It's hard to think of a better time to be alive than when you're 24. You ideally have just two things to worry about: getting drunk and having sex. But the dream of your 20s can only last so long, and soon it gives way to a much darker nightmare—the quarter-life crisis. It's happened to just about everyone: You're zipping through your early 20s—content to intern for free and subsist on a diet of PBR and saltines—when, suddenly, you turn 25. Without warning, existential panic sets in as you realize that you need a job, you need a boyfriend, and you need to get your mattress off the bedroom floor.
Just about everyone over 25 has had some version of the quarter-life crisis: Some are funny, some are disturbing, and some are complete disasters. We've rounded up a few of the craziest quarter-life crisis tales we could find, to help you feel a little bit better about your own.
A Cash Crisis
For my 16th birthday, an old family friend gave me an elegant little sack of 16 gold dollar coins. It goes without saying that this was not pocket change. The coins were a Sweet 16 memento to be treasured and, because of their rarity, saved for a time when I could show them off to my awestruck grandchildren ("Look, don't touch," I'd tell them). I hung on to them for a decade, moving them from bedroom drawer to bedroom drawer. Never once did I consider spending them. Then one day, when I was 26, I found myself on the floor of my bedbug-infested apartment, trying to work out if I had enough cash to buy peanut butter. It was grim. While combing through every inch of my room for loose change, I found the sack of coins jammed into the drawer of my bedside table. I didn't immediately think of my family friend or my future grandchildren. I didn't spend a second considering that these coins might one day be worth more. All I thought was: "I've got 16 bucks, suckers! This buys me a week of groceries!" —Kelsey
Read more: People Share Their Worst First Dates Ever
A Sex Crisis
At 25, I'd been unemployed for two years. Thankfully, I got a job as a teaching assistant for the grad program at a state college. On my first day of work, I noticed an attractive grad student in my class. Over the next few weeks we flirted, and he asked me out on a date. Being poor as fuck (and having gone without sex for a couple of months), I accepted; he was going to take me to a fancy restaurant, and I could barely afford frozen peas. We continued dating over the next few weeks.
One night he invited me to a party. As we walked over, I noticed that it was in undergraduate housing. We went in, and everyone stared at me strangely. Turns out, he was not a grad student at all—he was a teenager. He had told his friends that he was hooking up with his T.A., which was apparently a great score considering he was still in high school and only auditing my class. Thankfully he was 18, but even so. I ran out of there so fast. —Jane*
A Gay Crisis
My quarter-life crisis came late. I was closeted, and when I hit my late 20s, a voice in my head began nagging me. Like most quarter-life crisis voices it said: "You aren't happy. No one actually knows you." I assuaged the voice by promising myself that I would come out before I turned 30.
I started sobbing because I felt a level of happiness I thought I'd never experience. Since then, life has never been better.
I procrastinated as long as I could. Just two days before my 30th birthday, I rented a house in Palm Springs, California, and invited my closest friends. That weekend, I came out to everyone. I experienced lots of nausea and supportive hugs and emotional moments. It was the most terrifying and incredible 48 hours of my life. As I left the party to drive to San Francisco (gay) to see Beyoncé (gayer), I started sobbing because I felt a level of happiness I thought I'd never experience. Since then, life has never been better. —Makana
A Job Crisis
My quarter-life crisis happened during a job interview. I applied to be an assistant on a cooking television show. I'd been working shitty retail jobs and desperately wanted out. Miraculously, I landed an interview. I arrived early and sat in a waiting room, résumé in hand.
"Oh my God, it is you!" My interviewer said as she greeted me, arms outstretched. At first I didn't recognize her. Then horror crept over me as I realized that I used to babysit her. I did some swift mental math and realized she was 22!
I sat there as she scanned my résumé and, with kindness beyond her years, tried to coax out of me any reasons why retail experience might inform television work. (There are none.) We made it awkwardly to the end of the interview, and she hugged me again. "I hope everything works out for you," she said warmly. What could I say? I tried to think of something wry, something worldly and sage, something that would let her know she shouldn't count me out just yet. Instead, I just blurted out, "Say hi to your mom for me!" —Katherine
A Douchebag Crisis
I went on an OkCupid bender in the early aughts. I dated a guy who was a writer and owned a place in Brooklyn—all good on paper. Eventually, he told me he was writing an article about millennials and online dating and asked if he could interview me, promising anonymity. Being the narcissist millennial that I was, I agreed. I was under the impression that I was going to play a small part in the article. At the same time I wasn't really feeling this guy, and I ghosted out of the relationship shortly after the interview.
Months went by, and I got a surprise call from him. He said, "I wanted you to know in advance that my book got published." I thought this was going to be an article, not an entire book. Well, I read it. And I'm not the subject of just one little paragraph—I'm the narrative anchor. I'm half the book. It's grossly exaggerated and very unkind, and zero personal details are changed. This motherfucking book is practically revenge porn. I ripped it up and threw it out.
Then I married a hot, rich, kind Italian stallion and lived happily ever after. —Cecily*
Watch Now: The First Episode of Search Party
*Names have been changed.
Sponsored by Search Party, a New Original Comedy Series on TBS that follows the mystery of a lost soul and her group of self-absorbed friends searching for a college acquaintance who's gone missing.
This article was paid for by TBS and was created independently from Broadly's editorial staff. You can watch the entire season of Search Party starting Monday, November 21st @11/10c on TBS.