Stop Worrying About the Future: What I Learned From My Quarter-Life Crisis

The power of asking yourself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?

We don’t like change, uncertainty and hence thinking about the future. That’s in our DNA because we had to make sure to survive in the wilderness.

But today, we worry too much about the future, our decisions, and everything that could happen. I’m guilty of it. I’ve already spent so much time worrying about the future and picturing all worst-case scenarios.

Did any of them become true? Nope.

Did I spend a lot of time thinking about and getting wrinkles from it? Unfortunately yes.

“Worrying is like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.”

— Wiz Khalifa

My quarter-life crisis Story

Worrying and hence not changing my life almost led me to become depressed in a job I hated.

After I finished my Bachelor’s, I started working as a programmer in a big consulting company. The corporation and the people working there are awesome. But I was depressed. I suffered 40 hours a week, not having much to do and wasting time. I came home depressed and then crying most evenings.

I know I had to change something. The problem I had was:

  • I didn’t want to waste my time anymore
  • The project was senseless

I figured out what I need in my life: a passion. a purpose. working on a meaningful project. And that job wasn’t it.

Deciding to change and take that risk is hard

It took me a few months to decide that I will quit this job and try something new.

I thought that I was too old to change professions. I was 22 *facepalm*, and I thought I’m too old to start studying again.

I was worrying the whole time:

  • What would the others think of that decision?
  • How can I afford it?
  • What if I fail and I’m not good at my new profession?
  • Am I gonna be the oldest one at everything now?
  • Is it too risky?

But at some point, I asked myself that one important question:

What is the worst thing that could happen?

And then I got it: nothing bad will happen.

But I figured out the worst thing that could happen: I would move back to my parents and work again for 40 hours a week on senseless projects.

It doesn’t sound bad at all. Of course, it would be a scar on my self-confidence, but that’s nothing I can get fixed.

You are worried about making a decision, and you are afraid of taking the step:

Zoom away from yourself, your situation, and your problem. Look how tiny it is. How small you are. And ask yourself the question: what is the worst that could happen?

It’s not so scary anymore, right?

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”

— Zig Ziglar

Take the risk!

You’ve always wanted to start your writing career online?

Take the risk and start doing it! The worst thing that could happen is that some random dude doesn’t like your story. F*ck it and move on!

Start doing what you always wanted to do!

Take that risk!

The worst case is you will go back to the way it was. If you don’t take that step now, you will regret that for the rest of your life. And trust me, this is even worse than moving back with your parents.

I don’t regret it much, but not studying Architecture from the beginning is something that is stuck in my head.

What I learned in the last years: don’t let your thoughts control your emotions, goals, and decisions. I will not let this regret ruin my pretty good life now.

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

— Denis Waitley

Everyone is on their own path

I always had one big negative feature that kept me from moving on: comparing myself with others.

I’m ambitious, and I always wanted to be one of the best in everything. I compared myself with everyone.

  • This girl is taller than me.
  • This one is prettier.
  • This one already has a kid.
  • This one is finished with her Master’s.

Every day.

Don’t do that! I wasted a lot of time thinking about those things. Even things I cannot change.

I’m a successful woman, and I achieved a lot, and still, I compared myself with the pretty influencer on Instagram. I thought my achievements are worth nothing.

Stop that sh*t!

You are on your own path. Every person is unique, and you cannot compare yourself to anyone. It’s like comparing apples with pears.

We are all human, but each one of us is extraordinary. The universe (or God or whoever) has a unique plan for you. Trust it! Enjoy it!

“Life is like a roller coaster, live it, be happy, enjoy life.”

— Avril Lavigne

Zooming Out and Seeing It Clear

What is the worst that could happen?

Ask yourself that question more often. You will have a clearer picture of your next decision. It’s about being self-aware of your environment and yourself. Is this presence how I want to spend the rest of my life?

And then go and do it!

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(c) Karina Ahrer

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