on learning in the quarter life crisis

               If your news feeds looks anything like ours, they have been filled with a particular slew of articles trending across the interwebs. All these blogs, articles, and reddit posts fall somewhere within the theme of how to do the twenty-something thing the right way. Such articles carry titles like, “20 things Every Twenty-something Should Know” or “How to Successfully Conquer Your Twenties” or “How to Not Hate Yourself For The Rest of Your Life For Having Been Such an Awful Twenty-Something.”

A few years ago, author Alexandra Robbins coined the phrase “quarter-life crisis” in reference to the experience of the anxious, modern twenty-something. Contrastingly, other bloggers praise the twenties as an extended adolescence, asserting you shouldn’t worry about growing up until your thirties. We believe there is an underlying issue at the heart of the quarter-life crisis, millennial, twenty-something discussion -- and we’d like to offer our own voice to the conversation. (Our alleged twenty-something-self-involvedness shining through…)

A few months before our wedding, we met with Andie’s Uncle Glenn who would be officiating the ceremony. While we were there, he spoke some wise, paradigm-shifting words that have become a personal mantra for us as we attempt to navigate this season of our life together.

In response to our anxiety over what we were supposed to be doing with our lives, Uncle Glenn gently reminded us that, “The twenties are for learning.” (Well, that’s how Garrett insists the wise counsel goes. Andie believes it’s actually “the twenties are for teaching”. But, enough of the semantics...)

Much of the discussion over millennial life seems to revolve around the tangible things twenty-somethings have to “show for themselves”. What have you accomplished so far? How much fun are you having? Are you investing in networking relationships who will help you land your dream job later? Have you been visited by the dream job ferry who tells you what your ideal vocation is? How are you achieving financial stability so you can move on to starting a family, paying a mortgage, and blabla blabla blabla? 

But for us and most of our friends attempting to navigate their twenties in the worst job market since WWII, life doesn’t necessarily flow like a textbook flow-chart.

That is precisely why we find so much peace in Uncle Glenn’s words. It is perfectly OK, and even desirable, to embrace this season of our life as a season of learning. Or, to extend the concept further, one could say the twenties are for developing a life-long commitment to learning.

Because, let’s get real. Deep, introspective questions pertaining to our purpose and direction in life do not simply cease to plague us once we turn thirty… or forty, or fifty, or sixty, or once we obtain a certain job title, or once we have children... 

We propose that shifting our perspective away from a need to force our lives through a specific algorithm to “prove” our value as individuals dramatically alters the way we encounter joy and fulfillment in our twenties (and our lives in general). This shift only happens once we have the humility to accept every ordinary day as an opportunity for learning

Instead of focusing so much of our attention on being known by what we do or accomplish, what would happen if we began to focus on what kind people we want to be, our “identity capital” as this TED talk suggests

It is extremely humbling for us to go back and re-read our first post for this blog. We had high hopes for what we were going to be “doing” in Korea. Volunteer in an orphanage, work for LINK, you know, “big” stuff… But in reality, we’re just English teachers in rural schools in South Korea. Most days, our lessons are subpar, interrupted by endless requests of kids pantomiming needing to go pee - because they can’t remember the countless times we’ve taught them how to say “bathroom” and assume we haven’t learned the meaning of “hwajungshil” yet. 

These are the moments we have to remind ourselves “the twenties are for learning”.

             So, in honor of the many obscurely numbered lists out there dedicated to twenty-somethings, here is a list of our own:

12 Things We’re Learning as Twenty-somethings 

(and Most Likely Will Continue to Learn Throughout the Rest of Our Lives):

  1. The importance of always attempting to see the world through other people’s lenses.
  2. The importance (and, at times, difficulty) of building and maintaining meaningful relationships.
  3. How to give and receive grace with… more grace. 
  4. Being foreigners in someone else’s land is really, really friggin’ difficult.
  5. (cont. from 4): we should be compassionate and empathize with the foreigners in our midst. 
  6. Some things are as easy to decide as rock, paper, scissors (thanks to our students for this revelation).
  7. The things we say are often not as important as the way in which we say them. 
  8. Sometimes people will choose to not like you and there’s really nothing you can do about it but pray for the grace to respond in love.
  9. Writing a blog is a very difficult thing to be disciplined about. As a matter of fact, being disciplined about anything is difficult -- but usually worth it eventually. 
  10. Sometimes you miss the last train home; you can be mad about it, or you can get a hotel and make it into an adventure. 
  11. Honesty and integrity are always better than even the smallest bit of untruth. 
  12. Never regret generosity.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we are observing a strict no-cooking-never oath this year, so we have many opportunities to reflect on all this learning we're doing.

What things are you learning lately? We'd love to hear from you. Please comment and let us know.


  1. I really love your 12 things . . . I like this whole post in general haha.

    It's always so nice to read your posts. Brit and I read 'em together and we are always smiling and laughing by the end. You guys are great peeps.

    Here's something that we've learned: a lifestyle of humble acceptance and radical generosity is really invigorating and healthy. We've been blessed by so many people here along with people in the States, and we've simply needed to accept their help, without being able to give back. Now, as we give, we are learning to give without expecting anything in return. It's a great picture of the kingdom, and it's been a great lesson!

    Peace and love,
    Hoss & Britney

    1. Amen and Amen Hoss! Your comments totally remind me of that book we they assigned to us for COR 401: God's Economy by Jonothan Wilson Hartgrove. He suggests your point exactly, that the economy of the Kingdom of God functions out of a currency of radical generosity. That's so cool to hear you guys are recognizing that truth in your own lives and are able to now walk it out! Thanks for the encouraging words. You guys are great people too.

      Christ's Peace.