I wasn't. My bio teacher was really chill and didn't even realize that there were students who hadn't taken the quiz yet (I wasn't the only one), so we ended up making up the quiz outside the classroom while everyone else graded them in class. It turned out that I had prepared better than I thought and ended up doing really well on the quiz. In retrospect, it's pretty funny how I made this quiz such a big deal. Even if I had failed the quiz, it wouldn't have amounted to much (well, I guess that's the problem, that it wouldn't have amounted to much. I should say that it wouldn't have affected much of my final grade, or just my life in general). // Sometimes we get so caught up in what we're doing right now, which can be a good thing, because it's always good to be present, but sometimes it becomes our whole world and consumes us. We lose perspective. Now whenever I feel like I'm facing a crisis, I remind myself that I've made it this far, I've always found a way, and this time doesn't have any reason to be any different. Going on a walk and even just reading the news helps me put things into perspective. What's holding me back is myself. I think too much and psych myself out. Now that I realize this, I can tell myself to… just do it, trust and have faith 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

Jordyn Brown

I am right there with you. When I graduated high school I told myself time and time again that I wouldn't get married and settle down until I was out of school and at least 25. But life has a way of surprising you and so I found the love of my life and we just tied the knot in May, we have a house, and if everything is on track-I'll finish school next May. All I'm saying is, sometimes life throws you for a loop & it's okay, life really does have a way of working itself out, usually for the best 🙂

xoxo, SS

The Southern Stylista

erica zucco

All the time… and I think that's totally normal. I also think NYC, culturally, fosters an even greater sense of "what should I do next" and "am I making the right decision"… but I think as long as you allow yourself happiness, it will all turn out alright. Two years ago I was living in NY, working a dream job, with friends and adventures and an apartment that I loved… but decided to jump. I moved to New Mexico-somewhere I'd never been- for a job as a TV reporter…and am just as happy if not happier…with an entirely different backdrop to life and all new adventures, two years later. NYC will always be there. You can always go back to an old job or secure new opportunities if something doesn't work out. As long as you're reasonable with your expectations and planning, to an extent, there's no reason you can't live every adventure! Love reading your blog & keeping up with you on social media- going through a lot of the same chapters of life right now! Whatever you do, please keep writing!
Erica @


I'm right there with ya! I think I've been having a quarter life crisis for the last 3 years now 😉 I was laid off from my job back in February and I took three long months to map out what I want to do next and ultimately, ended up back in Corporate America. Life has a funny way of working itself out, and it's frustrating and beautiful all at the same time. I can't wait to see what's next for you!

26 and Not Counting

Ellie Lucash

EVERY DAY. One minute I have a great outfit, my commute is easy, Boston is warm and sunny, my boyfriend is the BEST, I'm killing it at work and making drinks plans with friends…and then by the end of the day I feel like my boss hates me, I have no friends, the T is a disaster and it's pouring rain. My quarter life crossroads hit me the year I was 24 and then 25 was pretty amazing. I feel more sure of things at 26 and my personal life definitely has less drama (though less girlfriends in the city) but I still have plenty of work-related ups and downs. Just like you said, life moves in cycles and it's all about making it to the next up swing with people who matter 🙂


This is so accurate. I always thought I'd be the kind of person who had a "studio," a chic wardrobe, and no boyfriend in sight. I thought I'd work really hard in my twenties and have my work fall into magazines, novels or museums and build a really tangible career for myself. Instead, I've got a serious boyfriend and two 9-5 desk jobs. Life is strange.

Living between the urge to settle down and the urge to drop everything and go is something I wrestle with constantly.

Maggie Keel

I completely agree! My life is changing rapidly (in the last 2ish weeks or so especially) and I guess I didn't think I'd be feeling so up and down all in the same day! I'm re-reading The Defining Decade in hopes of finding some calming inspiration and to take every life-change in stride. It's so reassuring to find that I'm not the only one going through all this as we navigate our 20s!

xx, Maggie

Lindsey Saxby

I absolutely felt this way leaving college (and spent a lot of nights in tears because of it). It was such a hard transition. I'm also 25 and am starting to feel the need to pull in another direction. I started my blog a couple of weeks ago in order to facilitate that change. For me, the big thing has been missing what I've always loved doing, which is writing. My blog is now my outlet for that. Thank you for this honest post. It's a good reminder that we can't plan everything out (though as a planner, I sometimes like to think that's not the case!).

Maggie, I love The Defining Decade! It's one of my favorite books and I've given it to multiple people upon their college graduation. Definitely worth the read!

Best wishes,
Lindsey | Finding Balance in Life

Fairy Princess Jord

This is such a beautiful post Carly and oh so relatable. At 23 in some ways I am nowhere near where I thought I should be and in other ways I am leaps and bounds ahead of my "plan". I often feel restless and unsure and anxious to do and be more even though I'm already filling my plate with responsibilities and tasks. One moment I'm happily skipping through life feeling like I am on the right path and the next it really does feel like it is unraveling. I love your perspective though it isn't a crisis-it's a crossroad! Thank you so much for sharing and allowing us to follow bits and pieces of your journey over the years. Your path isn't the same as my path but that doesn't mean it isn't relatable or inspiring! (:

Christy DuBois

Thanks so much for reminding me to enjoy the trip and not totally focus on the destination. I'm older than you however we all have similar thoughts and feelings for the most part. It is great and a good idea to have goals set but we also need to enjoy the journey right here and now and get to know ourselves and our likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes, etc… Without looking at others lives to influence it greatly. It is hard to know which direction to go sometimes but I pray about it daily and continue to do the next thing before me to do and in time I usually get my answer. I forget this sometimes and need reminding. Thank you for the reminder.

