What stage of your twenties are you currently in?
Are you smack dab in a quarter life crisis?
Or is your quarter life crisis a thing of the distant past?
Check out the seven stages of your twenties below and see where you fit. Now you might skip a stage, or repeat a few of the stages well into your thirties, forties, fifties and beyond.
However, after 10+ years of research, writing, and receiving thousands of emails from twentysomethings from around the world, here are the seven most distinct stages of your twenties. As supported by hilarious GIF’s and videos, of course. (If you’re reading this in an email and the animated GIF’s are not showing up, you really should click over to the article)
You’ve turned in your last paper. Snagged your first “real world” job. Moved out of your parent’s house for the first time. Now you’re free. No one is there to tell you what to do or not to do. It’s exhilarating! And slightly terrifying when you’re being honest with yourself.
As I wrote in All Groan Up about my “Freedom” stage:
“We were playing an extended game of make-believe that we were becoming full-functioning adults. I expected to hear our parents yelling to come home for dinner. But they just kept letting us play.”
2. First Fall! (plus your 2nd, 3rd, 4th…13th..125th…)
Invincibility feels amazing until your face unceremoniously meets the ground.
Or at least that’s how I remember it.
With all that freedom going to your head like a child actor turned teenager, the first fall is only a matter of time. The only question is how big the crash will be. And how many times you will repeat it.
In my early twenties, I didn’t handle all the questions and ambiguities very well. I began a search for rock bottom, thankfully instead I found a rocky ledge of grace. Read the whole story in my new book All Groan Up: Searching for Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!
3. Groan Up Life
The biggest surprise about becoming an adult that no one ever talks about?
Yet, somewhere between growing and grown, you find yourself in the groan up stage of your twenties. Where cubicles and college loans become your mainstay.
Where thinking of doing your bosses job twenty years from now makes you throw up a little in your mouth.
Or you don’t have a job at all. And you find yourself laying on the couch on a Wednesday afternoon with Hot Pocket crumbs all over you, watching Saved by the Bell reruns, wishing you could end your membership to The Many. The Humbled. The Unemployed.
4. Quarter Life Crisis (aka Put Me Back In Bed)
When I realized that TV and movie satires about the inane ridiculousness of work had switched from being comedies to very personal, deeply depressing documentaries, I took my first sick day. I liked watching TV shows that made fun of mindless cubicle life because they were ridiculously funny, not because they were ridiculously true.” – All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!
I remember in my mid-twenties when going through years of quarter life crisis, asking myself every day, “Is this really what I’m going to do with my life?”
When those big dreams of what you’re going to do with your life become squashed under the mundane grind of groan up life, even eating a bowl of cereal in the morning can become quite a task.
Yet, it’s in those seasons where your dreams begin to die that your purpose is sometimes born.
And it doesn’t hurt to read a funny list of secrets for succeeding in your twenties to help you pull through.
5. Grumpy Old Man
The Grumpy Old Man switch is gradual.
But one day as a group of college students cuts in front of your car — with their smiley, hopeful, perfect faces — and you hear yourself mutter in disgust, “freaking kids these days” you’ve officially entered Stage Five Clint Eastwood.
And not young cowboy Clint, either. No, grizzled, sand-paper on the back of his throat Clint, wielding a shotgun on his front porch.
Life has smacked the hope out of you and you’re now about to partake in the long, drawn out fight to get it back.
But don’t give up. Keep warring for hope.
Life transitions are tough. Yet, there’s something of strange importance that happens to us when we’re stripped of everything we used to depend on.
You might just get a few wrinkles and gray hairs before you make it through.
6. Getting Your Groove Back
You start finding that stride again. The strut is returning, yet this time it’s a walk of humble confidence. You’re beginning to understand who you are and who you’re not, and you’re at peace with both of these realizations.
You start working in a good job that you’re actually good at. Success that felt like a UFO you could never quite take a picture of becomes a reality.
However, at this stage many people stop and become content with being comfortable again. Life becomes easy and that’s how they want it to stay.
Yet, the biggest enemy of doing something great is comfort. It’s impossible to do something big in this world and remain comfortable in the process.
7. Uncovering and Leveraging Your Signature Sauce
Stage Seven is for people who truly want their lives to mean something more. At this stage you find where your passion, purpose, and career collide. You’ve gone through countless failed experiments. You’ve put in the hard work. You’ve worked your fair share of crappy jobs.
Now you’re blending the key ingredients within you and serving the world your Signature Sauce.
Yes, some people never make it to this stage.
Some master being a grumpy old man and stay that way.
Being miserable becomes a strangely comfortable way to live.
But I believe it should matter that you want your work to matter.
I also believe that you have a unique flavor that you bring to the world that no one else can. Dish out your Signature Sauce. If you don’t, it will become that sick, black stuff on the bottom of the pan because you never took it out.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments on this article:
What stage do you see yourself currently in (even if you’re not in your twenties).