Five Ways to Deal with Quarter-life Envy

Ever get the feeling like you’re running late on life? Is everyone around you getting married and having babies? I know the feeling, and I won’t even lie – IT SUCKS.

Last month I had to go to three weddings, and a number of people on my timeline got engaged or had a baby. People around me are either getting pregnant, giving birth, or getting hitched. I’ve also realized that I have come into that age where my parents are openly telling me how much they crave grandchildren, as if they’re talking about warm donuts. If you are single and in your late twenties or early thirties, you probably have been hit by the same sickening feeling of panic caused by your Facebook timeline’s incessant purging of life milestones.

Five Ways to Deal with Quarter-life Envy

It’s not that you’re entirely upset about the way that life is going. In fact, you feel that you’re in a good place. You’ve successfully picked yourself up from the early twenties test of character in form of temp jobs, bad boyfriends, irresponsible night outs, and disastrous fashion decisions. Money comes in, and your job is a welcome challenge every morning. With or without a significant other, you are surrounded by people who are a great source of love and laughter. You’re okay and you move through your days knowing that you aren’t doing so badly. Then suddenly somehow, it feels like you didn’t get the memo to move to the next chapter, leaving you properly worried and going – “Wait what?! I just got here!!!

Calm down and take a deep breath. While there is actual statistical evidence that you ARE in the world’s average marrying age range, we career girls have reason to move forward and stay strong. Instead of dreading every wedding invitation you receive, here are some tips on how to deal with this very common quarter-life conundrum.


Reflect, don’t deflect.

Despite the annoyance it brings, don’t just put these feelings on the back burner. This might just cause you to one day have to face these emotions in an epic Britney head shaving breakdown, and you don’t want that. Face the feelings without drowning in them. Sit yourself in your own psychiatry couch or visit a London psychologist. Acknowledge the feelings and read them with insight. Why are you feeling the way you are feeling? Where are you in your life? Why did you choose to be here? Are you proud of where you are? What would you change? Take a minute with yourself reflecting on your accomplishments, standing up for the decisions you took, and having the balls to recognize your possible shortcomings and steps to improve them. Insight is the key to understanding that you are not late, just taking on a path of your own.

Plan for yourself.

So what if your parents are making an order for a grandchild. So what if you’re part of the 10% that isn’t married at your class reunion? Stop looking at other people’s lives as a measuring stick of your own. Make a logical plan for your life moving forward, and throw it out to the universe. Sure, life is best lived a day at a time, but it is nice to look forward and act thoughtfully towards a future version of yourself. Write it down, make a vision board, make a Pinterest board, I don’t care. Be it a baby or wedding bells; see ahead of you a seemingly inevitable outcome if you make the changes that you need to make today.

Stay Focused but Open.

Strike a balance in your life . Stop working too many hours.  If you must, self-impose a schedule for work and play. Many women take one decision after another and get lost in the mix of opportunities that lie ahead of them. This is not a bad thing. In fact you should definitely keep that focus and keep working on yourself, that way you wouldn’t have to approach life as if you are waiting for a prince to come rescue you. Remember that a good man does not save you, he complements you.

However, if you can’t make time for a date how on earth will you fit a relationship into your life? You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket. Give yourself some you time, and be strict about it. Go to the gym, get some drinks with the girls, and for goodness sake, comb your hair. You have to feel and appear to be open and ready to meet people. You might be fending the possibilities off without you knowing.

Practice Patience.

Patience  and self control has been scientifically proven to correlate positively with high self-esteem. Even in small situations that tend to hit your nerves, learn to breathe and resolve the situation the best way you can or know when the appropriate time is to walk away. The more you practice it, the more it becomes a natural part of your outlook in life.  Next time you get your morning coffee and you want to throw something at an annoying person in the queue, find a way to deal with it on your own terms – breathe, smile, and don’t let it get to you.


Be Sincerely Happy for Others and for Yourself.

Stop freaking out or breaking down every time you get a save the date for a wedding or baby shower. More importantly, stop hating on other people’s happiness.  Recognize that this is not about YOU. Don’t be one of those annoying people that turns everything about yourself. The more you sulk and worry, the less likeable (and attractive!) you get, which in turn narrows your possibilities. It also makes you forget to be grateful and to appreciate the beauty of the life you live right now. Don’t compromise your relationships because of jealousy. Removing envy and selfishness in your personal relationships gives you the positive perspective that leads to an overall happier and optimistic state of mind, and also makes you more magnetic as a person.

Get your head on straight, green eyes. You are not in a race with other people. Life is ahead of you, and worrying about it more than actually living it is a much bigger crisis than the jealousy in your head.

Believe that whatever you want out of life is right around the corner, but to get there sweetie, you have to keep walking.

Going through the same quarter-life dilemma? Tweet me at @mscareergirl.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.