Books That Helped Me Cope With Quarter-Life Crisis
Once or twice in your life, you will feel an emptiness in your life. You may be active and busy, yet life still seems incomplete. In your attempt to figure this out, you do things out of the ordinary – things you wouldn’t normally do.
Some people who have never experienced this before (or are simply judgmental) call this drama.
We call it quarter-life crisis.
When I was still working in the corporate world, this quarter-life crisis hit me like a storm. It came out of nowhere and I didn’t know how to manage it by myself. It was the time that I was still adjusting in my very first workplace. I was only a few months in, yet… I was already out of place. What takes years for some only took months for me. I felt I was in the wrong place at the right time. I knew I had to get out of there ASAP.
And so I left that job and started with my self-love journey.
All that happened way back in 2014. Now we’re nearing 2018 and I can say I’m in a much better place. 4 years ago seems just like yesterday, but I survived. And I continue to survive to this day. I may not have it all together all the time, but I have this letter to remind me every now and then.
Related: Dear Bae (A Letter To Myself)
Now back to quarter-life crisis.
This is the time that you question your self-worth. You wrack your brain to discover your real purpose in this world. It feels like nothing else matters because you can’t even feel that… you matter. Despite friends’ consolation, you feel deep in your heart that something’s wrong. It’s either where you are is not enough or it’s not the right place for you.
I personally believe this is a crucial stage in anyone’s life.
There will really come a point where you ask,
“Who am I? Why am I here for? Do I even matter? What is my real value?”
As Kelly Clarkson sang, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Quarter-life crisis is a bitch, I’ll be the first to say that, but you will get out of it. Not just around it, but through it. You have strength you have yet to discover. You don’t believe it now, but trust me, you have it in you.
When I was dealing with my own quarter-life crisis, I mostly turned to books and YouTube videos to help me cope. No one else was there to witness my quarter-life crisis but me and my then boyfriend, so it was extra hard for me.
No one knew of my struggles. No one knew I pulled myself from the ground to be where I am now. So people who see me now don’t know the slump I came from. They judge easily by what they see, not by the progress I made. It stings, but it’s impractical to share your struggles with everyone. Most of them don’t really care.
I wasn’t really hooked on Twitter back then so social media (except YouTube) was a no-go for me. I distracted myself by reading books and by reading, I found myself… somehow. Now I want to return the favor and share these books that helped me with my quarter-life crisis.
I’m not there yet. I’m still figuring out my life. Everyone else is, still.
But I’m growing. And in my growth, I want to impart some pecious pieces that impacted my life.
So here we go.
CRAZY LOVE by FRANCIS CHAN
Chan writes in a way that his words go through your soul and shake you to the core. It’s as if the book was written specially for you. At least, that’s how I felt with his books. I’d like to emphasize the effective way he explains how we should live life on Earth. He illustrates it by holding a long white rope with about 4 inches of it in red. The red is our life here on Earth. The white one (the rest of the rope) is our life in Heaven when we become reunited with God. We get so busy acquiring earthly possessions that we forget that there’s life beyond all this.
WATCH IT HERE:
I didn’t mean to make this blog post sound religious or even biblical, but when I was going through rough waters, I held on to God like I never held on to anyone ever before. I made Him my life’s foundation. And I got the solace I needed. I mentioned the rope because we’re often too busy trying to figure out everything instead of letting Him direct us in which direction we should go.
We think we’re above everything else, yet here we are, running in circles and focusing on the non-essentials.
I highlighted a bunch of passages in this book. But I’d like to share a few that really struck me.
“Don’t let yourself forget. Soak it in and keep remembering that it is true. He is everything.”
“My existence was not random, nor was it an accident. God knew who He was creating, and He designed me for a specific work.”
“God will ensure my success in accordance with His plan, not mine.”
“Noah spent 120 years building an ark and warning others of the impending judgment. Suppose the flood had never come – Noah would have been the biggest laughingstock on earth. Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy.”
HOW TO LIVE A LIFE OF MIRACLES by BO SANCHEZ
Having read a bunch of his books in the previous years, it’s easy to forget altogether what Bo’s specific book is about. But I’ll tell you this, what I like about his writing style is it feels like he’s talking to you like a long-time friend. There was even a time when I was addicted to reading Kerygma. I was in High School then.
The same can be said with his videos. Every time I feel so low and even the little things would feel like a massive weight on my shoulders, I resort to watching videos on YouTube because it’s the most productive yet effortless thing I could do at the moment.
And every time, I find myself looking up his YouTube channel. It’s easy to get lost in Bo Sanchez’s videos because all of them are helpful. And you don’t have to binge watch because it often takes me one 45-minute video to cry a bucket. I swear, every time I watch his videos, I end up crying. At the same time, I feel enveloped in God’s grace.