Champagne Star

It's funny, but I've been having almost exactly the opposite feeling about my life. When I graduated four years ago, I did consider marriage (definitely not kids, though) at some point in my life. However, now that I've been on my own for the first time, and not having to answer to anyone, I've really been considering taking marriage out of my future plans altogether. I've always lived in different places growing up, so even now I'm planning my next move to a new city or state sometime in the future.

When I was in college, it seemed that there was only one path to success that everyone had to take. But now that I am experiencing life full force, I'm beginning to realize that there is no definite path to life, and that everyone does their own thing their own way. I guess I've basically given up on planning out my life and have decided to let things happen and see how my future turns out. Since coming to this realization, I have been less anxious about how my life measures up to my peers or how it turned out compared to my plan when I was in college. I think for me the problem was comparing my life to others, and then I would feel that I was in some kind of crisis and not "living correctly", or something silly like that. But 20s are times of personal development and exploration, and that's what is most important.


Great timing! I was laying awake all last night feeling so restless in my life. At 25, I thought my life would be so different from what it is, not better or worse. It's hard to explain. I have this massive fear of the mundane 9-5 Monday through Friday, a fear of being stuck in life. I travel often which helps squelch those feelings. At the same time, I love my job and being a PhD student. And sometimes I just want to pick up, go somewhere, catch a breather from life. I just keep reminding myself that I am in the right place at the right time. I get so caught up in where I want to be and who I want to be and wanting to feel settled in my life, I forget to enjoy it. I needed this post today- thanks for making me feel like I am not alone.

Jordan Dansky

So perfectly and simple written. I feel very much the same way. It's crazy to see how each little decision and step you make can transform your life to where you want it to be. So many people hold themselves back from making real changes in their lives because they think they need to take some giant step or a crazy change, when in reality we have the opportunity to make little decisions each and every day to live life on our own terms. I think the hardest part for me – and it looks like you find yourself in similar situations – is not always knowing what the future holds. For a perfectionist, type A person, that's one of the hardest parts of this "quarter life crossroads." But I think you have the best mindset about it, and one that I'm actively trying to remind myself of: everything will work out in the end 🙂

Kristen Woolsey

This post! I have been feeling the exact same way! I turn 25 next Tuesday and have been feeling so weird about it. On the one hand I am SO happy with how my life is going, but on the other hand it's so different than what I had expected. I have been feeling a little unsettled because it's not like the 5 year plan I had envisioned. But, better at the same time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it, your post really put what I have been feeling into words.


I loved this post Carly!! I am going into my senior year of college this fall and already wondering what my next steps will be after school. I am hoping to be able to relax, enjoy my last year of school, and just let my future lie in God's hands though!! (While working my butt off this year too 😉 )

Thanks for sharing!!!

xoxo A


I COMPLETELY agree with what you wrote! Life is funny. I'm both where I hoped I would be and also nowhere near it. It's nuts.

Betsy Davis

Your post came at a great time and I enjoyed reading everyone elses comments, as well! Its interesting to see how many girls my age/around my age are all struggling with the same things. There's a collective group of us that fail to realize we are all going through similar struggles. We all think that the other person is completely happy with their life and has everything figured out… but that's not necessarily the case.
Yesterday I was driving home from work, my nice but certainly mundane 9-5, and was listening to music from the year that I graduated highschool. It hit me very quickly that next year will mark 10 years since I graduated highschool. Where has time gone? What have I actually done in the past 10 years? Am I really where I want to be?

I never imagined I would be where I am today- for both good and not so good reasons- but what I need to focus on is what I can do moving forward to make myself happy and fulfilled.

Thank you for your post!


Melissa Hebbe

I totally get what you mean! I just graduated college myself and I'm at the point of "well, what's next?" But instead of getting nervous about it, I'm embracing it. I love not knowing what's going to happen just yet. It's a part of life and a part of the experience. I could be freaking out about not having a full time job yet, but for now I'm enjoying doing the things I wasn't able to do while I was in college. I was a very dedicated student and put my work first. That's not to say I'm slacking now. I'm working hard on applying to jobs, blogging, working on my Etsy shop, etc. But like you said, life has a way of working itself out. I'm a firm believer in that!

Emma Bradford

This really spoke to me. I am also a recent college graduate, and until recently only wanted to go into teaching. Two weeks after graduation, I find myself questioning what I want to do with my life. But in many ways, it's really great! Now is the time to question our life plans before we reach the time to start a family, and I'm having a fun time researching new jobs, and starting up a blog myself!


These are my favorite posts of yours. Your talent for writing really shows! I love your reflection and the way you see things, it's such an accurate description of life in your 20s.


These are my favorite posts of yours. Your talent for writing really shows! I love your reflection and the way you see things, it's such an accurate description of life in your 20s.

Monica C

Carly, reading this made me feel like I was sitting next to a best friend. Thank you for your comforting, wise words. Inside I feel like crying, but I’ll choose to smile and look for the bright side of life – because it really does have a way of working itself out.