When we give names to our freak outs, we begin the journey to feeling better about them.
But what about when something is so normalized, socialized and routinely written about, that we give in to just expecting a freak out to happen?
For people in their 20s, a quarter-life crisis is almost as anticipated as the college experience itself. We are taught to feel "old" when we hit 25, and desperately try to scrounge for the positive memories of our youth.
Everything's supposed to be up in the air: our job probably pays nothing (not to mention, we weren't built for 9 to 5s), our dearest friends are scattered across the globe post-college, and if by some chance we do find love, we're terrified of taking it seriously and settling down.
"Executive functioning is one of the latest brain functions to complete development and this happens around the age of 25," says NYC psychologist Erika Groban. "This may contribute to the experience of a 'quarter-life crisis,' which is actually quite common."
Suddenly, things that used to make you happy when you were younger don't really fulfill you in the same ways.
Dr. Groban tells Elite Daily,
Many people become more established in at least some of these arenas by the end of their 20s, which provides them with a more solid foundation. One can then use this increased sense of self and security as a springboard to approach life in general with more confidence.
But who says the cards falling a bit differently has to mean things fall apart? Sometimes, you experience the opposite of a crisis: a quarter-life come up.
Here are nine signs you're actually experiencing a quarter-life come up, instead of a quarter-life crisis.
1. You realize how important career is to your happiness, and you're proud of that.
You spend about 40 hours a week at your job, so obviously, it's crucial that you love what you're doing.
You may have had a few less than glamorous jobs in your early 20s (I used to write about baby clothes!), but once you find your footing in your career path, life just feels different.
It's OK if you're more than comfortable working your 9 to 5; that just means you truly are passionate about what you're doing.
2. You're getting paid fairly.
First of all, no job helps bring you true happiness (no matter what the perks are!) if you feel like you're being paid unfairly.
Research says when your salary is below $75,000, money directly affects your happiness, and when it's above $75,000, money can no longer largely influence your happiness.
This is so true. You can't enjoy the quarter-life come up if you're majorly bogged down with stress from bills and student loans. Once you're ahead of your expenses, you really take the time to learn what makes you happy and who you are, without the distraction of money stress.
3. You aren't concerned about your love life.
I realized recently that if I found "the one," I'd be terrified AF to change my life for him, and if I was single, I'd be stressing about never finding "the one."
What's meant to be will be.
See the irony here?
The point is, in your mid-20s, no matter what, you're going to second guess your decisions about love. So how do you prevent all that stress? Stop worrying so much about it.
What's meant to be will be.
4. You're fully financially independent.
Sure, it may be easier to get that rent check from mom and dad every month, but if you choose to take that path, they'll always have a certain hold over you.
Nothing is as sweet as full financial independence.
You won't fully feel at home, or proud of your adult life if your parents still have the power to threaten you with rent if you don't fly back home for your cousin's 12th birthday.
Trust me, nothing is as sweet as full financial independence, and nothing will make you more proud of yourself.
5. Your friends become family.
Making friends in your "new life" is crucial to feeling the quarter-life come up. And I'm not just talking friends you can call to go out with on a Friday night; I mean real friends.
When you finally have a solid group of people who you can open up to (yes, this is crucial!), and support through thick and thin, you'll start to feel at home in your new little world you've created for yourself.
6. You trust yourself.
Trusting yourself can mean so many different things. Someone experiencing the quarter-life come up trusts themselves in relationships; you're no longer getting so blackout at the bar that you send a sabotaging drunk text to your crush.
You're also no longer concerned with your spending habits. You know blowing an entire paycheck waisted on one thing would never happen, and you're annoyed at people who can't seem to get their excess spending in order. (I'm talking excess; I'd never criticize someone struggling to make ends meet.)
7. You know how to weed out the bad guys -- and do it often.
You no longer have a problem turning away dates who exhibit red flags; you don't always need to be "talking" to someone.
It's one thing to recognize red flags and questionable behavior -- it's quite another to actually take action and stop seeing someone, even though they aren't trying to stop seeing you.
You don't always need to be 'talking' to someone.
This goes for friendships as well.
If a friend is causing more harm to your life than good, you know your solid group of friends will always be by your side. There's no use keeping negative people in your life.
8. You're giving back.
Now that you're ahead of your debt, like we mentioned before, you have more time to spend time on a cause you're passionate about.
Whether that means heading to your favorite local bar for Planned Parenthood donation night, or throwing or getting involved with an event on your own, you realize being happy is truly about giving back.
There's no better feeling than finally being so secure in your own life, that you help make someone else's a little easier as well.
9. You're confident.
Some people live their whole lives without learning how to be confident, but you can take time now to make sure that doesn't happen to you.
Learn to say "thank you" when you get a compliment, instead of disagreeing with the person complimenting you.
Stop taking your bad mood out on others; treat everyone -- from the mailman to the barista -- with kindness.
Remember that dating is more about you liking them instead of them liking you.
And never forget the absolute golden rule of being confident: Never settle for anything less than what you know you want. It's out there, and it exists, so just be patient.