The Story of my Quarter Life Crisis

Hello. My name is Kelsey and I’m having a quarter life crisis.

I’m not sure I ever thought quarter life crises were a real thing. Or mid life crises. But if this week has convinced me of anything it’s that the quarter life crisis is real and oh em gee it’s happening to me right now.

I want to preface this entire thing by saying I’m not after a pity party and that I’m well aware of how good I have it. I’m so lucky to live the life I live. I’m surrounded by amazing people who care about me. I am lucky to have a job and be doing what I do.

What I want to do is open the floor for discussion about things that matter to everyone: hopes, dreams, aspirations, and life goals.

quarter life crisis

It all started when I woke up one morning and thought – maybe it’s time to move.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I was no longer happy. Over time I’ve simply gone to work and crammed in my passions on my outskirt hours. Over time I’ve expensed energy I didn’t have. Over time I’ve burnt myself out.

I don’t think I realized how burnt out I was until I took a week off from work. KB and I went to Mexico and had the most relaxing time. I spent days in the pool thinking about the things that make me happy. We spent nights over dinner talking about goals.

It wasn’t until we came back home and went back to work that the exhaustion hit. I woke up every day with zero motivation. I woke up with zero fire. I was tired. And honestly just a little miserable.

I shot a text to my dad about my level of exhaustion and off handedly mentioned my thought about moving. “Move?” he said. “Why would you do that?”

“Well I don’t know…isn’t that how you start over?”

I realized I didn’t actually want to move. What I was yearning for was a way to escape. A way to save money (San Francisco is expensive!). A way to scale back to maybe pursue my passions.

I know the things that make me happy – so how do I do them?

My lack of doing what I love isn’t for lack of knowing what I love. I think I’m fairly lucky that way. Some people spend their whole lives searching for the things that light the fire within them.

I am obsessed with writing. I love pouring the things from my brain onto a page. I love crafting a story that makes readers feel like they’re holding my hand, walking down the path with me.

I love people. I also love how social media allows you to connect with people. I’m not necessarily an extrovert – I like to recharge alone. But I love learning about people, hearing their stories, and helping them do what they want to do.

I’ve been building websites since I was 10. The building blocks for this blog were (embarrassingly) learned by building Harry Potter and Neopets websites. I was a weird girl who loved to hole up in the summers online learning basic HTML.

After college I spent some time flexing different muscles and trying out different passions. None of them stuck until I started Blondes & Bagels. I just wanted to build websites and write. I created a free WordPress account and the whole thing spiraled from there. We’re only a little more than a year down the line and the blog has grown in ways I actually didn’t even know were possible.

I’ve tasted my passions – but how do I actually do them?

Okay okay #BagelBabes. Clearly I’m “doing” them. I’m writing. I have this blog. I’m talking to you right now.

But I’m also tired as hell. I’m working full time and squeezing in what I love in my few after hours (if I even have the energy to do so). I think this is how every side hustle or small business starts. You have to work on your off hours until you can get up and running.

What I’m struggling with is the burnout factor and lack of time. I’m struggling to find the energy at the end of the day to actually pursue the things I love. And whether it’s true or not, I also sometimes feel like I’m doing a disservice to both my job and my blog. On the inside I feel like I’m not operating at 100% in either spaces because I’m so burnt out.

Never half ass two things, whole ass one thing.

-Ron Swanson

Laugh all you want. But Ron Swanson might have a point.

I am so afraid to leave the safety of structure that fear has paralyzed me into standing still.

In no way am I saying I am ready to up and leave my job.

But I’m a strong enough woman to admit I’ve sat in therapy and my favorite thing any therapist has ever told me is that fear can sometimes be the backbone of corporate America. I swear I’m not trying to get all conspiracy theorist on you here – but bear with me and let me break it down for you.

Corporate America is structured and safe. Corporate America provides healthcare, steady paychecks, and a sense of security. I can’t speak for you all, but as a potential wanna be entrepreneur – that security is like a damn security blanket. I’m clutching on and it’s actually made me afraid to let go. The security and stability of Corporate America has convinced me that if I let go I will drown.