Let me share some highlighted passages from this book:
“You know what the problem is? When we fail, we automatically think we’re losers. No, we’re not. You can never be a loser because you come from God. Because of that fact, you’re a champion. Always!”
“God has given every blessing you need in your life already. That tank has your name on it. It’s yours. All you have to do is open the faucet.”
WATCH: What is your calling?
LOVE YOURSELF AS GOD LOVES YOU by MARJORIE DUTERTE
This book has made me feel beautiful in so many ways! I read this a few years ago, and I may have already forgotten the exact words written but I can still remember how it made me feel back then.
I love that by the end of the book, you can do these activities that make you love yourself even more. Fun fact: This is the exact book that led me to pursue (freelance) writing. The moment I finished this book, I grabbed my notebook and pen, and started jotting down my strengths and weaknesses – my skills, my talents, and so on.
It made me realize that while I was wallowing in my pool of shame and pity, I had things in me that made me more capable of than what I perceived. I was focusing on 5 weaknesses when all along I had 50 strengths.
Let me show how this book made me feel beautiful:
“By God’s hand alone, we are beautiful. This is the truth.” – Jean Maalouf, The Healing Power of Beauty
“Even before I was born, He designed me with a purpose. Every person has a purpose in life.”
“Whenever I am running low on faith and my trust is failing, I take comfort in this truth: God thinks of me.”
“He already knows what will make me happy. He has already made it available for me even before I had thought about it. He takes care of all my needs and I have no need to worry. I only need to trust Him and not settle only for what I want in life.”
“When you truly love yourself, you are not afraid to build people up. You are not afraid to help people become be best that they can be because you are confident. You are confident in God and His love for you, and it cannot be shaken.”
To love one’s self is to:
- Remember who you are: I am God’s beloved child. This is my true identity.
- Remember you are God’s masterpiece: I am beautiful simply because God made me in His image and likeness.
- Remember your design: I was created for a purpose, and I find meaning and joy in life when I live out what I was made for.
- Remember you are loved: God’s love for me is unconditional and complete. I am deeply loved and valued. God’s love for me is eternal and nothing can separate me from it.
- Remember you are valuable: I was brought with a price, forgiven and saved by my Savior’s sacrifice. I am precious to God. He died for me so that I can have a full life.
DANCING IN THE STORM by MARICEL B. POMARES
If you judge a book by its cover, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t even touch this. It’s thin, it has a bad graphic design on the cover, and the author is unknown. But I’ll tell you this, out of all the books I mentioned, this is the one I treasure the most.
It has helped me cope with my quarter-life crisis in unimaginable ways.
I remember having this in my work bag when I go to the office *cringe*. Just having it around already makes me feel better even on the shittiest day.
I remember reading this in McDonald’s along Paseo de Roxas one evening while waiting for my mom to fetch up. I was holding back my tears as I read it, and it was so difficult! Nothing made sense anymore at that time. I was earning well, I had a very good position where I could easily excel in my field. I had lots of connections to help me advance in my career anytime I wanted to. My only problem back then financially was how to spend Php 400 in a day (daily allowance) whenever I was out on a fieldwork. This allowed me to barely touch my own income.
But it felt wrong. Every day was a drag. Every morning, I would wish I was already back home. Every new fieldwork made me pray harder for my team to get it over and done with ASAP. I was in a bad place and I didn’t know how to get out of it.
It was only a few days away from my last day at my old work, yet my emotions were still all over the place. Worse, my heart grew heavier by the day. The feeling was inexplainable. But it felt like wherever I went, I had this black cloud above my head. But it was only above me, not on anyone else’s. It was a really dark place in my life, and I’m glad it’s now all over.
Reading Dancing in the Storm, I felt Maricel’s presence in every word. I always say that there’s courage in vulnerability, and that’s how she was in the book – brave. She bravely showed her flaws and shared her tribulations. By the end of the book, she will have you realize how much stronger you really are.
In this book, she focused on worries and insecurities – two things I was rich at. Reading the highlighted sentences now, I can’t believe how negative I was before. I guess I could relate with the book so much because back then, I couldn’t stop worrying (worries) and it didn’t help that I was constantly surrounded with smart people (insecurities).
I hope I’m not spoiling the book already. But if you’re curious what got me hooked, let me share these impactful passages:
“No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; for in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation. Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him.” – Sirach 2:4-6
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.” – Psalm 34:19
Having shared my personal resources, I now realize that it doesn’t matter what book you read or video you watch. We all have different coping mechanisms. I can’t guarantee that you will feel better after X hours, days or weeks. But I can guarantee that the pain you are feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming (Romans 8:18).
You’re worth the fight. You’re worth the life.
I may have already forgotten the Bible verses I rote memorized from a few years back, but here’s one I truly cherish and which I hope you carry in your own heart as well:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, you are worth more than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:6-7
With love and light,