My therapist and I spent way too much time talking about the things I want to do. And each time he’d look at me like I was dumb and just ask why I’m not doing them.

I’m fucking afraid.

I’m afraid of what failure could look like.

“What are you so afraid of?” he’d ask.

Oh, I don’t know dude. Maybe being homeless?! Or how about just flat out failing.

Both KB and one of my best friends have raised an eyebrow at this one. “What do you mean by ‘fail’? What does failure look like to you?” I think that’s what scares me the most – all the different things failure might look like on me.

First off, I might run out of money. Heading straight to work in an expensive city after college hasn’t allowed me to save like I want. Student loans haven’t allowed me to save like I want. I’m doing well – but I’m not in a position to just quit my steady pay check and take a break.

Secondly, here I am after years of college holding a degree and a good job and I’m saying I might want to give that all up? I might have to be a dog walker or wait tables to make ends meet. I wouldn’t be embarrassed but there’s always going to be that little voice inside your head wondering what people are saying about you.

On top of all that, what if I did try and flat out failed? What if I give it all up to do what I love and everything comes crashing down around me? What if I can’t actually support myself doing something I love? Realizing all that might be true would drive me straight into the ground.

quarter life crisis

So where does that leave me.

I actually have no fucking clue.

I have no immediate plans, I have no next moves. I think the first step in solving a problem is deconstructing it – and that’s all I’ve managed to do so far.

I’m leaving this blog post open ended because I don’t have all the answers. I think a quarter (or mid) life crisis is something most people go through. I think we all have to find the answers together and make the decisions that are best for ourselves.

What I want to know is what makes you happy? I want to hear how you’ve made time to do the things that you love. I want to know what lights your fire.

I also want to thank everyone for taking this weird journey on this funny little blog with me for over a year now. I’m being so serious when I say I had no idea it would grow into this community. I remember when only KB and my mom were reading – and now there’s thousands of you who’ve shared the last year with me. I’m so crazy blessed. I love you guys.

Tell me what your passions are (and how you’ve made time for them) in the comments below.


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7 responses to “The Story of my Quarter Life Crisis”

  1. Shannon O'Brien says:

    SAME GIRL. Good for you for knowing the real problem. Sometimes that’s the biggest hurdle to jump. My trick: set a date to make “the big change.” Maybe that’s the day you quit your job, or start dedicating more money to you passion (and cutting out another luxury). I’ve learned that having a light at the end of the dark tunnel give tons of energy. The best part is that you can always change the date of that big change if you’re not ready, or ready earlier. You got this!

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      lol good to know I’m not in this boat alone! And yeah I do love this idea of having sort of a set date, a goal, for when I want to make some sort of change. Something to aim for would be a big help!
      You’re the best, Shannon!
      xoxo Kelsey

  2. Carli Mounts says:

    You have time for the things that are important to you. No one says “I don’t have time to brush my teeth.” You make the time because you value it more than something else. Things get prioritized and rearranged based on how important they are to you. If you are passionate about it, then you will have time. It does not matter what anyone else thinks. The only thing that matters is the story you are telling yourself (the stuff going on between your ears). If you are telling yourself that you could fail, then you could. Don’t let that be your story.

    • Blondes & Bagels says:

      I like this philosophy – like if you tell yourself that your story is success, it will be. Don’t give yourself another option. As for prioritizing and making time, absolutely that’s a huge piece of it. I think where I’ve struggled the most is feeling burnt out after a long day at work and that’s less so about priorities and more so about obligations and stamina.
      Hope all’s well with you 🙂 thanks for leaving me some advice!
      xoxo Kelsey

  3. I know exactly what you’re going through. I’ve hit a couple of these downs in the past two years while working my internship. This summer, it got to the point that I was even like “I honestly don’t know what I love to do anymore.” That’s when I stopped blogging. But then a funny thing happened: I recorded myself on a whim and found out that I actually really love making videos. I needed something new and exciting to get a spark back into an area of my life (work) that wasn’t seeing that happen. While YouTube and blogging obviously aren’t my job, it has given me more direction on what I want in life. I always said I wanted to be a writer and write novels… but now I’m not so sure that’s the case. The best part? It’s perfectly okay to let these things happen!

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